This is the seventh in a series of posts from CITES. Check out the rest of the dispatches from Doha here.
Eight shark species have been proposed for listing to Appendix II of CITES, including the oceanic whitetip, scalloped hammerhead, dusky, sandbar, smooth hammerhead, great hammerhead, porbeagle and spiny dogfish.
Listing these species, which are threatened by shark finning, is necessary to ensure international trade does not drive these shark species to extinction.
Here's Oceana's Ann Schroeer from our Brussels office with an optimistic outlook on the upcoming shark proposals at CITES.
This is the fourth in a series of posts from CITES. Read the rest of the CITES dispatches here.
It was an eventful day at CITES for sharks. Oceana released a report today about the international trade of shark fins, and a non-controversial, non-binding measure on sharks failed to pass. Marine scientist Elizabeth Griffin talks about today's roller coaster ride.
This is the third in a series of posts from CITES. Check out the rest of our dispatches here,
In today's dispatch from Doha, Oceana shark scientist Rebecca Greenberg gives us an insider's tour of CITES, from the main conference hall to one of the most important strategic lobbying areas: the coffee station.
You can also read updates from author Charles Clover on MarViva's Doha Diary blog.
This is the first in a series of posts from CITES. Read the rest of the dispatches here.
CITES is now in session in Doha, Qatar. Our team will be there for the next 10 days pushing for further trade restrictions on corals, sharks and the Atlantic bluefin tuna. They sent us this video dispatch of campaign director Dave Allison from the airport en route. Stay tuned for more!
As we speak, an Oceana team is headed to the CITES conference in Doha, Qatar, which begins tomorrow. We will be bringing you updates from the conference as we push for trade restrictions for bluefin tuna, corals and sharks.
CITES wasn't the only thing on the ocean radar this week, though. Check out the rest of this week's stories:
…Scientists have found that oxygen-starved pockets of the ocean, known as dead zones, can contribute to climate change. The increased amount of nitrous oxide produced in low-oxygen waters can elevate concentrations in the atmosphere, exacerbating the impacts of global warming and contributing to holes in the ozone layer.
… OK, this one’s a little gross -- but also really cool. Forensic researchers recently dropped several dead pigs into an ocean dead zone off Vancouver Island to gain insight into how fast cadavers in an ocean can disappear thanks to scavengers. Marine researchers took advantage of the study to do their own by using an underwater camera to see what kinds of animals fed on the disintegrating dead pigs -- and how long they could tolerate low-oxygen zones. While crabs, shrimp and starfish normally stay at shallower depths (where there’s more oxygen), the scavengers pushed their limits for the pig pickin’. Who knew swine could be such a boon for ocean science?
The latest edition of the Carnival of the Blue is up at Southern Fried Science, complete with cool new shark logo.
A study in the Journal of Experimental Biology made big news late last year by beginning to answer a fundamental, fable-like question: why are hammerhead sharks shaped the way they are? The answer, as it turns out? The better to see their prey with, my dear.
The researchers found some surprising results about hammerhead vision. One of those researchers, Michelle "Mikki" McComb of Florida Atlantic University, happens to also be an enthusiastic Oceana supporter. Mikki was kind enough to answer some questions about the research:
Can you summarize the conclusions you and your colleagues reached about hammerhead vision?
The popular literature is filled with claims that hammerheads have better vision, but this was never tested. Our goal was to quantify the extent of the visual fields of hammerhead sharks in contrast to more typical head shaped sharks, in order to determine if they possessed binocular vision.
The visual field is the entire expanse of space visible around the head and can be described by one eyes field of view (monocular field), two eyes field (cyclopean) and the overlap of the two monocular fields (binocular overlap). We determined the horizontal and vertical visual fields of three hammerhead shark species as well two closely related “typical” shaped sharks.
What we found was a surprise! Hammerhead sharks do have binocular vision, and even more surprising, the extent of binocular overlaps was greater than found in the “typical” shaped sharks. The largest binocular overlap was found in the winghead shark, the hammerhead with the widest head, and is a result of the positioning of the eyes on the end of the head.
Hey there ocean fans… are you ready for the NFL playoffs? No? Well even if you aren’t, the animals at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the New England Aquarium sure are ready for the first round when the Baltimore Ravens play against the New England Patriots this Sunday afternoon.
Jen Bloomer, the Media Relations Manager for the National Aquarium and good friend of mine, just sent me an email with videos from each aquarium rooting for their respective teams.
Check out some of Baltimore’s other birds (Margaret and Louise) showing what they think the Ravens will do to the Patriots.
“We know the Ravens aren’t the only birds in town that like to destroy things,” Jen told me as we exchanged some pro-Ravens emails today. “Margaret and Louise love to show off for our visitors and the camera, and apparently love to support their fellow birds!”
Not to be outdone, the Harbor Seals at the New England Aquarium fired back with a message of their own.
Some consider the great white shark to be the fiercest predator in the ocean. Now Free Willy is giving the species a run for its money. Orca whales' diet traditionally includes fish, squid, birds, seals, and other whales. Now some are adding Jaws to the menu.
Several populations of orca whales have learned how to attack sharks, including the great white, with various techniques, including what some scientists are calling the “karate chop.” To execute this sly move, the orca drives the shark to the surface, then comes down on top of the shark and turns it upside down, at which point it enters a paralyzed state. In fact, all the attack methods ultimately end with the shark on its back.
If you want more, watch this recent video of one such showdown.