Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Highly Endangered Sturgeon Need Protection

Time Is of the Essence

Baltic sturgeon
Image from:
Friends of Animals and WildEarth Guardians are working hard to ensure protection for the members of 15 species of sturgeon at the very brink of annihilation. In addition to having to cope with treacherous dams, run-off from animal farms, and marine dead zones, they’re threatened with the trade of their eggs as caviar and their flesh as meat, and their bladders are used to make isinglass, a filter applied in the processing of certain cask ales and wines. Aquaculture also threatens them, as it sustains demand, and motivates further capture of free-living sturgeon.

We cannot emphasize enough the risk to these populations and communities! Some are still in the hundreds, but others are down to a few dozen breeding pairs, or even just a few individual representatives such as the up-to 8’ long Acipenser mikadoi (Sakhalin sturgeon) found in waters around Japan--estimated to have only 10-30 breeding pairs left.

Sign Our Petition

Right now we are targeting Amazon.ca and Amazon.com, which enable the sale of caviar from many of these species. Amazon has traditionally responded well to environmental issues, and we hope to see that continued, and that they help preserve these fishes.
Spare the sturgeon by enjoying vegan offerings, whether it’s beer or caviar you’re into! For the beer, check out: Barnivore.com 
And even if you thought caviar was unappealing, you might just love CaviArt: http://www.friendsofanimals.org/img/vegan/Caviart.pdf
Inspired to act? Here’s a plan.
ACTION 1: Please visit and sign our petition to Jeff Bezos, president of Amazon:http://www.change.org/petitions/halt-amazon-com-sales-of-caviar-from-imperiled-sturgeon-species

ACTION 2: Let’s get the sturgeon bladders out of our beer and wine. Pledge and sign:
Thorn sturgeon
Image from:
A Brief History of Sturgeon

Sturgeon have always swum primarily in relatively shallow freshwater or coastal areas. Notably, these massive fish are not particularly predatory; they are bottom feeders, and do not have teeth. Their long life spans (often more than 100 years) and slow maturation contribute to their vulnerability. Two hundred million years of evolution has not prepared them for the efficiency of human consumption, which has vacuumed most of the life out of the ocean in a few hundred years. We’re barely a blip on the scale of their timeline, yet our industry is a catastrophic blow to their existence.

Conservation Efforts

Friends of Animals and WildEarth Guardians are petitioning the US National Marine Fisheries Service to protect fifteen sturgeon species as “threatened” or “endangered” under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA). Sturgeon are described by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as the most threatened group of animals on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Sturgeon are covered under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), yet are still being traded and smuggled at significant levels. Much more needs to be done to protect sturgeon, and ensure these populations remain and—we hope—thrive.

Sturgeon of Western Europe
(1) The olive-hued Acipenser naccarii (Adriatic sturgeon) once ranged throughout the Adriatic from Italy to Greece. Their numbers have declined from exploitation for their flesh. Currently only about 250 individuals remain in the wild population.
(2) Acipenser sturio (Baltic sturgeon) can grow to 16 feet in length. Poached aggressively for caviar, they have been reduced to a single reproductive population in the Garonne River in France.

The Caspian Sea, Black Sea, and Sea of Azov: the Heart of the Caviar Trade
(3) The olive-grey Acipenser gueldenstaedtii (Russian sturgeon; also known as Azov-Black Sea or Danube sturgeon) and (4) Acipenser nudiventris (Ship, Spiny, or Thorn sturgeon) have been commercially exploited and caught as by-catch, and are likely on the verge of extinction.
(5) Acipenser persicus (Persian sturgeon) are exploited for caviar and suffer habitat loss from dams and pollution.
(6) Populations of Acipenser stellatus (Star sturgeon) have been devastated by legal and illegal exploitation for meat and caviar. The Black Sea population is so depleted that commercial catch was halted in 2006.

Sturgeon of the Aral Sea and Tributaries
Three sturgeon species, (7) Pseudoscaphirhynchus fedtschenkoi, (8) Pseudoscaphirhynchus hermanni, and (9) Pseudoscaphirhynchu kaufmanni, have declined or disappeared along with the Aral Sea, which shrunk by more than 60 percent from 1973 to 2000 and continues to shrink. Dangerous heavy metals and agricultural run-off also threaten these populations.

Sturgeon of the Amur River Basin, Sea of Japan, Yangtze River, and Sea of Okhotsk
(10) Acipenser mikadoi (Sakhalin sturgeon) can grow to 8 feet in length and were historically common in Japanese markets; now, only 10-30 spawning adults survive.
Increasing pollution from Russian and Chinese agriculture is threatening (11) Acipenser schrenckii (Amur sturgeon), which have declined an estimated 95 percent.
Also native to China and Russia, (12) Huso dauricus (Kaluga or Great Siberian sturgeon) are among the world’s largest freshwater fishes, exceeding 18 feet in length and one ton in weight. They are heavily poached for caviar.
(13) Acipenser baerii (Siberian sturgeon) are taken for caviar and have lost nearly half their spawning habitat from dam construction.
(14) Acipenser dabryanus, (Yangtze sturgeon) may only survive due to stocking, and there is no evidence that stocked animals are reproducing naturally.
The massive (15) Acipenser sinensis (Chinese sturgeon) were deemed a major commercial resource in the 1960s. Less than 300 wild individuals remain.

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg

Thursday, May 3, 2012

ACTION: Letters Needed For Seals, Write A Canadian Senator NOW!

There has been some much-needed progress with the Harb Seal Bill, calling for an end to the commercial seal slaughter. This year is the third year it’s been introduced by seal supporter Senator Mac Harb, and for the first time it’s been passed in the first round, and debate on the issue will be permitted. In all the past efforts, it hasn’t even made it far enough that the Senate would even discuss the issue!

Senator Mac Harb posted this on Twitter today: Some senators complained , the past 2 days,thousands of emails,jamming their computer,proving seals voices are being heard,loud and clear. ( https://twitter.com/#!/mharb20/status/198018785779793920 )
This is a critical time to write letters to Senators, and encourage them to consider the bill, and support a ban of the commercial seal slaughter. Let’s fill their inboxes with emails about seals so they have NO DOUBT where Canadians stand on this matter.

Here is the complete list of Canadian Senators: http://sen.parl.gc.ca/portal/canada-senators-e.htm

Below is a list of British Columbia Senators, including links to their Senate web page, and their email address:

Senator Larry Campbell

Senator Mobina S.B. Jaffer

Senator Yonah Martin

Senator Richard Neufeld

Senator Nancy Greene Raine

Senator Gerry St. Germain

All BC Senator email addresses:

Please write at least one, if not all Senators in your Province, and ask that they consider what Senator Mac Harb is presenting, and make the right choice for Canada and end this stain on our country. Let them know why you want the seal slaughter to come to and end. (International readers: please don’t hesitate to select a few Senators and write as well.)

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale Wrap-Up

Friends of Animals, Sarah Kramer and the Victoria Vegan Fest volunteers would like to thank all who came out to our April 28th Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale Day event, the third time we've done this! (In the previous two, we raised nearly $2500,  which has printed 4,000 of our Vegan Starter Guides for distribution in the city!)

Thanks to a small army of generous and imaginative bakers, we had three tables full of goodies, and while we fell short of our ambitious goal, by my count we raised $1039.98, which will go towards the Vegan Fest. (Total raised is now $1160, with the previous Purple Rain movie night!)

This included a raffle, with a ton of amazing prizes donated to us, organized as usual by the Victoria OrganicAthlete chapter.

A big thank you goes out to super-star volunteers Paulina, Paradox and Ashley, and a special mention of Jon K who must have eaten the most goodies. ;)

Enjoy the photos below, and join our email list to keep posted on our events, or join our Facebook group page to engage in local topics. (Full photo gallery here.)

More fund-raising events coming soon, including more movie nights, Scrabble Tournament, and more!

Dave Shishkoff
Canadian Correspondent
Friends of Animals
Web Site: http://FriendsofAnimals.org
Victoria: http://TheVictoriaVegan.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2496490922
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/FoA_Victoria
FoA Vegan Starter Guide PDF: http://bit.ly/foa-vsg