Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ocean Futures Society Covers BP Oil Slick - Donate Today

The Gulf oil disaster needs first person coverage and got it this week with a little help from the Ocean Futures Society:

The Ocean Futures Expedition Team discovered this massive oil slick just 24 miles off the coast of Louisiana. The oil stretched as far as the eye could see and down to about 15 to 25 feet deep. Amongst the muck swims a Man o' War and a small fish that swims alongside for protection. The team is encountering many floating globs of rust colored oil; dark black fresh crude; and oily surfaces as they explore the coast.

We need funding to keep our team in Louisiana. Please consider making a donation.

For more information, please visit Ocean Futures Society

Scientists Invite Public on Shark Tagging Eco-Adventure

Non-profit organization Iemanya Oceanica today announced their second shark-tagging research expedition to Baja California, set to take place from July 1st-5th, 2010. The organization is actively seeking up to 20 individuals from the general public to swim with and learn about the conservation of the world's largest fish: the giant whale shark.

The team will be traveling to Bahia de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez in Baja where whale sharks are known to feed. During the expedition Iemanya Oceanica (pronounced ya-MAHN-ja) in partnership with Mexico's top shark scientist, Dr. Oscar Sosa Nishizaki of CICESE and world-renowned shark scientist, Dr. Rachel T. Graham, will apply satellite tags to two to three whale sharks.

"We are tracking these animals as part of a larger conservation project to improve management of whale sharks in the Gulf of California," explained Iemanya President, Laleh Mohajerani. "The tags tell us about their feeding, breeding and calving habits in the Gulf. At the same time we are able to offer the sharks for adoptions on our Adoptashark.com website, educating the general public about shark conservation and science"

Whale sharks are the largest living fish species on the planet. They can grow to over 40 feet long, weigh up to 15 tons, and live up to 70 years. Although whale sharks have very large mouths, they are harmless and feed solely on microscopic marine plants and animals called plankton.

During their most recent tagging trip in October 2009, the organization tagged three sharks, Selena, Calvin, and Hobbes, and made their tracks available at www.adoptashark.com. Although Selena's tag disconnected prematurely, Calvin's & Hobbes' tags remained in place for 90 days. Hobbes was tracked as he moved from Bahia de Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas before his tag disconnected. The adventurous Calvin was tracked all the way past the shores of Mexico down into Guatamalan waters.

Says Mohajerani, "This has been a really successful community outreach program for Iemanya, and we are excited to meet the new people who will join us and who want to learn first-hand about sharks and ocean conservation."

For photos and more information visit www.AdoptaShark.com.

Winners declared in Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge

The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge wrapped up Sunday at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium with the presentation of a $10,000 grand prize check to team Pole Dancer.

The team's anglers - Wayne Nichols and Zac Gerzeny - won the Challenge by collecting the most points for the types and sizes of the sharks they caught and released Saturday and Sunday during the final round of the Challenge. (The first round took place April 30-May 2 from Burnt Store Marina in Charlotte Harbor.)

Gerzeny, who boosted his team's score by catching his first great hammerhead shark, said "This is my dream, ever since I can remember."

But the real winners in this all-release shark fishing tournament were the sharks, said the organizers, scientists, anglers and conservationists who came together to create a successful event. The Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge was designed to be a "next generation" model for shark fishing competitions that supported shark protection while still providing spectators and anglers a thrilling event.

"I love the idea of catch and release," said co-winner Nichols. "There's no sense in hanging up a dead shark if you don't have to. With Mote and Guy Harvey it's a winning combination all around."

Full press release here.

Polluted Math - BP Oil Spill Numbers

When does 5000 barrels of recovered oil per day suddenly become 2000?

In the ongoing and very strange mathematical world of BP's media team. Where oil spill numbers vary depending on the apparent whims of BP's other team in charge of America's Chernobyl, their legal team.

To follow this convoluted story we have been slavishly attached to ongoing BP media coverage from 1115.org and Sarabeth Guthberg who is on top of BP's spin machine.

Are the actual numbers important?

Yes they are. To effectively understand the ecological fall out of this disaster you first need to know how much oil has been spilled. BP, NOAA and the Coast Guard do not seem to share that basic tenet and still insist the flow rate is "officially" 5000 barrels a day.

Although 27 days into the disaster and responding to a wave of pressure NOAA has initiated the National Incident Command's Flow Rate Technical Group.

"The National Incident Command's Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG) is designed to support the response and inform the public by providing scientifically validated information about the amount of oil flowing from BP's leaking oil well while ensuring the vital efforts to cap the leak are not impeded."

Live video of the ongoing spill at 5000 feet can be found here.

Read Sarabeths report here and synopsis from Mother Jones.