Scientists Discover Astounding Deep-Sea Sponges With Carnivorous Ways, 'Jaws Of A Great White Shark'
Scientists have recently discovered and described three "previously unknown species" of carnivorous sponges from the family Cladorhizidae. The scientists say that one resembles a "tiny shrub", another has tiny bones that resemble the "jaws of a great white shark", and the third like "crochet-hooks". They were discovered in the deep waters off New Zealand and Macquarie Island, an Australian sub-Antarctic territory.
Worldwide marine mammal consumption rises - but Alaska practices lauded
Killing marine mammals for food has increased over the past few decades worldwide - often by tropical zone fishermen netting animals in situations without controls to avoid overharvests - according to a new study that examined 900 sources of information across the globe.
Cairns shark researcher to test new tool
Conserving shark species in the deep waters of the Great Barrier Reef is a challenge for shark researcher Cassandra Rigby. The James Cook University PhD student said information on the age, growth and reproduction of deep water sharks was limited – despite half of the world’s 1200 species of sharks and rays living in deep water. This information was crucial in conserving populations, but a new tool being developed may be a breakthrough.
Russian aircraft carrier caught dumping rubbish into sea off Scottish coast
Russian sailors tipped rubbish into the Moray Firth as they sheltered from stormy weather. The crew of the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov were spotted chucking bin bags into the sea – a sanctuary for seals and bottlenose dolphins. The 65,000-ton ship was one of several Russian navy vessels sheltering from the the weather in international waters.
Crab pot limits will change the rules for California fishers
Legislation that sets crab pot limits may soon help fishers in California. The legislation will lighten competition from large boats and ease the chaos of the season's opening weeks by limiting fishing. Fishers catch most of the Dungeness crab for the entire season during the early days and the season ends in June and the crab pot limit would reduce fishing at the beginning and instead stretch it out throughout the season. Fishers and experts believe this could help protect the local fishery.
Giant cannibal shrimp worry Gulf Coast watchers
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the Gulf of Mexico, a new menace, this one striped like a big cat, is preying on aquatic life: The black tiger shrimp. The biggest saltwater shrimp in the world, black tigers, are cannibalistic as are other shrimp but it’s larger so it can consume the others. Because of the threat of disease, the predatory intruder poses a problem for the native shrimp and oyster population of the Gulf.
Dutch unveil plan in war against the sea: a sandbar
In its age-old war to keep back the sea, low-lying Netherlands has dumped sand onto a surface larger than 200 football fields just off the coast - and will wait for nature to do the rest. The Dutch authorities hope that the sand will be driven landward to form a natural barrier against the North Sea's relentless onslaught.
New Zealand sea lion slides towards extinction
In a submission to the Ministry of Fisheries, the Environmental Defence Society (EDS) has called on the government to reconsider proposals for the Auckland Islands squid fishery. The New Zealand sea lion is an endemic species, found principally in the Auckland Islands. The population has been declining for a number of years, and in 2010 the Department of Conservation reclassified the species as 'nationally critical', the most endangered category available in the classification system. Research shows that squid fishing is probably a key cause of the population decline.
Earthquake Sensors Track Rare Whales
Underwater earthquake recordings could help track the endangered and poorly understood fin whale, according to research presented here last week at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Most quake researchers cull the whale’s booming calls from their seafloor recordings. But one group of seismologists has flipped things around to harvest an extensive repertoire of fin whale songs.
Seal stranded on Mablethorpe beach saved by RNLI crewman
The RNLI came to the rescue when a seal became stranded on Mablethorpe beach. The female adult grey seal was found on the beach by a member of the public who reported it to the Mablethorpe Seal Sanctuary. When the Seal Sanctuary were unable to move it the RNLI stepped in to help. Lifeboatman Paul Hills was able to lift the injured seal to the sanctuary.
Sea snails help scientists explore a possible way to enhance memory
Efforts to help people with learning impairments are being aided by a species of sea snail known as Aplysia californica. The mollusk, which is used by researchers to study the brain, has much in common with other species including humans. Research involving the snail has contributed to the understanding of learning and memory.
UN launches Decade of Biodiversity
The United Nations has launched the Decade on Biodiversity with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraging humanity to live harmoniously with nature and to respectfully manage its assets for generations ahead. The General Assembly previously declared the period 2011-2020 as United Nations Decade on Biodiversity to promote the implementation of a strategic plan on biodiversity and its overall vision of living in harmony with nature.
Scientists test sick Alaska seals for radiation
Scientists in Alaska are investigating whether local seals are being sickened by radiation from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Scores of ring seals have washed up on Alaska's Arctic coastline since July, suffering or killed by a mysterious disease marked by bleeding lesions on the hind flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss on the animals' fur coats. Biologists at first thought the seals were suffering from a virus, but they have so far been unable to identify one, and tests are now underway to find out if radiation is a factor.
Woman rolls stranded 5ft shark down beach and into sea
Jeanette Longley took the plunge when she saw a stranded shark on the beach at West Bay. She became soaked as she wrestled with the creature to drag it back into the sea after it was swept ashore near the seafront chalets. The 56-year-old rolled the 5ft fish down the shingle and was buffeted by waves as she made several attempts to pull it back out to safety. Coastguards said they understood why Jeannette tried to save the shark but warned people against taking risks. A spokesman urged people to call them in such situations as officers are specially trained and have such equipment as dry suits, life jackets and lines. A spokesman for the SeaLife Centre in Weymouth said it was unsure what type of fish it was.
That's it for 2011 - we will be back in 2012 with the next Marine News Roundup!