Celebrate World Sea Turtle Day!

There’s World Turtle Day (May 23) then there’s World SEA Turtle Day, which is today! green sea turtleWhy is June 16th World Sea Turtle Day? It is the birthday of Dr. Archie Carr who is widely known as “the father of sea turtle biology.” Dr. Carr focused his entire career on sea turtle research and conservation. According to The Sea Turtle Conservancy:

Archie Carr was a great biologist. His early descriptive studies of turtles set the standard of quality in the field of natural history. Later on, as he focused on sea turtles, he moved toward ecology and behavior, although his work always retained a taxonomic and evolutionary perspective. For decades the National Science Foundation (and the Sea Turtle Conservancy and the Office of Naval Research) supported his research at Tortuguero, enabling him to mount one of the longest lasting and most intensive studies of an animal population that has ever been done. To date, more than 35,000 adult female green turtles have been tagged at the research station at Tortuguero. From this effort have come papers by Archie Carr, his students, and other investigators on orientation, migration, nesting behavior, nest physiology, sensory physiology, nutrition, demography, and other subjects. Almost all of the studies have significance for conservation — Archie Carr was a conservation biologist long before the field was recognized.

Of the seven sea turtle species, five are listed on the IUCN Red List as either vulnerable, endangered, or cirtically endangered. They are: leatherbacks (vulnerable), loggerheads (endangered), hawksbills (critically endangered), green sea turtles (endangered), Kemp’s Ridley (critically endangered), Olive Ridley (vulnerable), and flatback sea turtles (data deficient). What can you do to protect sea turtles?

  1. At night, keep bright lights off the beach to encourage sea turtles to nest and to ensure hatchlings can find their way to the sea.
  2. Keep beaches trash free to avoid turtles mistaking it for food or getting caught in plastic loops. Single use plastic bags are often mistaken by sea turtles for their favorite food, jellyfish. Consumption can cause them to suffocate.
  3. Join a coastal conservation effort working to protect sea turtle nests from predators.
  4. Of course you can always donate to MarineBio or join the MarineBio Conservation Society to help us share species information and raise awareness about the plight of endangered sea turtles. Whether you can spare $5 or $50, it will help us continue bringing the world a vast source of information on all things ocean.

Reef Life of the Andaman

The following outstanding 2 hour video shows the amazing biodiversity of the marine life in the Andaman Sea (in the northeast Indian Ocean). Produced by Nick Hope at Bubble Vision, he again amazes us while introducing us to many rarely seen marine species the way they should be met, in their home under the sea.

iPhone fish identification app

iPhone fish identification applicationThe Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has released a free iPhone app, for the identification of Pacific fish species. The species covered spans from Baja California to Ecuador, including the Galapagos.

The app evolved from the book, “Fishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific” published in 1994. However, the app covers over 1,300 species allowing the identification of 10% of the world’s tropical fish species whereas the book only has 700. The app is free on iTunes: here and is potentially one of three apps according to iTunes descriptions.

Having downloaded and played around with this app it is very easy to use. It has a clear lay out containing a notebook section where you can compile your own lists and each page comes with a glossary section for any words used that aren’t understood. When you click on one fish you will also see other members of the family before it goes directly to the profile page, allowing for a perfect match. I like the feature of being able to find out the IUCN red list status which is available on each profile page. A useful little app that I would recommend to anyone needing to identify any pacific fish species!

Review: MPAs for Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises

MarineBio’s director of all things cetacean and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society’s Senior Research Fellow and Global Critical Habitat/ Marine Protected Area Programme Leader, Erich Hoyt, has just published the fully expanded and updated 2nd edition of his book on marine protected areas (MPAs) and cetacean habitats.

For your FREE copy, join MarineBio with a minimum $100 donation. If you would also like a small (23.41 x 33.11 inches) or large (32.7 x 45.4 inches) map of cetacean MPAs around the world (also created by Erich) to go with the book, we ask that you donate a minimum of $150. Please add $25 for postage for orders outside the US. Continue reading


A powerful and factual documentary on the often emotional issue of keeping cetaceans (whales & dolphins) in captivity.

A FALL FROM FREEDOM is the first film to expose the long and sordid history of the captive whale and dolphin business; a history that continues to this day. The illegal capture and transport of killer whales, the thousands of dolphins that are killed in order to provide marine parks and aquariums with replacement animals, and the ability of these facilities to miseducate the public about these animals.

These, and many other issues, are covered in graphic detail in this 80 minute film.

Visit the A FALL FROM FREEDOM website @ http://afallfromfreedom.org for more information about the film including screenings, interviews and how to get a copy.

Save the Great Whites too!

Expedition Great White: Feeding Frenzy

Sunday, June 6, 2010, at 9 p.m. ET/PT (Special Series Premiere)

“…what I really want … is to understand the entire life cycle of white sharks.… Once we learn that, we could help put together a comprehensive management plan to protect white sharks year round.” – Dr. Michael Domeier

A hundred sixty miles off the coast of Baja California, a team of world-class anglers will land one of the most challenging fish imaginable: the great white shark. Continue reading

Obama Blocks Bush’s Endangered-Species Rule

Obama Blocks Bush’s Endangered-Species Rule
By Stephen Power

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama blocked a Bush administration rule that environmentalists say would weaken protection for endangered species and their habitats, the latest in a series of moves that reverse Mr. Bush’s environmental policies.

Business groups criticized the Obama administration’s move and predicted it would delay projects funded by the government’s $787 billion stimulus package by forcing federal agencies to resume consultations over the potential impact of development projects on threatened species. The Bush administration rule was aimed at minimizing interagency debates over endangered species issues.

“Reinstating bureaucratic hurdles will only delay energy development and other construction projects which help create jobs,” said Keith McCoy, vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Mr. Obama on Tuesday signed a memorandum that effectively shelves the Bush move to streamline the process until officials at the Interior and Commerce departments finish a review.

At issue is a regulation issued by the Interior Department in December that allows federal agencies to bypass consultation with scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service about whether new projects will harm threatened wildlife. Traditionally, federal agencies across the government have been required to consult the Fish and Wildlife Service or the National Marine Fisheries Service whenever they are funding projects, such as new dams or highways, that could pose even a remote risk to a rare creature.

The Bush administration adopted the change in what it said was an effort to allow government biologists to focus on the most critical conservation efforts.

“Throughout our history, there’s been a tension between those who sought to conserve our natural resources for the benefit of future generations, and those who have sought to profit from these resources,” Mr. Obama said in announcing his action. “But I’m here to tell you this is a false choice. With smart, sustainable policies, we can grow our economy today, and preserve the environment for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.”

Mr. Obama’s decision marks the latest instance in which his administration has sought to block or reverse Bush-era rules affecting the environment. Last week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced he was putting the brakes on plans developed by the Bush administration to develop oil shale on federal land in Western states. Mr. Salazar also recently shelved a plan developed by the Bureau of Land Management during the Bush administration to lease wilderness areas of Utah for oil and gas drilling, saying the step was needed to protect the step was needed to protect “American iconic treasures.”

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123609338658819219.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Is Palin Failin’?

This woman scares me. The way she proudly announced during the GOP convention that her husband is “a lifelong commercial fisherman … a production operator in the oil fields of Alaska’s North Slope” sent chills down my spine. That plus the fact that she’s way too inexperienced and young for this job and was obviously chosen strategically in a move that removed any last shred of doubt that I would vote for Obama.

So today we see this press release from The Center for Biological Diversity that Governor Failin (sorry, can’t help myself) is being awarded the 2008 Rubber Dodo Award: Continue reading

Tuna: A Love Story

Richard Ellis’ new book Tuna: A Love Story is now in bookstores. In his latest book, Ellis focuses on the bluefin tuna – an amazing species that is being loved to death in sushi bars worldwide.

We’re fans of Ellis’ The Empty Ocean, which paints a grim but accurate view of the exploitation of the ocean through centuries of fishing. The book is filled with historical data on overfishing and includes Ellis’ wonderful illustrations of marine life.

I’m hoping Tuna includes his drawings as well. I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to in the next few weeks and will provide a more in depth review. In the meantime: Continue reading

Penguins = canaries in a coal mine

Spheniscus magellanicusI always loved the song “Canary in a Coal Mine” by the Police:

First to fall over when the atmosphere is less than perfect
Your sensibilities are shaken by the slightest defect
You live your life like a canary in a coalmine
You get so dizzy even walking in a straight line

Now the first line of the song and the comparison of penguins to canaries in coal mines is disturbing. Are we going to be a generation remembered for celebrating penguins in films like “March of the Penguins” and “Happy Feet” only to be the generation that announces their extinction? I hope not. It would be a tragic loss to the animal kingdom and to mankind. Continue reading

“Endangered” is confusing?!

First Japan, now China. Not that the US is much better in terms of wildlife conservation, but I don’t understand how this can continue to happen. It’s sickening. Isn’t part of what life is all about is leaving the planet a better place than you found it for future generations? Are people who “get that” really that much in the minority? And are exotic animals really that necessary as a form of protein? They cannot possibly taste good. It’s a status thing, and that’s even more disgusting.
baby leatherback
Leatherbacks are critically endangered — and there were 44 of them on one small boat, a huge number when the species is depleted to such an extent, being smuggled into China.

‘Noah’s Ark’ of 5,000 rare animals found floating off the coast of China

· Cargo of abandoned vessel destined for restaurants
· Illegal trade drives species closer to extinction Continue reading

Sea turtle consumption hazardous to your health

Sea turtles are frequently on the menu of coastal communities in countries where protein is a valuable commodity. Unfortunately, not only should sea turtle consumption be discouraged because all 7 sea turtle species are either critically endangered, endangered, or threatened, it should also be discouraged because the consumption of sea turtles may pose health risks to humans. The journal EcoHealth published an article in 2006 (Aguirre, A. A. et al. 2006. Hazards associated with the consumption of sea turtle meat and eggs: a review for health care workers and the general public. EcoHealth 3: 141–153) describing the dangers of consuming sea turtles. In its description of the article, the journal states:


In some Latin American countries, there are cautionary horror tales told of wedding guests who die shortly after consuming the flesh of sea turtles. It turns out these tales are probably based on actual events, as Aguirre et al. detail the potentially deleterious and often lethal dangers of consumption of marine turtles and their eggs in their extensive review. Not only bacteria and parasites may be found in these bioaccumulating cheloniids, but also dangerously high levels of heavy metals and toxins. The authors urge for a coordinated, global educative effort to prohibit further human health hazards—which may, felicitously, aid in conservation of these ancient animals. Continue reading

Just one reason why you should vote tomorrow

This is from the Center for Biological Diversity’s newsletter: Endangered Earth

Humpback WhalesOn October 30, 2006, the Washington Post ran a major expose on Julie MacDonald, the Bush administration’s point person for squelching scientific decision-making within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Post described MacDonald’s efforts as “the latest in a series of controversies in which government officials and outside scientists have accused the Bush administration of overriding or setting aside scientific findings that clashed with its political agenda on such issues as global warming, the Plan B emergency contraceptive and stem cell research … Hundreds of pages of records, obtained by environmental groups through the Freedom of Information Act, chronicle the long-running battle between MacDonald and Fish and Wildlife Service employees over decisions whether to safeguard plants and animals from oil and gas drilling, power lines, and real estate development, spiced by her mocking comments on their work and their frequently expressed resentment.” Continue reading

Endangered species still being sold for food

Why do endangered species tend to attract a higher demand in some markets? The higher the demand, the higher the price and the greater lengths fishermen will go to harvest them. Supply and demand, money and greed — how can we stop this vicious cycle? Here’s a recent story about a shipment that was seized by customs in Indonesia:

Humphead Wrasse

Indonesian airport authorities seized 36 endangered Humphead Wrasse Cheilinus undulatus on 30 June in Manado, Indonesia, the third seizure of this species in Indonesia this year.

The world’s largest coral reef fish, the Humphead Wrasse is a prized delicacy served in high-end restaurants with a price tag of over US$100 per kg. Hong Kong represents the largest known consumer market for this species, although upscale eateries in Malaysia, Singapore and mainland China are also known to offer servings of the electric blue fish. Continue reading