Todayâ€™s FOTD is on the Pacific angel shark. While Pacific angel sharks may closely resemble rays, a few distinctive characteristics define them as sharks. First, the pectoral fins of Pacific angel sharks are partially separated from their heads, while rays have pectoral fins that are entirely attached to their heads.
Also, these sharks have gill slits on the sides of their heads, while rays have gills on the bottom of their heads. Finally, the mouth of the Pacific angel shark is on the front of its head, rather than on the bottom of its head like a rayâ€™s mouth.
Pacific angel sharks are the perfect marine example of why you canâ€™t judge a book by its cover!
Be sure to check out Oceana.org/Explore for your weekend fact fix and Iâ€™ll see you Monday!
The Greenland shark is a cold water shark, living in the northern Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Its flesh is poisonous to humans if eaten fresh.
Check out our full list of creatures and come back tomorrow for another random fact!
Holly Beck has an enviable life. A world-class surfer and model, she spends most of the year traveling to the worldâ€™s most beautiful places.
Hereâ€™s one more reason to envy her -- the Oceana supporter also recently swam with whale sharks and great white sharks. Watch the video below to see footage of Beck swimming within inches of whale sharks and getting giddy when she sees great whites.
After swimming with the great whites she says, â€śTrust me on this one, the shark didnâ€™t want to eat me.â€ť
Coincidentally, the scientist tagging whale sharks in the first part of the video is Rachel Graham, who has worked with our colleagues in Belize.
In honor of Shark Week, which is just a few short weeks away, my first â€śFact of the Dayâ€ť post will be about -- you guessed it -- sharks!
The whale shark is the largest fish in the world. These sharks grow up to 65 feet (20 meters) long and their mouths are 5 feet (1.5 meters) wide.
And hereâ€™s a bonus fact: whale sharks have the thickest skin of any animal in the world at up to 4 inches thick.
Curious for more? Be sure to come back tomorrow for another exciting fact or check out Oceana.org/Explore and do some investigating on your own!
The 2010 Junior Ocean Hero Winners are the Shark Finatics, a group of students at Green Chimneys School in Brewster, New York who have raised more than $2,000 for shark research and conservation organizations around the world - and an immeasurable amount of awareness about shark finning.
We spoke to the Finatics' teacher, Robin Culler, who was overjoyed to hear that her students had been named Ocean Heroes.
How does it feel to win this award?
Words can't even begin to describe how it feels winning this award! The Finatics have many friends and fans, around the world, who have been such a great support since the very beginning. The kids can't even begin to comprehend the magnitude of all of this. I'm not sure I can either!
It seems we are living in a time when the oceans really need a hero.
Because of the situation in the Gulf, oceans and our environment are making major daily news. To be winning recognition for all of our work in shark conservation at this time is extremely poignant.
It is unfortunate that it often takes a catastrophe, such as the oil spill, for people to sit up and pay attention to the state of our oceans. I doubt the average person even knows that over 70% of the oxygen we breathe comes from our oceans. Unhealthy oceans will trickle down to unhealthy us.
Itâ€™s the last day to vote for your favorite finalist to receive this yearâ€™s Ocean Hero award!
All of this yearâ€™s adult and junior finalists are stellar -- if you checked out any of the profiles I wrote on the blog this month Iâ€™m sure you agree. From young shark and sea turtle activists to a sustainable seafood power couple and an ocean trash blogger, all of our finalists deserve plaudits.
Weâ€™ll announce the winners on the fast-approaching World Oceans Day, June 8.
This yearâ€™s winners (one adult and one junior) will each receive a $200 gift card and Raiatea binoculars from West Marine, a $500 gift card from Nautica, and a trip to the World Oceans Day with Nautica and GQ party in Los Angeles on June 8.
I recently got some very heartening news here at Oceana from some of our youngest supporters.
The seventh and second grade students at Good Shepherd Episcopal School in Dallas, Texas were inspired by our â€śScared for Sharksâ€ť campaign and raised more than $2,500 for Oceana through a week of bake sales and a â€śCaring Color Day,â€ť where students wore blue and gray "shark colors" and donated $2 each.
It was especially nice to hear this news in light of the recent decision by CITES not to protect endangered marine species, including sharks.
Of course, Oceana is still moving forward to protect sharks around the world. Weâ€™ve already helped the United States become a leader in shark protections, and weâ€™re continuing to push the U.S. to put a final end to shark finning, the brutal fishing practice that is responsible for tens of millions of shark deaths every year.
Weâ€™ll use the donation from the students of Good Shepherd to continue to fight to save sharks. You can help today, too, by donating or asking your senators to support legislation that ends shark finning.
Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana.
Happy Friday, everyone.
It's been a rough few weeks for the oceans at CITES, but now it's time to pick up the pieces. If CITES taught us anything, it's that the work of the ocean conservation community is more important than ever.
This week in ocean news,
....Rick at Malaria, Bed bugs, Sea Lice and Sunsets discussed one of the more shady aspects of CITES: the secret ballots, which were invoked for votes on bluefin tuna, sharks, polar bears, and deep water corals.
â€¦The Washington Post reported that Maryland is cracking down on watermen who catch oysters in protected sanctuaries or with banned equipment. Once a principal source of oysters, the Chesapeake now provides less than 5 percent of the annual U.S. harvest.
â€¦For the first time, scientists were able to use videos to observe octupusesâ€™ behavioral responses. The result? The octupuses had no consistent reaction to one film -- in other words, they had no â€śpersonality.â€ť Curiously, other cephalopods display consistent personalities for most of their lives.
â€¦The New York Times wondered if the 700,000 saltwater home aquariums in the United States and the associated trade in reef invertebrates are threatening real reef ecosystems.
This is the ninth in a series of dispatches from the CITES meeting in Doha, Qatar.
As Oceana marine scientist Elizabeth Griffin put it: â€śThis meeting was a flop.â€ť
CITES has been a complete failure for the oceans. The one success -- the listing of the porbeagle shark under Appendix II -- was overturned yesterday in the plenary session.
â€śIt appears that money can buy you anything, just ask Japan,â€ť said Dave Allison, senior campaign director. â€śUnder the crushing weight of the vast sums of money gained by unmanaged trade and exploitation of endangered marine species by Japan, China, other major trading countries and the fishing industry, the very foundation of CITES is threatened with collapse.â€ť
Maybe next time -- if these species are still around to be protected.
The failure of CITES means that Oceanaâ€™s work â€“ and your support and activism â€“ is more important than ever. You can start by supporting our campaign work to protect these creatures.
Here's Oceana's Gaia Angelini on the conclusion of CITES:
This is the eighth in a series of dispatches from the CITES conference in Doha, Qatar.
More difficult news out of Doha today.
While seven of the eight proposed shark species (including several species of hammerheads, oceanic whitetip and spiny dogfish) were not included in Appendix II, the one bright spot was for the porbeagle shark, which is threatened by widespread consumption in Europe.
The porbeagleâ€™s Appendix II listing is a huge improvement because it requires the use of export permits to ensure that the species are caught by a legal and sustainably managed fishery.
And there is a slight chance that the other shark decisions could be reversed during the plenary session in the final two days.
Here are Oceana scientists Elizabeth Griffin and Rebecca Greenberg reflecting on the shark decisions: