[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Elderly killer whale still forced to perform


Elderly Orca Still Forced To Perform

March 31, 2012 Elisabeth Torres
Elisabeth Torres, Global Animal

Lolita is an orca whale who has been captive at the Miami Seaquarium for over 40 years. She was taken from her pod at just four years old and brought to the facility, which is the smallest orca whale housing in the nation. When she is not performing, Lolita is left to swim in her tank by herself day in and out, while Seaquarium owners, Arthur and Andrew Hertz, have profited tens of millions of dollars during her four decade enslavement.

When not performing, Lolita is confined to a small tank. Photo Credit: Slaveforentertainment.com
Lolita was not always the only orca at the Miami Seaquarium. Years ago another whale was briefly housed with her, but died after slamming his head into a concrete structure in the middle of the tank. Something that might not have happened if the tank wasn't smaller than mandated by the USDA. Killer whales are highly intelligent and social beings that develop close bonds with pod members, and Lolita has been without a companion since 1980.

An even more unfortunate part of Lolita's situation is that she is an endangered species. The non-captive members of her Southern Resident pod are protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but without explanation, the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) did not extend the protection to the captive members of the pod. Even though federal law prohibits the taking, harming, or harassing of endangered species, Lolita remains captive in a tank that falls short of federal regulations for housing orcas.

Now a federal court must decide if being a member of an endangered species will allow Lolita to enjoy the freedoms promised to her in the ESA, which could include transferring her to a sea pen in her native waters and possibly even releasing her back into the wild. In an attempt to keep their big money performer at all costs, Arthur and Andrew Hertz have intervened to have the case thrown out. The Seaquarium is already responsible for the capture and exploitation of Lolita, and the death of an orca. Female orcas live an average of 50 years, and Lolita is at least 44 now. Surely it is time for her to retire. Getting Lolita protected under the ESA will ensure that she has the ability to enjoy what is left of her life. Click our take action mouse below to sign the petition urging the NMFS and Secretary of Commerce to let Lolita live as a free orca for the rest of her life.

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[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Tour operator talks to dolphins...?


Tour operator talks to dolphins
Home › Lifestyle
Voxy News Engine
Sunday, 1 April, 2012 - 08:01

Amazing technology previously only available in the scientific community that allows humans to talk to dolphins is being launched by leading New Zealand tourism operator Black Cat Cruises.

New analysis of results from a 1970s experiment found that Dolphins 'talk' to each other using the same process to make their high-pitched sounds as humans. After more than a decade of experimentation and testing by marine scientists in the United States the technology is being launched commercially for the first time anywhere in the world by Black Cat Cruises in Akaroa.

Black Cat Cruises Managing Director Paul Bingham said the findings in the 1970's showed that dolphins don't actually whistle as has been long thought, but instead rely on vibrations of tissues in their nasal cavities that are the same as our vocal cords.

"Once we got wind of the technology and looked at it in more detail we realised how exciting it was and how much it would add to our cruises," he said.

"It took quite some time to get it to a stage where it was a viable tourism product for us, and now can't wait to share it with our dolphin swimming and cruise passengers. It really is incredible and will set our cruises apart from any marine experience anywhere in the world."

The technology is being called Dolphi Chat and will be available as part of Black Cat Cruise's normal trips in Akaroa. Cruise prices remain the same and Bingham said Black Cat Cruises had strong expressions of interest from several overseas marine tourism operators to purchase Dolphi Chat.

"We will see how well it goes here first but there is the potential to sell the technology to other tourism operators overseas," he said.

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A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases <http://www.isid.org>

Date: Tue 27 Mar 2012
Source: Hong Kong Department of Health [edited] <http://www.dh.gov.hk/english/press/2012/120327.html>

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health is today, 27 Mar 2012, investigating ciguatoxin poisoning cases affecting
5 people who have consumed coral reef fish.

The 1st episode involved 3 women and a man, aged between 20 and 56, who developed symptoms of ciguatoxin poisoning including abdominal pain, limb numbness, and diarrhea between 2 to 10 hours after eating a fish during dinner at home on 23-24 Mar 2012. One of them sought medical treatment at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital and required hospitalization. All are now in stable condition.
Investigation revealed that the fish was purchased from a market in Ap Lei Chau on 23 Mar 2012.

The other episode involved a woman aged 48. She developed symptoms of ciguatoxin poisoning including diarrhea, numbness over face and limbs, reversal of sensation of coldness and hotness, and headache 3 hours after eating a fish at home at midnight of 26 Mar 2012. She sought medical consultation at United Christian Hospital but did not require hospitalization. She is currently in stable condition. Investigation revealed that the fish was purchased from a market in Tai Po on 24 Mar 2012.

A CHP spokesman said ciguatera fish poisoning is not uncommon in tropical areas. It is mainly associated with the consumption of big coral reef fish that have accumulated the toxin in the body, in particular in internal organs, through eating small fish that consumed toxic algae in coral reef seas. A larger fish is therefore more likely to carry higher amounts of the toxin. However, it is not easy to tell from the appearance of the fish if it contains toxin.

People affected may show symptoms of numbness of the mouth and the limbs, vomiting, diarrhoea, reversal of sensation of coldness and hotness, and pain in the joints and muscles.

The spokesman said that most people affected by ciguatoxin would recover without long-term health effects. However, if excessive toxin is consumed, the circulatory and nervous systems can be affected. "The toxin cannot be destroyed by cooking," the spokesman said.

To prevent ciguatera fish poisoning, members of the public should observe the following measures:
- Eat less coral reef fish;
- Eat small amounts of coral reef fish at any one meal and avoid having a whole fish feast in which all the dishes come from the same big coral reef fish;
- Avoid eating the head, skin, intestines, and roe of coral reef fish, which usually have a higher concentration of toxin;
- When eating coral reef fish, avoid consuming alcohol, peanuts, or beans as they may aggravate ciguatoxin poisoning;
- Seek medical treatment immediately should symptoms of ciguatoxin fish poisoning appear; and
- Coral reef fish should be purchased from reputable and licensed seafood shops. Do not buy the fish when the source is doubtful.

Communicated by:

[The following is taken from CDC: Cluster of ciguatera fish poisoning
- North Carolina, 2007. MMWR 2009; 58: 283-5
(<http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5811a3.htm>) (original citation numbering retained):

Ciguatoxins are lipid-soluble cyclic polyether compounds and are the most potent sodium channel toxins known (3). Carnivorous tropical and semitropical fish, such as barracuda, amberjack, red snapper, and grouper, become contaminated with ciguatoxins by feeding on plant-eating fish that have ingested _Gambierdiscus toxicus_ or another member of the _Gambierdiscus_ genus, a group of large dinoflagellates commonly found in coral reef waters (4). Gambiertoxins from _Gambierdiscus_ spp. are converted into more potent lipid-soluble ciguatoxins. Spoilage of fish that have been caught is not a factor in toxin development, and cooking does not deactivate the toxin. Humans who eat contaminated predatory fish are exposed to variable concentrations of ciguatoxin, depending on the fish size, age, and part consumed (toxins concentrate more in the viscera, especially liver, spleen, gonads, and roe). The attack rate can be as high as 80 to 90 percent in persons who eat affected fish, depending on the amount of toxin in the fish.

Persistence or recurrence of neurologic symptoms are hallmarks of CFP [ciguatera fish poisoning]. 3 of the 9 patients in this cluster had recurrences of one or more symptoms for more than 6 months after their initial illness. If these patients are again exposed to fish (either ciguatoxin-contaminated or even noncontaminated fish), their symptoms likely will be more severe than those experienced with their initial episodes of CFP (3).

Variations in the geographic distribution of the various ciguatoxins might explain regional differences in symptom patterns. CFP symptoms associated with eating fish from the Pacific Ocean are primarily neurologic, and symptoms associated with eating fish from the Caribbean Sea are more commonly gastrointestinal (4). Amberjack often is linked to CFP cases in the Caribbean. Although the amberjack fish responsible for this cluster of CFP cases tested positive for C-CTX-1, it was not tested for the presence of other ciguatoxins, which also might have been present and could have altered disease presentation (7).

CFP has been associated almost exclusively with eating fish caught in tropical or semitropical waters, but increased global marketing of these species has increased the possibility that persons in temperate zones might become ill with CFP (4). Moreover, warming seawaters might expand the ranges of ciguatoxin-contaminated fish (8). In the USA, such fish have been found as far north as the coastal waters of North Carolina. Despite underreporting, CFP now is considered one of the most common illnesses related to fish consumption in the United States (9).

Any level of Caribbean ciguatoxin 0.1 ppb or more of fish tissue is thought to pose a health risk (3). As this illness becomes more common in nontropical areas of the world, clinicians need to be aware of its manifestations and how to manage it. Although opinions vary on the most effective course of treatment, intravenous mannitol has been a mainstay of management of neurologic symptoms for more than 20 years.
Early mannitol treatment is considered more effective, but anecdotal evidence suggests that even delayed therapy benefits some patients.
Amitriptyline also has been useful in relieving some of the neurologic symptoms of CFP (10). If evaluating a possible case, clinicians should consult their local poison control center for the latest treatment guidelines.

3. Pearn J: Neurology of ciguatera. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2001; 70(1): 4-8 [available at <http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/70/1/4.long>].
4. Lewis RJ: The changing face of ciguatera. Toxicon 2001; 39(1):
97-106 [abstract available at
5. Lange WR, Lipkin KM, Yang GC: Can ciguatera be a sexually transmitted disease? Clin Toxicol 1989; 27(3): 193-7 [abstract available at <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2810444>].
7. Lewis RJ, Jones A: Characterization of ciguatoxins and ciguatoxin congeners present in ciguateric fish by gradient reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Toxicon 1997; 35(2): 159-68 [abstract available at <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9080572>].
8. Chateau-Defat ML, Chinain M, Cerf N, et al: Seawater temperature, _Gambierdiscus_ spp. Variability and incidence of ciguatera poisoning in French Polynesia. Harmful Algae 2005; 4: 1053-62 [abstract available at <http://www.ilm.pf/node/1356>].
9. CDC: Surveillance for foodborne-disease outbreaks - United States, 1998-2002. MMWR 2006; 55(SS-10): 1-34 [available at <http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5510a1.htm>].
10. Lewis R, Ruff T: Ciguatera: ecological, clinical, and socioeconomic perspectives. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 1993; 23(2):
137-56 [abstract available at
<http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10643389309388447>]. - Mod.LL

A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at:

[see also:
Ciguatera, fish poisoning - Philippines 20100627.2147
Ciguatera toxin, 2007 - USA: (NC), unusual symptoms 20090402.1273
Foodborne illness, fish - China (Guangdong): ciguatera susp.
Ciguatera fish poisoning - China (Hong Kong): alert 20061206.3437
Food poisoning - Australia (VIC): RFI 20041113.3077 Ciguatera fish poisoning - China (Hong Kong): alert 20040401.0888
Ciguatera fish poisoning, human - USA (Florida) 19991212.2153
Ciguatera fish poisoning, human - Canada (Quebec) 19971019.2147] .................................................ll/mj/mpp
ProMED-mail makes every effort to verify the reports that are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
information, and of any statements or opinions based
thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held responsible for errors or omissions or held liable for any damages incurred as a result of use or reliance upon posted or archived material.

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[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Diver becomes fourth victim of fatal shark attack off southwest Australia since


Perth, WA (Australia) - A man was killed by a 4-meter (13-foot) shark on Saturday while diving with his brother off a beach in southwestern Australia, authorities said. It's the fourth fatal shark attack in Australia since September, all of them off the continent's southwest corner.

Businessman Peter Kurmann, 33, and his brother Gian Kurmann, 34, were diving from a boat off Stratham Beach, about 230 kilometres (140 miles) south of Perth, the Western Australia state capital, when the younger brother was attacked midmorning, state police spokeswoman Sgt. Naomi Smith said.

She said the victim, from the town of Vasse near the bay where the attack took place, was apparently killed instantly. His brother was unharmed.

The Fisheries Department has launched an investigation, which will include an examination of bite marks on the victim's body to determine the shark species.

Department manager Tony Cappelluti said Gian Kurmann reported seeing "a four-meter (13-foot) dark, shark-like shape" in the water. Authorities won't speculate on the species.

The body was recovered by his brother helped by the crew of a nearby boat and taken south to the town of Busselton, Cappelluti said.

An airplane surveillance team had later spotted a shark in the area and a government boat equipped with shark capture gear was en route to the scene, Cappelluti said.

Experts have been unable to explain the spate of attacks in Australia's southwest, but agree that different sharks are likely responsible for each fatality.

The last fatal attack in Australia was American George Thomas Wainwright, 32, who was taken on Oct. 22 by a 3-meter (10-foot) great white while diving solo off a boat near Rottnest Island, 18 kilometres (11 miles) west of Perth.

A great white of the same size is believed to have taken 64-year-old Australian swimmer Bryn Martin off Perth's premier Cottesloe Beach on Oct. 10.

The attacks followed the Sept. 4 death of bodyboarder Kyle Burden, 21, who was killed by a shark described as 4.5 metres (15 feet) long at a beach south of Perth. Witnesses were unsure of the type of shark.

Australia averages little more than one fatal attack a year along an expansive 35,000-kilometre (22,000-mile) coast, although attacks have become more common in recent decades as more people take part in ocean recreation.

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[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Protecting whitetip sharks, not whale sharks


Pacific Tuna Commission Protects Oceanic Whitetip Sharks, Not Whale Sharks

TUMON, Guam, March 30, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Fishing nations of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) today agreed to protect oceanic whitetip sharks based on a U.S. proposal, while an Australian proposal to ban intentional setting of purse seine nets on whale sharks (to catch associated aggregations of tuna) was stalled by Japan.

"We are pleased that the WCPFC has heeded scientific advice and taken action to conserve seriously overfished oceanic whitetip sharks," said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International. "This decision -- the first species-specific shark protection adopted by this body - should be complemented by additional conservation measures for the region's other vulnerable and overfished shark species in the near future."

Scientists report steep declines in Western Central Pacific oceanic whitetip shark populations and estimate that banning retention could reduce mortality by up to 76%. The WCPFC agreed to prohibit retention, transshipment, storage, and landing of this species.

Australia's proposed ban on the deliberate setting of purse seine nets on whale sharks was stalled due to opposition by Japan. The Members did agree, however, to revisit the issue and adopt revised measures at the next WCPFC meeting.

"An estimated 75 whale sharks were killed in the region's purse seine fishery in 2009 and 2010," said Rebecca Regnery, Deputy Director of Wildlife for Humane Society International. "We are perplexed and dismayed by continuing delays in adopting such basic and sensible safeguards for these globally threatened and economically important species."

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) classifies oceanic whitetip and whale sharks as globally Vulnerable. Whale sharks are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species. Whale shark tourism worldwide is valued at nearly $50 million USD. The oceanic whitetip shark was denied CITES listing in 2010, but has since been protected by regional fisheries bodies governing the Eastern Tropical Pacific and the Atlantic.

Notes to Editors:Shark Advocates International (SAI) is a project of The Ocean Foundation established to advance science-based policies for sharks and rays. Humane Society International (HSI) is one of the only international animal protection organizations in the world working to protect all animals. Together, SAI and HSI staff have decades of expertise as leaders in securing shark finning bans and protections for threatened shark species, particularly in the U.S., Australia, and Europe.

SOURCE Shark Advocates International

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[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] "Unprecedented" strandings on Irish coast


Unprecedented numbers of whale & dolphin strandings on Irish coast

Pilot whale stranded in Co. Kerry. Photo credit Joanne O'Brien

Strandings running well above historic levels - Courtesy of Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG)
March 2012. The number of cetaceans stranded on the Irish coast during 2012 remains unprecedented compared to previous years.

162 strandings in 2011
In 2011, 162 strandings were recorded by the IWDG Cetacean Stranding Scheme which included 11 live strandings and 151 dead animals in various stages of decomposition. Numbers vary each year but this is around 25 - 30 strandings more than we would have expected and a significant increase was noted for both common dolphins and harbour porpoises.

2012 more than ever
As we are now well into 2012, it is clear that the numbers are still much higher than expected.

Well above average
In January 2012, 21 cetaceans were reported stranded to IWDG, this is the highest figure yet recorded for the month of January, the previous highest being January 2005 with 19 strandings recorded. The average for the same month in the previous five years (2007 to 2011) was 13. This trend has continued through February 2012 with 30 cetacean strandings recorded compared to an average of 11.4 based on the previous five year period (2007 to 2011) which included a low of two in 2010 and a high of 23 in 2011. In February very high numbers of harbour porpoise were recorded stranded and over the last three weeks as well as high numbers of long-finned pilot whales.

The two main questions now are what are the causes of these increases and are the high numbers going to continue?

The truth is that in the majority of strandings we can't say why the animal has died and whether the cause was natural or man-made and, of course, there is no single cause for all these strandings. There may be some influence from the point of education and subsequent recorder effort but this is unlikely to account for an increase over the course of just one year.

There is some evidence of fisheries bycatch of common dolphins and in a handful of cases, there is evidence of harbour porpoise injuries consistent with attack from bottlenose dolphins. What has been noticeable over the last year is the number of carcasses which had washed ashore with tail fluke/fins apparently cut away.

The IWDG have informed the National Parks and Wildlife Service, who are the statutory body with responsibility for the conservation of cetaceans and their habitats and keeping them updated on current stranding trends.

Mick O'Connell
IWDG Strandings Co-ordinator - Go to their website.

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[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Update: Mote Marine aquarium planned for Punta Gorda


Mote Marine aquarium planned for Punta Gorda

Mar 29, 2012 6:16 PM EDT
By Steve Campion, NBC2 Reporter

Mote Marine's talked about expansion into Charlotte County is taking the shape of a 3 story aquarium.

The view from where Tonya Blair ate lunch Thursday afternoon wasn't ideal.

"It has been a sad little sinkhole. It has been a place everyone has avoided," said Blair in reference to the vacant lots between US 41 and Taylor Street just north of Marion Avenue in Punta Gorda.

The prime piece of real estate still sits unused almost 8 years after Hurricane Charley left it bare.

"Everybody has been waiting for the day for something to start there," said Punta Gorda resident Bill Dryburgh.

Dryburgh is hoping Mote Marine's talked about expanison into Charlotte County will happen soon. Developers purchased land for the aquarium last week.

"Potentially 15 months from now, we could break ground," said Rob Humpel optimistically.

Humpel is working to make the world-of-water dream a reality.

"This is the one thing Punta Gorda is missing. We haven't had a downtown draw for frankly ever," stressed Humpel.

If the aquarium is built on the vacant land, it is estimated to bring in 400,000 visitors a year to the small city. That is about 25 times Punta Gorda's population.

"It's a game changer," said Charlotte County's tourism director Lorah Steiner.

Steiner suggested the aquarium will have a more than $35 million economic impact. But in order to be built, Mote will have to raise millions of dollars with everything from corporate sponsorships to private donations.

"I for one would donate something to help bring it here," said Dryburgh.

Community support like that will ultimately determine if the old parking lot becomes anything more.

"We need something that magnificent, that excitement to bring to Punta Gorda... maybe Mote Marine will do that," said Blair.

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[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Rescuers free entangled whale


UPDATED: Rescuers free entangled whale off the Peninsula
By Sandy Mazza Staff Writer Daily Breeze
It took rescuers several hours today to free a gray whale that was entangled with heavy discarded fishing lines off the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

The bulk of netting and fishing line was cut from the whale's fluke, or tail, at about 1:30 p.m. - after about three hours of work, said Pacific Marine Mammal Center education director Kelli Lewis.

"We're feeling elated," Lewis said, minutes after the whale swam away. "The guys all cheered as soon as they saw the buoy and netting break loose."

The whale was first seen in distress Wednesday night off Laguna Beach, and Pacific Marine Mammal Center employees sent a disentanglement team to help.

Rescuers attached two orange bumper-type buoys to the whale so it could be found in the morning because it was too dark to do anything Wednesday, Lewis said. This morning, the whale was spotted off Point Vicente at about 10 a.m.

Brad Sawyer, captain of the Redondo Beach Voyager, was the first to catch up to the distressed whale.

"I figured that, with the (fishing debris) and two buoys, he's not swimming too fast," Sawyer said, of determining the whale's location. "I guesstimated where he'd be. We were the first boat on him."

Nicole Beckman, a deckhand on the Voyager, said the whale was swimming slowly in large circles.

"You couldn't see fishing line on him but he wasn't putting his tail up," Beckman said. "Once Harbor Patrol showed up, everyone started cheering. It was definitely in distress but it didn't look injured. I'm hoping once they get all the stuff off, he'll be OK."

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center's disentanglement team worked with Marine Animal Rescue in a small boat to cut the fishing gear off of the whale's tail. They were assisted by the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division.

Rescuers used a specially made switchblade attached to a long pole to cut off the line.

This is the second entangled gray whale spotted this week off Southern California. Rescuers freed a young gray whale spotted off of Dana Point Harbor with about 50 feet of netting and rope wrapped around its tail.

Though rescuers were able to remove most of the line wrapped around that whale, it had suffered severe cuts and was emaciated. Experts said it washed up dead Tuesday in Long Beach Harbor.

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[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Brief: dolphin deaths in Peru


Hundred of dead dolphins have washed up on the coastline 500 miles north of Lima in Peru. Officials are not sure of the cause of death, but believe they may have been killed. The Peruvian Sea Institute has taken samples to study in a laboratory and it also found dead anchovies in the sea, which may have poisoned the dolphins. (Source: The Guardian)

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[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] 'Killer' shrimp threat on the Norfolk Broads


Barton Broad, UK - An outbreak of non-native "killer" shrimps on the Norfolk Broads is threatening its ecology and economy, the Broads Authority has said.

Since the shrimps were first found on Barton Broad earlier this month, extra monitoring has now revealed they have settled further along the River Ant.

A Broads Authority spokeswoman said: "We can only assume natural flow will spread shrimp throughout the Broads".

A public awareness campaign to prevent the spread of the shrimp has begun.

The waterways have now become the fourth area in the UK to have the crustaceans, according to the Environment Agency.

Dikerogammarus villosus, commonly known as killer shrimp, are known to kill native shrimp, young fish and insect larvae.

Last year the agency said the shrimp was the worst non-native invader of waterways in England and Wales due to its voracious appetite, which alters the make-up of habitats it invades.

The shrimps, which grow to about 30mm long (1.18in), were first found in UK waters in 2010 at Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire.

Andrea Kelly, senior ecologist for the Broads Authority, said the shrimps had now been found in "large pockets" along the River Ant to where it joins with the River Bure.

The shrimps have been found in Barton Broad and along the River Ant to the Bure She said more monitoring would now take place throughout the Broads to keep an eye on the spread, which could be drastically increased during the summer as holidaymakers take to the area.

"Locally they're being found in high numbers," said Ms Kelly.

"It's too early to say what effect it is having on the ecology of the Broads, but they have a very high breeding rate and they could have an impact on the environment.

"They could affect fishing on the Broads, which is an industry worth millions of pounds.

"However, 80% of the Broads is soft silt, so they might not have the ecological impact of other rivers. Gravel is a much better habitat for them."

The Check, Clean, Dry campaign, set up by the GB Non-native Species Secretariat, asks people to check their equipment and clothes after they leave the water, to wash them off by the waterside and then thoroughly dry them out.

Ms Kelly said the shrimps could live for up to 14 days in damp conditions.

The Broads Authority said it was planning to put up information signs throughout the river network in the next few weeks.

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[forensic-science] Glass Refractive Index Measurement System


Dear Colleagues,
We are about to replace our Foster and Freeman GRIM2 system (installed
about 15 years ago).
The GRIM2 served us well, but it's time for its retirement.
We are aware of 3 glass refractive index measurement systems, commercially

- The Foster and Freeman
- The LIM Lucia RI <http://www.forensic.cz/en/products/lucia-ri>, and
- The CRAIC RIQ <http://www.microspectra.com/products/riq>.

I would appreciate receiving any input regarding these or other systems,
and recommendations based on your experience.
Due to the delicate nature of my request, an off-list response (to
simanim@police.gov.il) will probably be advisable.
Thanks a lot, and best regards,
Nadav Levin

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Balcomb: Dead killer whale was blown up


Dead baby killer whale was blown up
By Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research | Mar 28, 2012 Share

Ken Balcomb
The body a 3-year-old killer whale, which I named "Victoria" when I first saw her, was recently found on a beach just north of Long Beach, Wash. Her body was battered, bloodied and bruised, and she had likely been dead for several days.

She was a member of the Southern resident killer whales, which make their seasonal home in the San Juans and were declared endangered under federal law in 2005. The whales have been spotted around the Strait of Juan de Fuca, southern Georgia Strait, and the inland waterways of Puget Sound, including near the Naval Station Everett.

A team of biologists performed a necropsy on Victoria's carcass immediately after it was discovered on Feb 11. Tissues samples were taken and her head removed so that a CT scan could be conducted on her skull.

Victoria, designated L112, was one of the most darling and affectionate little whales in this endangered population, and she will be sorely missed by humans and by the whale population.

The final results of analysis of her skull may take some time, but it is important to note that ALL of the expert observations of her bloody and bruised carcass, and her head, concluded that there is strong evidence of near instantaneous lethal destruction of tissues, mostly on one side, consistent with blast trauma.

Her death was undoubtedly caused by humans – we now have to look for the source of the blast.

I have asked the Law Enforcement division of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to investigate so that there will be a clear set of rules concerning withholding, filtering or losing evidence in this case.

As an "endangered" population under the federal Endangered Species Act, the killer whales' protective management is under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's NMFS.

Any federal agency that conducts activities that may impact this population is required to undergo a Section 7 consultation with NMFS, resulting in a biological opinion (BIOP) following which may be issued a Letter of Authorization (LOA) for non-lethal "takes." No killing is allowable.

The U.S. Navy entered into consultations with NMFS concerning possible takes of marine mammals in the Northwest Training Range Complex (NWTRC) that extends in patches along the Pacific Coast from about Neah Bay to California out to a distance 250 nautical miles offshore.

The proposed (and authorized) training activities currently involve, among other things, dropping 110 bombs (10 of which are MK 82 500 pound equivalent of TNT explosive) with a 100 percent kill efficiency for any living thing within 37.8 meters in air.

Underwater the kill distance is much greater, by a factor of 10 or so, at least. Hearing loss and recuperable lung damage will occur at an even greater distance! The Navy request was for only 96 bomb drops last year (eight live MK 82's), and that was said to be the approximate annual number for the previous decade, or so.

I apologize to the whales for only last week finding that out. NMFS headquarters has prepared a BIOP which says that it is unlikely that these activities have any significant deleterious effect on marine mammals, and they have issued an LOA for incidental takes resulting from these activities, PROVIDED the Navy report them for correlation with the marine mammal stranding record, particularly with unusual mortality events (UME's).

You can search for these reports along with the other stuff I've mentioned on the NMFS website and/or Google, but there is only one Navy annual report from last July and its tabular information is CLASSIFIED!

Even if it were UNCLASSIFIED, a tabular report would be useless for temporally correlating with any strandings, much less UME's, in any meaningful way.

UME's are designated by NMFS and evaluated by a panel of experts selected by the secretary of commerce and the secretary of interior on a rotating basis. Sorry, I do not yet know what security clearances the panel members have, or whether they can request more than tabular data, but I doubt that they had such information for review in the nine days between the Navy report of July 1, 2011 and issuance of a 2011/12 LOA on July 10, 2011.

I am going to request of NMFS that little Victoria, aka L112, among others, be designated an UME in my next call; and, this summer if her mom and brother, and aunts and cousins do not return to the San Juans, and I do not find them anywhere, I'll request that they be designated UME's, too.

This is really a tragic bureaucratic jungle situation for the whales and other marine life in the Olympic Coast National Marine "Sanctuary," and I fear it is even more tragic for our wonderful notion of honest and transparent governance.

Yeah, this is a complicated issue; but, at this rate the easiest and most forthright way out is to rename the sanctuary: Olympic Coast National Marine Bombing Range (OCNMBR), and say "bye-bye" to the whales.

Citizens have until April 27 to provide public comment on the expansion of, and the activities within, the NWTRC; and, I suppose it would be OK to suggest changing the name if that is our collective wish. It is absurd to call it a sanctuary.

Ken Balcomb is the executive director and chief scientist of the Center for Whale Research, based on San Juan Island.

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[MARINE_BIOLOGY_INTERNATIONAL] Pardon me: Did a robot just hear fish farts?


Miami, FL - A torpedo-shaped robot sent out to listen for fish off the Florida coast has detected what appears to be the sound of fish passing gas.

A torpedo-shaped robot that bobbed up and down along the Florida coast to map sound production by red grouper and toadfish has detected what appears to be the unmistakable sound of herring passing gas. That is, a robot heard what scientists believe to be fish farts.

"This remains merely a hypothesis, an untested but logical idea," Carrie Wall, a graduate student in marine biology at the University of South Florida who led the study, told me in an email today.

"We can't say (and haven't said) with any certainty that that is in fact the source of what we have termed the 6 kHz Sound," she added.

But all signs do appear to point in the direction of herring farts. Such sounds have been descried before, noted Wall, who sent me in the direction of a post on Improbable Research, the organization that hands out the Ig Nobels. Two papers on herring farts earned that distinguished prize in 2004.

"Our hypothesis is potentially likely as menhaden and other species related to herring are present in our study area and the 6 kHz Sound has similar characteristics to the findings of the previous research," Wall told me.

The "6 KHz Sound" she refers to are at the least "three unknown biological sounds" documented by their one week survey along the West Florida Shelf, Wall and her colleagues report this week in the journal Marine Ecology Research.

The mystery sound is in addition to the detection of the more familiar grunts and whistles of red grouper and toadfish that typically make sound in the range from 100 Hz to 2000 Hz.

"6 kHz is far above that frequency range, suggesting that an alternative method of sound production (such as gas release) is responsible for this sound," Wall said. "However, without further research, we won't know for sure."

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