Shark conservation on CNN Photo

Shark conservation on CNN

CNN has featured a story entitled “Shark catching drives species to extinction”, highlighting the plight of sharks worldwide. They emphasize that sharks killed 6 people last year, while the shark finning industry killed about 73 million sharks, and that one third of all shark species are in danger of extinction. Matt Rand, director of the Pew Environment Group’s Global Shark Conservation Campaign, is quoted as saying:

If serious action is not taken soon, the fate of shark species playing a viable role in the marine ecosystem — one they’ve played for 400 million years — is in jeopardy. Some say we’ve past the turning point; I hope that is not the case.”

He goes on to talk about the current attempts to influence shark fishing policies at the current summit of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization being held in Rome. Exposure about shark fishing practices at this level can only be good for shark conservation.

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GoPro launches the BacPac LCD screen Photo

GoPro launches the BacPac LCD screen

GoPro has released the BacPac, a detachable LCD screen for GoPro HD HERO cameras. The screen will allow for easier framing of complex shots and playback of video and photographs directly on the camera and will ship with new backdoors that allow it to be used with existing waterproof housings. The BacPac interfaces with the camera via the HERO port on the camera and is the first of several expansion options that GoPro plan to offer.

The LCD BacPac will retail for $79.99 and is available now.

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Issue 15 of African Diver available Photo

Issue 15 of African Diver available

The February 2011 issue of African Diver is now available for download. Featured in issue 15 are articles about the magic of diving in the kelp forests of the Cape, a follow-up on the improvements made to baited shark diving in South Africa and a review of a visit to Pomene, Mozambique. In addition the magazine features the elusive and mystical dugongs of the Bazaruto archipelago and CJ Coetzee is the featured photographer

Africa Diver issue 15 is available as a free pdf download.

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“No Shell Blues” wins ocean acidification video competition Photo

“No Shell Blues” wins ocean acidification video competition

Cuyler Bryant has won first place in the Dialogue Earth Ocean Acidification video contest with the entry entitled “No Shell Blues”. Those familiar with Schoolhouse Rock, the popular educational cartoons from the early 1980s, will appreciate his entry.

Dialogue Earth is a hybrid start-up nonprofit, with a research operation based at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, whose mission is to increase public understanding on environmental topics. It plans to change the way science stories are told to the general public. “No Shell Blues” is the result of their pilot study.

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Favorable weather leads to high manatee count Photo

Favorable weather leads to high manatee count

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has reported a preliminary count of 4,840 manatees statewide during the annual synoptic survey. The aerial survey took place from 20 to 24 January.The goal of the survey is to count as many manatees as possible. While these survey results provide researchers with a minimum number of manatees in Florida waters at the time of the survey they are not considered a population estimate as the number of manatees that were not visible during the survey is unknown. Hence, these counts cannot be used to determine long-term population trends. Gil McRae, director of the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said:

‘The relatively high counts this year are encouraging, given the extremely high number of manatees that died from cold stress in 2010.”

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Egypt unrest reaches Red Sea resorts Photo

Egypt unrest reaches Red Sea resorts

The BBC is reporting this morning that the widespread protests against the ongoing political rule of President Hosni Mubarak has now reached the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh, with barricades being erected in front of resort hotels. It is believed that the president may actually be at his summer dwelling, which is part of a hotel complex in the area. Although the situation on the Red Sea coast seems calm, it is important to bear in mind that many of the workers in the resort towns have roots and family in the areas that are currently affected. The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is now advising that Britons in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez should leave if it is safe for them to do so. This does not apply to people in Red Sea resort areas at this time.

Many Wetpixel members live and work in Egypt and I’m sure we all send them our support in what must be a difficult time.

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Jim Abernethy speaks to the press about shark bite Photo

Jim Abernethy speaks to the press about shark bite

Our good friend, Jim Abernethy, has been released from the hospital after he was bitten by a shark in the Bahamas 3 days ago and evacuated by helicopter to a St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Wearing his “Stop Eating Shark Fin Soup” shirt, Jim gave a press conference earlier today where he talked about the importance of sharks in the marine ecosystem. Jim also showed that he has full mobility in his arm and hands. Continue reading for the video of the press conference.

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Eric Cheng joins the Sharksavers board Photo

Eric Cheng joins the Sharksavers board

Wetpixel editor, Eric Cheng, has joined the board of directors at Sharksavers. Other new members of the board include Sue Chen of the Reef Check Foundation, Wyland Icon award-winning dive center owner Martha Watkins Gilkes and jounalist and award-winning photographer Douglas David Seifert.

Sharksavers has also expanded it’s board of advisors to include Jim Abernethy and Howard and Michelle Hall. Sharksavers was founded in 2007, and focuses on education and awareness of the issues around the commercial fishing of sharks, and the empowerment of people to take action by taking part in programs and campaigns. Current campaigns include generating support for a anti-shark finning bill currently going through parliament in Guam and the “Take the Pledge-Say No to Shark Fin Soup” campaign.

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