Friday, May 13, 2011

Salmon wars return to Portland courtroom: Can at-risk fish and hydroelectric dams coexist?

Salmon wars are back, watch out Oregan! Oregan Live

For the past eight years, the champion of Northwest wild salmon and steelhead has been an 82-year-old judge with a sharp pen and a willingness to use it. To date, U.S. District Judge James A. Redden has sunk two plans the federal government argued would allow it to operate hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River basin without jeopardizing the region's signature fish. In Portland on Monday, he holds what could be his last hearing in the salmon case, a final discussion of the government's third shot at a 10-year plan. He'll have to cut through the fog of fish numbers before handing down a decision with consequences for electricity ratepayers and farmers in four states. Helped by favorable ocean conditions and fishing restrictions, the numbers of salmon and steelhead returning to the Columbia have surged since 2001. Returns -- mostly hatchery fish -- hit post-dam-building highs for much of the past decade at Bonneville Dam, the first on an upstream journey that can run over eight dams and more than 900 miles.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

'Godzilla' lionfish threatening Cayman paradise

Lionfish threaten Caymen paradise with overpopulation! BBC

An explosion in the population of the predatory lionfish in Caribbean waters, where it has no natural predators, is posing a widespread threat to marine wildlife.

Just off the north shore of Little Cayman, I sink into the blue abyss.

Lionfish swimming by coral
No-one knows how the lionfish came to be in the Caribbean waters

I am descending the vertical coral wall at Bloody Bay Marine Park.

Straight ahead and straight down there is nothing but blue - a dizzying empty space where sunlight streams down and down into darker places well beyond my reach.

But up close, the wall of coral is covered in giant barrel sponges as tall as a man, bright purple vase sponges, green and red corals and creatures that creep, crawl and swim within and among them.

I spot a seahorse, clinging to a whip coral by its tail, a spider crab with legs almost 3ft (1m) wide and a baby hawksbill turtle rocketing to the surface for a breath of air.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Extreme Fishing, Chinese style: Flying fish leap straight into the hands of waiting anglers

Check out this extreme fishing by the Chinese! Mail Online

Even Robson Green never landed such a remarkable catch. Instead of waiting hours for a bite, these Chinese anglers have the fish jumping into their hands.

Fishermen fishing the Xiannv Lake, Xinyu, Jiangxi province, eastern China, have brought a whole new meaning to catching a fish.

The spring weather has brought them a bountiful supply of fish eager to be hooked. Let's hope they don't jump out of the frying pan...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pilot whales stranded off Lower Keys

More than a dozen mammals found in shallow waters off Cudjoe Key! KeyNet

Marine mammal rescuers worked Thursday night to help 16 pilot whales stranded in shallow waters off Cudjoe Key.

By 11 p.m., one of the whales had been brought to a quickly constructed pen near the boat ramp at the end of Blimp Road on the island's bayside. Another two were en route, while at least three more would have to wait for high tide to be moved.

Two more whales were confirmed dead, according to Karrie Carnes, spokeswoman for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Reports came in a little before 7 p.m. that the whales had been found. The Key Largo-based Marine Mammal Conservancy and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers responded, along with dozens of volunteers, students from Florida Keys Community College and sanctuary staff.

Dr. Doug Mader, owner of the Marathon Veterinary Hospital, was on scene and said the outlook was grim. He said in addition to the stranded whales, another three nearby look to be in frail health and won't make it. The future of the confirmed stranded, at an area known as Tarpon Belly, also isn't good.

Three of the whales were close to Cudjoe's shallow mangrove shoreline, within sight of the ramp, while others — including a mother and calf — were further out, among the small mangrove islands. Rescuers raced the setting sun and dropping tide to find and assess the whales.

A couple of hours later, in scattered locations hundreds of yards from shore under a starry night sky, teams of volunteers were trying to stabilize the whales they found — monitoring their breathing, keeping them wet and walking them to deeper water when possible. Some were in water shallower than knee deep.

Sunday, May 8, 2011