Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Behold Parasite Hyperia galba!

Alexander Semenov spends a lot of his time with the creepier things in life, such as this Hyperia galba here.

Commonly known as a jellyfish parasite (who knew) these critters are found hitching a ride on and sucking the life's juices from jellies.

You can read all about them here a favorite parasite with the research community (again who knew).

Alexanders website deserves a special look and keep your eye out for a stunning face to face encounter with Nereis virens - the clam worm.

The next time you look at any ocean critter and think that life in the ocean is better than, say, life in a aquarium? Make sure you spend some time with the parasites that infest said critters before you make that distinction, at least in the aquarium they don't suffer the wrath of Sacculina!

Let's hope no one you know does.

Of Shrimps and Sharks - Gulf video

If you want to know what's going on in the oceans - ask a commercial fisherman. Apparently shrimp boat captains are reporting a "plague of sharks" ripping up nets and taking catches away from boats along the gulf coast.

While this is not news to some, for those in the shark community this news is interesting.

Wouldn't suggest you go diving in this shark soup anytime soon though:

Shark-Free Marinas New Website, New Marinas, Florida Focus

What started several years ago as a "conservation concept" born from the shark diving community has, in the capable hands of Luke Tipple, become so much more.

Welcome to the newly invigorated Shark-Free Marinas Initiative now with more participating marinas and PSA's featuring Slash, Guy Harvey, Alex Baldwin, Elizebeth Berkley, Nigel Barker, Jim Toomey, Bill Maher with the full support and backing of the Humane Society of the USA.

The Shark-Free Marinas Initiative now features a new division called Shark-Friendly Marinas a natural expansion of the original concept:

We'd like to register every marina as Shark-Free, however some state laws or private companies have policies which do not allow for a complete ban on killing sharks. In these cases we offer the Shark-Friendly classification which discourages the intentional killing of sharks.

The SFMI's early start was a rocky one. Thanks to several members of our own community who adopted this concept and brought into being by acting as self motivated boots on the ground, actively transforming marinas in their region to become Shark-Free.

To those few early adopters, Kudos, your leadership, your dedication to sharks allowed the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative to grow into what it is today.

The hard work is still to come and this month the SFMI has announced it's 201 Florida Focus with the help of Guy Harvey and the Guy Harvey Oceans Foundation to invite Florida marinas to become Shark-Free and Shark-Friendly.

Another shark campaign?

Yes, the Shark-Free Marinas Initiative is smart, targeted, and has the benefits of saving sharks now.

Join the shark conservation army and ask your local marina to become Shark-Free this month.

Dr Guy Harvey Shark-Free Marinas PSA

Dr Guy Harvey of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation speaks out of behalf of the Shark-Free Marina Initiative.

Visit http://www.sharkfreemarinas.com

Grim News for the Grey Nurse Sharks?

Over in Fiji and elsewhere folks are raising the fighting flag for sharks.

This time the Grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus) in Australia where a recent change in fisheries policy is taking this species off the protected list and open to fishing pressure.

What makes this particular case actionable is the fact this is a reversal of set conservation policy introducing an open fishing zone where these animals are known to aggregate and breed.

If this sounds like politics once again creeping into shark conservation, you have a good ear for bad conservation policy.

You can get the full scoop and send a well timed email to Fisheries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson this week at the Grey Nurse Blog.

Note: The image is from Montague Island circa 1964, when sharks were considered the enemy and images like these served to prove that point. We have come a long way since then, let's not let fisheries policy in Australia slide back at the hands of a few misinformed policy makers.

Shark Tournament Change - One Clinic at a Time

We have been supporters of changes coming to shark tournaments in the USA for a while. After close to a decade of failed zero sum policy by many within the conservation community seeking to have all shark tournaments "shut down," the realization that we must inhabit a middle ground for successful conservation is dawning on many.

The middle ground is a two pronged approach by members of the tournament fishing community and forward thinking conservation members to embrace circle hooks, and catch, tag and release tournament models.

It's a conservation strategy that works with the fishing community instead of marginalizing them, embracing a multi million dollar sportfishing community by allowing leadership to make important and long ranging conservation decisions based on science and best fishing practices.

This week that conservation strategy is spreading to Ocean City and only good things can come of it.

The big news this year is that the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation has signed on as a major sponsor of the OC Shark Tournament Release Division. Through his foundation's involvement, Harvey hopes to provide an increased level of shark conservation while demonstrating to the fishing industry that release tournaments with large cash payouts can be both successful as well as a wise alternative to traditional events that result in dead fish to being brought back to the scales.

OCEAN CITY -- For a long time, most tournament directors relied solely on the weight of dead fish at the dock to determine the winners of their event. But today, as more fishermen recognize the need for catch-and-release fishing, many tournament directors are responding by increasing the emphasis on release categories in their events. But properly running a release tournament, or even just a release division, is no easy task.

For a release division in which no physical evidence of the fish will be brought in, there must be rules and procedures to ensure the validity of each catch. Winners need to be properly verified just as losers need to be assured that they lost fairly.

Equally important is the need for anglers who engage in catch-and-release fishing, tournament or not, to do so with due regard to the survivability of their catch.

There's not much point in releasing a fish that's going to die anyway. This is particularly true in tournaments that result in a sudden increase in the amount of fishermen targeting species of fish that might already be pressured from other sources.

Since tournament anglers will likely be fishing at the top of their game, the average catch-and-release rates per angler go up during tournaments and, therefore, the need for proper release techniques is important.

With all this in mind, on Saturday, May 21, myself and the other the directors of the 31st Annual Ocean City Shark Tournament will be conducting a shark release clinic on the docks at the Ocean City Fishing Center from 4-7 p.m.

Complete story.