Mediterranean whales threatened by illegal nets, plastic

Greenpeace, Padua Uni report on beachings on Italian coasts

(ANSA) - ROME, 28 LUG - A quarter of the cetaceans that beached on Italians coasts in recent years died due to human-created causes, according to a new report by Padua University commissioned by Greenpeace.
    The primary human-related deaths were caused by abandoned or illegal fishing nets and plastic waste.
    The report was published on World Nature Conservation Day and comes just days after illegal nets entrapped two sperm whales off the Aeolian Islands.
    It said 84% of the big cetaceans that got stranded on Italian coasts between 2008 and 2019 had fragments of plastic in their stomachs, including the case of a female whale that beached in Olbia last year and had 22 kilos inside.
    The report also sounded the alarm about a possible resurgence of cetacean morbillivirus, a measles like disease that registered several big epidemics between 1990 and 2008.
    It said six sperm whales that beached in the summer of 2019 were positive for this virus. (ANSA).


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