Commercial fishermen in Alaska are complaining that Sperm Whales and Killer Whales are stripping their longlines of fish. Now let’s see if I understand the problem: men in fishing boats go out onto the open ocean where these whales and dolphins live, and leave baited hooks on floating fishing lines, sometimes forty miles long. Halibut, sable, skate and other fish are attracted to the bait and bite on the hooks. After struggling for a few minutes, these fish die and hang there. And then along come the Sperm Whales and Killer Whales who strip the lines of these dead fish. Then the fishermen come back, find the fish heads hanging there and get angry at the whales.
But let’s say these same fishermen got off their boats, drove their pickups into the interior, and strung a forty-mile long clothesline from tree to tree with sirloin steaks hanging on hooks every few feet. Don’t you think that grizzly bears and black bears would figure out that this was a free lunch pretty quickly? And bears have one-tenth the brainpower of whales and dolphins, if that.
So here is my message to Alaska's commercial fishermen: if you do not want to lose your fish to whales, stop longline fishing, and go join the crab fishermen on the Deadliest Catch. Whales haven’t figured out how to open crab pots…yet.