Underwater Journal #3 available for download
This issue contains articles about closed-circuit rebreathers, dive travel and gear reviews among others. There is a great piece about the current status and future of the Goliath Grouper. Underwater Journal is a free electronic diving magazine published in PDF format.
CITES to consider designating additional protected shark species
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is considering adding two additional species to their protected list, the porbeagle and spiny dogfish sharks. The issue will be voted on this weekend, but among the 171 members countries, some of the most influential - Canada, New Zealand, and the United States - are considering opposing the proposal to restrict trade of these species.
Rob Stewart, director of Sharkwater, has requested help in contacting government officials of each of the countries in an effort to win approval for the proposal. Voice your support for protection of these sharks with the email form at SavingSharks.com.
Scuba Diving Magazine 2007 Photo Contest winners announced
Moderator Todd Mintz’s image of a clownfish in Raja Ampat took the Grand Prize, and Wetpixel members not only placed first in each of the categories of Wide-Angle, Macro, Marine Life, and Topside, but also dominated nearly all of the other placings.
Under the Blue 2007 winners posted
The winning images from the Under the Blue 2007 International Photo and Video Competition were announced at the SCUBA Show in Long Beach, California, and have been posted at UnderwaterCompetition.com.
Congratulations to Wetpixel member Yeang Chng for taking Best in Show with an excellent photograph of a sunburst-lit cuttlefish, and also to all those individuals who placed. The winners shared more than $20,000 in prizes ranging from photo and video equipment to dive travel opportunities.
A special thanks to the generous sponsors, without which these competitions would not be possible. Good luck next year!
Japan’s whaling industry loses support of commercial fishing companies
Japan’s largest seafood company, Maruha, and fourth largest fisheries company, Kyokuyo, have both committed to end the production and sale of whale meat products in Japan. Both Kyokuyo and Maruha were among Japan’s leading commercial whaling companies until March 2006, when they divested their ownership in Japan’s whaling fleet in response to pressure from international campaigns. It is estimated that these companies have killed nearly half a million whales since 1929.
Allan Thornton, president of the Environmental Investigation Agency said: “This should mean the end of the commercial whaling business in Japan with Kyokuyo and Maruha pulling their sales of millions of cans of whale meat each year. It’s time to silence Japan’s harpoons and work together to conserve whales for future generations.” Post your thoughts in the discussion...
New fishing legislation in Mexico allows longlines and gillnets
The Mexican legislation NOM-029-PESCA-2006 took effect on May 16, 2007. Originally advertised as a way to “reduce the overfishing of sharks and rays in Mexican waters,” and specifically, in the Sea of Cortez, the bill became strongly supported by commercial fishing interests.
Under NOM-029, there is a reduction in protected no-take zones for marlin, dorado, sailfish, and other species, no reduction in currently issued permits and no restriction on ‘incidental’ by-catch (resulting from longline and gillnet fishing), which some studies have reported “runs 60% to 80% of the total catch.”
Environmental organization Sea Watch has issued a call to action to contact Mexican government and civic officials in an attempt to stop the implementation of NOM-029. Take the time to send a message to preserve these marine habitats, or suggest alternatives in the ongoing discussion...
RSMAS Underwater Photography Contest 2007 Winners
Congratulations to Wetpixel members Patrick Weir (whose photo took ‘Best Overall’), Neil Hammerschlag, Matthew Potenski, Alvin Rosenfeld, and Phillip Gillette (and others?) for placing. Discuss the winning images in the competition thread...
Taiwan bans whale shark trade by 2008
For the past 10 years, Taiwan has been actively fishing whale sharks for their meat, often served in restaurants as “Tofu Shark.” “In 1995, according to records, Taiwan caught 270 whale sharks. In 2001…about 100,” said Zhuang Shouzheng, an associate professor at National Taiwan Ocean University. The numbers of whale sharks have significantly dwindled in recent years, causing the Taiwanese Fisheries Ministry to impose quotas, which were set at 60 and 30 in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
Beginning in 2008, Taiwan will enact a total ban on the trade of whale sharks and whale shark meat. A number of conservation groups have been working in the area for years to stop the killing of whale sharks, and this decision by the Taiwanese government is hailed as a major step towards achieving this objective.
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- NPR and NPS on next Ansel Adams (via )
- Adobe updates Camera Raw to 9.4 (via )
- NG photo of the day by Jennifer Giliberto (via )
- A new app to track the ISS for astrophotography (via )
- NG photo of the day by Jacob Anderson (via )
- Photo of a potato sells for $1M (via )