Friday, 28 March 2008

UK MSN's gallery of underwater photography

Just a link to MSN's gallery of photos 'Britains underwater wonders - the jewels of the sea' part of their 'Save our Seas' campaign. A mini reminder of what is special in our waters and why we should keep fighting to save it.

Also, it's another reminder to sign their petition, with information on the Marine Bill and what you can do to help. Podcast available.

('Save Our Seas' Campaign main page -

The social interaction of Crabs and the great Seal debate.

Interesting article on BBC news that Scientists at Plymouth uni are claiming Cornish Hermit crabs are 'braver' than Devon crabs, which they claim are 'rather shy'. Amusing.
Read it here:

On a sadder note; the seal hunt. As the seal hunting season in Canada has begun, this years debate is well under way between animal rights activists and Canadain hunters. Every year the argument kicks off over the seals and so far little has changed. This year, the canadian government have put a 275,000 catch limit upon the seals. Hunters, who are claim that the seals bring in the a 5th of the countries income, are likely to suffer a hit as the EU looks to join the USA in banning the sale of seal pelts from Canada.

Pro-hunters claim that seals are the same as fish but even so, are always killed humanely. But despite this claim shocking images of the mammals bleeding slowly to death and suffering much pain are released every year, displayed in the hope of raising more public interest in ending the hunt. This year though, as the hunt begins, the Canadian government have interestingly banned the media from 'interefering' and filming the hunt, which makes many wonder what they are trying to hide....the fight continues.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Help PETA protect seals in Canada

Every year in Canada, there is an annual seal hunt. Seals are tracked by hunters armed with hooks and clubs for sport and fur. Around 300,000 seals, mostly pups, get bludgeoned before having their skin removed and are left to die. This mass slaughter continues with no intervention from the Canadian government, and all just for fur. PETA (People's Society for the Protection of Animals) is a massive worldwide organisation whom are constantly working in order to protect animals and try and prevent many acts of cruety. PETA are working now to raise awareness and take action against the Canadian government and they are asking everyone to sign a mass petition to be delivered to the Canadian government and the MP Stephen Harper to put a complete stop to seal hunting.

Help by signing the petition now:

Monday, 17 March 2008

The end is nigh....?

After recently being part of a conversation between a large group of people, containing 3 different generations, the views and fears of the future do not appear to be overly optimistic.
There seems to be a belief among some of the public that the world is going to collapse into complete disorder over the next years. People are considering crazy future models of our earth, based upon reports (possible scaremongering), obvious changes in weather and predictions of sea level rise. These predictions, such as the loss of Greenland, is sparking fear in many that there will not be a world to save for much longer. Ideas that as sea level rises, war will break out over territory and there will be a recession to an almost prehistoric time; that all we have created and invented will be lost and people will be forced to live by nature alone. But there are two opposite sides to the coin. Some are looking forward to a future full of space age style technology and a super human race whereas others it seems are predicting cavemen and spear hunting? It seems that some of the general public are geniuinely worried that situations such as those in films like ' The Day After Tomorrow' could be a reality. Recent weather is supporting these fears with massive changes from one year to the next, freak storms and spells of extreme sunshine or rain. Although many will claim that there is evidence to back up these fears, aren't we just always afraid of something? New disease epidemics that would resemble the plague come forth nearly every year such as SARS, bird flu and BSE, fears over natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions that would give Pompeii a run for its money, unfounded worries of Y2K...we have to wonder whether once again we are expecting the worse because we are conditioned to?

Just a link to back this up, written in 2003, this report claims that our beaches will be gone in just 100 years - extreme much?

Is this really the future we are facing or are we suffering from scare mongering by the media and those wanting to kick push the world into change?

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Sharks to be extinct?

Recent reports are claiming that our oceans sharks are in grave danger of becoming extinct.

Statistics are claiming that there has been a total decrease of 50% of all species over the last 30 years. The decline is being blamed upon fishing and it has been estimated that around 100 million sharks are killed every year for this. This is mainly due to an increase in demand for shark meat, especially fin, but many also die due to being the product of by-catch. Shark fins are considered a delicacy, reaching up to as much as £150 per kg. Finning is a cruel process and usually means a slow death for the shark. The fins are removed and the fish is replaced back in the water, rendering it helpless and eventually causing death through suffocation or blood loss. Many are now calling for a ban to be placed upon finning.

Julia Baum, a member of the IUCN’s Shark Specialist Group, said that few regulations and catch limits on shark fishing are causing the concern that in few years to come, many species could be facing extinction. Overfishing has already caused the scalloped hammer-head to be placed on the 2008 IUCN Red List as being globally 'endangered' after it is said to have suffered at 95% loss in recent years, along with the tiger, bull and dusky species.

Sonja Fordham, of the Shark Alliance, said that the general public can help by alerting ministers to the sharks' plight and letting them know they support methods to conserve shark populations. It is thought that letters and petitions will soon come into action to try and enforce new government regulations for shark fishing.

Rescue Dolphins.

Fascinating MSN video of Dolphins helping to rescue stranded Whales in New Zealand.

(Click below the photograph)

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Depletion of Salmon stocks

Relating to the previous post on replenishment of fish stocks:

The Environment Agency are taking measures to try and prevent the depletion of Salmon stocks in rivers in the South West area.

The E.A put Salmon breeding numbers at a big loss over the past 10 years:

1996 - 5, 213
2006 - 1,098

Salmon are being bred and 'raised' bfore being released into the rivers. The hope is that they will then return to the same river in order to breed.

The environment Agency's action plan for the River Wye in Wales:

Scallop fishing to be banned in Falmouth?

07/03/08 - West Country News report

A minister is being forced by the MCS (Marine Conservation Society) to put a ban on Scallop fishing in the Fal Bay and Helford River. Although the ban was originally to concentrate on dredging, it has been suggested that the only way to really bring it into force would be to ban all types of scallop fishing; including diving and collecting scallops by hand. The MCS say they are hoping to replenish the scallop stocks, letting them breed and get back to a healthy number. Although in theory this is a positive move for fishermen, more scallops means more stock, there are fears among the fishermen that if the replenishment is successful, it could mean more bans across the country and put many, temporarily or possibly even permanently, out of work. The only way the ban could be lifted is if the fishermen can prove their methods of fishing are not damaging, to either the stocks or the sea bed; an impossible task.

This brings about a debate which has long plagued the marine industry; is there ever a way to comprimise? The replenishment of fish stocks and their health is essential but constant bans and rules is causing negative press for fishing and putting many fishermen and their jobs in jeopardy. So is sustainable fishing the answer? And if so, how can we encourage fishermen to stick to sustainable methods? Also, will these methods be enough for them to maintain decent lifestyles? One thing that should be considered is, if this is a step in the right direction, how come the government won't step in and bring in better measures for all concerned? Banning unsustainable methods of fishing and educating all fishermen would surely help to bring about a happier medium, but sustainable methods often mean more work for the fishmermen. This would likely lead to a more expensive market - is this the right price to pay? How would consumers react? And could this mean fishermen being put out of jobs anyway?

In a time where we are constantly being told our seas are in crisis, long term plans need to be devised to ensure all parties involved will benefit and that quick-fix botch jobs are not made to try and simply plaster over the cracks.

For more information on the Falmouth Scallop ban - An article from the telegraph: