Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blue sharks suck back cephalopods like PEZ

IN THE GULF STREAM, some 300 kilometres off Nova Scotia’s coast, hundreds of thousands of huge blue sharks are slipping under warm waters, rising and falling without fail in a mysterious daily rhythm, as if they were yo-yos on kilometre-long strings.

It’s a dance never before imagined. These massive predators — lions of this oceanic food chain — swimming on the Atlantic’s surface by night and by day, sinking blindly to its inky depths, so far down no light could ever reach them, no creature could ever be seen.

And it’s a winter ritual that has scientists amazed.

"Nobody had any idea they were doing this," Steve Campana, head of the Dartmouth-based shark research team that made the discovery, said in a recent interview.

"We found that all of these sharks are leaving Canadian waters in the late fall and when they swim out, they inevitably run into the Gulf Stream, this giant current of warm water that comes up from the Caribbean. Within a day or two of hitting the Gulf Stream, every single blue shark started this wild diving behaviour whereby they would spend the night up in the surface waters — in the top 30 or 50 feet (nine or 15 metres) — and every day they would spend down in incredible depths, as far as a kilometre below the surface.

Complete Story.

2010 in Review - Amusing

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Videos show industry generated 'cruelty to sharks'

Commercial shark diving operations in South Africa are discovering the "industry media rule" first hand this week in a series of high profile media hits on baiting sharks and current S.A regulations.

"Thou shalt not allow or enable images and video that depict operations doing bad things with sharks"

Simple enough rule and yet too many industry members seem to forget that we live in a hyper connected media environment. An environment where videos and images of sharks smashing into cages, or worse, are transmitted around the world to waiting agenda based groups, and on to agencies tasked with providing the frame work and guidelines for our industries continued existence.

This weeks series of videos featuring white sharks thrashing against shark cages are another reason for operations to take a hard look at how they bait animals and why they are doing it.

Shark diving, done right, is a first class educational tool for thousands of divers worldwide. Additionally shark research efforts in tandem with operations helps the species with regional protections based on solid data.

Our industry has much to offer sharks in a time of profound shark crises. But only if operations can find their way past cheap stunt work with sharks and see the broader vision of sustainability.

Raw Media Footage - BP Gulf Disaster Mote Shark Research

PROJECT INFO: Highlight footage approved by Mote Marine Laboratory for news/media use. Research Expedition headed by Dr. Bob Hueter, Director - Mote Center for Shark Research to study effects of BP Gulf Oil Disaster.

FORMAT: Multi-Camera, HD, 16:9. Field produced & shot by the Paxton Brothers in dual role as Science Party Crew and Presenters.

STATUS: Project available for co-production & development, programming content & distribution, news/media stock footage and certain educational applications.

The team at Think Out Loud Productions is focused on innovative outdoor adventure & wildlife footage, still and textual content to support non-fiction or documentary television programming and / or other multi-media educational opportunities.

Contact: for details.

For More Information Visit: ThinkOutLoudProductions

Shark Conservation Act Wins Final Congressional Approval

In July 2008, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration instituted regulations requiring that sharks be landed with their fins attached, but these regulations applied only to U.S. fisheries in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico, not the Pacific.

The Shark Conservation Act will bring the Pacific fisheries into line with the rest of the country’s fins-attached policy, and strengthen the U.S. position in international shark conservation efforts.

Shark Conservation Act

  • H.R. 81, introduced by Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam, had the bipartisan support of 30 cosponsors and passed the House by voice vote with an amendment offered by Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, D-American Samoa, on March 2, 2009.
  • S. 850, introduced by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., had the bipartisan support of 33 cosponsors.
  • H.R. 81, with Senate amendments, passed the Senate by unanimous consent on December 20, 2010.
  • Up to 73 million sharks are killed each year in targeted fisheries and as bycatch. Shark finning is a major cause of massive declines in shark populations around the world, since retaining only the fins allows fishing operations to kill many more sharks at a time (filling their onboard freezers with just the fins while dumping the bodies overboard).
  • When sharks’ fins are cut off and their live bodies are thrown back into the water.
  • As top predators, sharks play an important role in maintaining ecosystem balance. The killing of large numbers of sharks already appears to be affecting other marine species and commercial fisheries. When shark stocks are depleted, their natural prey proliferate and can have a devastating impact on the species they feed on – for example, fewer sharks mean more skates and rays, who in turn have taken a large bite out of scallop and other shellfish populations.
  • A national fins-attached policy will provide for improved conservation and management of steeply declining shark populations. It is often impossible to identify a shark species solely by looking at its fins, so landing sharks with fins attached is crucial for tracking which species are caught.
  • The Senate-passed bill includes an exemption for smooth dogfish sharks, which are typically caught along the East Coast primarily for their meat. The exemption will put the onus on that fishery to ensure that no fins from any other species are included in smooth dogfish landings.