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Author Topic: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy  (Read 281 times)

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AGelbert

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Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« on: June 17, 2016, 07:03:59 pm »
5 Stand Out Ocean Dads

Posted On June 16, 2016 by Erin Spencer

Agelbert NOTE: An Emperor Penguin in the ocean is a very different story from one on land.  ;D

It’s the time of the year when we celebrate all the fantastic father figures around the world. Although most of the animal kingdom isn’t known for its exceptional parenting, (male grizzly bears will attack their own cubs? Ouch) there are a few notable exceptions. This Father’s Day, we’re celebrating some of the stand out dads throughout the ocean.

Seahorse

It’s difficult to argue that seahorses aren’t some of the best fathers in the ocean, since they are the only animals where the males become pregnant. Potential mates will court for many days, performing “dancing rituals” like mirroring the other’s movements and swimming side-by-side in unison. Once they mate, females will place up to 1,500 eggs in a small, specially-adapted pouch on the male’s body. They will stay secure with the male for weeks before emerging, with the females checking on her mate and the eggs daily. Leading male seahorses to be nominated for “Dads of the Year,” every year, forever.


Lumpsucker

Lumpsuckers take parental dedication to an entirely new level. When it’s time to breed, males will migrate to shallow waters to prep a nest. The female will then arrive, deposit her eggs and take off for the open ocean.  Then the male’s watch begins: He will use a suction pad formed from his pelvic fins to attach to a nearby rock and stand guard over the eggs for up to eight weeks.

Eumicrotremus phrynoides and Eumicrotremus orbis demonstrating adhesive pelvic discs.

He will use his fins to fan oxygen-rich water over the eggs and fiercely defend the nest against potential predators. Once the eggs hatch, the male will return to deeper waters, until called again to his parental duties.


Sea catfish

In the case of the sea catfish, eating your young is actually a good thing. Once a female sea catfish lays her eggs, her mate will gobble them up and hold them in his mouth. There the marble-sized eggs will stay, safe and sound, for months at a time. The male may even hold on to his young until they hatch and grow to nearly five centimeters long! As having a mouth full of squirming offspring makes it difficult to eat, the male has to live off his own body fat until the young are old enough to take off on their own.


Threespined stickleback 

The threespined stickleback is all about real estate. This small fish painstakingly builds his nest by gluing sand, algae and other small debris together with a sticky protein secreted from his kidneys. Once his home is good to go, he will court potential mates until one finds the nest satisfactory. After the female lays her eggs, the male will chase her away so he can fertilize the eggs and guard them until they hatch (remember, this is about good fathers, not necessarily good mates). He will even remove fungus-infected eggs and fan the eggs to keep them properly oxygenated—talk about attention to detail!


Emperor penguin tending an egg

After traveling over 60 miles inland on Antarctica to lay her egg, the female emperor penguin will make the long journey back to the ocean to hunt. This leaves the male penguin to care for the egg for two months. The male will carefully keep his egg covered by his feathered skin, called a brood pouch, to protect it from the extreme Antarctic cold. While caring for the egg, the penguin dad will forgo eating to ensure his baby’s safety, meaning by the time mom comes back two months later, the male may have lost nearly half of his body weight. Since fat is the main way that emperor penguins stay warm, it’s a testament to these dads’ devotion to their young that they’re able to endure the Antarctic cold on half their body weight. Once reunited, penguin parents share the responsibility of taking care of their chick by taking turns feeding it and keeping it warm.

Regardless of how they show their affection, let’s hear it for all the human and animal dads alike! Happy Father’s Day! 


Posted in Ocean Life | Tagged Emperor Penguin, Erin Spencer, Father's Day, Lumpsucker, Sea catfish, Seahorse, Threespined stickleback


About Erin Spencer: Erin is a Digital Outreach Coordinator at Ocean Conservancy, based in Washington, D.C. Erin’s passion is using photography, writing and social media to inspire people to participate in conservation projects, particularly those relating to the spread of invasive species. Much of her work has focused on local responses to invasive lionfish in the Florida Keys and Caribbean. Follow Erin on Twitter @etspencer and on her website, www.invasivespeciesinitiative.com.

http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/06/16/5-stand-out-ocean-dads/#comment-197002
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AGelbert

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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2016, 07:04:16 pm »
Coral
ls are Like… What?! 

Posted On July 25, 2016 by Sarah Cooley

 

This week we’re celebrating all things coral! It’s no secret that coral reefs are spectacular ecosystems, but we wanted to do a deep dive into what exactly makes corals so special. Check out nine ways corals are even cooler than you thought:

1)  Corals are like speed bumps. They slow down waves and lessen wave energy. This protects coastlines from hurricanes, cyclones and tsunamis. Coral reefs protect the shoreline in 81 countries around the world, sheltering the 200 million people living along those coasts.


 

2)  Corals are like nurseries.
They provide homes and hiding places for marine animals large and small. An estimated 25% of all fish species call reefs home, and even more fish species spend part of their young lives there. Losing reefs to ocean warming or acidification costs animals their homes.


3) Corals are like history books. Corals’ hard calcium carbonate skeletons contain bands, like tree rings, that record environmental changes in temperature, water chemistry and sediment. These records help scientists reconstruct what past ages were like before humans kept records.


 

4) Corals are like tropical rainforests.
Both corals and tropical rainforests support an incredible array of life. Both are also under stress from human activities. Rising temperatures, heavy fishing (hunting) pressure and physical destruction are just some of the human-caused problems hurting both corals and rainforests.

5) Corals are like Venus flytraps. Some corals can eat passing plankton by grabbing them from the ocean and ingesting them. This provides a source of fatty acids for corals, and it is thought to help corals resist bleaching and other stresses.

6) Corals are like solar panels. Coral animals contain “symbionts,” which are small cells that photosynthesize, or harvest the sun’s energy, and pass some of it along to the coral in exchange for housing.

 

7) Corals are like flowers. To reproduce, most corals release gametes, or eggs and sperm, into the water. This is similar to how flowers release pollen (gametes) into the wind. Both corals and flowers decide when to reproduce based on temperature and lighting.

8 ) Corals are like medicine cabinets.  Coral reefs and the animals that live around them have many chemical defenses to drive away predators. These chemical compounds could be the inspiration for future medicines, nutritional supplements, pesticides and more.

 
parrotfish on patrol  ;D

9) Corals are like rock quarries. Broken bits of coral create silt and sand that forms seafloor and sandy beaches in many tropical locations. Some coral breakdown is normal, like when parrotfish crunch off bites of coral to digest the living coral tissue, and spit out or excrete the hard skeleton crumbs. Other breakdown isn’t normal, such as the physical and chemical breakdown of coral by ocean acidification, dynamite fishing, ship strikes or other human-caused stress.

http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/07/25/corals-are-like-what/#more-12444


Agelbert NOTE: Humanity must protect Coral Reefs as if our lives depended on it - Because our lives DO depend on it. Protecting this vital part of the biosphere is a sacred trust that we, as self aware beings, alone are responsible for.








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AGelbert

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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2016, 05:33:41 pm »



Cultural Appreciation: How celebrating whale sharks transformed a community   
A diver viewing many, many white dots - and the whale shark that sports them.   




Issue:
Fall 2016


DONSOL :: PHILIPPINES

Every April in the seaside town of Donsol, in the Philippines, dozens of boats topped with sculptures of whale sharks float down the coast in a colorful armada. On land, residents parade through the streets with whale shark floats and banners, many of them decorated with the animal’s strikingly patterned white spots.

It’s all part of a celebration called the Butanding Festival. “Butanding” is Tagalog for whale shark—a species that transformed Donsol’s economy after a large cluster of the animals was discovered off the coast in 1998. Almost overnight, tourists began visiting the region to watch the huge, spotted fish feed on plankton; the local government quickly declared the region’s waters a sanctuary.

WWF soon began working with local leaders and stakeholders to design a community- based whale shark ecotourism program. The program helped establish guidelines for protecting the species while creating new tourism jobs for locals. It also allowed WWF scientists to start identifying and tracking whale sharks to study their behavior and migrations.

Thousands of visitors now flock to Donsol every year. The town’s annual income has risen dramatically, and many residents—especially those in local fishing communities— now work as tour guides, whale shark guideline enforcers, and resort staff.

The program expanded even further in January 2016, when Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced a five-year partnership with WWF to help protect the world’s oceans. Its first move? A $200,000 donation to Donsol’s whale shark program, to ensure that at future festivals, there’s even more to celebrate.

Dive deeper into WWF’s partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises.


http://www.worldwildlife.org/magazine/issues/fall-2016/articles/cultural-appreciation-how-celebrating-whale-sharks-transformed-a-community

Agelbert Note: This is the type of stewardship of nature that helps, instead of exploits, non-self aware life forms in our biosphere. If we are to avoid extinction, this empathy based modus operandi is  sine qua non .
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AGelbert

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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2016, 03:02:32 pm »
Smart Seal Climbs on Boat to Avoid Being Eaten

August 23, 2016 by gCaptain


 

https://gcaptain.com/smart-seal-climbs-on-boat-to-avoid-being-eaten/

Agelbert NOTE: Please spare me the pointed remarks about twin outboards run by fossil fuels 'saving' the seal. Some people go to incredible lengths to justify their obsession with internal combustion engines. I know it's really, really hard for brain damaged people to get their minds off of their energy 'savior' religion, but their constant cherry picking to justify fossi lfuels is tiresome, as well as relevant only to DEATH of marine life, not the saving of it.
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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2016, 05:23:32 pm »
Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy



 
5 Things You Didn’t Already Know About Polar Bears

Posted by  Marja Diaz   
 
Polar bears are the best. ;D  And if you’re reading this, chances are you’re already a fan. Regardless of your affinity for these incredible animals, there’s always more to learn.

Today marks the beginning of Polar Bear Week, and to celebrate the occasion we’ve tracked down five new facts about Ursus maritimus. Ready to brush up on some trivia?


1.      Polar bears wag their heads when it’s time to play


Polar bears communicate through body language, and will often wag their heads from side to side to signal that it’s time to play. Playtime is ritualistic of mock fighting, and the perfect opportunity for polar bears to brush up on their best moves. To initiate play, polar bears will stand up on their hind legs with their front paws at their sides and chins lowered to their chest.



2.      Pregnant polar bears are the ultimate metabolizers


Polar bears have the unique ability to change their metabolic rate depending on the availability of food. This means they can devour enormous amounts of food when times are good, but can also go into a hibernation-like digestion state when there’s no food around. In fact, pregnant mothers in Hudson Bay have been found to fast for up to eight months! In Hudson Bay during the months of July through November, there often isn’t enough sea ice to hunt—forcing polar bears to conserve fat and energy.

Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to meet a hungry momma bear come winter.



3.      Polar bears aren’t actually white   

Polar bears have a thick, under layer of fur which is transparent, not white! Much like the ice and snow, polar bear fur reflects light, causing them to appear white or yellow. Underneath their translucent fur, polar bears have black skin to better absorb the sun’s rays.



4.      Polar bears overheat—a lot

You would think that in their icy, arctic environment, polar bears spend most of their time shivering with cold! However, polar bears struggle more with overheating than they do fending off sub-zero temperatures. Since polar bears have evolved to thrive in a cold climate, they can overheat quickly when running—which explains why polar bears are notoriously leisurely walkers. A polar bear’s body temperature runs around 98.6º Fahrenheit, typical for most mammals, but their adaptation to cold weather means they have an unfortunate propensity to overheat.

5.      Polar bears are apex predators


Polar bears sit at the top of the Arctic food chain. As incredibly intelligent and opportunistic hunters, polar bears have even been found to feed on bigger mammals such as walruses, belugas and narwhals when given the chance.

Although polar bears have no natural predators in the animal kingdom, they still face major challenges. Today, polar bears confront increasing habitat loss as the Arctic continues to warm and sea ice continues to melt. In addition to climate change, pollutants from vessel traffic and potential offshore drilling threaten the species. Take some time this week to speak up for polar bears. Will you join us in asking the Obama Administration to keep the Arctic safe from risky drilling for the next five years

For more insight into all things polar bear, make sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We’ll be sharing more fun facts and images throughout the week—and be sure to check out Polar Bears International for even more!

http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/10/30/5-things-you-didnt-already-know-about-polar-bears/#more-13202
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AGelbert

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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2016, 06:57:48 pm »
MV Ocean Warrior

MV Ocean Warrior – Sea Shepherd’s New Weapon in Fight Against Japanese Whalers

November 18, 2016 by gCaptain


Related Book: Ocean Warrior: My Battle to End Illegal Slaughter by Paul Watson and Farley Mowat

In January 2015, the controversial whale warriors Sea Shepherd Conservation Society won 8.3 million euro from the Postcode Lotteries ;D in the Netherlands and UK to put towards the construction of a new custom-built patrol ship to battle Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.

To build their dream ship, Sea Shepherd turned to Dutch shipbuilder Damen Group for a modified version of the Fast Crew Supplier. Just 18 months later, Sea Shepherd commissioned the Ocean Warrior, the fastest, most high-tech, efficient and capable vessel to ever join the fleet.

In September, the Ocean Warrior, rumored to cost $12 million, departed Antalya, Turkey on its maiden voyage to Australia, via Amsterdam and Italy, to participate in Sea Shepherds 11th Antarctic whale defense campaign in the South Ocean beginning this December.

Here’s a closer look at the vessel:

https://gcaptain.com/mv-ocean-warrior-sea-shepherds-new-weapon-for-fighting-japanese-whalers/
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AGelbert

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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2016, 07:15:16 pm »
Pretty, isn't it?   


How Good Are Octopuses at Changing Color? ???

The colorful and cunning octopus is a master of disguise. By flexing and relaxing muscles underneath its skin, this cephalopod activates color-changing sacs full of pigment, called chromatophores, to change its appearance very quickly. These sacs can change the strange-looking deep sea denizens from black to brown, orange, red, or yellow. One scientist documented an octopus changing the color of its skin 177 times within an hour.   :o

An octopus changes its color to hide from predators. They also can change the texture of their skin, manipulating papillae to create everything from small bumps to tall spikes, to match the texture of rocks, corals, and other marine objects.

Eight arms and three hearts:

•Octopuses sometimes deliberately sever an arm in order to distract a predator long enough to get away. Like a starfish, the arm will grow back.

•Octopuses are able to close off a severed artery to reduce blood loss. Their blood is blue, not red, thanks to a copper content (instead of iron).

•Octopuses have three hearts. The main one stops beating when the animal is swimming, so it can't swim very far before tiring. They prefer to walk along the ocean floor.

http://www.wisegeek.com/how-good-are-octopuses-at-changing-color.htm
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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2016, 04:53:01 pm »
Seal pup

Three survivor seal pups released into the ocean   

December 02 2016

After being rescued by our diligent partners at Marine Mammals of Maine (MMoME) and months of rehab, close monitoring, and care, three lucky seals have been successfully released back into the wilds of Rhode Island.

Last week Pyrite, Beryl, and Ivory were all sent back to their ocean home after suffering a variety of hardships; some sadly caused by public interaction.

Pyrite, a male harbor seal pup was rescued at around 2 days old, after being found stranded in May of 2016.

In Pyrite’s case, curious people took their interest in the seal a step too far. Evidence was found of the pup having been picked up and handled by the public, possibly for selfies.

This type of interaction with a young pup can cause a permanent rift between the young one and its mother, potentially meaning death for the seal. This is one of the reasons that contact between the public and any seal is outlawed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).

When Pyrite was found in the same spot the next morning, he was rescued and brought to the MMoME triage center, where he was treated for 3 days.

Beryl, another male harbor seal, was found stranded in August of 2016. In Beryl’s case, there was also evidence of mishandling by the public who attempted to push him back into the water a handful of times. He was found exhausted and very thin.

Throughout his rescue and rehabilitation, Beryl fought through an upper respiratory infection, many small punctures and abscesses over body, and dehydration.

Ivory, a female harbor seal, was also found stranded in August of 2016. Ivory’s exam showed injuries in her mouth, exhaustion, and high temperature.

Her care at the MMoME triage center included immediate antibiotic IV fluid treatment, and a safe, quiet place to rest. After a few days she was much stronger and was transported to Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitation.

Thanks to the quick and skillful work of the teams at MMoME and Mystic Aquarium, Pyrite, Beryl, and Ivory were able to continue their lives in the wild. 

We encourage people to keep their distance from animals found on the beach in compliance with the MMPA and to contact their local rescue organization. When we leave the rescues to the professionals, we avoid creating more complications for those animals already suffering through tough situations and allow for them to one day continue their lives in the wild.

You can contact MMoME rescue hotline at (1-800-532-9551). and you can find the NOAA’s US stranding networks at http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/pr/health/report.htm.

https://www.worldanimalprotection.us.org/news/three-survivor-seal-pups-released-ocean
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AGelbert

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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2017, 04:45:14 pm »
New Report Evaluates Risks of Vessel Traffic in the Bering Sea

Posted On January 12, 2017 by Andrew Hartsig

As Arctic sea ice continues to melt, the Bering Sea—including the narrow Bering Strait—is experiencing more and more ship traffic. As ship traffic increases, so too do the risks, including oil spills, vessel strikes on marine mammals, air pollution, discharge of wastes into the water, and production of underwater noise.

A new report, commissioned by Ocean Conservancy and conducted by Nuka Research and Planning Group LLC, evaluates the risks from vessel traffic in the Bering Strait.

The Bering Sea is used by millions of seabirds, and an array of marine mammals including whales, seals, walruses and polar bears. Alaska Native peoples who live near the Bering Sea depend on its fish and wildlife as a key source of food and to support cultural practices that date back millennia. And the Bering Sea is home to rich commercial fisheries: in 2014, five of the top 10 most valuable commercial fisheries in the United States were based in or near the Bering Sea.

There’s no doubt that these waters are astoundingly abundant, and there is a lot at stake. So what did the risk assessment find about the risks posed by vessel traffic in the Bering Sea? ???

Quote

•Right now, in the Northern Bering Sea and Bering Strait region, most oil exposure and risk is associated with vessels that service the region, primarily delivering fuel and goods to communities or exporting resources from mines. In contrast, in the Southern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, most oil exposure comes from vessels that are just passing through the region, transiting Great Circle Route.

•“Lightering” (transferring fuel from one ship to another offshore via hoses) is a significant source of risk in the Northern Bering Sea.

•In the future, as more ships transit the Bering Strait, there will be more oil spill exposure.

•Much of the increase in ship traffic is expected to come from bulk carriers and tankers serving resource extraction projects elsewhere in the Arctic. These vessels are a particular concern because they generally use heavy fuel oil—a “persistent” fuel that, if spilled, would be virtually impossible to clean up and would likely have impacts for years. Cruise ship and tourism traffic is also likely to increase in the future.



Fortunately, the risk assessment makes clear that we can take pragmatic steps to reduce the risks from increasing vessel traffic in the Bering Sea. In doing so, we should make use of extensive traditional knowledge from Alaska Natives about the Bering Sea ecosystem to inform the development of mitigation measures and response planning. Some options could include:

•Using routing measures such as traffic lanes and Areas to be Avoided to reduce exposure to hazards;

•Improving vessel communications and monitoring systems to help avoid conflicts between vessels and subsistence hunters and to reduce impacts to marine mammal aggregations;

•Tightening requirements for vessel waste management to avoid or reduce impacts of harmful pollution;

•Engaging in rigorous planning for disabled vessels so that incidents don’t become accidents;

•Evaluating lightering practices to determine whether there are ways to improve safety and reduce the risk of spills; and

•Developing community spill response that incorporates not only local response capacity but also local input into response planning.

The Bering Sea hosts abundant marine life that supports the people of the region, as well as rich commercial fisheries. And now, the Bering Sea and Bering Strait are growing more important as an international shipping route. Ocean Conservancy is working with others who care about the health and resilience of the Bering Sea to advance practical, common-sense ways to reduce the risks associated with vessel traffic. Putting in place key measures to increase safety and reduce risk makes sense now, and will pay dividends in the future, as shipping transits through the Bering Strait and Bering Sea increase.


Posted in Science & Conservation | Tagged Andrew Hartsig, Arctic sea ice, Bering Sea, Nuka Research and Planning Group LLC, the arctic, vessel traffic
 


About Andrew Hartsig


Andrew Hartsig is the director of Ocean Conservancy’s Arctic Program. He lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska. In a bid to put off taking the bar exam after law school, he paddled a sea kayak from Bellingham, Washington to Juneau, Alaska in the summer of 2005. (Ed. note: Fortunately, he made it back safely and passed with flying colors.)


http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2017/01/12/new-report-evaluates-risks-of-vessel-traffic-in-the-bering-sea/#more-13613

Agelbert NOTE: Hope springs eternal, but an ice free arctic means more Climate Change Catastrophe and multiple extinctions for arctic land and ocean species.
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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2017, 05:04:21 pm »
Unintended Consequences of the “One In, Two Out” Executive Order: Will America’s Fishermen be the Victims? ???

Posted On January 31, 2017 by Ivy Fredrickson

Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order that intends to reduce government regulations and associated costs to businesses and the federal government. The President claims this will help small businesses, but for the men and women making their living off the ocean, the order could pose some serious problems.

Known as “one in two out,” the order states that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination.”

How does this relate to fisheries?
America’s fishermen are constantly adapting—to new science, to changing conditions on the water and to fishing seasons. They rely on fishery managers to make decisions that weigh environmental conditions, the best available science and fishermen input. Armed with this information, managers develop solutions that not only protect our environment, but support commercial and recreational fishing and coastal communities across America. And the method for implementing these day-to-day management decisions? Regulations.

Fishery regulations open seasons, establish catch quotas and test new management concepts. When a disaster happens, like an oil spill, a toxic algal bloom or a sudden decline in fish populations, regulations are the way the government protects fishermen and consumers.

With this order, when fishery managers need to take any sort of action (for example, open the red snapper season in the Gulf of Mexico, or change the number of salmon vessels are allowed to catch in the Pacific) those managers will need to find two other regulations they can nullify. Managers’ hands will be tied.

The point: Regulations support the businesses of American fishermen and seafood consumers. Hamstringing fishery managers from issuing routine rules that are needed to run our nation’s fisheries could cause serious trouble for both fish and fishermen. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and at this point it’s very uncertain how things will work under President Trump’s Executive Order. But what is clear is that fishery management may have just gotten much more difficult.

Our fisheries already face new and growing pressures from pollution, environmental variability, and increased demand on resources. The last thing our fishermen need is a misplaced order that suddenly brings a wave of uncertainty to the basic mechanics of how we manage our nation’s fisheries.  >:(

Posted in Policy | Tagged fish, fisheries, policy, regulation, Trump administration


About Ivy Fredrickson

Ivy is a Staff Attorney based in Portland, Oregon. Ivy loves the sounds of the ocean, and the small surprises found in the craggy tide pools of the Oregon coast. When she is


http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2017/01/31/unintended-consequences-of-the-one-in-two-out-executive-order-will-americas-fishermen-be-the-victims/#more-13694
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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2017, 05:54:16 pm »
Urgent: Trump Can’t Ignore the Ocean

Ocean Currents

10:31 AM (7 hours ago)

by Sarah Cooley   

I’m a scientist, and I’ve dedicated my life to finding solutions that help people and coastal communities. It may sound complicated, but really, it’s simple—if you add carbon emissions to seawater, the ocean turns more acidic. I’ve visited with shellfish growers and coastal businesses across the country, and I’ve seen firsthand the impacts of acidification.

So you can imagine my surprise, when Scott Pruitt—the nominee for the head of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)—was asked directly by Senators about ocean acidification, he wasn’t even willing to admit that ocean acidification is happening.


This week, the Senate is expected to vote on Mr. Pruitt for the head of the EPA. We want Senators to vote NO and OPPOSE Pruitt based on his unwillingness to admit that ocean acidification is really happening.

I can’t sit back and watch politics harm our coastal communities. We gave Scott Pruitt a chance, we listened to what he had to say at his confirmation hearings and his answers on ocean acidification are a total deal-breaker. Ocean acidification is happening. Shellfish growers in the Pacific Northwest nearly went bankrupt as a result. Lobstermen in Maine are concerned enough about acidification that they have traveled to Washington, D.C. to urge Congress to support important research that will tell them how lobster might be impacted.

As a scientist who has been studying the impacts of ocean acidification for 11 years, I can tell you the truth: ocean acidity has increased 30% since the Industrial Revolution!

This means that shellfish could become scarce on people’s dinner plates—and hard to come by for hungry ocean wildlife.

The EPA's mission is to protect our health and the environment. But, how can they do that if the head of the agency ignores proven impacts to coastal communities?

Ocean acidification is real! Please join me in taking action today by contacting your Senators.
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AGelbert

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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2017, 08:17:43 pm »
Why Does the Strawberry Squid Have One Large and One Small Eye? ??? 

Deep-sea dwellers such as the strawberry squid have developed unique physical adaptations to help them survive in cold, dark habitats. For example, these lopsided sea creatures have a pair of mismatched eyes -- a tiny black eye on one side and a bulging yellow eye on the other.

Histioteuthis heteropsis (Strawberry Squid)

This helps these cockeyed squids, also known by the scientific name Histioteuthis heteropsis, to see in different light conditions, recognizing shadows from ambient light above and bioluminescence from creatures found in the dark depths below.


The wonderful world of the squid:

•Scientists have identified more than 300 species of squid. Squid are strong swimmers and certain species can "fly" for short distances out of the water.

•The eyes of the colossal squid are larger than those of any other creature on Earth. It is also the largest species of squid in the world, weighing as much as 1,000 pounds (454 kg).

Colossal Squid

•The vampire squid has long arms that flow like a black cape, resembling a vampire’s cloak.

Vampire Squid
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AGelbert

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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2017, 05:46:03 pm »
February 24, 2017

How to Tell the Difference Between a Seal and a Sea Lion

Posted by  Erin Spencer

Sea lions

They’re two of the ocean’s most recognizable—and adorable—residents. But can you tell seals and sea lions apart? 

Let’s start with the basics. Seals and sea lions are both in the suborder pinnipedia, a group of fin-footed mammals that also includes walruses. All pinnipeds have broad torsos and narrow hips that help them remain streamlined underwater. You can find pinnipeds all over the world, from walruses in the chilly Arctic to Hawaiian monk seals in the balmy Pacific.

But here is where the differences begin to arise. Although the term “seal” can technically apply to the 32 species we refer to as seals and as sea lions, the family Otariidae includes fur seals and sea lions, where family Phicodae includes “true” seals. Yes, it’s confusing. 

The easiest way to tell them apart is to look at the ears. True seals have ear holes, where sea lions have small flaps covering their ears.

You can also look at their feet. Seals have short, stubby front feet and generally scoot along land on their bellies. Sea lions, on the other hand, have elongated front flippers that help propel them through the water and allow them to “walk” on land. If you look closely, you’ll also be able to see the difference in their claws: seals have long claws and fur on their front flippers, while sea lions’ front flippers have short claws and are covered in skin.

Seals enjoying a good joke.

Still having trouble telling them apart? ??? Check out their behavior. Seals are more solitary and spend most of their time alone in the water, only coming ashore to mate. On the flip side, sea lions are a rowdy bunch. They can gather in rambunctious groups called rafts or herds of up to 1,500 animals. And they are loud: where seals make soft grunts, sea lions have sharp barks to communicate.

There you go! The next time you’re faced with an unidentified pinniped, you’ll be able to tell exactly which kind it is.   

Sea lions socializing  ;D

http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2017/02/24/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-a-seal-and-a-sea-lion/#more-13794

Agelbert NOTE: If you still have some doubts, watch the following video so you can become an expert on the differences.   

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AGelbert

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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2017, 05:30:10 pm »
Seven Gulf Animals Worth Protecting

Posted On April 14, 2017 by Marja Diaz

It goes without saying that all Gulf animals are worth protecting. But we couldn’t share them all. So like a mother’s abundant, yet somewhat hierarchical, love for her batch of offspring, our list of seven Gulf animals exists with a twinge of favoritism.

In recognition of next week’s seven-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, we’ve compiled a list of seven incredible Gulf animals. From ocean Einsteins to bus-sized carnivores, here are seven Gulf animals worth protecting:

1. Whale Shark


Visuals of whale sharks are breathtaking. These gigantic yet gentle globs of mass can live up to 150 years, and are often found gliding with mouths wide open—mouths as wide as five feet. As the largest fish in the world, whale sharks can reach up to 40 feet long and weigh up to 20,000 pounds.

While primarily solitary animals, whale sharks rely on a sixth sense (not the one you’re thinking) to detect the presence of other animals through electromagnetic fields. However, whale sharks are relatively harmless, choosing to feed on plankton instead.

As for the official debate of whale versus shark? Whale sharks are just plain sharks. This means they are fish, and not mammals—the classification of whales. The name “whale” simply comes from a denomination of its enormous size.


2. Bottlenose Dolphin


Fun fact: humans aren’t the only species on a first name basis.

Researchers discovered that, like us, dolphins have unique ways of addressing individual members of a pod. In the way that we use first names to call each other’s attention, dolphins use signature whistles to call specific members of their pod.

As Einsteins of the sea, dolphins are some of the smartest mammals around, known for their craft, cunning and social skills.


3. Sperm Whale


Perhaps best known for the role of “whale” in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, sperm whales didn’t have the best reputation in the past. These carnivores are known for their massive size (longer than the average transit bus) and gigantic heads—holding the largest brain of any living mammal on earth! While brain size does not equal intelligence, they are relatively vocal and communicative animals.

Sperm whales often travel in groups, up to twenty large, and even practice communal childcare! Pods are typically made up of female and their young, while males tent to travel solo, or drift between groups.

Finally, their heads account for one third of their body and are filled with a curious substance called spermaceti. Although scientists still aren’t 100% sure of its use, some believe the spermaceti help these toothed whales regulate their buoyancy, helping them to dive down to 3,000 feet deep.


4. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna


When you think of tuna, whether in the context of small metal cans on store shelves or gripping tales from tanned fisherman, these apex predators play a major role in a balanced Gulf ecosystem. Prized by recreational and commercial fisheries, bluefin tuna are the largest of the tuna species, reaching up to 6.5 feet and swimming at speeds up to 45 mph. Oddly enough, these top predators are warm-blooded, meaning they can regulate their own body temperature.


5. Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle


The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is one of the smallest turtles in the sea, weighing in at about 100 pounds. These stalwart swimmers will travel hundreds of miles to reach their nesting grounds, and often return to the same beach where they hatched.  Sadly, many of their nesting areas on the Gulf Coast are threatened by urban development and sea level rise, and the lives of these reptiles have become increasingly difficult since the BP oil disaster. Today, their female nesting population is estimated at only 1,000 individuals.


6. Brown Pelican


Brown pelicans are both stunning flyers and impressive divers. While relatively clumsy on firm ground, they spend their time between water and air, plunge diving into the ocean to stun small fish upon impact and scooping them up into their extendable throat pouch. They can also hold up to three gallons of water in their pouch.

Although pelicans were once placed on the Endangered Species List due to pesticide pollution such as DDT, they’ve since become a recovery success story.

7. Manatee


Everyone’s favorite sea cow comes in at number seven as a staple of the Gulf ecosystem. These warm water drifters can eat about 120 pounds, or 10% of their body weight, each day. As a distant relative of the elephant, these buoyant animals have thick, wrinkled skin that often hosts growing algae.  Finally, despite their small eyes and tiny ear holes, manatees can see and hear very well!

As we approach the seven-year anniversary of the BP oil disaster, we are seven years closer to fully restoring the Gulf and better understanding the ecosystem and wildlife that speeds, drifts and thrives off its shores. This month, the first payments of the $20.8 billion BP settlement are being issued—something we’re lucky to have seven years after the disaster began. The Exxon Valdez oil spill case dragged on for 20 years in court, resulting in a much lower penalty. This seven-year anniversary is an opportunity, and we are lucky to continue improving our Gulf ecosystem for the incredible wildlife beyond its shores.

Looking for more information on ocean animals? Check out our wildlife fact sheets.

Posted in Ocean Life | Tagged BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, gulf of mexico, manatee, manatee facts, Marja Diaz, ocean animals, whale sharks

About Marja Diaz

Marja G. Diaz is a RAY Marine Conservation Fellow and Digital Coordinator at Ocean Conservancy, based in Washington D.C. She grew up along the beaches of Southern California, and recently graduated from Stanford University, class of 2016. Her passion for travel has led her to every continent but Antarctica (it's on the list), and inspired a love for photography. She ultimately hopes to combine film and photography to spread awareness on the current and future state of the world's ocean and marine life.


http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2017/04/14/seven-gulf-animals-worth-protecting/#more-14151
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AGelbert

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Re: Ocean Species Habits and Ocean Conservancy
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2017, 06:51:49 pm »
A Record Short Season

Posted On May 2, 2017 by J.P. Brooker


A fisherman conservationist’s perspective on why the federal red snapper season is just three days long.

As a Floridian recreational fisherman, I share the disappointment of others in my community over such a spectacularly short federal season—just three days in 2017—for the iconic red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.

As a conservationist, I absolutely get why National Marine Fisheries Service was forced to make this decision. Red snapper is managed as a single fishery in the Gulf of Mexico, which makes sense because red snapper don’t respect our political boundaries and swim freely in the Gulf. So if state water seasons are too long and result in catches far exceeding the science-based quota necessary to rebuild the fishery, the federal season has to reset the balance.

Consider this: Texas has had a 365 day state water season for decades, while Florida has pushed their season out to more than 70 days over the past several years. Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama are all also inconsistent with federal water seasons. The situation has been further complicated by Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama each extending their state water boundaries out from three to nine nautical miles, creating a vast new swath of fishing grounds subject to the more liberal state water seasons that further erode fishing opportunities in federal waters.

While this is of some benefit to some anglers in the northern Gulf, who may have the opportunity to catch red snapper in state waters during the extended state seasons, there are many other recreational anglers who get the short end of the stick. For those of us who live in, say the Tampa Bay area, where we have to travel 30 miles offshore to find red snapper, state seasons are useless no matter how long they are because we simply can’t catch red snapper in state waters—we have to fish for red snapper in federal seasons, and that means we only get three days to try to land our limit this year.

That’s unfair. And the fact is, the Gulf states are a key contributor to the short federal season and resulting imbalance in fishing opportunities for anglers around the Gulf. Sadly, some decision-makers on Capitol Hill want to reward this behavior by doing away with key conservation requirements and handing even more management oversight to the states. These kind of proposals turn a blind eye to what is actually working to recover the red snapper fishery: the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act’s requirements for a science-based rebuilding program and accountability for fishing fleet performance and the development of an effective management program for the commercial fishery. These management triumphs have allowed red snapper in the Gulf to rapidly recover from decades of overfishing. We’ve had the highest catch levels on record over the past three seasons. Recreational catch has rebounded from only 2.45 million pounds in 2009 to 7.19 million pounds in 2016.

Here at Ocean Conservancy, we are doing our best to urge Congress to avoid the perils of returning to old, failed systems that will turn back the clock on the hard-earned successes in the red snapper fishery. Instead the development of stakeholder driven solutions for the effective management of the recreational red snapper fishery is what is needed. I am fortunate that it is my personal and professional mission to help rebuild and sustain America’s fisheries. I love fishing and I hope that as a community we can base our management decisions on science, take the long view and do the right thing so we can continue to fish for red snapper.

At the end of the day, we all share the responsibility for the rebuilding the red snapper fishery. The traditions of generations of fishermen, small businesses in hundreds of coastal economies, and the long term rebuilding of sustainable American fisheries are at stake.
 
Posted in Policy | Tagged fish, Gulf of Mexico, JP Brooker, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA Fisheries, red snapper, sustainable fisheries

About J.P. Brooker

J.P. is Policy Counsel, Fish Conservation Program, working on issues in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic. He is a sixth generation Florida native and loves fishing so much that he trained as an environmental attorney so he could zealously protect the rights of fishy clients across the Sunshine State and throughout the country.


http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2017/05/02/a-record-short-season/#more-14284
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