Shark fin soup stopped at Thailand school

This video says about itself:

23 March 2012

Shark finning is a practice used around the world where fishers capture sharks, and remove and sell their fins. Not only is it cruel, it’s hurting all marine life. Humane Society International is working hard to stop shark finning everywhere.

From the Bangkok Post in Thailand:

Shark fin soup removed from menu (Updated)

19 Nov 2015 at 11:55


Montfort College School in Chiang Mai has removed shark fin soup from the menu to be served at the school’s annual party next month at the request of a parent and after the issue was raised by a green advocate.

Friday update
Montfort removes shark’s fin soup from menu

Montfort College has informed us that it responded quickly to the parent’s concerns over serving a dish containing shark fin at next month’s annual reunion party. College officials say they thanked her for her concern and her valuable suggestion and tooks steps to remove the dish on October 26. The story became news after plans to include the dish was publicised by a prominent environmental activist.

Thursday story

Apinya Wipatayotin

Montfort College School in Chiang Mai should remove shark fin soup from the menu to be served at the school’s annual party next month, says a green advocate.

The president of the Lanna Bird and Nature Conservation Club, Rungsrit Kanjanavanit, says he backs the concerns of a school parent who wrote to him saying she was disappointed in the decision to include shark fin on the menu, as it encourages animal cruelty.

The mother said the school was preparing to offer shark fin with crab meat and scallops in red soup, to be served at 260 tables during the annual reunion dinner on Dec 22-23.

Dr Rungsrit, also an environmental activist, said shark fin soup is no longer fashionable. Many airlines and hotels refuse to include the traditional Chinese delicacy on their menus.

The school should remove it from its menu as a good example to society, he said.

Dr Rungsrit said the complainant is the mother of three children at the school. She told him in the letter the school should avoid encouraging cruelty against the shark population.

She said sharks are not food for human beings and their fins have no extra nutrition compared to other kinds of food.

“I don’t want to see the school’s party as part of a vicious circle that kills sharks and destroys the marine ecological system,” she said.

Dr Rungsrit said the mother also wrote to the school to pass on her concerns. Its executives had replied thanking her for her concerns and said they would consider the matter. No word was given on whether other parents have complained.

Australian speartooth sharks, new research

This video says about itself:

Rare Speartooth Shark (Glyphis glyphis): Freshwater Sharks

24 April 2010

Few people are aware that Australia has several species of sharks that will live in freshwater and this is one of them! The Speartooth Shark (Glyphis glyphis) is abundant in only localised and isolated regions and is subsequently considered Critically Endangered. The sharks in this clip were collected by the team at Cairns Marine, under special permit, for a strategic breeding program at the Melbourne Aquarium. As the only representatives of their species in captivity anywhere in the world, this is a vital step towards their long term species conservation.


Adult speartooth sharks caught and tagged by scientists for first time ever

12th November 2015 / Mike Gaworecki

Only juvenile specimens of the elusive, endangered shark species have been previously observed by scientists.

  • The two adult specimens caught by CSIRO researchers at the mouth of the Wenlock River in Queensland, Australia were a male that measured 2.3 meters in length and a female that was 2.2 meters.
  • Until now, no one even knew how big a fully mature speartooth shark could get.
  • Each of the sharks was fitted with satellite tags that will collect data on the sharks’ movements, as well as the depth, salinity and temperature of the waters the sharks frequent.

Scientists with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, have caught and tagged two adult speartooth sharks (Glyphis glyphis) in a remote corner of Australia — the first time live adults of the species have ever been observed by scientists, let alone studied.

The elusive shark species, which is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), was first discovered in Australia in the Bizant River, on Cape York’s eastern side, in 1982. Only juvenile specimens have been previously observed. Until now, no one even knew how big a fully mature speartooth shark could get.

CSIRO has been researching juvenile speartooth sharks in the Wenlock River since 2006 and discovered that they are restricted to a few river systems in the Australia’s Northern Territory and Queensland states.

The two adult specimens caught by the CSIRO researchers at the mouth of the Wenlock River in Queensland were a male that measured 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) in length and a female that was 2.2 meters (7.2 feet). Each of the sharks was fitted with two satellite tags that will detach (one after 60 days, the other after 120 days), float to the surface and upload the data they’ve collected on the sharks’ movements, as well as the depth, salinity and temperature of the waters the sharks frequent.

While juvenile speartooth sharks spend the first three to six years of their life in the low-salinity river waters 40 to 80 kilometers (about 25 to 50 miles) upstream from the sea, scientists had thought that adult speartooth sharks spend most of their time in marine environments, only returning to rivers to give birth.

But the truth is that “We currently have no idea where the adults occur, all we know is that they are found in marine environments somewhere off the northern Australian coast,” CSIRO researcher Dr. Richard Pillans, who tagged the sharks together with colleagues from CSIRO and the Australia Zoo, said in a statement.

This general lack of knowledge makes conservation efforts difficult. The IUCN estimates that there are, at most, just 2500 speartooth sharks left in the world. They’ve been found in tropical river systems in Australia and Papua New Guinea, but very little else is known about where they live out their lives as adults and, therefore, what threats they are facing.

The presence of a male at the mouth of the river could possibly indicate that speartooth sharks also mate in riverine environments, for instance — a vital piece of information for conservationists to have.

“It is hoped that the information obtained from these tags will provide the first data on where adult speartooth sharks live,” Pillans added, “with this data critical to obtaining a better understanding of threats to this endangered species.”

Sharks to become smaller and poorer hunters by century’s end, climate change study suggests: here.

Small-spotted catshark swimming, video

This video shows a small-spotted catshark swimming in the Oosterschelde estuary in Zeeland province in the Netherlands.

Diver Robert Hughan made this video.

Great white sharks in South Africa, video

This video from South Africa says about itself:

27 November 2014

Under cover of darkness, Kimi Stewart and her team set out to photograph a White shark breach in False Bay, South Africa. Most breaches have been recorded during daylight, with dawn and dusk being the most active hunting hours for the sharks, but no one had yet photographed a night time breach.

In the heart of False Bay lies a small island home to a population of Cape Fur seals. Every winter, when the young seal pups venture into the ocean, they become prime targets for White sharks. But catching a seal is not an easy task. In fact, it is estimated that half of the seals survive the attacks. To compete against the seal’s agility, White sharks use the breaching strategy, surprising the seal with a fatal blow. Once the seal is hit, the predator will return to finish its victim.

This breaching behaviour, which relies on the element of surprise is believed to use all of the shark’s senses, including its vision. Low light, especially, helps depict the seals shadow against the surface, whilst allowing the shark to remain camouflaged in the dark waters below.

Curiously night time breaches have been recorded in Mossel Bay, on the Eastern coast of South Africa, and it could be that the city lights, moonlight, or bioluminescence, provide enough light for them to hunt. Further down along the coastline, in False Bay, and equipped with fashion photography lights, Kimi, Hendre, Marius and Morne set out to capture a night-time breach of a White shark.

This film will be shown at the Wildlife Film Festival in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Sharks, 450 million years ago till today

This 2014 video says about itself:

Wherein we take an adventure into the deep oceans of history in pursuit of fossilized sharks.

From the BBC:

The epic history of sharks

There are many strange sharks but their ancestors were even weirder and more wonderful than those swimming today

By Lucy Jones

3 October 2015

When you imagine a shark, you may think of a torpedo-shaped, streamlined creature with a prominent dorsal fin, a large mouth ringed by sharp, triangular teeth and a crescent-shaped tail. Jaws, basically.

Actually, the shark group of fish are widely varied. The Epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) can walk on land, the frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) is flatter-bellied, adapted to hunt in the deep-sea, the tasselled wobbegong (Eurcrossorhinus dasypogon) is a carpet shark that resembles an old patterned rug and the goblin shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) is eel-like with a long dagger-shaped snout.

These are just a handful of over 500 species of shark that we know about today, each well-adapted to its particular environment.

Yet in the past, there were many more: fossil records suggest more than 3,000 types of shark and their relatives existed at one time. And some of the ancestors of modern sharks were even weirder and more wonderful than those swimming today.

Their long history starts in the late Silurian period, about 450 million years ago. It was a time when sea levels were high and coral reefs began to form. The Earth’s climate was warm and stable. Molluscs, crinoids and trilobites were some of the only living creatures on the Earth before scorpions and centipedes appeared on the land.

Around this time, sharks too appeared, evidenced by the oldest known shark scales found in Siberian deposits.

Jawed and bony fish began to diversify, including the evolution of a group of fish called acanthodians, or “spiny sharks”. These extinct fish looked like small sharks but had varying numbers of fins.

“It appears that sharks arose from within those,” says Charlie Underwood of Birkbeck University of London, UK. “Where they end and sharks begin is quite up for debate. Certainly we know that some of these acanthodians have teeth that formed in a very similar way to sharks. The teeth will grow on the inside of the mouth and move forward as they get bigger, in a sort of conveyor belt. Among these are the earliest sharks.”

Fast forward 50 million years to the Early Devonian, a warm and arid time on Earth when forests spread across the land, seed-bearing plants first appeared and the planet underwent great geological change.

This is when we have the first remains of shark teeth, from the Leonodus shark. These teeth are both small (4mm) and two-pronged, but they offer few clues as to what the Leonodus shark actually looked like. They are similar to the teeth of another shark called Xenacanthus that appeared millions of years later in the Late Devonian, leading to speculation that Leonodus, like Xenacanthus, lived in freshwater.

It may seem that teeth are not much to go by, but everything we think we know about shark evolution is from the teeth, says Lisa Whitenack of Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, US. From teeth, she says, we can learn about what environment the shark lived in, what they ate and how they are related to other sharks.

But we have to wait until 380 million years ago for the next clue to shark evolution. That comes from the braincase of Antarctilamna, a so-called lamnid shark from Antarctica. Its head, fin, spines and teeth suggest that it was eel-like.

There’s a reason the Devonian period is referred to as the ‘Age of Fishes‘. It was the time when they diversified greatly. A skeleton of the now extinct shark Cladoselache, shows just how much. It was very different from its eel-like ancestors. It was a 2m-long, torpedo-shaped shark with equal-sized dorsal fins, a short stout spine in the front, five fill slits and large eyes. It took its prey tail-first, indicating it could easily outswim its meals.

At this time, a school-bus sized group of fish called Dunkleosteus, also swam the seas. These were giant, heavily-armoured fish and may have competed for similar prey. This could have been just the trigger sharks needed to evolve further. Other armour-plated fish existed too, but it was early sharks that seemed to have something that allowed them to thrive, while these other giants died out.

Enter the golden age of sharks, 360 million years ago during the Carboniferous period. The largest predators of the sea at this time were the Chondrichthyans (cartilage fish). They had their skeletal jaws and tough scaly skin to thank for that. The enamel on their teeth was also frequently replaced.

This group included rays (close relatives of sharks), skates and a bizarre branch called the chimaeras, which featured species such as ratfish, ghost sharks and spook fish. It was within this last group, the chimaeras, that extremely weird and wonderful sharks appeared, says Underwood. “By the Carboniferous period, the majority of shark-like things are on the chimaeras branch, rather than the branch towards modern sharks.”

Prehistoric sharks certainly looked much stranger than the modern sharks we share the planet with today, even weirder than the Port Jackson, with its strange patterning and smoothed, numerous fins.

This video is called Port Jackson Sharks (Heterodontus portusjacksoni ), 4 young sharks chilling out on the sand, Sydney, Australia.

The Stethacanthus, for example, had an anvil-shaped dorsal fin on its back. “No one really knows what it used it for,” says Christopher Bird, of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK and Shark Devocean blog. It is one of many evolutionary mysteries in the shark world.

Another was the spiral-shaped tooth structure, called a tooth whorl, of the Helicoprion. These were dinner-plate sized and likely sat at the tip of the lower jaw. Some of these tooth spirals were 40cm across.

“As they grow and move into the mouth position, rather than falling out, the teeth just stay stuck to each other,” explains Underwood. “The shark doesn’t lose teeth as they move outside the mouth. So you end up with the bottom lower jaw having a big circular blade sticking out and behind that… crushing teeth. It’s a very strange arrangement.”

These bizarre traits aside, ancient sharks actually had the same basic features as the sharks we know today.

More innovation occurred at the start of the Jurassic period, 213 million years ago, when 12 new groups evolved. Sharks with flexible jaws started to appear. This meant they could feed on things that were bigger than themselves, says Bird. “They were able to exploit the newly emerging habitats as the world was changing.”

Their protruding jaws came to good use. They could eat, crunch or suck prey into their mouths. “Sharks in the Jurassic period often had teeth with a flat-ridged surface to make it easier to crunch on crunchy things,” says Whitenack.

As environments changed, sharks evolved different features. A tail fin allowed sharks to swim faster for long distances to pursue prey. Most sharks evolved a mouth under their snout, although a few species have mouths at the front of their snouts such as the frilled shark and angel shark.

Sharks were certainly tenacious. The creatures that thrived during this period survived right into the Cretaceous, often defined by its end. Sixty-five million years ago most of the dinosaurs were wiped out. Many other animals died too but sharks lived on.

And why wouldn’t they? They had already survived four other catastrophic mass extinctions. Their bodies were clearly well adapted to survive.

What’s more, they could exploit the fact that so many other creatures were wiped out. It was during these “recovery stages following historic mass extinctions” that the biggest number of new species appeared, says Bird.

Following the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, for example, there was a second wave of deep-sea sharks. “The sharks are able to recolonise the water. We start seeing the cookie-cutter sharks and lantern sharks move in after this post-crisis event,” says Bird.

These also exploited new habitats following extinction events. They even managed to survive during times when the ocean lost its oxygen – including one such event in the Cretaceous period, when many other, larger, species died out. As a refuge, sharks moved deeper underwater, says Bird. And while there, they had another cunning trick. Some evolved the ability to glow in the dark.

The end of the Cretaceous gave sharks the opportunity to flourish. Not all survivors were successful though, including one giant of the sea, once thought to be a direct relative of the great white shark.

About 16 million years ago the Carcharodon megalodon first appeared. It could grow up to 16.8m and weighed 25 tonnes. Its mouth would gape open an impressive 2m, showing its 15cm-long teeth, perfect for eating everything else big in the ocean. It made the great white shark look like a goldfish in comparison.

We don’t know why the megalodon went extinct. One idea is that climate change disrupted the availability of prey. It was big, so needed to eat a lot. Any tiny change could therefore have threatened its survival. It’s likely that many factors combined to cause this giant to disappear two million years ago.

Other survivors from the Cretaceous lived on to become the sharks we know today. Hammerhead sharks for example, are among the most recent to appear in the fossil record and are assumed to be one of the last modern shark orders to evolve.

Their t-shaped heads increase lift as the sharks swim through the water, allowing them to make sharp turns. It also helps them sense more of their environment.

And we now have greater insight into how their strange-shaped heads evolved. Genetic techniques allow us to peer back in time at the evolution of modern-day sharks. In one such experiment in 2010, scientists looked at the DNA of eight species of hammerhead to build a genetic family tree going back thousands, possibly even millions, of generations.

Our study indicates the big hammerheads probably evolved into smaller hammerheads, and that smaller hammerheads evolved independently twice,” said Andrew Martin of the University of Colorado at Boulder, at the time of the study.

“As the sharks became smaller, they may have begun investing more energy into reproductive activities instead of growth.”

Recently, it has become clear that we may not even know how many sharks live in the ocean. An elusive shark called the megamouth (Megachasma pelagios), was only discovered several decades ago. In 1976 a US research vessel off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu hauled up a shark nearly 5m in length, with a great fleshy mouth surrounding broad jaws.

ince then, 49 have been found all over the world. Usually they are dead when caught but one living specimen has given scientists some idea of its environment and habits. Its soft cartilage and flabby tissue suggests a slow-steady swimmer that filter-feeds on shrimp, sea jellies and small crustaceans.

But despite new species still being discovered, the very survival of sharks is under threat. Many are endangered and their biggest threat? Us. Climate change, pollution and habitat destruction are all factors affecting their numbers.

The main threat to their survival is overfishing. Humans kill many species in large quantities for meat and fins. Several are now on a list that seeks to protect endangered species from international trade (the CITES list), and includes open-water predators such as basking, whale and great white sharks, which are caught in vast quantities for meat.

Even deep-sea sharks are vulnerable. Despite the incredible features they have evolved to help them succeed, their reproduction rate is slow. That means if any are killed, the knock-on effect is huge.

Deep-sea shark species can’t recover, explains Bird. They don’t have the potential to reproduce offspring quicker than they’re being taken out. These sharks are often targeted for their liver oil. It contains a molecule called squalene, sought after by the cosmetics industry for its moisturising properties.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) now estimates that a quarter of sharks and rays are threatened with extinction. Although sharks have survived several mass extinctions, the rate at which their populations are being reduced by human activity is extreme and many species are not protected. In 2014, scientists said improved management of fisheries and trade is “urgently needed” to promote population recovery.

If their rate of decline continues, the future of sharks is uncertain. “We’re a new predator in the ocean,” says Bird. Sharks were once top predator but “we’re decimating their populations. One day, they may not be able to bounce back and recover.”

Common smoothhound shark on Texel island beach

This video from Jersey says about itself:

Common smooth hound (Mustelus mustelus)

19 July 2015

Chantelle Marie De Gruchy very kindly sent in this video of a Smooth Hound that she saw whilst diving St. Catherine’s breakwater.

The smooth hound is a species of shark found throughout the British Isles which can reach 4 foot in size! They typically eat small crustaceans and molluscs but occasionally take small fish.

Chantelle is currently studying for her master’s degree in Marine Environmental Management at the University of York.

Translated from Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands today:

Shark on the beach – 22-09-2015

A special find on the beach of De Cocksdorp on Texel. There was a common smoothhound on the sand. The female had been dead for a while when she washed up. The eyes were out and there was a really fishy smell. Yet Ecomare has kept the animal; it is not every day that a shark washes up on a Dutch beach. In recent years, there seem to be again more sharks in the Wadden Sea.


The last thirty years the number of common smoothhound sharks along the Dutch coast has increased. Other shark species at the same time have gone down. This shark species can get quite large, up to 1.65 meters. The shark near De Cocksdorp was 80 centimeters. Smoothhound sharks have flat molars and are harmless to people. They live close to the coast. Usually they swim close to the sea floor where they look for crabs, shellfish and fish. They occur in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean and thus the North Sea and Wadden Sea. Along the Dutch coast they are rare.

Sharks in the Netherlands

In the North Sea you can find several species of sharks. The small-spotted catshark is the most common. Besides common smoothhound sharks also school sharks live there. Spiny dogfish is seen in some years as well. You can even encounter basking sharks, nursehounds, porbeagle sharks and Atlantic thresher sharks in the North Sea, but these are super rare.