Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Extinction threatens Shark populations

New reports saying that nearly a third, 32% in fact, of all sharks, rays and skates are under the threat of extinction - and overfishing is to blame. The IUCN has released a list of 64 species which are under serious threat. The list includes Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini), Striped Catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) and Silver shark (Balantiocheilos melanopterus).

Two of the most recognizable species of shark, the Scalloped Hammerhead and the Oceanic Whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus) are under serious threat. It is thought that both species have declined by 99% in recent years - a shocking statistic.

Sharks do not have large litters of young and they are slow to mature, with some species taking decades to reach sexual maturity. Due to this, they need time to develop - something they are not getting due to fishing. For years, sharks were merely a bycatch; useless and insignificant, their reputations tarred by media hype. However in recent times they have become somewhat of a delicacy caught and used for shark-fin soup. As it is considered such an elegance by the rich, the soup has become more sought after and demand has sky rocketed.

The fear for the global shark populations is growing and more and more are understanding how much we need to save our sharks. Spread the message!

For more information and to help out, contact the Shark trust at

Saturday, 13 June 2009

What does the rain cloud wear under his rain coat?

Thunder wear!

So it seems that a new type of cloud has been discovered, for the first time since 1953. Named "Asperatus" after the Latin for 'rough', the clouds are thought to form in a similar way to storm clouds with a "choppy" effect, however a storm does not ensue.

The cloud was discovered by none other than Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the fantastic Cloud Appreciation Society. Pretor-Pinney said he noticed the cloud when trying to identify clouids in photographs sent in by fans. Realising that some of these did not fit into existing categories, he figured there must be a whole new one.

Research by The Royal Meteorological Society is now underway to try and understand the cause of Asperatus clouds, and will be classified in the same manner all clouds are classified internationally: where they are formed atmospherically, their appearance, their shape and the amount of moisture they hold.

P.S, just a thought how it is interesting that this discovery just so happens to tie in with Pretor-Pinney's new book....

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Peta's Boycott

The animal rights group Peta are still fighting against the seal massacre which happens every year in Canada. Despite years of protest, Canada still allowers seal clubbing to occur for skins which many claim are 'uneeded and unused'.

Peta is rallying for everyone to boycott one of Canadas main exports - Maple Syrup. Canada provide 85% of the worlds maple syrup, which is a popular product over in the US, made particularly popular from the famous 'maple syrup diet' (Hmm!)

Peta ask that everyone pledge not to buy Canadas export until they stop the baby seal slaughter that happens yearly. Peta say they will send a copy of your pledge directly to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canada's Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day to plead for an end to this annual bloodbath.

To do your bit, please go to their website and make your pledge:


Friday, 24 April 2009

Jawed fish evolution explained by fossil

Scientists in China have discovered a new fossil which could help explain the evolutionary process of jawed fish. The fish, a new spoecies named Guiyu oneiros, is believed to be a distant relative of the lobe-fin fish group and is about 419 million years old. Scientists believe that this new discovery may be able to explain a little of the jawed fishes history.

More will be updated soon.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Dead man ordered to fish shop!

A fish shop in Pennsylvania got a shock after they ordered a box of marine and freshwater. The shop owner opened the package to discover a corpse instead. The owner saisd this wasnt the first time mistakes had been made, though never quite as alarming. When the mistake was rectified and the three boxes of fish delivered however they all sadly died.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Decline of reef fish in the Caribbean

Scientists are warning that reef fuish numbers in the caribbean are in decline. They have been researching over 300 coral reefs across the caribbean and noted a loss at a rate of 2% - 6% per year, of many species of fish. The main concern however, lies with herbivorous fish, as they mean the prevention of too much algae which can destroy the coral reefs.

Reefs, like many other habitats, are a delicate and well balanced system. If one species of fish declines it can mean detrimental effects. With many fish already in steady decline, scientists are unsure of what it may mean. The research suggests that the decline is happening due to varying causes affecting the reefs. As the fish species in decline range from small to large in size, the cause cannot be over-fishing alone.

Michelle Paddock who was leading the study, said changes must be made; "On a personal level, this may mean not buying wild-caught aquarium fish and corals, not eating reef fish species that are declining, taking care not to anchor on reefs, and reducing our carbon emissions to help control climate change. But importantly, we need to let lawmakers and resource managers know that we care about these ecosystems and we need to push for changes in how they are managed."

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Whale shark fisherman facing fine

Fishermen who caught the endanged Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus) may be facing a fine. The four fishermen who caught the fish on New Years Day may be facing the fine as they did notreturn the shark to the water, and instead brought it ashore. The huge two tonne fish was estimated to have been caught in the trawling net around 3am and was bought to shore when the men came inland around 5.30am. Director Mohd Najib Ramli of the Penang Fisheries Department said that fishermen should be prepared for such catches, and be ready to safely get the animal back into the water, as quickly as possible before any damage is caused.

The shark was handed in and buried at the Fisheries Research Institute (FRI) at 2.30pm on 4th Januray.