The Beacon

Blog Tags: Sharks

Oceana Prepares to Defend Bluefin Again at ICCAT

Starting next week, the 17th Special Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) will meet in Paris, France. It’s another year, and another chance for the international body to take greater action to prevent the extinction of bluefin tuna, and to better protect sharks, swordfish and sea turtles.

We will have a team of scientists in Paris, and they will be calling on ICCAT to do the following:

* Suspend the bluefin tuna fishery until a system is implemented that follows the scientific advice on catch levels, stops illegal fishing and protects bluefin tuna spawning areas in the Gulf of Mexico and Mediterranean.


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Tagging Sharks in the Dry Tortugas

Two expedition updates in one day - hold on to your hats! In this one, Oceana marine scientist Elizabeth Wilson describes yesterday’s successful shark tagging adventures, including a monster nurse shark:

Today we traveled to the Dry Tortugas, a small group of islands at the end of the Florida Keys, to study sharks. On board with us is the shark team from University of Miami’s R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, led by Dr. Neil Hammerschlag. Other members of the team on board are Lab Manager and graduate student Dominique Lazzare and Captain Curt Slonim.

We arrived in the Dry Tortugas National Park, anchored near Fort Jefferson and started surveying for sharks. We had a successful research trip where we tagged and sampled three Caribbean reef sharks and two nurse sharks. We attached identification tags to the Caribbean reef sharks and sent them back on their way. The nurse sharks were too big and feisty to bring on the boat for tagging…one was 10.5 feet long and was the biggest nurse shark any of us had ever seen. 


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Only 2 Days Left to Bid on Shark Skateboards

Remember the awesome shark skateboards that are up for bids to benefit Oceana? I told you about them a few weeks ago, and the online auction is ending this Thursday, so if you want to get your hands on one, don't dawdle.

There are some rad boards up for bids, and even if you aren't a skater, these would make cool gifts or wall art  -- and give you major cool points.

Bid now and help us protect sharks!


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Fact of the Day: Oarfish

The oarfish is the longest bony fish in the world -- there have even been some reports of fish up to 50 feet long (and weighing up to 600 pounds)!  They are so long that many believe that these fish are the cause of some early tales of sea serpents and sea monsters.  Because of its sinuous body, it is occasionally called the ribbonfish.


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Fact of the Day: Great White Shark

great white shark

Great White Shark (credit: Oceana/David P Stephens)

The final FOTD for Shark Week is on the fascinating great white shark, or white shark. Despite their reputation as man-eaters, great white sharks are actually more threatened by humans than vice versa.


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Fact of the Day: Zebra Shark

zebra shark

Adult Zebra Shark (credit: Peter Halasz)

Today’s FOTD is about the beautiful zebra shark. These sharks get their name from the impressive stripes found on the juveniles.

As they grow into adulthood, these stripes change into spots, which is why this shark is occasionally also called the leopard shark. (Taxonomists even originally thought that juvenile zebra sharks were actually a different species than the adult zebra sharks because their markings are so different!)


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Shark Skateboards Up for Bids

As you know, Oceana is a partner in Discovery’s Shark Week this year. Meanwhile, Discovery is a partner of this summer’s X-Games, so they asked artists to design and paint shark-themed skateboard decks to display at their X-Games tent.

The results are beautiful, and you can now bid on the skateboard decks online. The proceeds go directly to Oceana to help our shark conservation efforts.

There are some really cool ones -- check ‘em out!


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Fact of the Day: Cookiecutter Shark

Today’s FOTD is brought to you by the letter C, which is for cookie…and cookiecutter shark

Unlike most of the other sharks I’ve written about so far, the cookiecutter shark is a relatively small shark; they only reach about 20 inches in length. Like some other sharks, such as great white sharks, female cookiecutters are larger than their male counterparts. 

Despite their small size, these sharks still have quite a bite. They latch onto their prey and create suction with their large lips. Then they use their powerful jaws and many teeth to carve a circular chunk of flesh out of the unlucky victim.  (Get it? Like a carnivorous, marine cookiecutter?)

Cookiecutter sharks attack large fish like tuna or even whales and dolphins; the prey usually survives the attack but the telltale round scar remains. They are also bioluminescent; they have a patch on their bellies that glows in the dark, deep waters where they live. They use their bioluminescence to attract potential prey.

See you tomorrow for another shark FOTD and I hope you’re enjoying Shark Week as much as I am!


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Fact of the Day: Sandtiger Shark

Sandtiger Shark (credit: Jeff Kubina)

You asked for it so here it is: a FOTD on the sandtiger shark!

Sandtiger sharks go by many names including the ragged-tooth shark and the gray nurse shark. When unprovoked, these sharks are fairly docile, despite their frightening appearance. 

Female sandtiger sharks give birth to two live pups, one from each of their two uteri. Because of the relatively small litter size, sandtiger shark populations have a particularly slow growth rate and it takes them a long time to recover from population decreases.    


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Fact of the Day: Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (credit: Barry Peters)

Shark Week started last night! (And how great was ‘Ultimate Air Jaws?!”)

Oceana is a partner in Shark Week this year, and it’s my favorite week of the year, so I’m going to keep the celebration going with daily shark facts!

The scalloped hammerhead shark is just one of the many species of hammerhead shark, all of which have the characteristic t-shaped head.


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