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Jason Heller | Oct 29, 2007 2:00 AM
The Humane Society of the United States is urging organizers of the Destin Fishing Rodeo to permanently end the shark division event after the killing of an 844-pound mako shark. The Humane Society sent a letter to the Rodeo at the request of local citizens. Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president for wildlife and habitat protection at the Humane Society of the United States, said, uA?Spectacles such as the Shark Division of the Destin Fishing Rodeo are preying on the destructive reputation that sharks achieved in the movie Jaws, while promoting the idea that the lives of sharks don't matter
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Jason Heller | Oct 29, 2007 2:00 AM
A clam dredged up off the coast of Iceland is thought to have been the longest-lived animal discovered. Scientists said the mollusc, an ocean quahog clam, was aged between 405 and 410 years and could offer insights into the secrets of longevity. Researchers from Bangor University in north Wales said they calculated its age by counting rings on its shell. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest-lived animal was a clam found in 1982 aged 220 Unofficially, another clam - found in an Icelandic museum - was discovered to be 374-years-old, Bangor University said, making their clam at least 31 years older. The clam, nicknamed Ming after the Chinese dynasty in power when it was born, was in its infancy when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne and Shakespeare was writing plays such as Othello and Hamlet
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Jason Heller | Oct 29, 2007 2:00 AM
An Intergovernmental Panel on the Oceans should be established to better inform policy-making, in much the same way as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does today, marine policy experts say. That conclusion was reached at a meeting of international marine policy experts that convened in New York. The experts warned that, in conjunction with the predicted effects of climate change, activities such as ocean iron fertilization, seismic testing and bioprospecting threaten to undermine the ocean's ability to sustain life
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Jason Heller | Oct 27, 2007 2:00 AM
A grant will fund a study of deep-water reefs in isle waters A team of Hawaii-based scientists will use a $1.4 million federal grant to study deep-water corals in the Auau Channel between Maui and Lanai over the next three years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced yesterday that the grant will go to a team of researchers from the Bishop Museum, the University of Hawaii departments of plant biology and geology, the state Division of Aquatic Resources and NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. The coral habitats to be examined are in water 100 to 300 feet deep. Most corals live at depths down to 40 feet, NOAA project scientist John Rooney said. "We know very little about deep coral reefs," agreed Tony Montgomery, a state aquatic biologist. "We want to document as many species as we can" and learn about all the plants and animals that live in and around the coral, he said
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Jason Heller | Oct 27, 2007 2:00 AM
The threat of the grey nurse shark's extinction is scarier than sharing a dive with it, writes Genevieve Swart. I am 20 metres underwater, gazing at three grey nurse sharks and breathing heavily into my scuba gear. The three-metre sharks hang in a current, drifting with the immense grace and lazy power of a sleek predator. To the casual observer, it might not be clear who is most endangered in this situation. The answer is unequivocally the sharks. With fewer than 500 grey nurses surviving off the east coast, future generations of Australians may never see these critically endangered creatures anywhere other than an aquarium. I've come to South West Rocks, five hours' drive north of Sydney, to dive with the sharks - a trip inspired by the book Last Chance to See, by Douglas Adams and zoologist Mark Carwardine
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Jason Heller | Oct 27, 2007 2:00 AM
according to a statement released yesterday. The statement was released during a five-day conference held at ESRIN, ESA's Earth Observation Centre in Frascati, Italy, in which operational ice experts from Europe and North America gathered to discuss the state of the polar regions. "In September 2007, the Arctic sea ice reached the minimum extent - the lowest amount of ice recorded in the area annually - in the history of ice charting based on satellite, aircraft and surface observations, continuing a recent trend of diminishing sea ice that began in the 1980s and has accelerated. While there will still be natural inter-annual variability, the decline is likely to continue," the statement reads. "The Arctic is already experiencing an increase in shipping, primarily for oil and gas development and tourism, and we can expect to see further increases as diminishing ice extent makes Arctic marine transportation more viable. The International Ice Charting Working Group (IICWG) cautions that sea ice and icebergs will continue to present significant hazards to navigation for the foreseeable future."
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Jason Heller | Oct 27, 2007 2:00 AM
Docs on the Bay, a new documentary film festival to be held annually in Stephenville, is the first film festival in Atlantic Canada dedicated solely to the presentation and promotion of documentary cinema. Docs on the Bay will launch its festival with two documentary films by award-winning Newfoundland and Labrador filmmaker, Anne Troake, who will be in attendance. The first film is "My Ancestors Were Rogues and Murderers" (2005) and the second is "Up the Anti - Voices of Sealing People" (2007). The National Film Board of Canada said Rogues and Murderers is "a thoughtful contribution to the ongoing debate on Canada's seal hunt, Newfoundland artist Anne Troake offers an insightful and beautifully crafted study of traditional Newfoundland outport culture." This film received the Best Newfoundland Documentary Award at the 2005 Nickel Film Festival held in St. John's
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Jason Heller | Oct 26, 2007 2:00 AM
THE controversial practice of transferring tonnes of crude oil between tankers will not be covered by a UK Marine Bill, it emerged yesterday, sparking fury among environmentalists. It was expected that the bill would regulate industry in the sea and ensure that potentially hazardous activities were carried out in the most appropriate place. This issue has been highlighted by the lack of regulations covering a proposal to transfer Russian crude in the Firth of Forth, where any spill could harm important seabird colonies, whales, dolphins and other wildlife
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Jason Heller | Oct 26, 2007 2:00 AM
Queensland's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says a protected coral reef off the far north Queensland coast has been deliberately damaged. EPA officers visited Hicks Island 600 kilometres north of Cairns after hearing allegations the coral reef that surrounds it, which is within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, had been damaged. They found a channel had been deliberately dug out, but the EPA will not comment on its size or how it may have been created
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Jason Heller | Oct 26, 2007 2:00 AM
The ocean's cerulean, aquamarine and emerald hues offer more than artistic inspiration-they reveal how sea biology is struggling with climate change. NASA's Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) has constantly measured ocean color as an indicator of sea life productivity since the satellite reached orbit in 1997. Combined with ocean temperature data, the observations suggest climate change is playing a big role in negatively altering ocean ecosystems. A new video made from the decade of data illustrates how blooms of phytoplankton, which form the base of the oceanic food chain, are gradually thinning. In the video, purples and blues indicate low concentrations of chlorophyll, which plants and phytoplankton use to gather light energy, whereas yellows, oranges and reds show the highest concentrations
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