Monday, February 28, 2011

More tiny dolphins wash ashore in Mississippi and Alabama

Sun Herald

GULFPORT -- The phenomenon of new born or stillborn baby dolphins washing ashore from the Gulf or the Mississippi Sound continued through the weekend and today.
The total in Mississippi and Alabama alone is 36 calves and eight adults or young adults, as of mid-day today.
The number is higher, if you include all four of the northern Gulf states effected by the BP oil spill. But researchers in Mississippi and Alabama that are concerned about the sharp spike in the number of dead newborns along the coasts of the two states before the birthing season for dolphins gets fully under way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

WEYMOUTH: Monster crab on show

Now this is a BIG crab! view

WEYMOUTH Sea Life Park is playing host to the biggest crab ever seen in captivity.
Crab Kong, who is happily relaxing in his display tank, took over the title from a female spider crab called Crabzilla.
She caused a sensation when she made a brief appearance at Birmingham Sea Life Centre last summer, but 15 kg Crab Kong has put her firmly in the shade with his vital statistics which include a claw span of more than eight feet.

He was caught by fishermen from the small coastal village of Heda in Suruga Bay southwest of Tokyo and was shipped to the UK instead of going to market. Sea biologist Robin James had visited Heda only a few weeks earlier and the fishermen knew he would be interested. Kong is destined to star in a new display at the Sea Life centre in Munich, but UK wildlife fans can see him at the Weymouth Sea Life Park before he goes. He will join a variety of British sea fish including rays and gurnards in an icy cold sandy seabed display. Robin said: “Getting in an animal as impressive as Crab Kong is the aquarium equivalent of signing Ronaldo.”

“Kong is sure to be an even bigger draw than Crabzilla and giving people a chance to witness first hand one of the many wonders of the deep oceans helps boost support for marine conservation.” In the wild Japanese spider crabs can achieve a leg-span of over 12 feet. That is big enough to straddle a car and they can weigh as much as 19kgs. Robin said: “These crabs are believed capable of living to be 100-years-old. We think Kong is between 30 and 40-years-old.”

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Diving with sharks: up close and personal

Check out this diver's enlightening personal experience! AU

I CAN see about 5m in the chilly, turbid depths, but the shadow forming in front of me is unmistakable. Drawing closer, it gradually morphs into the nightmarish apparition that sends swimmers and divers into spasms of panic.

It's a shark and a big one.
"Relax, stay still," I tell myself and I deliberately slow my breathing, but my heart pays no attention.
It swims straight for me, mouth agape and full of teeth as sharp as razor blades. My discomfort increases as it becomes clear the fearsome creature is not changing direction and now he's close enough to stare at me.
He's not cruising alone either. Two wingmen escort him in formation.
I duck for cover behind a rock in a futile attempt to hide as they cruise past within arm's reach, our eyes locked in a steady gaze.
The slim, streamlined body is the result of 400 million years of evolution and perfectly formed, the tail barely moving as if propelled by some hidden device.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

'No alternative' to putting down whales

This is a sad decision that experts had to make! nz

A decision to kill 48 pilot whales found stranded on a remote Stewart Island beach had been difficult but there was no alternative, the Department of Conservation (DoC) says.
Trampers found a pod 107 whales dead and dying at a beach near Cavalier Creek yesterday.

The whales were stranded high up on the beach with the tide just starting to recede and about half of them were dead, DoC said.
It was decided to euthanase 48 whales as there was no way of saving them.
DoC had just five staff available and with the tide on its way out, there was little hope of keeping the animals alive until enough rescuers could be flown in to help.

"We were quickly aware that it would be at least 10 to 12 hours before we could attempt to refloat them and that given the hot, dry conditions many more would soon perish," a spokesman said
There was also a storm warning which would have added to the dangers of refloating the whales.
"We were worried we would be endangering the lives of staff and volunteers," he said.
The whales would be left to decompose naturally on the beach.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scientist finds Gulf bottom still oily, dead

Check out this scientist who proved oil from the BP spill still remains on the bottom of the Gulf!! Yahoo

WASHINGTON – Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist's video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor.
That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012.
At a science conference in Washington Saturday, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn't.
"There's some sort of a bottleneck we have yet to identify for why this stuff doesn't seem to be degrading," Joye told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington. Her research and those of her colleagues contrasts with other studies that show a more optimistic outlook about the health of the gulf, saying microbes did great work munching the oil.
"Magic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge, the rest of it we don't know," Joye said, later adding: "there's a lot of it out there."
The head of the agency in charge of the health of the Gulf said Saturday that she thought that "most of the oil is gone." And a Department of Energy scientist, doing research with a grant from BP from before the spill, said his examination of oil plumes in the water column show that microbes have done a "fairly fast" job of eating the oil. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab scientist Terry Hazen said his research differs from Joye's because they looked at different places at different times.
Joye's research was more widespread, but has been slower in being published in scientific literature.
In five different expeditions, the last one in December, Joye and colleagues took 250 cores of the sea floor and travelled across 2,600 square miles. Some of the locations she had been studying before the oil spill on April 20 and said there was a noticeable change. Much of the oil she found on the sea floor — and in the water column — was chemically fingerprinted, proving it comes from the BP spill. Joye is still waiting for results to show other oil samples she tested are from BP's Macondo well.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Japan believed to be quitting whaling season early

Finally Japan is feeling the pressure from whaling! The Courier

Japan's whaling fleet is believed to be quitting the Antarctic under heavy conservationist and diplomatic pressure, just halfway through its worst season.

The Japanese government has decided to cut short the season and the fleet is heading back to port, sources in Tokyo told the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The sudden departure has raised hopes Japan may be moving to end its widely opposed, 23-year-old "scientific research" program, which has killed about 10,000 Antarctic whales.

"Under pressure from all fronts, the Japanese whaling fleet is apparently withdrawing early this season from the internationally recognised sanctuary around Antarctica," said IFAW's global whales campaign director, Patrick Ramage.

"We hope this is a first sign of Japanese government decision makers recognising there is no future for whaling in the 21st century and that responsible whale watching, the only genuinely sustainable use of whales, is now the best way forward for a great nation like Japan," Mr Ramage said.

No immediate official confirmation was available from Japan. But the factory ship, Nisshin Maru, was today steaming towards Drake Passage, below South America, pursued by the Sea Shepherd group's vessel Bob Barker, having left its nominated whaling grounds 2000 nautical miles behind.

The Chilean government said it planned to use naval assets to monitor the approaching factory ship closely.

Chile has permanently banned whaling in its waters, and also forbids the transport of cetacean parts through them, but Nisshin Maru should be able to navigate Drake Passage without entering the Chilean exclusive economic zone.

The whereabouts of the fleet's three harpoon ships is unknown, but they have been unable to kill whales without the Nisshin Maru to process the the mammals.

A smaller whaling fleet came under sustained Sea Shepherd pressure from the delayed outset of its season this year, sharply reducing its capacity to catch a quota of up to 935 minke whales and 50 fins.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Diver taken by sharks near Coffin Bay

This experienced diver was mauled by two great white sharks, which experts say is a one in ten million chance! Couriermail

IN a chilling prophecy of his tragic fate, shark attack victim Peter Clarkson was fearful of coming to the ocean's surface every time he dived for abalone.

An experienced diver, Mr Clarkson, 49, who last night remained missing and was presumed dead after Thursday's attack, told neighbours he felt "totally safe" on the bottom of the ocean while harvesting the lucrative seafood delicacy.

But Mr Clarkson, who advocated the use of shark shields - devices emitting an electrical pulse to fend off sharks - and cages to protect abalone divers, spoke of his fears of surfacing from the depths to unload the catch into a boat.

Sadly, it was when Mr Clarkson was surfacing from the depths south of Perforated Island near Coffin Bay, where he was mauled by two Great White sharks.

Experts say the double shark attack on Mr Clarkson, which was witnessed by skipper Howard Rodd, was a one in 10 million occurrence.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vicksburg Man Catches 327 Lb. Alligator Gar

Check out this likely world record alligator gar! Wapt

VICKSBURG, Miss. -- A Vicksburg man pulled a 327-pound alligator gar from Chotard Lake in Issaquena County, Mississippi wildlife officials said.
Kenny Williams caught the fish on Valentine's Day. Biologists with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks weighed the fish at 327 pounds. It was 8 feet 5 ¼ inches long and 47.95 inches around the body.
Williams said he used nets to catch the fish and then grabbed it by the gills and pulled it into

"At first I didn't think he was that big. But as I was getting him into the boat, it was like, 'How big is this thing?' It was a lot of effort just to get him into the boat," Williams said. "I don't even know how to describe it. It was just huge and hard to get into the boat."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Popular Hamelin Bay stingray slaughtered in front of screaming kids

Check out this terrible sight of a stringray in Hamelin Bay! perth now

ADORED by holiday-makers and locals alike, no visit to picturesque Hamelin Bay was complete without patting Stumpy the stingray.The friendliest ray in the bay, affectionately dubbed Stumpy because it had no barb, was a hit with families and particularly children, who would stroke and feed it.That was until two young fishermen speared the creature and hacked it to pieces in front of distressed and screaming beachgoers last month.

Angry locals are now mourning the loss of Stumpy and are demanding more protection for the bay's remaining stingrays - a key tourism attraction.Authorities were powerless to act because the bay, 30km south of Margaret River, is open to recreational fishing.A management plan penned in 2006 for coastal waters between Geographe Bay and Augusta, which could better protect the stingrays, is still sitting on government desks.Stingray killers
Should the fishermen who killed 'Stumpy' the friendly stingray be charged with cruelty?

Stumpy was one of the oldest, friendliest and biggest of the black and eagle rays in Hamelin Bay. It was more than 1m across.
Hamelin Bay Holiday Park worker Kate Silverwood said some guests had to be restrained from attacking the fishermen.
"They (the fishermen) cut off the wings of Stumpy while he was still alive," she said."People were absolutely mortified, kids were standing there crying. A lot of people have been coming here for so long and they were just devastated."Ms Silverwood said there were about 40 people on the beach at 9am when the slaughter occurred.More than 600 people have signed a petition calling on Fisheries Minister Norman Moore to turn the area into a marine park sanctuary zone to better protect the rays.
Mr Moore has declined to be interviewed on the issue. In an emailed statement he said he unaware of any move to create a fish habitat protection area to protect stingrays in and around Hamelin Bay, but would consider the issue if and when it is raised.
“Like others in the community, I am saddened by the killing of Stumpy I note however, that stingrays are not protected and fishers can spear or take them by line in Hamelin Bay," Mr Moore said.“More detailed signage in the area would be a positive step to letting newcomers know about the conservation importance of the area to the community and encouraging a conservation ethos."

But beach signage already urges fishermen in the area to release stingrays "carefully if they are accidentally caught while fishing".Augusta-Margaret River shire president Ray Colyer said he didn't condone the killing of stingrays and he was concerned tourism would be affected by the actions of the fishermen.A Department of Fisheries spokesman said his office would meet with the local community to discuss the matter.A statement said: "The department, when possible, discourages people from killing stingrays at Hamelin Bay. In this case, the spearing of the stingray was an unfortunate incident that occurred as a result of someone being ignorant of the history of the presence of the stingray at Hamelin Bay and the local community's attitudes and conservation values"Stingrays are not a protected species and can be speared, or taken with a line, in Hamelin Bay."
Save Our Marine Life spokesman Tim Nicol said other fish were suffering because the Government had failed to introduce marine sanctuaries."These areas should be abundant with big old fish like one-metre 80-year-old blue groper, dhufish or snapper, but these species are largely absent from near-shore waters because there's no protected areas," Mr Nicols said.
Opposition environment spokeswoman Sally Talbot said the Government had dropped the ball on marine parks. "They run away from the issues where they think they can score better political points by not acting," she said.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A MASSIVE mako shark rockets from the inky depths, pushing aside a diver to attack a large marlin just as it was about to be set free

Check out this huge Mako shark sneak attack a Marlin off Port Stephens! courier

Fishing journalist Al McGlashan yesterday described the encounter, off Port Stephens on Wednesday, as "the most amazing scene I've witnessed in more than 30 years on the water".

Mr McGlashan had jumped overboard to photograph the 2.5m striped marlin, being held by its spear beside his boat by a crewman, when the monster struck.

"It then started munching down towards its tail, biting down and shaking its whole body to rip flesh off," he said.

Friday, February 11, 2011

How Shark Skin May Help Save Lives

Shark skin could help save lives in the near future! CBS

If you're a news correspondent, there are a lot worse places to do your reporting than the Bahamas.
But I'm not here to play, much. I'm here to investigate a 400-million-year-old material that's about to change modern medicine.
To see this amazing material, I have to go underwater.
Scuba guide Christina Zenato conducts underwater nature hikes with an unforgettable feature - touching s shark.
"Yes, just nice, gentle strokes," she advises.
"Hey, I'm not just an American tourist here - I know how to touch a shark," Pogue says bravely.
Zenato says she's had people who bit her sharks. Oh no! That gives "man-eating shark" a whole new meaning.

Zenato has developed an astounding rapport with these reef sharks. She lures them to her spot with fish guts, then, by rubbing a female shark's nose in just the right way, she puts her into a sort of trance called tonic immobility.
And then, you can touch.
In those memorable 10 minutes, I learned two things about shark skin: First, it's spotless. No algae, no barnacles - nothing grows on a shark.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pilot suspects boat collision broke back of whale spotted off Port Allen

The Garden Island

LIHU‘E — A boat is suspected of injuring a humpback whale spotted Monday morning in shallow waters off the Port Allen Airport.
However, the official cause of its apparently broken back remains undetermined, said Ed Lyman, a whale rescue expert with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary on Maui.
“We don’t know,” Lyman said after viewing aerial images of the adult humpback. “Definitely something’s wrong with it.”
A local flight instructor spotted and photographed the 50-plus-foot cetacean, which he continued to observe until about 1 p.m. It then disappeared.
“This is one of the most disturbing sights I’ve ever experienced while photographing whales,” Gerry Charlebois said in an e-mail.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sarasota Chapter Youth Volunteer Rescues Turtle

Check out this young Neptune's Defender volunteer, Kiley, as she helped to save an alligator snapping turtle which was trapped in a domestic area in Sarasota, Florida. Co-founder and dedicated Neptune's defender Michael Tucci said, "It's great to see our youth get involved and take such an interest at young ages. It's actions like this which help make a difference and improve our nature and wildlife systems. Mark, Michael, and I started this non-profit for reasons like this; not only was it an educational and adventurous day, but we were able to help save the life of an endangered alligator snapping turtle. We love seeing people get involved making a difference at any age and at any level. We are truly excited for our future adventures at Neptune's Defenders."