Friday, February 17, 2012

Fancy a bite? Brave scuba divers invite sharks to their tea party

Divers and Sharks Tea Party? Mirror

If you think a teddy bears' picnic is too tame how's this for a tea party with real added bite?

These brave scuba divers were seated at an underwater table in a tank filled with sharks.

The stunt marks the launch of a new display at the Sea Life London Aquarium, which aims to put an end to myths about the beautiful creature being a blood thirsty sea monster.

Deputy curator Jamie Oliver said: "We wanted to challenge the terrible - and undeserved - reputation sharks have as bloodthirsty killers.

"What better way of doing it than by joining all of them for tea.

"The team was very excited to throw the party and the sharks didn't blink an eye."

Don't fret if you've forgotten your wetsuit as the dry side of the five-metre long glass walkway allows visitors to see the creatures swim inches beneath their feet.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Illegal shark fishing in the Mediterranean on the rise

Illegal Shark fishing is still on the rise! Haaretz

Shark fishing is illegal in Israel since 42 percent of the 70 shark species in the Mediterranean Sea are in danger of extinction.

In the past three weeks, Israel Nature and Parks Authority personnel have netted three men who illegally caught sharks off Israel’s shores. In most cases the shark meat is sold to markets in the Gaza Strip, and in some cases shark fins have been found in Tel Aviv markets, where they are sold for the manufacturing of ‘alternative’ medicines.

Shark fishing is illegal in Israel since 42 percent of the 70 shark species in the Mediterranean Sea are in danger of extinction.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

First Ever Photo of a Shark Eating Another Shark

WOW first ever picture of shark eating shark!!! Io9

If you're a shark, what could you possibly have to fear? You're the ultimate predator, the top of the marine food chain. You can swim around without a care in the world... unless another, even bigger shark is feeling hungry.

That's exactly what happened in this photo snapped by researchers from the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. It's the first known photo of a shark eating another shark, although at first glance it may look less like a shark-on-shark attack and more like the seabed coming alive and swallowing a shark whole.

That's because the predator in this situation is what's known as a tasselled wobbegong shark, which is a type of carpet shark. Just like their name implies, carpet sharks are generally flattened sharks with carpet-like patterns on their bodies that spend most of their time lying around on the bottom of the ocean. They generally dine on small fish or invertebrates, but the wobbegong shark can dislocate its jaw in order to chow down on something much bigger — in this case, a brown-banded bamboo shark.

Writing in the journal Coral Reef, the researchers describe their encounter with this shark-eat-shark moment

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I scuba-do! American couple marry underwater in 'traditional Thai ceremony'

Married underwater? Mail Online

Six scuba-clad couples gargled an I do at Thailand's 16th annual Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony Saturday.

The couples from both local and foreign countries dived 12 meters beneath the Andaman Sea to attend a traditional Thai wedding ceremony, mixed with obvious modern adaptations.

American Alexander James Nicholson with his Thai-US bride Sonya Sozanski, held up their laminated wedding certificate triumphantly among swirling bubbles while his wife formed an 'I love you' sign with her left hand.

A second couple from Thailand, Manit Kansadanpipob and his bride Nachakul Sirityoungkul were photographed removing their mouthpieces briefly for their first kiss as man and wife at the underwater alter south of Bangkok.

The now presumed Mrs Kansadanpipob doned a festive white bow on her head above her light pink goggles while Mr Kansadanpipob was decorated with a white starfish pinned at his collar.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Experts to cut up 40.1-foot long whale shark today

Over 40 foot giant whale shark caught in Pakistan! Tribune

The big fish that was on show for twenty rupees for a day is leaving behind a trail of controversies and tears as the Karachi Fish Harbour Authority (KFHA), tried to preserve its decaying carcass.

The whale shark has stirred quite an interest among wildlife experts, some of whom are on their way to Karachi from the United Kingdom to carry out an autopsy and figure out the cause of death.

On Wednesday night, officials from the KFHA came in and removed the tents around the fish. They claim that the fish was actually government property and could not be put on display. They added that Haji Qasim, the man who had bought the whale shark for Rs200,000 would be compensated. On the other hand, the fisherman, who had towed the sea creature in, said that he wasn’t compensated properly.

According to the director general of the Marine Fisheries Department (MFD), Shaukat Hussain, the whale shark was a 40.1-foot long female and weighed 15 tonnes. He said that this was the second largest fish to be found in Pakistan. The director general added that a 41.5-foot long whale shark was found off Karachi’s coast in 1947.

Nip and tuck

Wearing a white lab coat, Hussain said that they had planned to cut the fish open on Friday (today).

He insisted that there was no need to wait for foreign experts despite the fact that Hussain or experts at the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) or Sindh Wild Life department have never done anything like this before. “I have asked experts from the PCSIR, National Institute of Oceanography, Sindh Wild Life department and academics from the University of Karachi’s marine biology department to collect samples.”

When asked if they had ever worked on a fish this big, Hussain said that they had worked on large fish so it should be different or difficult. The MFD could not determine if the whale shark was pregnant.

They claim that it died a natural death as they could not see any marks on the body. Dr Pirzada Jamal from the Pakistan Museum of Natural History is planning to come to Karachi to see if the fish could be preserved and flown to Islamabad for an exhibition.

The body of the whale shark is currently being preserved in ice in a room at the deserted Natural History Museum.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Japanese Blast Sea Shepherd Activist Off His Jet Ski

Boom Boom Pow watch out!! Environment News Service

THE SOUTHERN OCEAN, February 11, 2012 (ENS) - Beck Straussner, 42, of the United States was hit in the chest with a water cannon and knocked off his jet ski today during a confrontation between a Japanese whaling vessel and whale defenders near Antarctica.

Captain Watson commands the Steve Irwin. This is the eighth consecutive year that he has taken ships to the Southern Ocean to fulfill his stated mission by exposing and confronting illegal activities on the high seas.

Straussner, from Maui, Hawaii, was in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica in his capacity as the 2nd Officer on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin.

Established in 1977 by Captain Paul Watson to conserve and protect ecosystems and species, Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit conservation organization on a mission "to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans."

Watson maintains that what the Japanese call "research" whaling, allowed by the International Whaling Commission, is, in fact, illegal.

In a strategic battle at sea that began in December, the Japanese harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 2 had been tailing the whale defenders' ship for weeks.

Today, at 1700 Hours Eastern Australia Standard Time, about 580 miles off Marie Byrd Land, Captain Watson deployed three inflatable boats and the jet ski to interfere with the tailing vessel.

He says the maneuver was an attempt to force the Yushin Maru No. 2 to slow down and fall behind, allowing the Steve Irwin to escape.

He says Straussner was knocked off his jet ski into subzero Antarctic waters when he was struck in the chest by one of the water cannons on the Japanese harpoon vessel. The Yushin Maru No. 2 did not stop to offer assistance.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

World-first hybrid shark found off Australia

World's First Hybrid Sharks found in Australia...WOW!!! Yahoo

Scientists said on Tuesday that they had discovered the world's first hybrid sharks in Australian waters, a potential sign the predators were adapting to cope with climate change.

The mating of the local Australian black-tip shark with its global counterpart, the common black-tip, was an unprecedented discovery with implications for the entire shark world, said lead researcher Jess Morgan.

"It's very surprising because no one's ever seen shark hybrids before, this is not a common occurrence by any stretch of the imagination," Morgan, from the University of Queensland, told AFP.

"This is evolution in action."

Colin Simpfendorfer, a partner in Morgan's research from James Cook University, said initial studies suggested the hybrid specieswas relatively robust, with a number of generations discovered across 57 specimens.

The find was made during cataloguing work off Australia's east coast when Morgan said genetic testing showed certain sharks to be one species when physically they looked to be another.

The Australian black-tip is slightly smaller than its common cousin and can only live in tropical waters, but its hybrid offspring have been found 2,000 kilometres down the coast, in cooler seas.

It means the Australian black-tip could be adapting to ensure its survival as sea temperatures change because of global warming.

"If it hybridises with the common species it can effectively shift its range further south into cooler waters, so the effect of this hybridising is a range expansion," Morgan said.

"It's enabled a species restricted to the tropics to move into temperate waters."

Climate change and human fishing are some of the potential triggers being investigated by the team, with further genetic mapping also planned to examine whether it was an ancient process just discovered or a more recent phenomenon.

If the hybrid was found to be stronger than its parent species -- a literal survival of the fittest --Simpfendorfer said it may eventually outlast its so-called pure-bred predecessors.

"We don't know whether that's the case here, but certainly we know that they are viable, they reproduce and that there are multiple generations of hybrids now that we can see from the genetic roadmap that we've generated from these animals," he said.

"Certainly it appears that they are fairly fit individuals."

The hybrids were extraorindarily abundant, accounting for up to 20 percent of black-tip populations in some areas, but Morgan said that didn't appear to be at the expense of their single-breed parents, adding to the mystery.

Simpfendorfer said the study, published late last month in Conservation Genetics, could challenge traditional ideas of how sharks had and were continuing to evolve.

"We thought we understood how species of sharks have separated, but what this is telling us is that in reality we probably don't fully understand the mechanisms that keep species of shark separate," he said.

"And in fact, this may be happening in more species than these two."