Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Killer Whales like to surf in New Zealand

Awesome article and great pictures brought to you by GrindTV.com! Check out their site they consistently have cool articles up. Full article posted because it's that cool. So if you were in the water surfing and ran into these guys would you carry on or exit the water???

New Zealand orcas join surfers in search for the perfect wave

By: Pete Thomas, GrindTV.com

When the latest big swell arrived at Sandy Bay in northern New Zealand, it wasn't the waves making headlines, but the sleek black-and-white surfers who rode them.

Orcas, or killer whales, positioned themselves prominently and made it clear they were the realexperts -- and that no mere human on a surfboard was going to deny them whatever waves they wanted.

"They knew what they were doing," Michael Cunningham, aNorthern Advocate photographer and witness, told the newspaper. "They looked like they'd done it before."

New Zealand's orcas, unlike those in other parts of the world, are known to occasionally embark on surfing forays, but rarely is someone on the beach ready with a camera. Cunningham had been bodysurfing when the orcas arrived Friday, but quickly swam ashore to grab his camera. His images, which show orcas charging through the waves, remain in high demand.

Ingrid Visser, founder of the Orca Research Trust near Sandy Bay, said few sharp images of this phenomenon exist and that Cunningham's photos could be used in a research paper on the island nation's surfing orcas.

Visser, a foremost authority on orcas, said she does not know of anywhere else on earth where orcas spend a significant amount of time riding waves. She and a research crew had observed the same orcas surfing at different beaches the day before and after their now-famous session at Sandy Bay, which is north of Auckland.

Because Visser spends so much time studying orcas she has witnessed them surfing many times, but always from a boat behind the breaking waves.

However, that's also a sight to behold because their kick-outs, as the waves close out or get too close to land, are far more dramatic than those of ordinary surfers.

"They'll often come right out of the back of the wave and breach out into the trough that follows behind," Visser said in a Monday interview. "And that's really exciting to see as well." She said New Zealand orcas are a distinct population and that playfully riding waves, the way dolphins ride waves in many places throughout the world, is part of their culture.

However, since orcas can weigh up to eight tons and are atop the food chain, surfing alongside them can be unsettling, to say the least. "Some of the surfers, like the orca, just go for it and have an absolute buzz," Visser said. "And then other surfers freak out and tell people how it was a life-threatening situation, so you get both extremes."

New Zealand's orcas prey largely on rays and small sharks and have never been implicated in attacks on humans.

Cunningham said foreign tourists were the first out of the water when the orcas appeared Friday. He had been swimming for about an hour before they arrived, and after catching a wave in he looked back and saw several orcas, including a calf, riding a large wave shoreward. Had he been holding a camera then, it would have been quite the family snapshot.

-- Top two images are courtesy of Michael Cunningham / Northern Advocate. Bottom image is courtesy of Ingrid Visser / Orca Research Trust

Monday, November 22, 2010

80-year-old shark sent to breeding program

Check out this cool 80 year old shark entering a breeding program! The reporter

After about 19 years at the park, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's only sawfish, which is believed to be about 80 years old, has been shipped to New Orleans for a breeding program, officials said.

Buzz's species is believed to have a life span of more than 200 years, "so he's not the old man we thought he was," park Animal Care Director Michael Muraco said.

Buzz lived among five or six shark species at the park's Shark Experience until late Friday when he headed for his new home, Curator of Fish John Shultz said.

"We all feel this is good for Buzz and good for the species, which is endangered," Shultz said.

Muraco said the process that led to Buzz's departure started during a regular "blue sky" meeting where ideas are discussed.

"This led to a conversation with the Autobahn Aquarium in New Orleans, and they mentioned there are only a handful of these animals left in United States and that they're at risk in the wild and they asked how we'd feel about a cooperative breeding program," Muraco said.

This left park officials with "a moral dilemma," he said.

Discovery Kingdom lacks the space for a breeding program for animals as large as this, so if Buzz were going to be involved, he'd have to go there, Muraco said.

"As much as we loved having Buzz here, we did the right thing," and sent him there, he said.

Buzz was caught by two fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico in 1968, park spokeswoman Nancy Chan said.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tens of thousands of jellyfish like a 'cobblestone walkway ' washed up on a San Francisco beach

Watch out for the Jellies! Mail Online

Tens of thousands of jellyfish have been found washed up on Ocean Beach, San Francisco.

Jellyfish packed a section of beach stretching about three miles long and 20 feet wide.

Likening the event to 'a huge, cobblestone walkway made of jellyfish' National Park Service spokesman George Durgerian said he had never seen anything quite like it before.

Cobblestone jellyfish: One of the thousands of moon jellyfish that washed up on San Francisco's Ocean Beach on Nov. 13, 2010.

Cobblestone jellyfish: Tens of thousands of moon jellyfish that were washed up on San Francisco's Ocean Beach over the weekend

Durgerian who reported the find to the Ocean Beach Bulletin added that the amazing sight could be seen by many San Francisco residents from Pacheco to Lawton streets.

He credited the mass beaching of jellyfish to the tides.

'There was a large swell overnight that may have been responsible,' he said.

Durgerian said the jellyfish that washed up are a fairly common breed called moon jellyfish.

Slippery encounters of the jelly kind: One of the eerie looking Moon jellyfish washed up on Ocean Beach

'These were jellyfish like you think they look like -- large, circular, translucent and gelatinous,' he said.

The only other incident he saw involving jellyfish was about seven years ago on Ocean Beach which involved by-the-wind sailor jellyfish, also known as Valella jellyfish.

'They kind of look like a windsurfer,' Durgerian said.

Durgerian said he could not explain why the event over the weekend took place adding a park service biologist would begin to analyse some of the jellyfish.

He said there was no planned cleanup or rescue for the jellyfish with high tide set to take them back out to sea.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New large species of squid found

Check out this new species of Squid found! BBC

A new species of squid has been discovered by scientists during a research cruise in the southern Indian ocean.The 70cm-long specimen is a large member of the chiroteuthid family.Squid from this group are long and slender with light-producing organs, which act as lures to attract prey.It was found during analysis of 7,000 samples gathered during last year's Seamounts cruise led by the conservation group IUCN.

The project started a year ago when marine experts embarked on a six-week research expedition in the Indian Ocean.The aim of the cruise was to unveil the mysteries of seamounts - underwater mountains - in the southern Indian Ocean and to help improve conservation and management of marine resources in the area."For 10 days now 21 scientists armed with microscopes have been working through intimidating rows of jars containing fishes, squids, zooplankton and other interesting creatures," says Alex Rogers, of the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford,"Many specimens look similar to each other and we have to use elaborate morphological features such as muscle orientation and gut length to differentiate between them."So far, more than 70 species of squid have been identified from the Seamounts cruise, representing more than 20% of the global squid biodiversity.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Great white shark freed from plastic noose

Thank You Very Much! Australian Geographic

GREAT WHITE SHARKS ARE usually feared for their threat to humans in the ocean, but one shark has found out how dangerous humans can be.

In late September, local divers spotted what seemed to be a subdued great white shark during an expedition about 50 km from Port Lincoln, South Australia. The 2.5 m great white (or white pointer) was being slowly choked by a ribbon of plastic strap encircling his torso. He was affectionally nicknamed Strappy because of his predicament.

Cutting into his flesh, the plastic had restricted use of Strappy's left fin, and had completely destroyed part of his gills, says Andrew Fox, part of the father-and-son team that runs dive tour operator Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions.

"From the look of the wounds I reckon he'd been suffering for a couple of months and [I thought] if we didn't do something, he would go downhill fast," Andrew says. "He probably wouldn't have lasted much more than another month."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

BP oil spill: 'mass hysteria on a par with the Dutch tulip bubble'

Bottom line, the BP oil spill was unacceptable and has impacted our Gulf in many ways! Telegraph

Some of the more hysterical members of the ecotard commentariat are still banging on about the BP Oil Spill as if it were the worst environmental disaster in the history of mankind. Right up there with Chernobyl, they’re saying. And in that comparison at least they’re absolutely right. Like Chernobyl, the BP Oil Spill was an accident far more terrifying in the press handouts of environmental lobbyists than it proved to be in real life. Just consider, for example, the latest reports from the Gulf of Mexico which show that fish stocks have rebounded with the kind of teeming piscine vigour that will give George Monbiot nightmares for months.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Heat Stress To Caribbean Corals In 2005 Worst On Record; Ecosystems May Not Survive Repeated Stress

Heat Stress is taking its toll on Corals! AP

SILVERSPRING, Maryland -- Coral reefs suffered record losses as a consequence of high ocean temperatures in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean in 2005 according to the most comprehensive documentation of basin-scale bleaching to date. Collaborators from 22 countries report that more than 80 percent of surveyed corals bleached and over 40 percent of the total surveyed died, making this the most severe bleaching event ever recorded in the basin. The study appears in PLoS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication.

Satellite-based tools from NOAA's Coral Reef Watch Program guided site selection for field observations conducted across the greater Caribbean region from June to October 2005. Field surveys of bleaching and mortality in this study surpass prior efforts in both detail and extent.

This study also substantially raised the standards for documenting the effects of bleaching and for testing satellite and forecast products. Coral bleaching occurs when stress causes corals to expel their symbiotic algae, or zooxanthellae. If prolonged or particularly severe, it may result in coral death.

"Heat stress during the 2005 event exceeded any observed in the Caribbean in the prior 20 years, and regionally-averaged temperatures were the warmest in at least 150 years," said C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D., coordinator of NOAA's Coral Reef Watch Program. "This severe, widespread bleaching and mortality will undoubtedly have long-term consequences for reef ecosystems, and events like this are likely to become more common as the climate warms."

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Bizarre Beach of Gulpiyuri

Gulpiyuri’s name isn’t its only bizarre facet: this beach is found completely inland, in a gorgeous little cove which looks like something out of a fantasy. I kept expecting to see Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields rolling around on the sand, making out. The Cantabrian Sea bored through the earth to create this sandy spot, and though you can’t see the ocean, its waves to lap the shore just like any beach — it’s odd, like a magical wave pool.

via Neatorama

Friday, October 22, 2010

Doh!!! 9 minutes late. Monster Marlin disqualified in tournament.

Ouch! Great article from GrindTV. The disappointment for this team must be off the charts. You think Carl is wishing he could of thrown a little more mustard into it??? It's a shame this 800 pound beast isn't with us anymore and the boys lost a huge payday by 9 minutes

Eight large marlin were weighed Wednesday, for considerable riches, during the first day of the three-day Bisbee's Black & Blue jackpot tournament off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

But what does not show in the standings was by far the largest marlin, an 800-pound beast, that took five hours to land and was brought to the scale nine minutes past the 9 p.m. deadline, disqualifying a catch that would have netted a team from Texas more than $430,000.

What's more disappointing for Team Great Escape is that if no other team beats that weight during the remainder of the competition -- and marlin that large are rarely caught off Cabo San Lucas -- the catch would have been worth $1 million or more.

"I'm not in that good of shape. I should have worked out," Carl, the angler who fought the blue marlin, told a Pisces Sportfishing representative during the late weigh-in. "I just want a massage and to go to bed."
The fishermen, who comprise one of 103 teams vying for more than $2 million in prize money, were aware that a 599-pound marlin, caught earlier Wednesday aboard the vessel Reelaxe, was the fish to beat when the 800-pounder struck a large lure being trolled behind the boat.

It was about 3 p.m. and the team was more than 20 miles north of Cabo in the Sea of Cortez. Time should not have been a factor but Riley and the crew did not count on the marlin dying at great depth during the fight. Because the person fighting the fish cannot accept assistance from teammates, Riley was saddled with the task of reeling in 800 pounds of dead weight against an opposing current, and many times felt like giving up.

When the marlin was finally aboard, the team had only an hour to get back in the darkness. Word had spread of the giant marlin coming to shore and about 1,000 people gathered around the dock-side scale. Tournament director Wayne Bisbee was among those on the dock, official time piece in hand.
"We willed them to go faster and imagined we would see their lights at any second," wrote Ehrenberg, whose business charters the Great Escape. "But it was not to be. The 9 p.m. deadline came and the fish was disqualified. The boat came into view nine minutes after 9 to everybody's dismay.

The Bisbee's competition, which attracts anglers from around the world, is in its 30th year and famous for producing drama and controversy. Epic battles between man and fish have raged long into the darkness. Accusations of cheating have flown, and because of the amount of money involved, winning teams must pass lie-detector tests to determine if all rules were followed. One of many classic stories involved an angler who failed the test, became belligerent and smashed the windows of the hotel that served as tournament headquarters.

Click here for more. Picture by Geno Perches

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Submarine-bike is an underwater adventure in itself

Do you want to try a new workout? How about the Scubster! Mobile

I’m all for going green, but what options do you have if you want to go diving into the ocean? It’s not like there’s a bike lane down there, right? Well, there might be soon if Stephane Rousson has anything to do with it. What we have here is the Scubster.

The name may be a little awkward or even childlike, but the actual product seems pretty interesting. Basically, it’s a pedal-powered submarine that works effectively as an underwater bicycle. You push those pedals around and the twin propellers will push the craft through the water at speeds up to 5mph.

Don’t expect to go 20,000 leagues under the sea with this thing, however, as its only rated to go twenty feet below the surface. At that kind of depth, you may as well just swim, but I guess it still makes for a fun afternoon in your private lagoon. The cabin is water-sealed, but your air still comes from a regular tank and face mask.

There are no plans for mass production, but you could always give Rousson a ring to have him produce a one-off just for you. That way, you can throw on your favorite racing stripes or Jacques Cousteau-inspired artwork as the paintjob.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

BP oil spill may cost Louisiana fishing industry $172 million

Dollar signs keep going up in damage from the BP oil spill!! nola

The short-term gross revenue loss to the fishing industry from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill could be $115 million to $172 million, according to a study released Friday. The study was commissioned by regional economic development agency, Greater New Orleans Inc. and conducted by consulting firm IEM and Headwater Capital Consulting.

The report projected a $115 million to $172 million loss in gross revenue from 2011 to 2013 for commercial fisheries due to the spill based on the impact to those species. The projected loss does not include any possible long-term ecological effects or changes in demand for Gulf seafood, according to the study. The report also does not include impact to related industries such as seafood processing and recreation fishing.

The revenue losses translate into a job loss of 2,650 to 3,975 "full time equivalents" and an earnings loss of $68 million to $103 million. However, the losses do not initially appear to be as great as feared because of the infusion of cash into the industry from BP, which is paying damage claims to fishermen and employing them in oil spill clean up efforts, the study's authors said.

"The oil spill has yet to precipitate an urgency regarding the future," the author's wrote. "Fishermen will wait out the situation and try to find ways to return to their livelihoods when they can." But GNO Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Hecht said that outlook may change as time goes on and a more complete assessment of the fish loss is made and the BP programs come to an end. "This study was fairly limited," Hecht said. "But we wanted to start with an empirical and analytical basis so we can track over time from the starting point." Hecht said this study and the two in the works will be used, in part, to inform strategy and determine where GNO Inc. and perhaps other groups employ resources.

"We don't know all the various ways this analysis will be used, but we do know that we need to be fact-based and effective," Hecht said. "This is giving more substance to our efforts."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

USF researchers: Ultraviolet tests show ‘contaminated' beach

Beaches are still contaminated from the BP oil spill! Walton Sun

WALTON COUNTY — A researcher for the University of South Florida Coastal Research Lab recently examined Walton County beaches under UV light and says they are “still contaminated” after the BP oil spill.

Rip Kirby, a graduate student, held a high-powered ultraviolet light over one stretch of beach, and it illuminated patches of what he says are “accumulation of petroleum product and dispersant.” He apologized for not taking samples sooner.

“This beach is just as contaminated as the rest, I’m sorry,” Kirby said, adding, “I took the local government officials’ word that these beaches were not impacted and stopped my testing in Destin.”

Walton County Emergency Operations Director Joe Preston did not return multiple calls from The Sun. Walton County Commissioners Cecilia Jones and Scott Brannon also did not return multiple calls. The Walton County Sheriff’s Office also did not return calls.

Kirby, who lives in Fort Walton Beach, and the team from USF have been independently investigating the effects of the spill since shortly after the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20. Their efforts were chronicled by a National Geographic photographer in July.

Kirby tested the sands in Walton County late last month at the request of The Sun in response to the communities’ mounting concerns regarding the condition of the beaches and inland waterways and what many say is the lack of response from local, state and federal officials.

Part of the problem, Kirby said, is the methods used by BP oil spill cleanup crews.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Little-known Gulf Manta Rays Affected by Oil Spill?

Oil spill remnants could clog gills of 20-foot fish and kill their prey, experts say. NatGeo

In the weeks after the April 20 disaster, aerial photos and reports from boaters placed at least some mantas in the thick of the surface spill. But it's the oil's unseen impacts, deep underwater, may be even more troubling, especially as preliminary studies suggest the spill isn't going away.

Mantas are filter feeders that reach huge sizes in part by taking in seawater and ejecting it through their gills, retaining plankton or other tiny creatures, according to Rachel Graham, lead shark scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society's Ocean Giants Program. "Gill filaments, which enable mantas to extract oxygen from the water, are very vulnerable to any kind of toxin or oil coverage," Graham said. "If they are covered, they will likely die." What's more, there's so little known about Gulf mantas that scientists aren't sure if the 20-foot-wide (6-meter-wide) fish belong to one of two known manta species—or if the Gulf mantas are their own species altogether.

Oil and Mantas Don't Mix

After burning and sinking last April, the damaged Deepwater Horizon wellhead released nearly five million barrels of oil into the northern Gulf of Mexico (map). Each barrel equals 42 gallons, or 159 liters, of oil. The oil could affect the "ways mantas live their day-to-day lives for years," said marine biologist Andrea Marshall of the Mozambique-based Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna. "It won't clear up over a few months." For instance, oil—and dispersants used to break it up—might hurt the rays' plankton food sources, as well as the "cleaning stations" where mantas go to have their parasites eaten by smaller fish. Oil could also disrupt mantas' migrations throughout the Gulf, or even their reproduction—no one knows where the animals give birth, according to Mexican marine biologist Silvia Hinojosa Alvarez of the Mexican Caribbean Manta Project.

"The main problem is that we know [very little] about their biology," Alvarez said. "So how can we predict with accuracy what will happen?" Complicating matters is the Gulf's role as a manta hot spot. Fortunately, well-known Gulf manta haunts such as Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary were not in the direct path of the oil, said the Wildlife Conservation Society's Graham. However, "we have this huge threat of a deepwater oil spill, but [we] don't know any population sizes, and we have no baseline," she added. "So it's very difficult to estimate the impact of something like this."

In addition, scientists believe that mantas are likely found throughout the Gulf. "So while those at the Flower Gardens may not be directly impacted, they may also move into areas affected by the spill," said Tim Clark, a marine ecologist with the National Park of American Samoa.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fisherman Gets Jail Time for Shooting Sea Lion

California fisherman faces jail time for shooting a sea lion last year! NBC Bay Area

A Northern California fisherman who shot a sea lion last year was sentenced on Friday to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay $51,000 restitution.

The fisherman, Larry Allen Legans, was convicted of intentially maiming or wounding an animal. The sea lion, named Sgt. Nevis by his caretakers, was found in November 2009 with a life-threatening wound to his muzzle. It was so bad, the animal couldn't put his head underwater.

Legans must pay the restitution to the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. Marine veterinarians and volunteers helped take care of Sgt. Nevis.

Sgt. Nevis, named after his rescuer, underwent reconstructive surgery last week to repair the gaping hole on his muzzle. He will be a permanent resident at Seal Cove at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Revealed: Amazing new artificial reef in Mexico made from sculptures of real people

Awesome new artificial reef revealed in Mexico, check it out! Mail Online

These astonishing images show an extraordinary new artificial reef off the east coast of Mexico made entirely from human statues.

The underwater installation has been created by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor who used real people to create the 'life casts' made from materials which encourage coral to grow.

It is hoped the new sculptures will produce a coral reef system and attract a variety of aquatic creatures to the Cancun and Isla Mujeres National Marine Park.

Diver swims up to the life-sized statues on the sea bed underwater at Cancun and Isla Mujeres National Marine Park in Mexico

Spooky: The new installation off the east coast of Mexico has been created by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor

Diver swims up to the life-sized statues on the sea bed underwater at Cancun and Isla Mujeres National Marine Park in Mexico

Standing around: The artificial reef will include a total of 400 statues by the time it's completed

The project, entitled The Museo Subacuatico de Arte (MUSA), is aiming to ease pressure on nearby natural reefs which are struggling to deal with the half a million water-going tourists who flock to the area every year.

Commenting on his unique installation, Mr Taylor said: 'We wanted to make it adventurous and on a really grand scale. It's a symbiosis of humans and nature living in this cycle in harmony with each other.

'The main objective is to discharge quite a lot of the tourists who visit Cancun. Over 750,000 people come here every year to visit the marine park and that puts a huge pressure on the natural reef.

'The idea was to take some of these people away from the natural reefs and obviously minimise their impact on them, so we wanted to draw them to an area that was originally barren without much sea life.

'We want it to be very accessible to snorkelers and divers and we wanted it to be accessible from Cancun, nearby Isla Mujeres and different parts of the surrounding community.'

life-sized statues on the sea bed underwater at Cancun and Isla Mujeres National Marine Park in Mexico

Well thought through: Easy statue is made of a special time of cement which has a neutral pH and therefore encourages coral to grow

life-sized statues on the sea bed underwater at Cancun and Isla Mujeres National Marine Park in Mexico

Good work: Jason de Caires Taylor said his piece was meant to represent a 'cross-section of society'

The 36-year-old artist said the original plan was to use 200 statues but later it was decided to install a total of 400 on the seabed, of which 350 have so far been anchored.

Mr Taylor claims the statues are meant to represent a 'cross-section of society' with the casts made from local Mexican people.

The sculptures have been made from a special type of cement which is 10 times harder than the normal kind and has a neutral PH, which is favourable to corals.

The statues are reinforced by rigid fibreglass with similar properties to rock so they remain in place.

Anchored to the rocky sea bed 10 metres below the surface using a special drill, fused together and weighing over 120 tons in total, it is hoped the new reef can even weather out hurricanes and storms that regularly hit the area.