Connect with us
background

News

Sea Shepherd Campaign Updates

Published

on

Sea ShepherdSea Shepherd fights for our oceans every day of the year. From the coast of Tanzania to the Sea of Cortez, they are collaborating with governments, stopping illegal activity, and conducting research in order to defend, conserve, and protect marine wildlife and ocean ecosystems. None of this would be possible without your help. A special thanks goes out to all who have contributed to Sea Shepherd’s matching gift challenge and end of year campaign. Thank you for being part of the movement and supporting Sea Shepherd!

Read their latest Campaign Updates here…


Operation Virus Hunter: Sea Shepherd Announces Major Victory for Wild Salmon and Orca Whales

Operation Virus Hunter began in 2016 as a collaboration between Sea Shepherd, Dr. Alexandra Morton and the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, ‘Namgis and Mamalilikulla First Nations. Sea Shepherd provided our sailing vessel Martin Sheen each summer for 2016, 2017 and 2018. The objective was to assist and support the research efforts of Dr. Morton and the activist activities of the First Nations of British Columbia.

Dr. Morton and our Sea Shepherd crew visited salmon farms throughout each summer to do tests that successfully exposed evidence of salmon retroviruses and sea lice parasites being transmitted from domestic alien Atlantic salmon to indigenous native Pacific salmon. The Sea Shepherd crew also provided transportation and support for First Nations activists who boarded and occupied salmon farms.

These activities led to a recent decision by the Provincial Government of British Columbia to remove salmon farms and to give First Nations the power to inspect salmon farms and order their removal from their legal territories if they should so choose. Removing salmon farms from the salmon migration routes is a huge step in the right direction for the salmon, as well as the Southern Resident Killer Whales who rely on wild salmon as a major food source.


Operation Milagro – First Totoaba Saved

Our crew has been hard at work since early September, fighting to protect the vaquita porpoise and the entire Sea of Cortez. As totoaba fishing season approaches, our crew gets busier and busier. So far, they have retrieved 35 nets from the waters, saving potentially hundreds of lives from entrapment. They also recently saved the first totoaba of the season! These fish are critically endangered, as they are the main target for the poacher’s nets. Every one saved is a great addition to the population.


Japan Announces End of Whaling in Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

Since 2002, Sea Shepherd has opposed Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with expeditions to Antarctic waters first in 2002 followed by continuous campaigns from 2005 until 2017. During this period over 6,000 whales were saved from the harpoons of Japanese commercial whalers posing as research whalers by Sea Shepherd interventions.

In 2017, the Japanese government began to invest millions of dollars in security efforts to prevent Sea Shepherd from engaging their fleets. These security measures included military grade real time surveillance. Although this prevented Sea Shepherd from returning to the Southern Ocean in 2018, it also placed Japan in a position of expending huge resources on continuous security.

This and the verdict of the International Court of Justice that exposed Japanese research as fraudulent, coupled with worldwide condemnation of their Southern Ocean activities has, in the opinion of Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd, led to this decision to declare they will openly undertake commercial whaling activities.

The scheme to pose as researchers will now be dropped and that means there can be absolutely no justification for hunting whales in an internationally established whale sanctuary. This will be the last year of Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean.

Sea Shepherd’s objective of ending the slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary has been realized. This is a victory for the campaign to make the Southern Ocean a whaling free zone.


For more information about Sea Shepherd visit their website by clicking here.

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Sharks the Ocean’s Greatest Mystery – Part 2

Published

on

Sharks are an incredibly significant animal in human culture of both the past and present, they are an animal that have been embodied in our culture for millennia. They are represented in formats such as books and clothing, but most notably in our TV and films, which is where a large portion of their negative reputation stems from. A popular TV representation of sharks comes from Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week’, and I believe sharks are possibly the only animal on our planet to have an entire week dedicated to them every year. However, despite this, we still know more collectively about the surface of the Moon and Mars, about Galaxies outside of our own, and even about animals that have been extinct for millions of years, than we do about sharks.

Sharks are our Ocean’s top predator, and they represent just how little we know about our blue planet. We have put more money into exploring outer space than we have exploring our seas and whilst many people call space the final frontier, I believe the final frontier is our Oceans. There are people that have lived in space for over a year, yet we aren’t able to stay underwater for more than a few short hours, and with each dive, scientists are discovering something new in the deep sea, giving us a better understanding of our oceans and the top predator that lives within them.

What we do not know

It is easier to talk about what we do not know and the implications of not knowing it, we still don’t know where most shark species mate or give birth, knowing this would accelerate conservation efforts for sharks in a huge way as these areas could then have realistic protections placed on them, allowing us to preserve key stages of the Sharks life cycle.

Marine Biologists have stated that the discovery of a White Shark breeding ground would be the holy grail of Ocean Science, but the only reports of White Sharks mating come from a handful of sightings from Fisherman and Sailors, so these cannot be used as an official record.

We know that Sharks mature late in the same way as us humans, it is estimated that some species are estimated to not be sexually mature until their late 30’s and 40’s, which means that these species are at extreme risk of disappearing due to fishing, as they aren’t able to replenish their numbers fast enough when put under extreme fishing pressure. There is a lot of debate over whether Sharks mature at a certain age or a certain size, for example it was estimated that White Sharks mature at four metres in length, however, in South Africa in 2017 a female White Shark was killed by Orcas, and it was determined that she was either immature or hadn’t mated, as there was the presence of a Hymen.

We are also still unsure about the impacts of human activities on Sharks and how losing Sharks, or their habitat, would affect the habitats and environments on land, environments in which we depend on for our survival.

What we do know

New Shark discoveries are made every year, and scientists are predicting that in the next 15-20 years we will be entering the golden age of ocean and shark discoveries. We already know that sharks are the oceans top predator and we have determined that they affect the very mechanics and functions of the Ocean, if we were to remove them, we would be putting the worlds ecosystems at risk of collapsing. Sharks are an integral part of the balance of the oceans, they help by controlling populations of other species, if we were to lose sharks, species such as turtles would have an increase in population, therefore leading to more seagrass being eaten, which is a prime food source for many animals. Thus, other smaller animals would not be able to feed, and their population would decrease, also the decrease of sea grass would affect us humans on earth as the oceans plant life helps to absorb carbon dioxide and create oxygen, and actually up to 75% of the oxygen we breathe is created from the oceans.

We know that some Shark species have complex social relationships that aid in their survival, although this has only been observed in a handful of species. Lemon Sharks form bonds as pups and hunt together in the shallow mangrove swamps of the Bimini Atoll, and will learn and hunt together and learn vital skills needed in their future survival. Hammerheads are possibly the most famous for social interactions as they form huge schools off places such as the Galapagos Islands and it has been observed that the more dominant females swim in the centre of the school and display for the males.

Some shark species, such as the Zebra Shark, have been known to mimic other animals. Zebra sharks are born with stripes (which fade as they get older) and they have the second longest tail (after the Thresher Shark), this helps them to mimic the highly venomous, White-Banded Sea Snake in order to trick predators into avoiding them, they have even been reported to mimic taking a breath at the surface like a sea snake would do.

It has recently been discovered that Greenland Sharks are now the longest lived Vertebrate on our Planet, they are believed to be able to exceed the age of 500, with females not reaching sexual maturity until they are around 150 years old. This was discovered by examining special proteins in their eyes that do not degrade with age. Determining age and sexual maturity are crucial for understanding and managing shark populations as knowing what age a Shark can breed will allow us to gauge what protections a species needs.

It has recently been discovered that female Whale Sharks are able to store sperm to use over a period of time, this is in order to ensure their chance of reproducing, even without recently mating. This is a huge advantage for conserving the species, as Whale Sharks are classed as an endangered species and so, with the number of whale sharks declining, this ensures the species can continue. Along with this, Whale Sharks have also been found to be pregnant with up to 300 pups, and these pups can be at different stages of development due to the staggered use of stored sperm.

Of all things we know there is one thing that is certain, a Shark, no matter the species, is unique and worth more to our world alive than dead. In the next blog we will explore the threats that Sharks face and how we can help Sharks through the tough times ahead.


Follow Donovan on Instagram at www.instagram.com/donovans_reefs

Continue Reading

News

Nauticam NA-α1 Housing for Sony α1 Camera now shipping

Published

on

The Sony α1 is the company’s flagship full-frame interchangeable lens camera.  Designed around the new 50.1MP Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor and the BIONZ XR processor, the α1 is truly a camera which can do it all.  It’s 759 point Fast Hybrid Autofocus system offers advanced subject tracking and real-time eye autofocus on both humans and animals.  The optimized processing within the α1 allows it to achieve 30fps continuous shooting at full resolution along with 8K 30p and 4K 120p 10-bit video recording.

Nauticam has supported the Sony Alpha full-frame line since the original a7 with professional grade aluminum housings that offer intuitive access to all the controls and functions of the cameras. As the cameras have evolved, so have the Nauticam housings. The NA-α1 underwater housing provides fingertip access to all key camera controls in a rugged and reliable aluminum underwater housing. Ergonomic camera control access is one of the defining strengths of a Nauticam housing, and the NA-α1 continues this tradition.

Integrated DSLR-housing styled handles with ergonomic rubberized grips and stainless steel stiffening brackets add stability and accessory mounting points. The NA-a1 also features dual rear thumb-levers that are easily reached from the handle that access three of the most-used controls on the rear of the camera. The right lever actuates the AF-ON and RECORD buttons while the left lever is mapped to the PLAY button.

Atop the housing on the left side are controls in the form of a MODE dial and FOCUS mode lever. The C1, C2 buttons as well as the EV compensation dial also have direct access from the top of the housing. The C3, which is typically assigned to control switching between the EVF and the LCD screen is easily reachable on the rear of the housing from the left handle.

For more information visit the UK Nauticam website by clicking here 

or to visit the USA Nauticam website click here.

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

More Less

Instagram Feed

Popular