Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Squalene "The Other Shark Killer"

Squalene found in sharks livers, is perhaps the second most sought after raw product of sharks. Where the value of the animal is almost worthless compared to just its liver. Used in high end cosmetics millions of animals each year are killed just to acquire their squalene. Unfortunately this poor use of sharks gets almost no media attention compared to the well covered and ongoing eco disaster of shark finning. Here's a graphic example of why the shark conservation community should focus in 2009 on the twin killers of sharks, finning and squalene harvest.

This gravid female Tiger shark is having her liver carefully harvested while near term pups litter the ground in the UAE. This is a scene being replayed in thousands of small ports all over the planet right now. The bigger the shark the more squalene a fisherman can harvest leading to the one time "targeted kills" of entire breeding populations:

Squid Video of Magnapinna Focus! Focus!

It's been what, 3 months, since we blogged about anything remotely squiddy?

Today changes all that as news surfaces from internal Shell Oil emails and an rov video featuring Magnapinna which looks like that "face hugger critter" from the movie series Alien. This one was filmed at a crushing depth over 2 kilometers down.

The video is evidence of how, as oil and gas industry ROVs dive deeper and stay down longer, they are yielding valuable footage of deep-sea animals.

Some biologists have even formed partnerships with oil companies, allowing scientists to share camera time on corporate rov's--though critics worry about possible conflicts of interest.