The Environmental Defence Society lodged its submissions on the Reviewing the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 Consultation Document with the Ministry of Justice this afternoon.
"Official's proposals for the foreshore and seabed are hugely disappointing," said EDS Senior Policy Analyst Raewyn Peart.
"I had hoped to see some innovative thinking which incorporated a solution on the foreshore and seabed issue with a broader review of coastal marine law.
"The Ministerial Review Panel saw this potential and recommended that the development of final legislation on the foreshore and seabed be integrated into such a review.
"The government has itself acknowledged the mess the current law is in by referring, in the consultation document, to the more than 40 pieces of legislation that currently apply to the foreshore and seabed.
"But instead of simplifying and modernising this tangle of outdated and overlapping laws, the government is trying to tack a band-aid solution onto the foreshore and seabed issue. It recently adopted a similar approach for aquaculture.
Japan, Norway and Iceland could continue commercial whaling for another decade, despite a global ban, under a proposal released on Thursday by the International Whaling Commission.
Between 4,000 and 18,000 whales could be saved over the next 10 years under the compromise proposal, which sets lower catch limits for all three whaling nations than the self-imposed quotas they have now[more...]
Scientists have recently discovered animals able to live their entire lives in the absence of oxygen. Oxygen was thought to be a necessity for multicellular life, so this discovery completely changes where we expect complex life to occur. It suggests we should look more closely in the deep sea, parts of which lack oxygen, and perhaps even beyond our own planet.
The multicellular animals discovered were three new species of loriciferans. Loriciferans are a tiny animal, a quarter of a millimetre long, that spend their entire lives tightly attached to marine sediments. They live in the sediments in the Mediterranean Sea, at a depth of three kilometres, under a forty metre brine layer which blocks oxygen. The sediments are not only oxygen lacking, or anoxic, but also contain high hydrogen sulphide concentrations.
New sediment cores from an Antarctic research drilling program suggest that the southernmost continent has had a more dynamic history than previously suspected
If you think of Earth's poles as fraternal twins, the Arctic has been the wild one in recent years, while the Antarctic has been a steady plodder. Withered by summer heat, Arctic sea ice has shrunk to record low coverage several times since 2005, only to rebound to within 95 percent of its long-term average extent this winter. By comparison, Antarctica, with some 90 percent of the world's glacial reserves, has generally shed ice in more stately fashion.
Harnessing tidal power for electricity generation will be a landmark in broadening New Zealand's already impressive renewable energy portfolio, a marine energy conference is to be told.
"In the drive to replace non-renewable fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, marine energy is emerging as a viable option in the near-future and a real complement to wind, geothermal and hydro resources," says NIWA oceanographer, Dr Craig Stevens.
Dr Stevens is a presenter at the AWATEA conference to be held in Wellington next week 19/20th April. It will include a report on the state of marine energy in New Zealand and includes keynote speakers from the United States, the United Kingdom among many international delegates. [more...]
The United States is leading an effort by a handful of antiwhaling nations to broker an agreement that would limit and ultimately end whale hunting by Japan, Norway and Iceland, according to people involved with the negotiations.
The compromise deal, which has generated intense controversy within the 88-nation International Whaling Commission and among antiwhaling activists, would allow the three whaling countries to continue hunting whales for the next 10 years, although in reduced numbers.[more...]
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Queensland, Australia
Large vessels need to be in safe hands when transiting through the Great Barrier Reef, and this means local pilots with local knowledge, WWF said today.
The global conservation organisation has called for immediate improvements to the way shipping is managed in the Great Barrier Reef after the Chinese-owned bulk coal carrier Shen Neng 1 slammed into the reef on the weekend.
This is the latest incident in a series of shipping accidents along Queensland’s coast over the past ten years, and highlights the failings of the current management system.
“The current lack of safeguards around shipping in the Great Barrier Reef is akin to playing Russian roulette with one of the world’s most treasured natural icons,” said WWF-Australia Director of Conservation Dr Gilly Llewellyn.
If the Census Bureau thinks it has its hands full counting Americans, imagine what scientists are up against in trying to tally every living thing in the ocean, including microbes so small they seem invisible.
And just try to get them to mail back a form.
The worldwide Census of Marine Life has four field projects focusing on hard-to-see sea life such as tiny microbes, zooplankton, larvae and burrowers in the sea bed.
How to describe what happened last week? A Galapagos sea-voyage of 100 people (including Sylvia Earle, Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton, Glenn Close, Elizabeth Banks, Steve Case, Ted Waitt, Bill Joy, Jackson Browne, Damien Rice, Chevy Chase, Jean-Michel Cousteau and 30 of the world's leading marine scientists) turned into an epic event that may have significant impact on global efforts to save our oceans. It happened because the individuals and organizations on board chose to abandon the obstacles that often engulf nonprofit work, and engage in a process of emergent collaboration that I, for one, found truly thrilling.[more...]
It was when a third of the cinema audience sprang to its feet shouting at us, and my wife, fearing violence, slipped out of the side door, that I began wondering if we had taken on more than we could handle. The screening last month of The End of the Line in Malta, the centre of the Mediterranean bluefin tuna industry, was the closest I have yet come to a riot since I first pointed out that overfishing is killing our oceans.
Making the case for a ban on the international bluefin trade in a country that earns £87m a year from supplying sushi to Japan was always going to be like telling the barnyard cats that mice were off the menu.
Though I knew that Malta’s prosperous tuna ranchers wouldn’t enjoy being told they were making their precious fish extinct, the fury of their reaction took me by surprise. Were the figures right? What business did we British have in talking about banning trade in tuna? What about banning trade in north Atlantic cod, eh? Eh? I remember shouting back, “Sit down, shut up and I’ll answer your questions,” but the Maltese tuna men were not in the mood to listen. [more...]
Diverse coral and sponge-based community off Adak Island, Alaska
According to Greenpeace, ‘Every four seconds, marine life in an area of ocean floor the size of ten football fields is wiped out by high seas bottom trawlers.’The problem, says the organisation, is that ‘the deep sea is believed to contain the largest pool of undiscovered life on earth, supporting between half a million and 100 million species, according to scientists. The danger is that this untold diversity will be destroyed before we even have a chance to study it.’
“Huge bottom trawl nets are dragged along the seabed sweeping up all the fish in their path, while at the same time smashing ancient corals, ripping up sponges and destroying the other marine life which makes up these fragile deep sea communities that have taken thousands of years to develop.” said Greenpeace Oceans campaigner Sari Tolvanen. .[more...]
There are two new reasons for the anti-whaling lobby to cheer today. Tokelau announced it is outlawing whaling in its waters – the 11th Pacific country to do so - and Japan announced it has been unable to kill as many whales as it wanted in the Southern Ocean this year, partly due to the actions of protesters like New Zealand's Pete Bethune.
Tokelau's announcement its waters are now a whale sanctuary came with a message.
"We call on the world to respect our sanctuaries for whales," said Rawiri Paratene. "No whaling in sanctuaries, no way."
But it's a message Japan has been ignoring for 23 years. This season they killed 507 whales in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.
So will one more sanctuary make any difference? [more...]
What began as a study of traditional fishing practices has evolved into an investigation into Maori settlement of the Waimea Estuary area, and its marine life.
Sarah Coup has spent the last couple of months working alongside Richard de Hamel from the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre in Mapua, after she was awarded a science fellowship administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand.
The fellowship allows teachers to take time off school to work with someone in the science or technology field and carry out a project of their choosing.
Ms Coup, who is the senior teacher of the Whanau unit at Motueka's Parklands School, initially wanted to look at the sustainable ways Maori caught fish in the region, such as using hooks that juvenile and larger breeding fish were unable to hook themselves on.
However, the more digging Ms Coup did, the more she uncovered about the life of Maori who lived around the estuary. [more...]
Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) head, showing callosities.
The southern right whale is one of 3 right whale species. The other two are the North Atlantic and North Pacific right whale. The southern right whale has the curious habit of "sailing" in strong winds by lifting its huge tail flukes above the water surface.
The name "right whale" originated with whalers, who considered these species the "right" whale to hunt because it moves slowly, floats when dead, and has long baleen and thick blubber, both of which were commodities sought by whalers. [more...]
A New Zealand great white shark has set a world record for the deepest ever known dive of 1200 metres.
“A big shark called ‘Shack’, the biggest shark we have tagged, at 4.8 metres, has set the world’s deepest great white shark dive record,” says NIWA Principal Scientist, Malcolm Francis. “And he made several other very deep dive records between 1000 and 1200 metres while crossing the ocean. Prior to this, we had recorded several at around 1000 metres, so it’s quite a substantial extension.”
Great white sharks are found in waters all around New Zealand. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and Department of Conservation (DOC) scientists are investigating the long distance movements of great white sharks inside and outside New Zealand’s territorial waters to improve our understanding of their species’s migratory patterns. It will assist with designing management measures to reduce shark bycatch in fisheries.
'Vaka Moana - Voyages of the Ancestors - Asian - Polynesian sailing canoe'
On Sunday April 11th four vaka will sail in Te Kumete O Te Moana Nui, a regatta in the Waitemata Harbour, and then leave Auckland on Wednesday April 14th for a Pacific Ocean Voyage to French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji. In 2011 seven vaka will unite in Auckland to undertake a longer pan-Pacific voyage to Hawaii via French Polynesia.
A fleet of vaka has not set sail across the Pacific for more than 1,000 years. The vaka, all built in Auckland, successfully blend traditional Pacific craftsmanship with modern boatbuilding techniques. This melding of the modern and traditional is a metaphor for of how we should treat our environment – linking the past with the future and reconnecting the Pacific peoples utilising the best of every culture and generation. It’s time to make a change. (more..)
Underwater canyons have long been considered important habitats for marine life, but until recently, only canyons on continental margins had been intensively studied. Researchers from Hawai'i Pacific University and the Universtiy of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa have now conducted the first extensive study of canyons in the oceanic Hawaiian Archipelago and found that these submarine canyons support especially abundant and unique communities of megafauna (large animals such as fish, shrimp, crabs, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins) including 41 species not observed in other habitats in the Hawaiian Islands The research is published in the the March issue of the journal Marine Ecology.[more...]
Fuel leaks from the Shen Neng 1 as it lies aground on the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is threatened by the worst environmental disaster in Australia's history after a ship ran aground. So why are giant coal carriers allowed to use this well-known shipping hazard as a shortcut? [more...]
The Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) is one of the most distinct seabirds in the world. Juveniles take to the wing in their first year of life and do not return to land again for about three to five years. And from then on, with the exception of their annual appearance on solid ground during the breeding season, they spend the rest of their lives in flight over the open ocean.
The global Laysan albatross population currently numbers about 1.2 million. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), however, has listed the species as being in decline. This is due both to the high death rate of chicks from the ingestion of plastics and to the birds’ vulnerability to other threats, imposed in part by their limited breeding range. Small losses attributed to a variety of factors, in addition to deaths from plastic, could translate to substantial and rapid declines in Laysan numbers in the coming years.[more...]
The United Nations has turned its attention to the oceans for World Environment Day, and one of the main evildoers is a familiar one -- plastic. It is killing more than a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals and sea turtles each year.
Read more to see what YOU can do to help protect marine life from this threat [more...]
Councils are failing to heed warnings that chemicals contained in the bulbs are dangerous and must be recycled to prevent them contaminating the ground, the Daily Telegraph has learned.
The EU has already started phasing out incandescent light bulbs and by 2012 all traditional lamps will be illegal. Instead consumers have to buy more expensive energy-saving bulbs. The new compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs have been criticised for giving off a dim "greenish" light and even causing skin rashes and migraines.
The latest complaint against the 'eco bulbs' is that they are actually damaging the environment because thousands of the bulbs are being dumped in the bin rather than recycled. [more...]
A huge lake (pictured), the size of the UK, dumped fresh water into the Arctic Ocean around 13,000 years ago
Europe was plunged into a mini ice age 13,000 years ago after global warming caused a mega-flood, geologists said today.
Mark Bateman from the University of Sheffield, said a catastrophic flood was caused when an ice sheet in the U.S melted causing a huge amount of freshwater to be dumped into the Arctic Ocean.
This led to the shutting down of the Gulf Stream ocean circulation pattern that brings warmth to Europe. [more...]
At top is the hoki, which is used to make McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches.
The answer to the eternal mystery of what makes up a Filet-O-Fish sandwich turns out to involve an ugly creature from the sunless depths of the Pacific and a cautionary tale of diminishing returns.
The world's insatiable appetite for fish, with its disastrous effects on populations of favorites like red snapper, monkfish and tuna, has driven commercial fleets to deeper waters in search of creatures unlikely to star on the Food Network.
One of the most popular is the hoki, or whiptail, a bug-eyed specimen found far down in the waters around New Zealand and transformed into a major export. McDonald's alone has recently used roughly 15 million pounds of it each year.
The hoki may be exceedingly unattractive, but when its flesh reaches the consumer it's just fish — cut into fillets and sticks or rolled into sushi — moist, slightly sweet and very tasty. Better yet, the hoki fishery was thought to be sustainable, providing New Zealand with a reliable major export for years to come.
But that is turning out to be doubtful at best, and arguments over managing this resource are flaring not only between commercial interests and conservationists, but also among the environmental agencies most directly involved in monitoring and regulating the catch.
Ministers and officials from ten countries and territories in East Africa yesterday endorsed or signed off on a potentially far-reaching protocol to protect East Africa’s coastal and marine environment from land-based activities and pollution.
The new protocol - five years in the making - makes the western Indian Ocean the third marine area of the world to achieve a multilateral agreement to limit and control land-based impacts on the marine environment, after the Mediterranean (1980) and Wider Caribbean (1999).
The parties to the agreement are Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles, Reunion, Mauritius, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa, which will be signing the protocol in the near future..
“This agreement comes at an opportune time, and will be assisting us with our initiatives in coast East Africa to save one of the few remaining areas of the world that are still unspoilt,” said Dr Amani Ngusaru, head of WWF’s Coastal East Africa Marine Programme.
The Chinese, Japanese and Russians will not support a world measure to stop overfishing sharks, and the United Nations will not unanimously protect the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna, so now it's up to the citizens of our planet to help nature.
Fish is an important source of low-fat protein and vitamins; omega-3 fatty acids are brain food, reduce heart attacks and strokes and slow the symptoms of arthritis and osteoporosis in humans.
Since the 1850s overfishing has changed life under the sea. Northern cod, North Sea skate, marbled rock cod of Antarctica and bluefin tuna are fished out, like the great whales before them, and they are not recovering.
Beach explorers: Grace Cooper and Tiffany Ilott in their snorkel gear to raise money for a marine programme.
"Respect the creatures that live in the sea, don't fish the snapper or take the paua, leave some creatures for me," Raumati Beach School children chanted during their fundraising beach walk last week.
The year 5 class donned snorkel gear, wet suits, and flippers last Thursday to raise money for more children to take part in a marine programme. They walked along the beach from Raumati Pool to the Kapiti Boating Club, holding banners and chanting.
The walk wrapped up their involvement in the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme, said teacher Tara Macpherson. They were the first in Kapiti to take part in the programme, run by the Island Bay Marine Education Centre to teach children about marine diversity.
Money raised would buy more snorkel gear to allow more children to
WWF-New Zealand has welcomed a decision by the International Maritime Organization (IMO - the UN agency for international shipping) that will reduce the risk of a spill of environmentally hazardous heavy oil in the pristine Antarctic waters.
At a meeting on Friday 26 March in London, the IMO banned vessels from carrying heavy oil in Antarctic waters, giving greater protection to threatened wildlife in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean from potential oil spills could devastate their environment. The ban will come into force on 1 August 2011.
WWF said the move was significant, and acknowledged the leadership role played by the New Zealand Government in pushing through the ban[more...]
Dr. Greg Stone is Senior Vice President for Marine Conservation and Chief Ocean Scientist Conservation International. Below he expresses his opinion on the health of the oceans
Twenty years ago when I had the opportunity to dive to 18,000 feet in the Japanese research submersible "Shinkai 6500" in the Sea of Japan. I fantasized about the amazing animals our team might see deep on the ocean floor: rat-tails, deep sea sharks, and octopi.
But when we reached the sea bottom, it was littered with trash that included food bags, soda cans, empty boxes, and even a broken toy doll. I shudder to imagine what that same sea bottom looks like today.
The ocean is a beautiful, mystical world that covers more than 70 percent of our planet and supports a mind-bending array of life below the surface and above. But it's also a fragile ecosystem that is vulnerable to the strains placed upon it, which include pollution, increased acidification, and the warming of the water, all of which can harm the life supported by the oceans. [more...]
Hagfish would have been the last thing on Prof. Doug Fudge's mind when he was growing up and fishing for bluefin tuna with his father off the coast of Maine. Not that he would have been likely to snag one of the bottom-dwelling scavengers anyway. But pulling one of the primitive creatures from the Atlantic depths might have meant having to grapple with a slippery eel-like animal oozing copious amounts of slime from metaphorical head to toe — perhaps enough to have scared a youngster away from hagfish for life. [more...]
As anyone who has ever left an open can of soda out too long knows, some things are just better with a little fizz, and the world's oceans may be no exception.
One physicist from Harvard University thinks that he's found a solution that may help curb the rate of global warming--and it comes in the form of tiny bubbles pumped into our planets water sources. Such microscopic bubbles, says the scientist, act as "mirrors made of air," reflecting sunlight from the water, generating a cooling effect that could be quite dramatic. Although computer models show the method would be effective, implementing it may be another story, so don't crack the champagne just yet--it may go flat before you see it happen. [more...]
Mass death among baby right whales has experts scrambling to figure out the puzzle behind the largest great whale die-off on record.
Observers have found 308 dead whales in the waters around Peninsula Valdes along Argentina's Patagonian Coast since 2005. Almost 90 percent of those deaths represent whale calves less than 3 months old, and the calf deaths make up almost a third of all right whale calf sightings in the last five years.
The reputation for being senseless killers that great white sharks have is rather undeserved.
So says shark researcher Barry Bruce, who has studied the animals for more than 20 years. He said that, as more research about the species came to light, it was quite clear they did not ''actively hunt out people''.
Mr Bruce, who works for the CSIRO in Hobart, said it was easy to find information about great white sharks in books and the media, but added: ''The information you find may not be correct.''
Mr Bruce visited Sydney Aquarium last week to talk about his work with great whites - they are considered a ''vulnerable'' species after years of overfishing and are protected in Australia - and dispel a few myths about them.
One of the most common misconceptions about great whites was that they lived around seal colonies.
"The Cove," the Academy Award-winning documentary that made extensive use of hidden filming technology to capture footage of a Japanese dolphin hunt, has been labeled "one sided" by the Japanese fishing industry. The film now stands at the center of a debate over culinary tradition and animal rights. What do those on either side -- those who were captured on film and those who did the filming -- have to say on the issue?
International trade can drive unsustainable fishing, particularly for high demand or high priced species that are not well managed. For example, bluefin tuna, sharks and corals are being overfished to the point of endangerment to meet demand for sushi, shark fin soup, and jewellery. Many fish species are widely traded, providing markets for developed and developing country fisheries. This trade often makes an important contribution to income, health, and employment, but there are significant environmental and economic downsides. Global fishery management is largely inadequate to ensure the sustainability of marine stocks, with overexploitation threatening the livelihoods of millions of people and coastal economies around the world [more...]
The Government’s decision to oppose a measure to protect Atlantic bluefin tuna at the Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting has appalled the Environment and Conservation Organisations (ECO).
ECO Spokesperson, Barry Weeber said this vote raises important questions about what the New Zealand Government’s position will be in relation to other marine species proposed for protection at the CITES meeting.
The Sea Life Aquarium at the Legoland Resort in Carlsbad, Calif., has a new exhibit aimed at raising children's awareness of plastic marine debris.
The project is called "Beach Trash, A Whale of a Problem." First grade classes from a local elementary school worked with environmental artist Teresa Espaniola to turn create a life-sized gray whale mosaic -- all made from plastic trash that they collected on the beach.
Megan Malaska, education specialist for the Aquarium, calls it "a life-changing project for these children. I have no doubt they will be life-long stewards of the ocean."
Hats off to the aquarium for raising awareness of this problem, starting with its young audience. Educating the public about marine debris is a key step in fixing this problem.[more...]
When the ocean degrades, everyone loses – and that includes fishermen who lose their catch, ocean-side properties that lose their protection, and tourism operators who lose their tourists. The private sector, therefore, has much at stake – and should be scrambling for ways to head off disaster. That's not happening, however. Is the problem the message – or the messenger? [more...]
In 1958, a man took his family fishing off of Key West and captured the moment of glory in a souvenir photo. Half a century later, this photo is one of many records reviewed by scientists trying to piece together a picture of how life in the seas is changing. The Census of Marine Life, a 10-year project to precisely and comprehensively document life in the global oceans, has registered countless successes -- including discovery of 5000 new species. But a good picture of the current state of the oceans is not enough. Scientists are developing new ways to "take the blinders off" and see into the past, to assess the changes the ocean is undergoing.[ more...]
Sea Shepherd is heading to Wellington tomorrow (Friday). Show your support for saving the beloved whales, endangered and yet still being hunted in the thousands, in a whale sanctuary - in our back yard. Here is a list of events so far...
FRIDAY 19TH MARCH - 12pm TO 2pm
OPEN FORUM SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT WITH CAPTAIN PAUL WATSON AT THE PARLIAMENT GROUNDS (grass area) Wellington.
- Powhiri traditional Maori Welcome for Captain Paul Watson and the crew of the Sea Shepherd boat the "Steve Irwin" .
SATURDAY 20TH MARCH - 10 AM
- Tours of the ship
SATURDAY 20TH MARCH - 11 AM TO 1 PM
- Hear Captain Paul Watson talk at the CHIGAGO BAR, Queens wharf.
SATURDAY EVENING 20TH MARCH
6-11pm Charity Concert in support of Pete Bethune at Sandwiches bar, corner of Courtenay Place and Kent Terrace, Wellington City. [more...]
“Managing a marine protected area means managing people. If people do not comply with the regulations in place to protect an MPA’s resources, the MPA will most likely fail to meet its goals. Education can play a major role in encouraging compliance, both by building community support for conservation and by informing the public about the penalties for noncompliance. But in cases where education is not enough, enforcement becomes necessary.[more...]
One of the advantages of working at the the Steinhart Aquarium in the California Academy of Sciences has is being able to care for, and observe so many different animals that we might not be exposed to anywhere but a public aquarium. For instance, we display not one, but two Rhinopias Scorpion fish. These venomous fish are not overly abundant in the industry or the wild, and they don’t have the best track record in captivity, often living for less than two years and then dying mysteriously. We thought very hard before committing to putting them on display, and decided we would give it a go when two of them, a Rhinopias eschmeyeri and a Rhinopias frondosa (though there is some debate as to their being different species), became available last November. Since going on display they have been eating well, shedding regularly (normal behavior) and challenging guests to spot them among the corals.[more...]
From Australasian gannets to yellow-eyed penguins, this beautifully presented, highly pictorial, guide explains the physical characteristics, ecology, range and potential threats of 28 different New Zealand seabirds. It also provides the current New Zealand conservation status and the Ministry of Fisheries Species Code and Group Code for each species. [more...]
Can we muster the will to save endangered species that aren't cute and cuddly?
It's hardly an abstract question. IUCN -- The World Conservation Union -- has more than 1,200 species on its Red List. These animals and plants are, to varying degrees, on a path toward extinction. Many are ocean animals. Few are cute or cuddly, but they all need our help. [more...]
The U.S. government intends to reclassify the loggerhead sea turtle, a common visitor to Virginia waters, as an endangered species along the East Coast.
The marine creature, which can weigh up to 250 pounds and measure 3 feet long, has been protected as a threatened species since 1978. Yet its nesting activity from Virginia to Florida – especially in Florida – continues to decline significantly, prompting the government to seek stricter controls.
Two federal agencies announced their recommendations this week after a yearlong investigation of loggerhead trends worldwide. [more...]
In 2009, Rawiri Patene, acclaimed Maori actor in the movie 'Whale Rider' with his masterful delivery of a several page long script and use of traditional chanting, held captive an audience at the USP's Marine Science Lecture theatre.
As a professional actor his presentation was delivered with aplomb - but it was also the content that has spurred many a tale and a journey, including this one.
His tale wove together three concepts - ocean noise, ocean voyaging and ocean giants.
Patene spoke at length about 'Pacific intelligence' and how our ancestors navigated the oceans to settle what we now call home - using instruments programmed for the sun, stars, moon, the ebb and flow of the tides and all the time, aided by travelling companions in the forms of turtles, seabirds and whales. [more...]
In the race to learn more about how climate change will affect us, scientists are focusing on ice
Most of us know there are different kinds of ice: there's the ice cubes in our gin and tonic and the ice that forms in the back of the freezer.
Few of us think much deeper about ice. But some scientists are so interested they were happy to spend last winter in the dark on the Ross Sea, New Zealand's patch of Antarctica, in temperatures down to minus 50, studying ice. [more...]
Cambodia is a great country for volunteering on a marine conservation project. Our pioneering marine conservation and research activities are at the forefront of protecting and researching Cambodia’s diverse marine environment. Located on the tropical Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia has pristine uninhabited islands and over 400km of coastline. The project is the first of its kind in Cambodia and supplies the Cambodian Fisheries administration with much needed data to help in their marine conservation efforts [more...]
A carnivorous sponge with ‘lip-shaped’ spicules has been identified from the dark depths of the ocean.
“This unusual sponge is shaped like a large feather, whitish in colour, and is covered with lip-shaped spicules. “Spicules are like tiny bones that go together with much larger spicules to form the skeleton of the sponge. The spicules give the sponge its stiffness and allow it to stand upright and to extend its filaments out like a feather into the water to catch prey,” says NIWA marine biodiversity scientist, Dr Michelle Kelly.
With so many tourism entities intent on implementing new environmentally-friendly programs, procedures and strategies, the destination of Palau needs not enhance what is already an ingrained custom in this North Pacific paradise. It is the culture’s instinct and primary concern to preserve nature’s wondrous resources, which are in abundance in this Micronesian eco-sphere. However, with that said, old customs are merely a springboard for this eco-centric and naturally “green” island nation as several Palauan entities are indeed further enhancing the “cause.” [more...]
Julie Packard- Executive Director
Monterey Bay Aquarium
I just returned from the Seafood Choices Alliance Seafood Summit in Paris, a gathering of over 600 business and NGO leaders concerned about the future of seafood.
The group was diverse -- marine biologists, ecologists, conservation advocates, and business leaders -- who make their living catching, producing, buying, and selling seafood.
I came away deeply impressed with the progress this far-ranging group is making, and the momentum that's building for a future with healthy oceans and abundant seafood. At every turn, I witnessed people working to forge solutions to some very complex challenges. There was conflict and disagreement in many areas. But on one thing everyone agreed: our oceans are changing. Wild seafood catch is declining and ecosystems are under siege from overfishing, pollution and global climate change. As we look to the future of seafood, business as usual is not the answer.
A leading kiwi fisheries scientist says decisions on commercial fishing limits are essentially guesswork and "highly susceptible to influence."
Speaking in an online forum on the science behind fisheries management in New Zealand, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric (NIWA)
Research's chief fisheries scientist John McKoy said the information used to set commercial catch limits needed to be improved. "For most fish stocks we don't know much at all – in other words you guess."
As such the Fisheries Minister's annual decisions on commercial catch limits were ambiguous, informal and vulnerable to outside pressure. [more...]
Students design new sign for Island Bay Marine Education Centre (10/3/10)
Houghton Valley School and The Island Bay Marine Education Centre have joined forces to help transform the Island Bay Surf Club.
Year 6 students from Ngaio class at Houghton Valley School raised $450 by creating posters, models and booklets showing what they learned about the marine environment and presenting them to school mates and parents at an annual school fundraiser.
Houghton Valley teacher, Peter Holmstead, said the children wanted to use the money for something that had a conservation focus and they also wanted to show their appreciation for what they learned from the Experiencing Marine Reserve course they did in conjunction with the Marine Education Centre.
After discussing lots of options, they decided to create a new shark sign for the old Surf Club building that would match the ones on the Bait House. All the students designed a shark and Lawrence Webster’s was chosen. Late in 2009 the whole class helped to create and paint the shark with the assistance of local artist Bruce Mahalski.
The shark sign, which measures almost 4.5 metres long, is adorning the outside wall of the old Surf Club, now known as “Octopus HQ” as it houses the Island Bay Marine Education Centre’s classrooms and office. The shark was chosen to connect the Surf Club building with the nearby Bait House which houses the Marine Centre’s aquarium.
Marine Centre director Judy Hutt said “It is a real thrill to have a local school so committed to the reserve and marine conservation. Our relationship with Houghton Valley School is fantastic. Their shark really makes us easy to find.”
While astronomers scour the skies for signs of life in outer space, biologists are exploring an enormous living world buried below the surface of the Earth.
Scientists estimate that nearly half the living material on our planet is hidden in or beneath the ocean or in rocks, soil, tree roots, mines, oil wells, lakes and aquifers on the continents.
They call it the "subsurface biosphere," a dark world where the sun and stars don't shine. Some call it Earth's basement. [more...]
How it started that Roland Anderson became one of the world's top experts on the giant Pacific octopus - the largest octopus in the world, and home here in Puget Sound - was when he worked as the nightshift biologist at the Seattle Aquarium. That was 33 years ago.
Now, more than 200 research papers later, Anderson still never tires of telling stories about these creatures. The giant Pacific octopus, he says, leads a life that, well, you could write a book about. So Anderson has, and his book about his life's obsession comes out in May. [more...]
A giant squid is heading back to New Zealand, after being "stuffed" with silicone and preserved for posterity.
In 2004, a pair of Architeuthis dux were sent from New Zealand to a plastination facility in Dalian, China, to be preserved by anatomist Gunther von Hagens.
Plastination is a body-preservation technique invented by von Hagens in 1975 that replaces the natural water in a body with silicone.
Previously, von Hagens has plastinated giraffes, elephants and humans, but a giant squid – with fragile skin, no skeleton for structural support and more body water to replace than any other attempt – posed some challenges for the controversial anatomist. [more...]
Dawn is coming soon. The lights are off, the sound system silent and the beasts of the Monterey Bay Aquarium have the place mostly to themselves: the otters, the anemones, the octopuses, the great white shark in the big tank, the lame young albatross in its rooftop cage — and Kacey Kurimura, who's at the kitchen sink in her apron and waterproof boots, reaching for a knife.
Maybe the sea never sleeps, but this is how the day begins at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Before this one is over, 2,881 visitors will troop through, that young shark will fill up on a mere 3 1/2 pounds of fish, the albatross will dance with a new friend. And the jellyfish expert will get stung, which happens about three times a week. [more...]
Aquaculture might seem like a simple solution to the global decline in wild fish stocks. But the problem is the most popular farmed fish species need to eat fish or at least fish oil to get the healthy ingredients which make them such an important part of the human diet.
Right now there's a global search for new sustainable alternatives and some of the most promising research is being done in Australia.[more...]
New Zealand is in danger of losing its status as a world leader in managing fisheries, says the researcher behind a new documentary on overfishing.
Charles Clover, a former environment editor at Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, says New Zealand's reputation is under threat from its orange roughy catch and an almost complete lack of knowledge about the health of many of its fisheries. [more...]
Today, the Pew Environment Group praised the United Kingdom (U.K.) for taking one further step towards designating the world's largest marine reserve.
The proposed marine reserve would protect a group of 55 islands located in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Known as the Chagos Archipelago, the islands and their surrounding waters cover 210,000 square miles (544,000 square kilometers), an area larger than France. With some of the cleanest seas in the world, the islands are home to one of the most ecologically healthy coral reef systems on the planet. [more...]
One of the world’s most prestigious awards for scientific research into the challenges facing the world’s oceans – a Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation – has been won by a senior ecosystem modeller with CSIRO’s Wealth from Oceans Flagship, Dr Beth Fulton.
Marine ecosystem modeller, Dr Beth Fulton, has received a 2010 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation. (CSIRO)Dr Fulton will use the $US150,000 Fellowship to develop models for assessing how marine biodiversity is affected by pressures such as overfishing and climate change.
New Zealand's commercial fisheries are under scrutiny as The End of the Line, the world's first major feature documentary revealing the devastating global impacts of overfishing, makes its New Zealand premiere this week.
Lauded at the Sundance film festival as the 'Inconvenient truth for the oceans', The End of the Line reveals how commercial fisheries are systematically over-exploiting our oceans for short term profit - and that left unchecked, scientists predict this will cause the global collapse of fish stocks.[more...]
“Building a future for wildlife” is the slogan of the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy. Modern zoos and aquariums are indeed playing an increasingly active and important role in conserving species in their natural habitat. This richly illustrated book provides an overview of the partners, approaches and achievements of the world zoo and aquarium community in wildlife conservation. The book’s main focus is on 25 conservation success stories from around the globe, portraying the many ways in which zoos and aquariums are committed to biodiversity conservation.[more...]
Hmmm, perhaps not quite as catchy as “Save the Whales”… but there are other marine species out there that we should care about too, no matter how uncuddly they may be.
At a global level, New Zealand is regarded to have some of the most well managed fisheries. Here, most exploited species are managed under the Quota Management System (QMS), which regulates the total catch for each species. But you may be surprised to know that not all marine species are managed in this way – there are some which, as a consequence of their exclusion from the QMS, are effectively “open access fisheries”. Commercial fishers still need to have permits to take these species, but there is no apparent limit as to how many permits can be handed out. [more...]
Huge vents covering the sea-floor – among the strangest and most spectacular sights in nature – pour carbon dioxide and other gases into the deep waters of the oceans.
Last week, as researchers reported that they had now discovered more than 50,000 underwater volcanic springs, they also revealed a new use for them – as laboratories for measuring the impact of ocean acidification on marine life.
Whales include the world's largest animals, but newly identified fossils reveal they were preceded by SUV-sized filter-feeding fishes that emerged during the Jurassic Period, 170 million years ago, and lived until the extinction event that wiped out dinosaurs and numerous other species.
Although the now-extinct fishes, called pachycormiforms, were not closely related to whales, their demise left an ecological niche void that whales, sharks and rays filled starting around 56 million years ago, helping to explain the top portion of today's marine food chain.
Deep-sea trawling is devastating corals and pristine marine habitats that have gone untouched since the last ice age, a leading marine biologist has warned.
A survey of the world's reefs and seamounts – giant submerged mountains that rise more than a kilometre above the seabed – has revealed widespread damage to the ecosystems, many of which are home to species unknown to science, said Jason Hall-Spencer at Plymouth University in the UK.
Lying beneath the ocean is spectacular terrain ranging from endless chains of mountains and isolated peaks to fiery volcanoes and black smokers exploding with magma and other minerals from below Earth's surface. This mountainous landscape, some of which surpasses Mt. Everest heights and the marine life it supports, is the spotlight of a special edition of the research journal Oceanography.
These massive underwater mountains, or seamounts, are scattered across every ocean and collectively comprise an area the size of Europe. These deep and dark environments often host a world teeming with bizarre life forms found nowhere else on Earth. More than 99 percent of all seamounts remain unexplored by scientists, yet their inhabitants, such as the long-lived deepwater fish orange roughy, show signs of habitat destruction and over exploitation from intense international fishing efforts.
Fish for the future is the theme of this year’s Seaweek, which will feature a series of free lectures and beach clean-ups in the Waikato.
The “fish for the future” theme – or "tiakina nga tupuranga whakaheke" in te reo - has been chosen to raise awareness of the role of fish in healthy oceans.
"The theme is designed to stimulate discussion about what sustainable fishing means for us as New Zealanders,” said Environment Waikato’s Sam Stephens, the Waikato coordinator of Seaweek which will officially run from 7-14 March. [more...]
Conservation managers need to take a long-term view when assessing the value of marine protected areas, according to a paper in today’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
The paper, ‘Decadal trends in marine reserves reveal differential rates of change in direct and indirect effects’, was written by an international team of authors led by Russ Babcock of the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship. It is the first paper to summarise the results from the most significant published long-term studies of temperate and tropical marine reserves.
The Gulf of California's once rich marine ecosystem is in trouble. Surveys from 1999 and 2009 revealed that during the ten-year-period 60 percent of the areas showed signs of degradation, including the loss of top predators necessary to keep an ecosystem healthy, for example sharks, groupers, and snappers.
"In these studies, whether reefs or mangroves, we are trying to show that the destruction on the coast and overexploitation in other areas are diminishing the biomass (the amount of organisms in an ecosystem) in several areas[more...]
Neither local residents Warrick Lovell, Rich Park, Basil Park, or anyone else it seems, knows what the big creature found dead on a beach here this week might be.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Corner Brook intends to check out the Lower Cove site today hoping to find some answers for the question of many curious onlookers who went there to see for themselves what Lovell found during a Wednesday afternoon walk on the beach.
“It would be nice to see if anyone knows what it is,” says Lovell. “First I thought it was a seal washed up (on the high tide earlier in the day), but when I went down to check on my boat that evening, I walked over to see and then I knew it wasn’t a seal.
Steve O'Shea already holds a world record for rearing squid in a controlled environment. But everybody's got a dream, and O'Shea's is to do the same thing one day with the famously elusive giant squid.
In 2000, O'Shea set a world record for deep-sea squid curation when he took a squid that normally lives almost a thousand feet below sea level and kept it alive in captivity for five months.
A few days ago, O'Shea set out to capture a broad squid in the waters around New Zealand in the hopes of breaking that record. Broad squid, which O'Shea has raised in captivity before, are tricky due to their initially tiny size and a diet that evolves quickly over the first few weeks of life, but O'Shea believes it'll get him "one step closer to the end game" of raising a giant squid.[more...]
David de Rothschild is talking trash, lots and lots of trash.
"There were 25 billion Styrofoam cups used last year. How do you even get your head around what 25 billion Styrofoam cups looks like?" he said. "Eighty-odd percent of what's purchased by Americans is thrown out within six months."
On this day, though, the British banking heir is focused on some very particular refuse as he skims along the San Francisco Bay in a catamaran called Plastiki: The 12,000 or so recycled soda bottles lashed together to build his clunky vessel, and the growing heap of plastic fragments called the Eastern Garbage Patch floating in the Pacific.
A new paper by researchers at George Mason University and the University of Otago in New Zealand shows a strong link between the diversity of organisms at the bottom of the food chain and the diversity of mammals at the top.
Mark D. Uhen, a geologist at Mason, says that throughout the last 30 million years, changes in the diversity of whale species living at any given time period correlates with the evolution and diversification of diatoms, tiny, abundant algae that live in the ocean.[more...]
Plans to kick-start New Zealand fish farming are too flexible and risk harming sensitive marine areas, environmental groups say.
The Fisheries Ministry has received 223 submissions on recommendations designed to boost the aquaculture industry.
The proposals have drawn support from the industry, commercial aquaculture groups and iwi, with opposition mainly coming from environmental groups and recreational fishermen. However, many say they are lacking in crucial details.
A landmark agreement to protect shark species threatened with extinction was reached Friday as 113 countries signed up to a United Nations-backed wildlife treaty to conserve migratory sharks.
Government representatives signed the shark protection agreement in Manila at a meeting of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, CMS, a treaty administered by the UN Environment Programme.
THEY are enigmatic sea monsters - rare, magnificent beasts patrolling the ocean depths. Yet old chronicles tell of populations of whales hundreds of times greater than today. Such tales have long been dismissed as exaggerations, but could they be true? Have humans killed such a staggering number of whales?
According to a new University of California, Davis, study it is harder than experts thought to predict when sudden shifts in Earth's natural systems will occur -- a worrisome finding for scientists trying to identify the tipping points that could push climate change into an irreparable global disaster.
"Many scientists are looking for the warning signs that herald sudden changes in natural systems, in hopes of forestalling those changes, or improving our preparations for them," said UC Davis theoretical ecologist Alan Hastings. "Our new study found, unfortunately, that regime shifts with potentially large consequences can happen without warning -- systems can 'tip' precipitously.
Fishing, noise, gillnets, traps, weirs, longlines, trawls, plastic debris, chemicals, seismic surveys, oil exploration, and military sonars are just some of the biggest killers of the world’s whales, dolphins and porpoises. All are man-made. The result is that 86 per cent of all toothed whale species are at risk.
The news about this unnoticed but steady killing of species jumped after less than one month since the launch of the UN International Year Of Biodiversity 2010. [more...]
The increasing acidity of the world's oceans – and that acidity's growing threat to marine species – are definitive proof that the atmospheric carbon dioxide that is causing climate change is also negatively affecting the marine environment, says world-renowned Antarctic marine biologist Jim McClintock, Ph.D., professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Biology. [more...]
A survey of the Bay of Island's marine life and supporting ecosystems is making good progress, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) said today.
Since August 2009 teams from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have been gathering field information from the Bay as part of a two-year Ocean Survey 20/20 project coordinated by LINZ
Two New Zealand research organisations will work closely with one of the world's leading ocean research and engineering organisations to accelerate research and exploration in a wide range of oceanographic topics in the southwest Pacific region.
GNS Science and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) of the United States that will see the three organisations combine their resources on scientific research of marine tectonics, submarine volcanism, and marine life in deep-sea environments [more...]
New England Aquarium workers help ailing reptiles heal. A turtle with kidney problems was sedated and secured to an operating table to undergo a surgical procedure at the New England Aquarium. [more...]
These wonderful birds have a wingspan of around 3 metres and breed on the sub-Antarctic Islands way south of New Zealand. They are common around Kaikoura at this time of year, no doubt drawn by the abundant marine life. On the water, they are at times a lot more aggressive than on land:[more...]
Residents of a tiny Banks Peninsula settlement saved a pod of whales beached in a mass stranding.
The survivors in a pod of about 50 pilot whales stranded in a bay near Christchurch yesterday appear to have made it safely back to sea, with those monitoring the situation reporting no sign of them this morning. (more...]
Have you heard the one about gold fish having only a three second memory - by the time they swim around the bowl, they’ve forgotten where they are and swim around again?
“It’s absolute rubbish,” says Dr Kevin Warburton, an adjunct researcher with Charles Sturt University’s Institute for Land, Water and Society who has been studying fish behavior for many years.
It is pitch black, icy cold and the pressure is phenomenal. The deepest parts of the ocean are some of the least hospitable places on Earth - yet footage from recent expeditions reveals that life in the oceanic trenches is thriving. [more...]
Genetic analyses refute the hypothesis that an overly abundant population of minke whales is creating too much competition over food for populations of other whale species to rebound, according to a new study supported by the Lenfest Ocean Program and published this week in the journal Molecular Ecology. The study's findings indicate that the Southern Ocean minke whale population around Antarctica has not grown unnaturally large in the wake of industrial whaling, which decimated populations of other larger whales in the region. [more...]
Fifteen year old Christchurch Avonside High School student Aescleah Hawkins has an unusual resolution for 2010 - this year, she has pledged to help stop the extinction of New Zealand's endangered Hector's dolphins.[more...]
PARIS — Fossilised footprints, found in a Polish quarry, of an enigmatic, long-extinct creature have prompted palaeontologists to reopen the file of how life in the sea moved to the land. A key theory in evolutionary biology is that tetrapods -- four-limbed land-loving vertebrates -- emerged from fishes with pairs of lobed fins.
OPINION: There will be many people in Taranaki hoping that when the men caught poaching paua this weekend make their court appearances, the judge throws the book at them. This blatant theft of the region's fish stocks is outrageous, and the consequences potentially tragic.
HOUSTON -- Two sea otters are responsible for causing an 80-minute delay for a Continental Airlines flight that was heading from Houston to Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday. The plane was scheduled to leave at 7:55 p.m., but it got stuck on the tarmac at Bush Intercontinental Airport after two sea otters stored in the cargo area got loose. Crews eventually got things under control, and the plane took off at 9:15 p.m.
Only in recent years did scientists find that the secretive aquatic mammal migrates from shallow to deep water. Now researchers can reveal that the manatees make this perilous journey to avoid being exposed to attack by predators during the low-water season. [more...]
In contrast to the exhaustive research into venom produced by snakes and spiders, venomous fish have been neglected and remain something of a mystery. Now, a study of 158 catfish species, published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, has cataloged the presence of venom glands and investigated their biological effects. [more...]
Massive corals are being used by marine scientists to unravel the effects of climate and environmental change on coral reefs in Australia’s remote north-west. Often referred to as the Methuselah’s of coral reefs because they can be older than 500 years, these massive corals grow in a series of annual bands that store a wealth of information about the environment in which they grow. [more...]
It took two years of planning before 15 cameramen could even begin filming Oceans for Pathi, which will be out on general release on 27 January 2010. The crew filmed in 50 locations across the world and captured 80 species of fish, dolphins, whales, squid, lizards, crabs and turtles. [more...]
Coral reef fish can undergo a personality change in warmer water, according to an intriguing new study suggesting that climate change may make some species more aggressive. Experiments with two species of young damselfish on Australia's Great Barrier Reef have shown for the first time that some reef fish are either consistently timid, or consistently bold, and that these individual differences are even more marked as water temperatures rise. [more...]
Deep under the Antarctic ice, a rare, colourful burst of starfish and 3m-long monster worms has been filmed by a BBC camera crew. Filmed in time-lapse, the extraordinary swarm of deep-sea creatures gathers to feed in a frenzy on the body of a seal, which had sunk to the ocean floor.
Taiwan is expected to set up an aquarium fish R&D and export center in 2011, with the goal of replacing Singapore as the leading aquarium fish exporter in Asia, a Council of Agriculture (COA) official said Wednesday.
The facility, with an estimated price tag of NT$1.19 billion (US$36.96 million) , will be located in the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park (PABP) under the COA.
‘Oil shark’ tankers anchored off World Heritage coastline are an environmental ‘accident waiting to happen’, conservationists warned today. The 10 ships, moored by Dorset and Devon as they wait for oil prices to rise, are at greater risk of spilling their one million-tonne cargo as the UK is lashed by storms.
A team from an aquarium in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, has succeeded in capturing the world's first photographs of juvenile coelacanths, a fish regarded as a living fossil, off Indonesia's Sulawesi Island.
Press Release – South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management (14/11/09)
Negotiations Conclude; Countries Called on to Protect the South Pacific Fisheries and Marine Environment
Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, ECO, Greenpeace (Auckland, 14 November 2009)
Non-governmental organisations attending the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) ; negotiations in Auckland welcomed the signing of the agreement today, but called on all countries to accelerate efforts to take real steps to protect fisheries and the marine environment.
“The structures for managing non-tuna fisheries over a huge area of the South Pacific have been agreed in Auckland today, but the immediate future of the Chilean jack mackerel fishery is grim as countries from the north position to intensely fish the already stressed fishery over the next 1-3 years,” said Sam Leiva of Greenpeace Chile.
“The tragedy is that the northern fishing countries and the European Commission seem unable to understand that this short term race for fish will leave everyone the poorer and will have ongoing and unknowable consequences for the marine environment,” said Cath Wallace of the Environment and Conservation Organisations of NZ (ECO).
“The major achievement of this meeting has been agreement on the text of the South Pacific Fisheries Management Organisation which will provide, once it is ratified by countries and takes effect in a few years, a sound basis for management of the fisheries, principally orange roughy bottom fisheries in the western Pacific and around New Zealand and Australia, and the Chilean jack mackerel fisheries in the eastern Pacific. The agreement by more than 25 countries is a huge step forward. It is a major achievement and we can thank distinguished New Zealand international lawyer, Bill Mansfield and his secretariat, for this, and in particular his efforts to ensure that the text of the agreement includes modern environmental principles and requirements”said Cath Wallace.
The stakes for the countries competing to fish for jack mackerel, including Russia, Peru, the European Commission, the Faroe Islands, China, and Chile are high. They have not just been competing for entitlements to fish now, but they know that future allocations depend on their catch history so there is a major “race to fish” on. Forbearance and concern for the marine environment and the future largely vanished as the haggling went on. There has been hard haggling to the end over the rights to fish and to avoid stringent or indeed any meaningful limits despite the best efforts of New Zealand, Australia and Chile.
"New Zealand, Australia the USA and others have played a constructive role in these negotiations, and in particular with their efforts to achieve Interim Measures (controls) including a ban on destructive gillnet fishing from the South Pacific. The conclusion of the Agreement on the Convention and the prospect of banning deep sea gillnet fishing are positive developments which are important for the South Pacific,”said Duncan Currie for the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition.
“We acknowledge the positive role that Chair Bill Mansfield and Australia, the United States and New Zealand have played to get this far, and we are glad that the EC has undertaken to stop its flag States from engaging in this destructive practice. But it is not enough. Negotiations start next week in New York to ensure that vulnerable marine ecosystems and deep sea stocks are protected, and we are calling on Australia, New Zealand, the European Commission and all other countries participating in that meeting to learn from this week and take positive steps to ensure that all countries play by the rules. Fishing outside the rules is IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and must stop.”
Central and eastern Pacific Ocean temperatures are exceeding El Nino levels and will remain at levels typical of an El Nino weather event until early 2010, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said on Wednesday.
After 15 years of research in the waters of the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, and an international coalition of organizations have unveiled the largest genetic study of humpback whale populations ever conducted in the Southern Hemisphere.
When krill come together, they form some of the largest gatherings of life on the planet. Now scientists have discovered just how these small marine crustaceans do it. Huge 'super swarms' containing trillions of krill are formed by juveniles not adults, and these swarms are even denser than experts supposed.
A dust storm that blew across the Australian coast last month and swept towards New Zealand dumped three million tonnes of soil into the sea between the two countries, researchers say. At one point, an average of 75,000 tonnes of dust was being dumped each hour into the Tasman Sea, Sky News Australia reported.
The Island Bay Marine Education Centre, as a result of packed family open days that have been a regular monthly event, will now open every Sunday from 10.00am-3.00pm. It will close briefly on the 7th December for the Christmas period and re-open for Sunday 10th January, 2010.
"It has become obvious the public thoroughly enjoys the hands-on experience we offer within the centre, with 600 plus visitors per day and growing" says trust Chairman Dr Victor Anderlini.
"However, the number of people who say our open hours have been restrictive and when they arrive our small facility is overcrowded is also a clear message. Many have also stated they would bring more friends if we were open more often. This is an excellent opportunity to immerse more people in the ocean environment, its care and the amazing animals within."
Dr Anderlini continues: "Opening every Sunday will hopefully bring some balance to crowded times in the Bait House Aquarium as we continue to explore our future vision of a bigger purpose built facility".
The next Open Day is this Sunday, 11th October from 10.00am-3.00pm. Entry $2 donation per person.
When fish school together, they move in tandem as if they were a single organism. While they have free-will, they also have the innate ability to stay a safe distance away from one another and avoid collisions. Japanese car-maker Nissan synthesized this behavior in a fleet of robots called "Eporo."
Many today are familiar with the plight of bluefin tuna and marine turtle but few know about the diminishing population of the Mediterranean Red Coral species (Corallium rubrum). A recent international workshop on red coral held in Naples heard the concern of coral biologists, managers and traders over the long-term viability of red coral in the Mediterranean, especially those in shallow waters. [more...]
Some 85 million years ago in a shallow ocean, a handful of miniature great white sharks were pigging out on the carcass of a giant marine reptile called a plesiosaur, a new study suggests. During this apparent feeding frenzy, some shark teeth got stuck in the plesiosaur's bones, which were subsequently buried and remained undiscovered until a high-school student in Japan found them in 1968. [more...]
In the latest in a series of nature's ugliest animals, a sea turtle conservation group in Brazil has fished up the dead carcass of what was thought to be a previously unknown species. While the gelatinous, 6-foot-long fish isn't some new species, it is an incredibly rare deep sea bottom-feeding fish known as the jelly nose fish (or the tadpole fish), a squishy-nosed, scaleless bottom-feeder typically found 1300 to 2300 feet below the ocean's surface, eating whatever it can suck up off the ocean floor. [more...]
Knowledge gleaned about Wellington's marine environment over more than century, has been brought together in an interactive CD, to help guide decision makers. Department of Conservation marine ecologist Helen Kettles said a lack of accessible information on the marine environment prompted the department to create a repository of marine research.
The Pacific island nation of Palau has created the world's first shark sanctuary. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Palau President Johnson Toribiong declared his country's entire Exclusive Economic Zone, an area of 629,000 square km, roughly the size of France as a shark sanctuary, Radio New Zealand International reported on Sunday. [more...]