Sunday, 31 January 2010

Scientists unveil Galapagos conservation plan.

Gabriel Lopez, executive director of the Charles Darwin Foundation said in a report released on Friday that the Galapagos Islands were facing "the most challenging days of their history". The report outlined successes of three "emblematic" programs that began in 2009 and were set to continue into 2010. Lopez said that data gathered by scientists show "it is almost certain that el nino events will be more frequent, more intense" and could have a devastating impact on the island's endemic species like sealions and marine iguanas". The report marks the 50th Anniversary of the organisation.

The quotes are particularly interesting as they contain, in both key sentences, adverbs of degree, indicated above in italics. One expects a certain amount of negativity within scientific doominology, particularly as the realms of science become more and more politicised. However, the foundation associated with the godfather of natural science should steer away from such lip service and be very clear and precise about what it is saying.

picture source

Monday, 25 January 2010

Makos can be fished despite legislation...

Pressure from sport fishing groups in Australia over a recent ban on fishing for Mako Sharks has seen the country's Environment Minister, Peter Garrett finalise a succesful bid to overturn the ruling for sports fishermen in Australian waters.
The Convention for Migratory Species, a UN sponsored body, implemented a no catch ruling after stocks of Mako sharks have plummeted in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Australia was bound by the ruling as it is a member of the CMS. Both long and shortfin makos were included as well as the Porbeagle.
The decision drew immediate criticism from Australia where Mako sharks are said amongst the sport fishing communities to be common. Peter Garrett has won a reprieve for the sports fishing community by gaining a catch and release exclusion from the ban.
However, some amongst the sports fishing communities were not in agreement saying that tighter restrictions are inevitable and necessary to protect dwindling species.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

New Galleries Published

I've been busy reworking my sites lately and have just finished putting up some new galleries on my eyemocean site. I've reworked the front page, and the contact page, well, you could say I've pretty much rebuilt the whole thing.
I've even managed to put a feed direct from this blog straight to the eyemocean homepage so you can have a look at a few images whilst you read this blog.

You can find the new look site here.

If you think there is anything missing, or wish to comment on it, then please do so.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Atlantic Great White

A great White Shark that was tagged in Cape Cod in the states has surfaced a handful of miles off of Jacksonville, Florida. The work was carried out by state biologists and it is hoped that the information uploaded from the sat tag will shed new light on the behaviour of the Atlantic population of Great Whites. A number of whites have been tagged on the pacific side of the states but this could be the first from the Atlantic. As the crow flies, the distance between the two spots is 1500 kms but the time span is around fours months, so it will indeed be interesting to see what movements the shark and his tagged co-horts got up to during that time.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Shark Champion Named.

The truly titanic and inspiring Shark Trust have awarded Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead an award, earning him the title of Britain's Shark Champion. The award was given in recognition for Scotland banning the removal of shark fins at sea on January 1st. Bravooo!!!!
Although Scotland is not the first international government to implement such a ban, there are far more nations that have not yet done so and should do most urgently.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Basking Sharks New Zealand

Down in New Zealand the Department of Conservation are planning a 10 flight Basking Shark spotting program around the Canterbury area over the next two months to see how many of these gentle giants might be populating the region's waters. The fly-overs will be made up of 16 ten km transects and will take up to mid march to complete. This article has more info on the initiative which is set to include satellite tags to track their movements. The largest group of Basking Sharks in the area was estimated to be over 100 animals.

(Image: Two basking sharks pass our basking shark charter back in June '09)

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Cold Turtle...

Ok it's well beyond christmas now, so the title isn't a play on words about turkey sandwiches and it is nothing to do with what drug addicts go through...

Wildlife rescue workers in the southern United States have been busy rescuing hypothermed turtles who have gone into auto coma mode after the recent cold weather there. In the corpus christi area, 150 turtles washed up in the bay and at least 38 dies as a result.

The lucky ones still alive have been trucked into aquariums and other animal rescue organisations to be warmed. Reports today say the weather and sea temps have lifted high enough again for them to start being released again.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Basking Shark Hotspot in Donegal

The Irish Times reports today that Donegal's Malin Head has been identified as one of the best places in Europe for basking sharks. The announcement comes as the scientists try to initiate a biodiversity action plan for the sharks under the auspices of the Irish Basking Shark Study Group. Despite being protected in British waters, the law does not extend to Ireland but it is hoped that this can be rectified this coming year.
Some sightings of breaching sharks may have been incorrectly reported as activity by whales. In an unrelated incident Patrick McDoughnutty from Rosslare on the South East coast said on a clear day you could see wales, but he had never seen a shark.

See what good jokes you could be missing if you don't come on our Basking Shark Charter in the Inner Hebrides this summer?

(image source)

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Stingrays use tools to solve problems

Stingrays have been proved to be able to use water as a tool in cognitive tests by scientists from Austria, Isreal and the US. The report here, states that the captive freshwater rays from South Amercia demonstrated ability to solve problems and used jets of water to dislodge food stuck on overhead leaves.
The study recognises that these and maybe other related carteligenous fish share the same cognitive ability, bringing them in line with birds, mammals and reptiles.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Basking Sharks Thrive in Scotland

This article in the UPI states that Basking sharks are doing well in Scotland. We still wait to see the results of further tagging which went on up in Scotland this year and also across on the Isle of Man. It's hard to imagine in all this snow and ice that we will be headed up there in a few months time for another basking shark expedition. Let's hope the sea temperatures have risen somewhat by June. Have you booked yet? If not, go here.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Shark pair in law tussle..

A father and son Australian pair acould be in trouble with the law after landing and killing a large bull shark 15 kms from the sea along an estuary. The australian press seem to be giving the case a lot of attention and there have been reports almost daily from the beginnings of the story earlier this week.
The pair claimed they didn't know that a law existed prohibiting anyone from killing any shark above 1.5 metres, or great whites, grey nurses, sawfish and speartooth sharks of any size. Ignorance is not being granted as a reasonable excuse however and the two anglers could face a fine of up to $1000.

Lets hope that the law stands firm and that the press coverage will asssist in shark protection measures being widely understood.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

(picture source)

The US state of Massachusetts may see the development of up to 200 offshore wind farms according to a state oceans blueprint released earlier this week. It gives power to local communities allowing them the opportunity to develop anywhere between 7 and 24 turbines in coastal waters which includes up to three miles offshore.
This is the first plan of its kind in the US and could well be a world leading initiative. The blueprint also aims to introduce zoning for environmentally sensative areas such as fish spawning sites, whale feeding zones and bird nesting. Any commercial activity proposed will have to prove that it will not damage or disturb the species for which the zone was implemented.
Unfortunately, as with our UK wind turbine schemes, there is always the question of aesthetics and the US has its own version of the NIMBY and the massachusetts plans are being fought by those who don't like turbines on the horizon. You can read the full and informative article here.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Let Sharks Live beyond 2009...and an upcoming BBC masterpiece

The Year of the Shark 2009 has draw to a close and the group's web presence is said to be heading in a new direction with them taking on a blog site which can be found here. Let's hope that it pays off and generates a lot of attention from people from around the world to the issue of shark fishing and finning. There have been some fantastic advances in shark conservation through 2009 at least from developed nations . The US implemented changes to it's shark fishing legislation and the EU clamped down on porbeagle and sprudog captures. There is to be a CITES gathering in March so let's hope that groups such as Let Sharks Live can bring about some pressure to see the proposed shark species reach appendix II.
And now for something completely different...well...not really it's about a shark. The greenland shark in fact. This post on the LA public relations blog (the who???!!!) tells of how a team of scientists working with greenland sharks have discovered part of the jawbone of a bolar bear in one shark's stomach. While the scientists ponder where it might have come from, the article mentions there is to be a BBC documentary aired in 2011 called "Frozen Planet".
I can't wait. the BBC's natural history unit has been turning out some incredible camera work lately. Some of the sequences in the recent Life series were some of the best natural history footage I have ever seen. Deeply atmospheric and compositionally perfect they set a superb backdrop for the voice of David Attenborough. The only let down was the script, I think I heard the line "these [insert adjective] are the most [insert verb] in the world" about 6 times per episode. Come on BBC, your cameramen and legendary narrator deserve better scriptwriters!!