Whale Wars in Seattle: A U.S. Court Discusses Antarctic Whaling

By Timothy G. Nelson*

This March, a Seattle-based federal judge issued a decision dealing with the continued practice of whaling in Antarctic waters. The court’s ruling, arising from a dispute between whalers and the activists depicted on the TV show, “Whale Wars,” stopped short of declaring whaling to be a violation of international law, but nevertheless declared it to be against the public interest of the United States as reflected in U.S. marine environmental legislation. The court also highlighted the potential importance of a dispute concerning this issue between Australia and Japan, currently pending before the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”).

The International Ban on Commercial Whaling

The hunting of whales, once a major industry in several maritime states, became subject to international regulation in 1946, through the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (“ICRW”). By that treaty, which gained widespread adherence, an International Whaling Commission (“IWC”) was established, with power to set annual catch quotas for each member state. Continue reading

Choosing Life Over Fear

Paul Gilding: The Earth is full
“Let me begin with four words that will provide the context for this week, four words that will come to define this century. Here they are: The Earth is full. It’s full of us, it’s full of our stuff, full of our waste, full of our demands. Yes, we are a brilliant and creative species, but we’ve created a little too much stuff — so much that our economy is now bigger than its host, our planet. Continue reading

Deep ocean mysteries and wonders ~ TED-Ed


“In the deepest, darkest parts of the oceans are ecosystems with more diversity than a tropical rainforest. Taking us on a voyage into the ocean — from the deepest trenches to the remains of Titanic — marine biologist David Gallo explores the wonder and beauty of marine life. Find more TED-Ed videos on our new YouTube channel: youtube.com/TEDEd

More about David Gallo:

Nom, nom, nom….


The video above is of a sea cucumber feeding. Within the ocean, organisms have adapted many different methods of gathering food. It’s not as easy to find food in water as on land, even within the same species there can be many different methods, just look at fish! You have gigantic whale sharks that filter feed on tiny planktonic creatures, to deep sea angler fish that use a flashing lure that brings food close enough to grab or even the awesome gulper eel that’s stomach is bigger than the body so it can eat a meal of any size. Continue reading

It’s turtle time!

Sea turtles have been making it to the top of the headlines recently, all positive for a change and I thought I would use this blog to draw attention to this. Additionally, I feel it’s always nice to give some attention to the turtles.

So the first piece of news, the secrets of the sea turtle migration have been uncovered. It turns out that the reproduction migration (females returning to their nesting beaches) is not the longest migration that sea turtles carry out. It has been found from the compilation of long term capture programs that the migration of immature turtles, termed “developmental migration”, is longer than the reproductive migration. Also this migration is only carried out once in their life time rather than every few years. On the migration topic as well, a study was carried out to determine the migration of juvenile leatherback sea turtles. However, due to the size and the weight of the juveniles it is impossible to attach a satellite tag to their shells without them sinking. So instead of following the hatchlings the scientists followed the currents. The “lost years” of a turtle’s life, the age between hatching and returning to foraging grounds can be anywhere between 3 to 5 years after they hatch. These years are the least understood part of a turtle’s life. Knowing more about where the turtles swim before they reach adulthood could be critical in protecting the species. Continue reading

Race to the bottom of the sea… part 2

So I should probably begin with part 1…. Back in 1960, January 23rd to be precise, the first ever deep submersible dive occurred by two oceanographers, Don Walsh and Jacques Picard. Using the Bathyscaphe Trieste (above) they reached a depth of 10,911 m (35,797 ft) at the Challenger Deep section of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean (11 km or about 7 miles deep). This so far, is still the only time this depth has ever been reached in the ocean by humans with it taking the Trieste five hours to reach the bottom and only being allowed 20 minutes at this depth due to the constraints of technology at the time. Continue reading

Opportunistic mimicry by a jawfish of a mimic octopus

This remarkable behavior was discovered just a few months ago; a black-marble jawfish (Stalix cf. histrio) following and mimicking a mimic octopus in one of my all-time favorite places at the center of marine biodiversity: the Lembeh Strait, Indonesia.

An outstanding find which shows just how much marine life has yet to teach us….

Here’s the journal article: http://www.springerlink.com/content/p74l7mn21441538t/ and the MSNBC news article: Tiny fish mimics octopus that mimics fish