Tuesday, 25 September 2012

100 is the loneliest number since the number 1...

100. Actually, fewer than 100. That is the estimated number of adult cod left in the North Sea. I have been going on about overfishing for some time now, as have most marine scientists, but these new numbers are very scary. Scientists have been analysing Cod catch in fishing ports across Europe and discovered the numbers low. Not a single Cod over the age of 13 was found and considering these creatures can live up to 25 years old, this is alarming. 260,000 tons of Cod had been recorded back in 1971, but our appetite for them has been such, that numbers have declined dramatically. Last year, it was thought that there were only 600 cod in the North Sea aged between 12 and 13 - 200 of these had been caught. Without being able to reach certain ages and sizes, reproduction will decline leading to an overall decline. It also upsets the food chain; scampi are said to be on the rise. It has been suggested by the Chief Exec. of the NFFO (the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations), Barrie Deas, that "The most effective measure in rebuilding fish stocks seems to be removing vessels from service by paying owners to decommission them.” But this will no doubt cause more arguments and more problems. Plus, after all the campaigning, people are still scoffing Cod. Maybe I sound too defeatist, but this news has given me one thought only; maybe it is time we accept it; cod is going to become extinct within the next decade.

Sea Dragons

Apparently, a lot of people have heard of this glorious creature before, but it is new to me! I wanted to post a few pictures of the 'Blue Dragon', a.k.a Glaucus atlanticus. It is a sea slug, a mollusc from the Glaucidae family. They are a small, pelagic nudibranch, only reaching up to 3cm, which is found in warmer, tropical waters. The slug actually floats upside down on the surface of the water due to an air-filled sac it has inside its stomach. It also has a very interesting diet. Because it has an immunity to the stings, Glaucus atlanticus can actual feed on some very large, venomous creatures, including the Portugguese Man O'War (Physalia physalis), the Blue Button (Porpita porpita) and the violet snail (Janthina janthina). One of the main reasons why this sea slug is so spectacular though, is its appearance. The following photos show you just why this creature gets its nick name, what an exquisite organism.