Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The new species of deep red, glowing squid was living near undersea mountains in the southern Indian Ocean, scientists announced Monday.
At about 28 inches (70 centimeters) long, the as yet "unnamed species" is relatively big.
We would like to toss a few completely unauthorized and non scientific names into the hat for the researchers tasked with naming this new critter:
1. Glowanchus Big Reddicus
2. Hot Tamlus Glowanchus
2. X-Mas Light Squid
Sala y Gómez is an uninhabited island that’s part of a biodiverse chain of seamounts that are vulnerable to fishing activity. Dr. Enric Sala, marine ecologist and National Geographic Ocean Fellow, called Sala y Gómez “one of the last undisturbed and relatively pristine places left in the ocean.”
Last March, Oceana, National Geographic and the Waitt Foundation conducted a preliminary scientific expedition to the island and found abundant populations of vulnerable species such as sharks and lobsters, much larger than in the depleted ecosystem in nearby Easter Island, which is not protected from fishing. In addition, the scientists found unexpectedly high biodiversity in deeper waters.
After the expedition, Oceana and National Geographic presented a proposal to President Piñera advocating the protection of the entire exclusive economic zone, a total of 411,717 square kilometers around the island. The Fisheries Committee of Chile’s Senate supported the recommendation unanimously.
The new park expands Chile’s total marine protected area more than 100 times, from 0.03% to 4.41%. Currently less than 2% of the global ocean is protected, although the Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity – including Chile – agreed to protect 10% of their exclusive economic zones by 2012.
The new sanctuary is in a region known as one of the world's richest sources of marine biodiversity.
The new sanctuary covers 46,000 square kilometres of waters around the Raja Ampat Islands in Eastern Indonesia, part of the so-called Coral Triangle region of Southeast Asia.
Sharks, manta rays, mobulas, dugongs and turtles are fully protected within the sanctuary, and destructive practices including reef bombing and the aquarium fish trade are banned, local officials said.
Kudos to WildAid and the number of shark conservation groups, dive operations, underwater photographers and tourism officials who worked to make this happen.