Friday, December 31, 2010
Just can't decide on what new project to start on for the New Year!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
WASHINGTON (AFP) - – The US Senate toughened laws against shark finning, hoping to save the ancient fish which experts fear is on the brink of extinction due to growing demand in Chinese restaurants.
Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year by fishermen who slice off their fins -- a delicacy in Chinese cuisine -- and leave them to die in the water. Sharks live long and have few offspring, compounding risks to their survival.
The United States banned finning in 2000 and has enforced restrictions in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The new rules close a loophole that permitted trade in the Pacific so long as sharks were not finned onboard the vessel, triggering a booming clandestine industry.
The legislation cruised through the House of Representatives in early 2009 but had languished in the Senate, which approved the measure without objection on one of the last days of its session.
"Shark finning has fueled massive population declines and irreversible disruption of our oceans," said Senator John Kerry, who championed the bill.
"Finally we've come through with a tough approach to tackle this serious threat to our marine life," the Democrat from Massachusetts said.
The bill does not ban the sale of shark fin, which is readily available in many upscale Chinese restaurants in the United States.
But conservationists welcomed the bill, saying it would curb a burgeoning but largely undocumented US trade in shark fins.
"This legislation will help address not only an unspeakably cruel practice of removing fins from live animals and then releasing them to suffer a slow death," said Nancy Perry, vice president for government affairs at The Humane Society of the United States.
"It will also help address on the macro level the rapid decline of shark populations," she said.
Environmental groups estimate that up to 73 million sharks are killed each year around the world for fins, leading to declines of up to 90 percent of some species of sharks -- which have swum the oceans since the age of the dinosaurs.
Despite campaigns from activists, demand for shark fins is seen as growing as China becomes increasingly prosperous.
Matt Rand, director of the shark conservation campaign at the Pew Environmental Group, said he recently heard of shark fins selling in California for an unprecedented 800 dollars a pound, or about 1,750 dollars a kilogram.
"The United States is a major shark exporter," Rand said. "I think this legislation sends a big signal that the United States is concerned about the decline of shark populations, not just in its own waters but in international waters as well."
Sharks are caught almost exclusively for fins. While the law does not ban the killing of sharks, all fins entering the United States must have an accompanying carcass.
In one notable incident in 2002, the US Coast Guard seized a Hong Kong-chartered, Hawaii-registered ship that was hauling nearly 65,000 pounds (30,000 kilograms) of just fins -- meaning tens of thousands of sharks died.
While closing loopholes, the Senate bill also opened one. To win support from North Carolina's senators, the law makes an exception for one shark -- the smooth dogfish.
Fishermen in the southeastern US state kill the shark for all of its meat instead of just the fins, but objected to the ban because they cut off fins in their ships.
"We had hoped they would adjust their practices so there wouldn't be any loophole," Perry of the Humane Society said. "But that was done to get the legislation over the finish-line."
Monday, December 20, 2010
A giant goldfish was apparently caught at a lake in France but now some are calling the story a fake, though marine experts say that a fish that size and color is very possible. Photoshop magic but it is real, Fisherman Raphael Biagini caught a huge Goldfish in France where the fish are very popular. The fish is orange in color and looks like a giant goldfish which weighs 30 pounds. Photo is several months old but it is getting popular now through an article from U.K’s Daily Mail.
During the 10-minute struggle to reel the giant goldfish in, Raphael Biagini said, “To begin with, we couldn’t tell what was at the end of the line, but we knew it was big.” After snapping the above shot, Biagnini released the fish back into the water. Experts say orange koi grow to fit their habitat so catching a fish of this size is not impossible, just rare. In fact, koi carp can even grow bigger than the one Biagini caught.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
SINGAPORE - Two of the seven bottlenose dolphins, which were destined for Resorts World Sentosa's (RWS) Marine Life Park, have died in a holding area at Langkawi.
The dolphins were caught from the wild in the Solomon Islands in January. Two females - one aged between four and five years and the other, around 10 - died from an acute bacterial infection of Melioidosis in October, said RWS spokesman Robin Goh on Friday. They were in "perfect health" previously, he noted. The remaining five have no signs of infection.
The virus, Burkholderia pseudomallei, can be transmitted through contact with contaminated soil and surface waters, with infections occurring primarily during the rainy season.
The deaths are set to reignite opposition to RWS' plans to house the animals as entertainers.
Marine conservationist Paul Watson told MediaCorp the "incarceration of dolphins lowers life expectancy of the animals".
"It's a trade based on blood and misery and has no place in the 21st century," said the founder and president of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals executive director Deirdre Moss agreed: "This is a tragedy. The animals were obviously under tremendous stress ... If RWS could change its stand on whale sharks, why couldn't they on dolphins?"
Last year, RWS scrapped its original plan to exhibit whale sharks. Animal Concerns Research and Education Society founder Louis Ng hopes RWS will also "re-think" its decision to keep dolphins in captivity.
Marine Life Park is still under construction. Said RWS' Mr Goh: "We currently do not have a definite date for its opening, and likewise, details like animal configuration are also being finalised."
As for the 18 dolphins being trained at Ocean Adventure Park in the Philippines for the Marine Life Park, RWS said they were in "good health".
"We're continuing with the development and establishment of the medical, behavioural, husbandry and training programmes that include the preventive medicine programme to ensure the well-being and health of the dolphins," said Mr Goh, who added that the Marine Life Park was "part of the bid" when RWS was awarded the integrated resort licence.
"We're committed to delivering the bid and the Marine Life Park that will not only boost tourism but research, conservation and education in marine mammals in this part of the region."
However, Ms Moss reiterated: "It's cruel to capture these animals from the wild with a view to entertain the public. We should promote tourism but not at the expense of these animals."
Bottlenose dolphins are listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which entail strict regulations in the trade of these mammals.
RWS has said previously it would comply with CITES.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Shocking news on Stomp about the plight of fishes caught my eyes today:
Earlier today (Dec 13), STOMPer ilovetokick arrived at work to see the pond outside his office building drained, leaving some fish dead and others gasping for breath. He contacted the SPCA, and 6 fishes, as well as 4 terrapins, were rescued.
"I arrived at work this morning and was shocked to see the pond outside the building drained of water.
"The fish were mostly dead but there were a few plecos (commonly called sucker fish) barely breathing, as well as a few terrapins stranded in the dried pond.
"We managed to net the live plecos and terrapins into two tanks.
"The security guard informed us that the pond is owned by an advertising company that had just shifted to a new office and abandoned the pond, though it was still full last night. I am not sure who drained it.
"Great work, SPCA, for your swift response."