Great cormorant fishing, video


This is a video on a great cormorant fishing in the Netherlands.

Gerrie van der Meulen made the video on 14 February 2015.

Save British seagrass meadows


This video from the Red Sea in Egypt is called Green seahorse in sea grass.

From Wildlife Extra:

Government urged to consider important UK seagrass areas

A newly formed NGO has responded in the consultation process to establish the next tranche of Marina Conservation Zones (MCZs).

Project Seagrass is comprised of internationally recognised experts in seagrass ecology and management.

There is an expanding body of literature illustrating how UK seagrass meadows play a significant role in supporting coastal biodiversity and fisheries productivity.

Seagrass meadows cycle nutrients, provide nursery habitat for young fish, are key foraging grounds for adult fish, prevent beach erosion, support human wellbeing, and harbour culturally significant species, such as seahorses.

Fish growing up in a seagrass meadow will have higher chances of reaching maturity and spawning a new generation than those in an alternative low quality nursery habitat such as bare sand.

However, the group says that UK seagrass meadows are under extreme pressure.

As primary producers living in sheltered coastal waters they are subjected to the problems associated with poor water quality and limited catchment management.

Anything that reduces light availability within the water column will result in stress to these plants.

This is compounded by other physical stressors such as anchor and mooring damage, destructive fishing practices such as bottom trawling, raking and bait digging, and coastal development eroding the long-term resilience of the seagrass systems.

Project Seagrass maintains that providing appropriate and widespread protection for these habitats has never been more urgent.

In a 2013 Swansea University survey throughout the British Isles only two important seagrass sites were found not to have been impacted by poor water quality.

Additional studies utilising GoogleEarth and site visits have revealed the extent of the threats imposed by the impact of inappropriate mooring damage on seagrass meadows throughout the UK.

Examples of the degradation that current mooring practice causes can be seen at Studland Bay, Poole Harbour, Salcombe and around the Isle of Wight.

In the new round of proposed MCZs, the seagrass meadows at Nettle and Mount Bay are included but, the group says, neither is extensive nor particularly threatened.

Adding protection to both of these sites may help in the long-term but is unlikely to have any immediate effect on their management or conservation; effectively these sites are ‘easy wins’ for MCZ creation as neither spots have particular value for alternative uses.

By contrast, seagrass meadows surrounding the North and East of the Isle of Wight and throughout the Solent are under extreme pressure, says the Project, and these have not been included.

The pressure is due to the cumulative impacts of poor water quality, boat use (anchor and mooring damage) and destructive fishing practices (bottom trawling, raking, bait digging).

In addition, seagrass meadows in many other areas of the south English coast, for example Studland Bay, are also under pressure from boat use (moorings and anchors) and, again, not included in the current MCZ proposals.

Project Seagrass says there exists sufficient scientific evidence for the long term protection of all seagrass meadows in the UK.

It has requested as part of its submission that DEFRA reconsider its exclusion of Bembridge, Norris to Ryde, Studland, and Yarmouth to Cowes from the 2nd tranche of MCZs.

Meadows in need of immediate action such as Bembridge, Norris to Ryde, Studland, and Yarmouth to Cowes must be included as MCZs, it says.

For more information visit www.projectseagrass.org.

Pakistani fishermen save rare whale


This video says about itself:

Endangered whale saved by brave fishermen – Pakistan

18 February 2015

An extremely rare whale, identified as most probably a Longman’s beaked whale, was successfully rescued from gillnet off Pakistan – all thanks to the training provided to the crew as part of a WWF-Pakistan project.

It took 30 minutes, but this stunning whale was freed and swam away!

According to a WWF message on Twitter today:

15 whale sharks, 3 manta rays, 2 sunfishes, and now 1 whale have been rescued from gillnets off Pakistan.

After the humpback whale saved near Hawaii

Fieldfare catches fish from frozen pond, video


This video shows a fieldfare, catching a fish (I think a stickleback) on a frozen pond in the Netherlands.

Fieldfares are best known for feeding on berries; however, they are omnivorous.

Rien Kors, the maker of this video, had never seen a fieldfare catch a fish.

Sticklebacks have spines, so they are not really easy to eat.

New Dutch wildlife film, premiere in September 2015


This video is a teaser for the new Dutch wildlife film, called Holland, Natuur in de Delta [nature in the Scheldt and Rhine rivers delta].

Its première will be on 24 September 2015.

It is by the makers of the succesful wildlife film The New Wilderness.

The film has five main characters: the sea eagle; the beaver; the hare; the scarce large blue butterfly; and the stickleback.

In 2017, the film makers plan to finish a third film, on the Wadden Sea region and its nature.

Shark sanctuary in Madagascar


This video says about itself:

Indian Ocean shark footage – Raw

11 June 2012

Here are 2 minutes of pure shark watching. Take a look as some beautiful marine life responds to researchers luring them with a bag of chum in the Indian Ocean.

From the Wildlife Conservation Society:

Madagascar Creates Shark Park

February 4, 2015

Great news bite: the government of Madagascar has created the country’s first shark sanctuary in Antongil Bay to protect 19 shark species! The law that creates the sanctuary also grants local communities exclusive use and management rights to fishing areas.

WCS is committed to protecting the incredible biodiversity of Madagascar, as well as sharks. Of the 19 species protected by this sanctuary, one third have become severly threatened by unregulated fishing.

“With the support from Wildlife Conservation Society, we chose a participatory and collaborative approach for the development of this law and management plan and we opted for the search for a balance between fishing activities and ecological integrity to ensure rational and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources” said Mr. Ahmad, Minister of Marine Resources and Fisheries at the press conference in Antananarivo.

White sharks grow more slowly than thought


This video is called White Shark Cage Diving – Mossel Bay, South Africa.

From NOAA Headquarters in the USA:

February 18, 2015

White sharks grow more slowly and mature much later than previously thought

6 minutes ago

A new study on white sharks in the western North Atlantic indicates they grow more slowly and mature much later than previously thought.

The findings, published online in Marine and Freshwater Research, present the first reliable growth curve for this species in the western North Atlantic. The results: males are sexually mature around age 26 and females around age 33, much later than currently accepted estimates of 4 to 10 years for males and 7-13 years for females.

“Using the longevity data obtained from our first study, we are now able to describe not just how long white sharks live, but also the growth rate for this species, which is remarkably slower than anybody thought,” said Lisa Natanson, a fisheries biologist and shark researcher at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and lead author of the study.

To construct the growth curve, researchers combined recently published information on white shark longevity with a further look at band pair counting on vertebral samples from 77 white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), 41 male and 36 female. Band pairs, counted like tree rings, are alternating opaque and translucent deposits laid in sequence in shark vertebrae as the animal grows. Since the deposition rate may change over time, researchers must determine or validate the actual rate that the bands are deposited.

The research on longevity demonstrated that band pair counts were reliable up to 44 years of age, after which band pair counts underestimated ages that could exceed 73 years. The estimated age at maturity reported here could lead to new estimates of population replacement rates that are much slower than those used in the past.

Natanson and co-author Gregory Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries examined the banding patterns on vertebrae from white sharks collected between 1963 and 2010 by the NOAA Fisheries Apex Predators Program. These samples came from white sharks caught on research cruises, taken by commercial and recreational fishing vessels, or landed at recreational fishing tournaments. Sampling took place between Prince Edward Island, Canada, and New Jersey.

The distribution of white sharks in the western North Atlantic is well documented, although the species is considered rare and much of what we know about it comes from distribution records, a handful of observations, and dead specimens.

This study adds to other recent publications about white sharks. For example, a 2014 study used records compiled over 200 years, from 1800 to 2010, to look at the seasonal distribution and historic trends in abundance of white sharks in the western North Atlantic Ocean.

Increased numbers of white sharks off Cape Cod in recent years has provided Skomal and others with opportunities for satellite tagging, another way information is being gathered on shark movements. However, scientists still know little about the natural history of this species, including its reproductive biology and feeding ecology.

Sharks are slow-growing, long-lived animals with low reproduction rates. They are fished commercially throughout the world. Wise conservation requires life history information, including age and growth data, for sustainable management. While vertebral band-pair counts can provide age estimates for many species of sharks, it is critically important to validate how often the band pairs are formed in order to obtain accurate age estimates.

The shark vertebral samples for this study were provided by Natanson from the Apex Predators Program, which maintains one of the largest collections of North Atlantic white shark vertebrae. The Apex Predators Program, located at the NEFSC’s Narragansett Laboratory in Rhode Island, collects basic demographic information about sharks and their life histories by conducting research on their distribution and migration patterns, age and growth, reproductive biology, and feeding ecology.

With lifespan estimates of 70 years and more, white sharks may be among the longest-lived fishes. Sharks that mature late, have long life spans and produce small litters have the lowest population growth rates and the longest generation times. Increased age at maturity would make white sharks more sensitive to fishing pressure than previously thought, given the longer time needed to rebuild white shark populations.

Tiger sharks make long migrations, dive deep into cold waters: here.