Mexico passes shark finning ban
After 10 years of debate, Mexico has passed legislation that bans shark finning, increases protection of great white, whale and basking sharks, and manta rays, and extends the moratorium on new commercial shark fishing permits.
Mexico has become increasingly known for its great white shark concentrations at Isla Guadalupe, and whale sharks can be found on both coasts. Mike Lever (of the M/V Nautilus Explorer) said in response: “The enactment of Mexican rules for responsible shark and ray fisheries is incredibly good news and really bodes well for the survival of these magnificent animals.”
Beneath the Sea 2007 contest winners announced
The winning images of the Beneath the Sea 2007 Worldwide Underwater Photography/Video Competition have been announced, with many familiar names in the list of winners. The winning images will be shown at the Saturday night film festival during the weekend of Beneath the Sea‘s Ocean Adventure and Travel Exposition, March 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2007, at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Quite a few Wetpixel members placed, as well. Congratulations, all!
Are public aquariums good or bad?
Where do you stand on public aquariums? Do the educational benefits out-weigh the negative environmental impact? On the one hand, they are criticized for the destructive methods used to capture fish and for poor treatment of these creatures while in captivity. On the other hand, they are praised for increasing public awareness and appreciation for marine species. Are there environmentally responsible aquariums that manage to achieve educational goals without adverse environmental impact? How much do fish farms play a role in achieving this goal?
Join the debate in the conservation forum and offer your perspective.
National Geographic: An Eden for Sharks
In the March issue of National Geographic, journalist Jennifer Holland shares her story of close encounters with sharks while on assignment in the Bahamas. Accompanying her was photojournalist Brian Skerry, whose gripping shots of sharks in action bring the story to life.
The article features all the headline sharks including the tiger, great hammerhead and oceanic white-tip. The images are stunning, the article informative and the conservation message compelling. “Scientists warn that many shark populations could be dangerously depleted within a decade, barring bold action” relates the author. Perhaps what is most refreshing about the article is that it offers a message of hope for sharks in the Bahamas, a contrast to their desperate plight throughout the rest of the world. You can read the full story and enjoy the the beautiful images online at National Geographic’s website.
Twenty groupers threatened with extinction
Twenty species of grouper, a globally important group of 162 coral reef food fishes, are threatened with extinction unless management or conservation measures are introduced. This was the conclusion of a panel of twenty experts from 10 countries at a recent conservation summit convened to assess the status of groupers worldwide.
Groupers are the basis of the multi-million US$ live reef fish market of the sea food trade centered in Hong Kong, where consumers can pay up to US$50 per kg for this delicacy. Groupers are also the most valuable commercial fishes in the fresh fish markets of the tropics and sub-tropics. Read more on the full press release...
Report details possible killer whale predation of hammerhead sharks
An article posted on DivePhotoGuide.com from the Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals reveals a possible predatory interaction between killer whales and hammerhead sharks off the coast of the Galápagos islands.
The observation describes an encounter with three killer whales:
A dead female hammerhead shark could be clearly seen lying on the sandy bottom. It was estimated to be 2.5-3m long, compared to the size of the killer whale hovering approximately 3m directly above it. The whale was motionless, in a vertical position, with its rostrum oriented towards the shark…the divers moved closer to attempt to identify the shark species and noticed that the killer whale had begun to chase a small (approximately 40cm) hammerhead shark.
The authors request to be contacted if any photographers or videographers have captured the behavior they describe.
ULCS introduces new TR-IK single-handle tray
Ultralight Control Systems (ULCS) has introduced a new adjustable single-handle tray, part TR-IK, that fits the middle-range Ikelite housings, the Olympus housings for the Evolt series, and the Inon Rebel series housing.
Retailing for USD$100, the trays allows for the handle to be placed on the left or right side of the housing, and is upgradeable to add a second handle.
Continue reading for more details and photos of the handle on the various housings…
Recall of Oceanic, AERIS dive computers over decompression hazard
Pelagic Pressure Systems has issued a recall for nearly 2,800 dive computers, the Oceanic-brand ATOM 2.0 and EPIC-brand AERIS. The decompression hazard comes from an issue reported where on switching from one gas to another at depth, the dive computer’s display can lock up and not return to the screen showing dive times.
Pelagic received reports of two defective computers, but no injuries have been reported. If you have one of these computers, with a serial number within the range of #0001-#2079 for the Oceanic ATOM 2.0, or #001-#712 for the EPIC AERIS, bring it to an authorized Oceanic or AERIS dealer for a free software upgrade that fixes the issue.
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