Connect with us

Marine Life & Conservation

Divers are Thankful for the National Ocean Policy



As we near the end of 2013, many of us turn our attention to the start of the holiday season, the things are we are thankful for, and our family and friends. Last month, divers in the US showed Congress that they are thankful for the National Ocean Policy.

In fact, seventy four members of our nation’s vibrant dive community, including such members as her “Deepness” Dr. Sylvia Earle, explorer Philippe Cousteau, Jr. and renowned underwater photographer Brian Skerry, supported the National Ocean Policy and a National Endowment for the Oceans to the members of Congress who have an opportunity to show that they too care about our nation’s oceans, coasts and the economies that rely on them.

These are the members of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) Conference Committee, who are working to reconcile the versions of WRDA passed by the House and Senate. They will soon consider two provisions critically important to ensuring the long-term health of the nation’s oceans, coasts and Great Lakes. First is the damaging Flores rider, meant to undermine and impede the National Ocean Policy’s implementation by prohibiting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), a key coastal and ocean management agency, from coordinating with coastal states, other federal agencies, and the public as they engage in ocean planning and ecosystem-based management. We know that the National Ocean Policy improves our planning so that we protect important habitat and ocean wildlife, plan to address changing ocean ecosystems, build climate resilience and encourage sustainable use, and provide greater certainty for businesses and other ocean users, including divers. Imposing such an arbitrary restriction harms states, the Corps, and the ocean and coastal economy.

Second is the Senate’s National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO, Title XII to S. 601), a bi-partisan effort to ensure that present and future generations benefit from the ecological, economic, cultural and recreational resources of our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes through grants to states, tribes and others. NEO would support efforts to conserve and restore ocean resources and help develop the baseline science, monitoring, and observation data to facilitate long term healthy oceans. To ensure our nation has healthy oceans in the future, the letter urges the conferees to OPPOSE and STRIP out the Flores rider and EMBRACE and SUPPORT the provision establishing NEO.

While the dive community is certainly a diverse one, each member has one thing in common: they all benefit from healthy, productive oceans. Divers see firsthand the incredible beauty and, too often, the increasing burden our oceans face. That is why members from the dive community stood up last month to say, hey Congress, the dive community is full of people committed to ensuring our industry, sport and the nation have an ocean ethic. We want you to know that we give thanks that our Nation has an Ocean Policy … and so should you.

Find the letter here.

Scientist Charles Messing in the Dry Tortugas


Top Photo credit: Wolcott Henry/Marine Photobank

Bottom Photo Credit: Greenpeace

Thanks to our friend John Hocevar from Greenpeace who passed this article on to us.


The life of a Great White Shark



Great White Shark

The great white shark, known scientifically as Carcharodon carcharias, embodies the apex predator of the ocean. This majestic creature’s life is a testament to survival, adaptability, and the intricate balance of the marine ecosystem.

Born in the waters off coastal regions, a great white shark begins its life as a pup within the safety of nurseries, typically found in warm, shallow waters. The pups, measuring around 5 feet in length at birth, are immediately equipped with an innate instinct for survival.

Great White Shark

As they grow, great whites embark on a journey, venturing into deeper and cooler waters, often covering vast distances across the ocean. These apex predators are perfectly adapted hunters, relying on their impressive senses to detect prey. Their acute sense of smell, aided by specialized sensory organs known as ampullae of Lorenzini, helps detect the faintest traces of blood in the water from several miles away.

Feeding primarily on seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals, great whites are known for their powerful jaws lined with rows of razor-sharp teeth. Their hunting techniques often involve stealth, utilizing their streamlined bodies to approach prey from below and striking with incredible speed and force.

Great White Shark

Despite their fearsome reputation, great whites play a crucial role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems. As top predators, they help regulate the population of prey species, preventing overpopulation that could disrupt the balance of the food chain.

Reproduction among great white sharks is a slow and careful process. Females reach sexual maturity between 12 and 18 years of age, while males mature earlier, around 9 to 10 years old. Mating occurs through complex courtship rituals, with females giving birth to a small number of live pups after a gestation period of about 12 to 18 months.

Great White Shark

However, the life of a great white shark is not without challenges. Human activities, including overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction, pose significant threats to their population. Additionally, despite their formidable presence, great whites are vulnerable and face dangers from entanglement in fishing gear and accidental bycatch.

Despite these challenges, great white sharks continue to inspire awe and fascination among scientists and nature enthusiasts. Their presence in the ocean serves as a reminder of the delicate balance and interconnectedness of marine life, emphasizing the need for conservation efforts to protect these magnificent creatures for future generations to admire and study.

Want to learn more about sharks? Visit The Shark Trust website:


Continue Reading

Marine Life & Conservation

Book Review: Sea Mammals



Sea Mammals: The Past and Present Lives of Our Oceans’ Cornerstone Species by Annalisa Berta

This is a book packed with information about some of the most iconic and charismatic marine species. I have a particular soft spot for the pinnipeds, seals and sea lions, due to some incredible diving encounters over the years. So these were the pages I first turned to.

Once picked up this book is hard to put down. Polar Bears, Narwhal, Sea Otters, manatees, whales and dolphins adorn the pages with beautiful photographs and illustrations. Each turn of the page lures you in to discover more about a species you love, one you want to learn more about, some you have never heard of and even includes the details of fascinating animals that are sadly now extinct.

I think what I love most about this book is how it is organised. Rather than simply lump the animals into taxonomic groupings, they are put into chapters that tell you a story about them. Whether it is the story of their evolution, how they were discovered, their biology, behaviour or need for conservation. Once you have decided on an animal to delve deeper into, each species has its own story, as well as key information about size, diet, distribution, habitat and conservation status.

There is plenty to enjoy in this delightful book. Plenty to learn too. As the cold dark nights draw in, I can see myself delving into this book time and time again. This is a perfect gift for anyone that loves the ocean and its inhabitants. Or just treat yourself.

What the publisher says:

From the gregarious sea otter and playful dolphins to the sociable narwhal and iconic polar bear, sea mammals are a large, diverse, and increasingly precious group. In this book, Annalisa Berta, a leading expert on sea mammals and their evolution, presents an engaging and richly illustrated introduction to past and present species of these remarkable creatures, from the blue whale and the northern fur seal to the extinct giant sperm whale, aquatic sloth, and walking sea cow.

The book features more than 50 individual species profiles, themed chapters, stunning photographs, and specially commissioned paleo-illustrations of extinct species. It presents detailed accounts of these mammals’ evolutionary path, anatomy, behavior, habitats, and conservation. And because these are key species that complete many food chains and have the widest influence of all sea life, the book also offers insights into a broad variety of marine worlds today and in the future.

About the Author:

Annalisa Berta is professor emerita of biology at San Diego State University. A specialist in the anatomy and evolutionary biology of marine mammals, especially baleen whales, she formally described a skeleton of the early pinniped Enaliarctos. She is the author of Return to the Sea: The Life and Evolutionary Times of Marine Mammals and the editor of the award-winning Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises: A Natural History and Species Guide.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press


Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691236643

Published: 26th September, 2023

Pages: 224

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Enjoy a liveaboard adventure for less. There are some fantastic savings to be made around the world on the Siren & Master Fleet boats. Book now! Save up to 40% on the Bahamas Master and in Truk Lagoon on the Pacific Master. Save up to 30% on the Bahamas Master, Solomon Master, Indo Siren, Palau Siren, and Philippines Siren. Save up to 20% on Galapagos Master, The Junk and The Phinisi in Thailand. Valid on new bookings only. Saving valid on boat only. Terms and conditions apply. Call 01962 302 087 Email  More Less

Instagram Feed