Sailfish

oceana.org

DISTRIBUTION

Worldwide in temperate to tropical waters

ECOSYSTEM/HABITAT

Open ocean (epipelagic)

FEEDING HABITS

TAXONOMY

Order Perciformes (perches, basses, tuna), Family Istiophoridae (marlins, billfishes)

The sailfish is named for its sail-like dorsal fin and is widely considered the fastest fish in the ocean, clocking in at speeds of 70 mph. This species is a highly sought-after game fish that is easily recognized by its long upper jaw, which it uses as a spear to strike and stun larger prey, such as large bony fish and cephalopods.

Sailfish are a type of billfish (like the blue marlin or swordfish) that are known not only for their pointed bills, but also their extraordinary dorsal fins that can be taller than the length of their bodies.1 Sailfish start out as tiny larvae, no more than a few millimeters in length, but grow rapidly during their first year. They can grow from 0.125 inches (0.3 cm) when born to 10 feet (3 m) long from bill to tail and weigh upwards of 220 pounds (100 kg) in adulthood.2 Like other billfish, female sailfish can be larger than males so they can carry as many eggs as possible and have a greater chance of successful reproduction in the open ocean.

Sailfish eat a wide variety of prey throughout their lifetimes. At a young age, they eat tiny zooplankton, and their prey increases in size as they do. As adults, they eat fairly large bony fishes, crustaceans and squid. Sailfish also work together, using their dorsal fins to create a barrier around their prey, in order to feed on smaller schooling fish, such as sardines and anchovies.3

Sailfish are eaten by a wide variety of predators. When newly hatched, sailfish are preyed on by other fishes that specialize on eating plankton. The size of their predators increases as they grow, and adult sailfish are not eaten by anything other than larger predatory fish like open ocean shark species, orcas and dolphinfish (also known as Mahi Mahi).4

During spawning, a female will attract a male partner by extending her dorsal fin above the surface of the water. Male-female pairs form and reproduce through external fertilization, where the female releases her eggs into the water column while the male releases his sperm. While spawning, a single female may release several million eggs to increase the likelihood that some will be fertilized.5

Sailfish are popular in recreational fishing (catch and release) but have little value in the commercial fishing industry and cannot be fished commercially in the Atlantic Ocean.3 Sport fisheries account for the sailfish’s highest catch rates, particularly in the Eastern Pacific Ocean where the species can be found near Central American coasts. Sailfish are also caught as bycatch by driftnets, harpoons and commercial, long-line tuna fisheries, where bycatch numbers are not accurately reported.2

1. Sailfish are considered the fastest fish in the sea, reaching top speeds of 70 miles per hour.

2. Sailfish are top predators in the open ocean.

3. The largest sailfish ever caught was 11.2 feet (340 cm) long and weighed 220.5 pounds (100 kg).

4. Sailfish can live for 13 to 15 years. However, sailfish caught and released by sport fishermen have an average lifespan of only 4 to 5 years.

5. Sailfish spend their entire lives near the surface of the open ocean, but can dive up to 1,150 feet (350 m) to find food.

Donate to Oceana

Oceana joined forces with Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization dedicated to educating and engaging the world’s boating community. Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. Click here or below to download hands-on marine science activities for kids.

Kids Environmental Lesson Plans

References:

1. FAO Species Catalogue

2. IUCN Red List

3. NOAA National Ocean Service

4. FAO: Family Istiophoridae

5. Florida Museum

https://oceana.org/marine-life/sailfish/?ea.tracking.id=Twitter&en_og_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=Engage&utm_content=20220807TWSailfish&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_id=2iLas17byVeLev

“Shark Side of the Moon | SharkFest | National Geographic”

A super-rare orange lobster was saved from becoming seafood – CNN

An extremely rare orange lobster found in a shipment to a Red Lobster restaurant has found a new home at Ripley's Aquarium.

By Zoe Sottile, CNN

(CNN) A bright orange lobster was rescued from its fate as a meal at Red Lobster after staff members recognized the crustacean’s unusual coloring.

The lobster was named “Cheddar” in an ode to the restaurant’s famous Cheddar Bay Biscuits. Cheddar arrived in a shipment at a Red Lobster restaurant in Hollywood, Florida, according to a July 12 news release from the restaurant.

“Sometimes ordinary miracles happen, and Cheddar is one of them,” said Mario Roque, a manager at Red Lobster who led the rescue of Cheddar, in the release. “A group of incredible people helped us make this possible. We are so honored to have been able to save Cheddar and find her a good home.”

An extremely rare calico lobster was rescued from a Red Lobster in Virginia https://3c91d1db56449742be0e2e76cda596d8.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0

Staff at Red Lobster reached out to Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, who sent two members of their husbandry team to the restaurant, said Ripley’s in an email to CNN. Then they “carefully packed up Cheddar” and drove her to Ripley’s Marine Science Research Center in Myrtle Beach. The lucky orange lobster will acclimate at the scientific research facility before moving to the aquarium.

According to Ripley’s, orange lobsters are even more rare than blue lobsters: while the chance of finding a blue lobster is one in a million, the chance of finding an orange lobster is just one in 30 million.

“Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach is honored to become Cheddar’s forever home,” said the aquarium in a statement emailed to CNN. “Though the odd and unusual are a part of everyday life here at Ripley’s, orange lobsters like Cheddar are truly one in 30 million.

“We are grateful that Red Lobster’s Team recognized the significance of such a rarity and hope to spread crustacean conservation with guests from around the world for years to come.”


© 2022 Cable News Network. A Warner Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Do not Sell my Personal Information

https://amp-cnn-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2022/07/17/us/orange-lobster-ripleys-aquarium-scn-trnd/index.html?amp_gsa=1&amp_js_v=a9&usqp=mq331AQIKAGwASCAAgM%3D#amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&aoh=16580843151622&csi=0&referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnn.com%2F2022%2F07%2F17%2Fus%2Forange-lobster-ripleys-aquarium-scn-trnd%2Findex.html

Stay shark smart: What to know when you head into the water

www.foxweather.com

Heather Brinkmann

CAPE COD, Mass. – The summer beach season is here and officials warn of the possibility of encounters with sharks along the New York Coast.

On Friday, Nassau County officials reported a possible shark bite near Jones Beach.

Extra crews that include boats, helicopters and even drones are out in what police are calling an “all hands on deck” weekend.

FOX Weather’s Nicole Valdez visited Cape Cod, a popular tourist destination and the home to the infamous movie “Jaws”, to talk to researchers about shark interactions.

The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy says they know of less than ten shark attacks around Cape Cod since 1937, and it’s because humans are not on the menu, despite what the popular movie might suggest.

But even though the numbers are low, the massive apex predators frequent the Northeast this time of year.

“We see them kind of following their own food source, the gray seal off of the coast of Cape Cod,” Maddie Porier with the Atlantic Shark Conservancy said. “So as our water heats up here off of Cape Cod, we do see those white sharks being a little bit more active close to shore.”

SCIENTISTS ASK BEACHGOERS TO HELP KEEP TRACK OF SHARKS

Porier and her team have tagged and tracked just over 200 sharks across the Atlantic Ocean.

The nature conservancy says that there are a couple of things swimmers can do to try and avoid getting too close and personal with one of these sharks:

  • Stay close to shore where you can hear any warnings if they go out
  • Swim in groups. Don’t go out alone
  • Avoid marine life. Seals and fish that can be food for sharks
  • Avoid dark, murky water you can’t see through
  • Always pay attention to flags or signs
  • A purple flag means sharks frequent that area
  • Don’t splash around

And most importantly, listen to the lifeguards if they warn you to get out of the water. Lifeguards get these alerts firsthand from researchers and are in charge of deciding if and what action to take, if there could be a shark nearby.

STUDY SUGGESTS WARMING OCEANS ARE CHANGING TIGER SHARK MIGRATIONS

Be sure to download the FOX Weather app to track any storms in your area and receive potentially life-saving weather alerts issued by the National Weather Service. The free FOX Weather livestream is also available 24/7 on the website and app and on your favorite streaming platform. The FOX Weather Update podcast also provides weather information for the entire country.

https://www.foxweather.com/earth-space/shark-safety-water-beach

The fish in our oceans are filled with drugs, new study says

The fish in our oceans are filled with drugs, new study says

local21news.com

The National Desk | WPEC

WEST PALM BEACH, Fl. (WPEC) — A new study out of South Florida has found the fish in our waters are on drugs.

The fish in our oceans are filled with drugs, new study says

Dozens of pharmaceuticals have been discovered in fish’s blood and tissue.

From valium, blood pressure medicine, to antidepressants all sorts of drugs found in the fish in this study.

The numbers are so alarming scientists say our fisheries could disappear.

“We found pharmaceuticals everywhere and there was no place where basically a fish could be unexposed to pharmaceuticals and that was a surprise,” says Nick Castillo who just completed a three year study with fellow scientists at Florida International University and the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.

The research team tested the blood of 93 bonefish in South Florida and they found pharmaceutical drugs in every single one.

The average number of drugs reported in just one bonefish was seven and some had up to 16 different prescriptions in their systems.

In Florida bonefish are supposed to be caught and released.

(WPEC)

We don’t eat bonefish but what they eat, other fish are eating too and some of the drugs are altering their behavior.

“So it could be making a fish more bold they’ll take risks they can get eaten more frequently. It can affect their reproduction,” says Castillo.

Dr. Jennifer Rehage, the lead researcher for the study says people are often deceived by the color of the water a fish lives in.

The perception is if the habitat looks nice, the fish are healthy but that’s not always the case.

“Areas that we perceive as pristine and beautiful and the water is clear and turquoise and there’s fish swimming they are contaminated,” says Dr. Rehage.

The pharmaceuticals are being ingested by the fish through human waste.

When we take a prescription, the leftover medicine our body doesn’t process comes out when we go to the bathroom.

From our toilets to waste water treatment plants, Florida has 4,000 of them.

Dr. Rehage says those facilities are outdated and aren’t meant to deal with pharmaceuticals.

“So we don’t have the right equipment and the right legislation, the rules, the treatment and its escalating and it’s exploding right in front of our faces,” she says.

At Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, Dr. James Sullivan says a crisis is just around the corner.

“Plastics pollution, nutrient pollution, harmful algal blooms, ecoli, pharmaceuticals getting into the water, you know how much more can nature take before it becomes a critical turning point that were going to lose very valuable ecosystems in our state,” he says.

The scientists are just starting to research how eating these fish will affect humans.

More studies are expected soon.

https://local21news.com/news/videos/the-fish-in-our-oceans-are-filled-with-drugs-new-study-says-antidepressants-pollution-wastewater-fisheries-water-oceans-valium-blood-pressure-medication

Tell President Biden: Stop Illegal Fishing and Seafood Fraud

act.oceana.org

Dear President Biden,

I am writing to urge you to strengthen transparency and traceability throughout the seafood industry to help end illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud. Americans have a right to know more about the seafood they eat and should have confidence that their dollars are not supporting the pillaging of the oceans or human rights abuses at sea. All seafood sold in the U.S. should be safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced, and honestly labeled. Until then, honest fishermen, seafood businesses, consumers and the oceans will pay the price.

IUU fishing poses one of the greatest threats to our oceans, costing the global seafood industry as much as $26 billion to $50 billion annually. In the United States, up to 85% of the fish consumed is imported. IUU fishing can include fishing without authorization, ignoring catch limits, operating in closed areas, targeting protected wildlife, and fishing with prohibited gear. These illicit activities can destroy essential habitats, severely deplete fish populations, and threaten global food security. These actions not only contribute to overfishing, but also give illegal fishermen an unfair advantage over those that play by the rules.

IUU fishing is a low-risk, high reward activity, especially on the high seas where a fragmented legal framework and lack of enforcement allow it to thrive. In 2016, the U.S. government established the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), requiring catch documentation and traceability for some seafood at risk of illegal fishing and seafood fraud. Unfortunately, SIMP currently only applies to 13 types of seafood and only traces them from the boat to the U.S. border. A 2019 Oceana study tested popular seafood not covered by SIMP and found that 1 in every 5 fish tested nationwide was mislabeled, demonstrating that seafood fraud is still a problem in the United States. Seafood fraud ultimately hurts honest fishermen and seafood businesses that play by the rules, masks conservation and health risks of certain species, and cheats consumers who fall victim to a bait-and-switch.

If the U.S were to expand SIMP to all seafood — requiring information about how, when and where seafood was caught or produced — and if that information followed the product from the fishing boat or farm to the dinner plate, consumers could be confident that their seafood is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled. To expand transparency of fishing, public vessel tracking systems like the automatic identification system (AIS) — which broadcasts a vessel’s location, direction, and speed — should be required on more fishing boats to shine a light on what is happening beyond the horizon. Adopting stronger requirements for imported seafood would also ensure that it is held to the same standards as seafood caught in the United States.

Taking action to combat IUU fishing, stop seafood fraud and expand transparency has strong bipartisan support. A 2020 Ipsos poll, commissioned by Oceana, found that 89% of registered voters agree that imported seafood should be held to the same standards as U.S. caught seafood. Nearly 90% of voters also agree that the government needs to do more to ensure consumers are purchasing properly labeled seafood. Seventy-seven percent of voters support requirements for all fishing vessels to be publicly trackable.

Your administration has an opportunity to lead in the fight against illegal fishing and seafood fraud, expand transparency and level the playing field for American fishermen and seafood businesses, while protecting U.S. consumers and the oceans. The United States must take decisive action to combat IUU fishing and close the U.S. market to all illegally sourced products, including seafood caught using forced labor or other human rights abuses. The United States should be a leader in traceability of seafood and transparency at sea.

https://act.oceana.org/page/98328/petition/1?ea.tracking.id=Twitter&en_og_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=Advo&utm_content=20220330TWIUUFishing&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_id=zIH33nuH3SfrVv

“Watch Underwater As This Huge Sea Turtle Swims Back Home”

Hawksbill Turtle – Oceana

oceana.org

DISTRIBUTION

Worldwide in tropical to temperate latitudes

ECOSYSTEM/HABITAT

Coral reefs

FEEDING HABITS

Foraging predator

TAXONOMY

Order Testudines (turtles, tortoises and terrapins), Family Cheloniidae (hard shelled sea turtles)

The hawksbill turtle gets its common name from the shape of its curved, pointed beak, which resembles that of a bird of prey. They use this beak to feed on sponges and other invertebrates growing on coral reefs. Hawksbill turtles spend part of their lives in the open ocean, but are more reef-associated than other species of sea turtles.

Hawksbill turtles are generalist predators that forage on reefs for their favorite food, sponges, as well as a variety of other invertebrates that they find. Some of the sponges and small animals that the hawksbill turtles consume are toxic. Fortunately, their body fat can absorb the toxins without making the turtle ill, but their meat is potentially poisonous to humans. Unlike other sea turtle species, which may cross entire ocean basins several times throughout their lifetime, hawksbill turtles may have home reefs (and even favorite hiding places on the reef) where they spend much of their adult lives. 

Like many other species of marine turtles, hawksbills spend most of their time in the water with females only coming to shore to lay eggs. Female hawksbill turtles also return to the same beach where they hatched to nest, even if that beach is far from their foraging grounds. Unlike several other species of sea turtles, hawksbill turtles nest throughout their range, oftentimes in locations with only a few other nesting adults. Other species of sea turtles often return to a relatively small number of nesting areas along with thousands of other adults. Hawksbill turtles also nest higher on the beach than other species, sometimes under/among the vegetation (e.g., trees and grasses). After mating at sea, females come to shore several times during the nesting season, dig a burrow and lay a clutch size of approximately 140 eggs. After several weeks, the hawksbill hatchlings emerge as a group and enter the water together to begin their journey toward adulthood. 

Unfortunately, there are many threats to hawksbill turtle populations, and scientists consider this species to be critically endangered (very highly vulnerable to extinction). Coastal development has reduced the area where they can successfully nest, dogs and other animals often destroy their nests, and people harvest their eggs for food. They have medium-sized, beautiful carapaces (shells), and historically there was a strong market for adult hawksbill turtle shells. Hunting of adults still occurs in many places, where individuals are either captured at sea or taken from their nesting beaches. Hawksbill turtles are also accidentally captured in fishing operations targeting other species. Finally, because they are the species of sea turtle most closely tied to coral reefs, threats to that vulnerable ecosystem and to the sponges and other species that live on them add to the negative pressure that hawksbill turtles experience. All of these threats have combined to drive hawksbill turtle populations to dangerously low levels. Naturally, only one or two of thousands of eggs will make it to adulthood. These added anthropogenic pressures on nests, juveniles, and young adults make the chance of survival even more challenging.

Add your name to save sea turtles

1. Hawksbill turtles are named after their pointed beaks, which resemble those of birds.1

2. Hawksbill turtles are up to 45 inches (114 cm) long and weigh 110 to 150 pounds (50 to 68 kg).2

3. Female hawksbill turtles return to the same nesting grounds where they were born to lay their eggs.3

4. Hawksbill turtles can be found in the coastal waters of more than 108 countries.

5. Hawksbill turtles help keep reefs healthy by feeding primarily on sponges that out-compete corals.4

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

Oceana joined forces with Sailors for the Sea, an ocean conservation organization dedicated to educating and engaging the world’s boating community. Sailors for the Sea developed the KELP (Kids Environmental Lesson Plans) program to create the next generation of ocean stewards. Click here or below to download hands-on marine science activities for kids.

Kids Environmental Lesson Plans

References:

1 NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office

2 NOAA Fisheries

3 Current Biology

4 IUCN Red List

https://oceana.org/marine-life/hawksbill-turtle/?ea.tracking.id=Twitter&en_og_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=Engage&utm_content=20220208TWHawksbillTurtle&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_id=eLqaF2XbOyzbDf

Petition: Speak Up to Protect Seabirds

act.abcbirds.org

Help Protect Seabirds: Support the Albatross and Petrel Conservation Act

Albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters are often overlooked because they spend the majority of their lives at sea and breed on remote islands.

These seabirds face unique threats throughout their vast migratory ranges, and they cannot be protected by the actions of one country alone. That’s why recently re-introduced legislation that would implement the Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) — an international treaty among fishing nations for the protection of 31 species of vulnerable seabirds — is so important.

We need your voice now to get this important bill across the finish line.

Please ask your members of Congress to protect vulnerable seabird species by co-sponsoring the Albatross and Petrel Conservation Act (H.R. 4057). Read More

https://act.abcbirds.org/a/take-action-acap?ms=social

Getting a second chance

Why the most endangered sea turtle is getting an airlift

www.vox.com

Lauren Owens Lambert 18 – 23 minutes

Sea turtles appear to fly as they swim beneath ocean waves. With long, gray-green flippers that move like slow wingbeats, they glide through the water as birds do through the sky. Actually flying through the air, though, at 10,000 feet above the ground, the reptiles seem anything but graceful.

Inside the airplane, 120 sea turtles, 118 of which are juvenile Kemp’s ridleys (Lepidochelys kempii), shift uncomfortably among beach towels inside stacked Chiquita banana boxes, their crusty eyes and curved pearlescent beaks peeking through slot handles. The windowless metal cabin vibrates with the sound of propellers as the pilots work to keep the plane aloft and the internal air temperature at a turtle-friendly 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s December 2020, and outside, the cold air above New England slowly gives way to balmier southern temperatures. The pilots are taking the turtles on a 2,900-kilometer (1,800-mile) trip from Massachusetts to Texas’s Gulf Coast.

Eight hours later, they’re nearly there. “We’re coming into Corpus Christi,” says Mike Looby, a pilot with a sea turtle rescue organization called Turtles Fly Too, as airport runways come into view among the sprawling buildings below. Looby and co-pilot Bill Gisler, both from Ohio, will visit four different locations in Texas to offload the animals. This is the largest number of turtles the organization has transported to date.

Charles Yanke, a volunteer pilot with Turtles Fly Too, helps load boxes of recovering sea turtles onto his plane in Marshfield, Massachusetts, for transport to rehabilitation centers outside the state.

Once the plane is on the tarmac, staff and volunteers from several aquariums and marine rescue facilities crowd around. The pilots gently slide each box of turtles toward the cargo door, and the group lines up to carry them to vans parked nearby.

“What happened to these guys?” someone asks.

“They were found stranded on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts,” says Donna Shaver, chief of the division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery at Padre Island National Seashore, as she grabs a box.

In the summer months, the waters in the Gulf of Maine where Cape Cod is located are warm, calm, and full of food, serving as a natural nursery for 2- to 4-year-old Kemp’s ridleys, the smallest and most endangered sea turtle in the world. Migrating loggerheads (Caretta caretta), green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas), and the occasional leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) also visit Cape Cod Bay. But as water temperatures plummet in November, December, and January, the cold-blooded turtles must migrate out or perish. Many lose their way and wash up, cold-stunned, on the inside edge of the hook-shaped Cape, which curls into the ocean like a flexing arm, forming what some locals call “the deadly bucket.”

The phenomenon is the largest recurring sea turtle stranding event in the world. While it’s natural — local records of sea turtle bones date back centuries — the scale is new and may, paradoxically, be a product of successful efforts to recover Kemp’s ridley populations, in addition to the effects of climate change.

The hook at the outermost tip of Cape Cod spirals back into the bay toward the cape’s southern coastline, creating a challenging obstacle for young sea turtles seeking the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico when fall temperatures plummet. Photo made possible by LightHawk

“This area is increasing in water temperature faster than 99 percent of water bodies in the world,” says Kate Sampson, sea turtle stranding and disentanglement coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who helps coordinate turtle transport. “Because of that, it seems like it’s drawing more sea turtles.”

Fortunately for the turtles, hundreds of volunteers and several staff members organized by the nonprofit Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary stand at the ready to patrol every inch of the 105-kilometer (65-mile) stretch of beach lining the inner Cape, twice a day, from November through December, no matter the weather. When they find a turtle, the animal begins a logistically complex journey from rescue to rehabilitation and, eventually, to release. Saving each flight’s worth of little lives involves approximately five vans, 1,000 miles, four organizations, and 50 people. Without this monumental collaboration across North America’s Eastern Seaboard, other efforts to save the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle from extinction might be futile.

Why turtle strandings are on the rise

Three weeks before Looby and Gisler’s departure with their precious herpetological cargo, Nancy Braun and her border collie Halo walked a stretch of Great Hollow Beach, near Cape Cod’s outermost tip. The unrelenting wind blew hard and Braun’s cheeks were rosy with cold, her hair frantically trying to escape from beneath a fuzzy winter hat. Every so often, she raised binoculars to her eyes to scan the sand and any promising-looking lump of seaweed. A resident of nearby Truro and a Mass Audubon volunteer, Braun was on the lookout for turtles.

Walking quickly, she passed small cottages in the dunes with window shutters closed tightly against the elements. Brightly colored beach chairs lined the shore like memorials to summers past. Along the way, Braun saw a group of people gathered around something in the distance, and she broke into a run in their direction, Halo bounding by her side. When she arrived, there they were: four sea turtles, clearly in need of care. As the group waited for the arrival of a Mass Audubon vehicle to take the turtles for initial processing, Braun and the others covered them with seaweed to protect against the wind chill.

Truro resident Nancy Braun, her dog, and a few others stand watch over four stranded sea turtles on Great Hallow Beach on Cape Cod in November.

“This is so cool,” said Richard Lammert, a visitor from New York. “We were just walking the beach and came across these turtles. I had no idea that sea turtles even came up this far. I’ve never seen one up close, let alone helped to rescue it.”

While the mood was light, there was also a sense of urgency among the group. “I called Mass Audubon to let them know what we found,” said Michael Weinstein, another Truro resident. That’s exactly the type of response turtle rescuers hope for and why rescuers prioritize educating the community in addition to recruiting and training volunteers, according to Carol “Krill” Carson, president and founder of the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance and a volunteer with Mass Audubon. Without a clear understanding of why the turtles are stranded in the first place, some well-intentioned people might think they should throw the animals back into the ocean. “Anyone can walk the beach and find a sea turtle,” Carson says. “It’s what that person does when they find a turtle that is critical.”

Former director of Mass Audubon Bob Prescott started the sea turtle rescue program back in 1979. At the time, Prescott says he would find only a handful of turtles each year. The number has since skyrocketed. In 2014, volunteers found a record-breaking 1,242 turtles stranded on Cape Cod beaches. In 2020, there were 1,045, the second-highest number on record.

Carol “Krill” Carson, president and founder of the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance and a volunteer with Mass Audubon, drags a sled as she searches for stranded sea turtles along a Cape Cod beach near her home.

The most common species found is Kemp’s ridley, which nests in only two places in the world: a stretch of beach in Mexico and one in Texas. Between the late 1940s and the mid-’80s, Kemp’s ridley populations plummeted from more than 40,000 nesting females to fewer than 300, due to entanglement in fishing gear and the harvesting of adults and eggs for human consumption. Today, Kemp’s ridleys still face a wide variety of threats, including habitat loss, coastal development, ship strikes, plastic waste, and climate change. With so few ridleys left, “every life counts in the survival of this species,” says Prescott, which makes the turtle rescue effort that much more important. “It’s all hands on deck.”

Connie Merigo, executive director of the National Marine Life Center, in Bourne, Massachusetts, agrees. “You hear a lot in biology, ‘Why are you interfering? Shouldn’t you just let nature run its course?’ In this case, a lot of these threats are not under control. So, if we let thousands of these turtles die every year in a cold-stunning event, the population is that much smaller.”

Interestingly, though, the success of ongoing conservation efforts is likely one of the factors driving the increased need for rescues. That’s because there are simply more turtles around to strand. Conservation efforts on nesting beaches in Mexico, strict regulations on pollution, and new technological advancements in fishing equipment have all helped, as have new nest sites developed in Texas since the 1970s. Today, there are an estimated 5,500 Kemp’s ridley females nesting in Mexico and 55 in Texas.

Although this is a good sign, the current population is still critically low. According to NOAA, the number of nests grew steadily until 2009 but has fluctuated since then, underscoring the importance of ongoing monitoring and conservation. “Endangered species recovery is the long game,” says Shaver, who leads the Kemp’s ridley nesting program in Texas. “It’s so heartwarming to work with people who have the same mission at heart to try and give back to preserve and sustain this population.”

Boxes of cold-stunned sea turtles sit in a cool room at Mass Audubon in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Rehabilitators slowly bring the turtles’ body temperatures back up to normal to avoid shocking the animals.

The other likely factor contributing to turtle strandings is the warming of the Gulf of Maine. Climate change has caused the water here to warm earlier each year and to stay warm for longer, keeping young Kemp’s ridleys in the fertile shallows of Cape Cod Bay later each fall. But the temperatures of the outer Cape and the North Atlantic still plunge as summer comes to a close. When fall arrives and the turtles attempt to navigate northward around the cape’s hook, they hit a disorienting wall of cold and turn around in search of the warmer water of their southerly ocean habitats.

This leads them back to the shallow flats inside the bay, where they encounter land instead of the open ocean. When the waters inside the cape reach a consistent 50 degrees Fahrenheit, any turtles still there will become hypothermic and eventually die unless they get help. Given the compounding factors, there’s no obvious end in sight to the trend.

“We are going to continue to see an increase of cold-stuns on Cape Cod,” says NOAA’s Kate Sampson.

New England Aquarium interns Kristen Luise, right, and Lauren Jaeger listen to the heartbeat of a hypothermic Kemp’s ridley sea turtle at the aquarium’s rehabilitation center in Quincy, Massachusetts.

That increase has only heightened the need for collaboration. In 2010, the New England Aquarium built a sea turtle rehabilitation facility in Quincy, Massachusetts, to meet demand. And with the high stranding numbers in 2020, breaking the record for live admitted turtles at 754, and limited staff due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Marine Life Center in Bourne, Massachusetts, also opened its doors to help with triage of incoming turtles, on top of the rehab services it already provided.

In addition to being hypothermic, Kemp’s ridleys usually arrive at these facilities with pneumonia or develop the condition within the first week or two of their arrival. Turtles also sometimes show up with traumatic injuries like broken bones and cracked shells from ocean waves tossing their bodies repeatedly into rocks, jetties, and seawalls when the animals are too cold to swim out of the surf.

Initially, when the turtles arrive, the goal is simply to assess their injuries through physical examinations and X-rays and to stabilize them. Rehabilitation staff members give the turtles fluids to rehydrate them and antibiotics to treat infections. They also work to slowly bring the animals’ internal body temperatures back up.

Gabbie Nicoletta, a coordinator at the National Marine Life Center, watches a previously stranded sea turtle as it continues its recovery in a tank at the rehabilitation center in Bourne, Massachusetts, in December.

Still, the two Massachusetts facilities can only care for so many turtles. At some point, the animals, including those that Braun and the others found on Great Hollow Beach, must be transported to other aquariums and facilities to complete their rehabilitation and ready them for release back into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In total, 29 additional rehab facilities are prepared to take in sea turtles for long-term rehabilitation. And flying, it turns out, is the fastest, least stressful, and safest way to transport the animals. That’s where Turtles Fly Too and its team of dedicated volunteer pilots come in.

The first — and only — US operation permitted to airlift sea turtles

On a frigid, clear December day, the early morning sun peeks over the horizon as four vans pull onto the tarmac at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts. Yawning, their breath turning into clouds before them, Kate Sampson of NOAA, Connie Merigo of the Marine Life Center, and a handful of other turtle rescuers from the New England Aquarium, pour out of the vehicles to meet with pilots Looby and Gisler. They strategize about the loading process to get dozens of turtles into the air as quickly and safely as possible. And that’s just one phase of the process.

Among the myriad details that must be worked out are how many turtles the rehabilitation facilities need to move, what planes are available and their capacity, where the pilots are coming from, where they’re going, and who will be on hand for pickup — all right up to the moment when the turtles arrive at their destination.

Adam Kennedy, a biologist at the New England Aquarium, closes the lid on a container holding one of many previously stranded sea turtles bound for rehabilitation facilities outside New England.

The service that Turtles Fly Too provides is unique. Besides the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which has the authority to move any endangered animal, “we have the first and only permits in the nation to fly sea turtles,” says Leslie Weinstein, the organization’s president. Turtles Fly Too got its start in 2014, the record-breaking year of strandings. Weinstein was running an aviation parts manufacturing company full time and had just transported a green sea turtle successfully to a facility in Dubuque, Iowa, that summer. In November, when cold-stranded sea turtles began washing up, turtle rescuers put Weinstein in touch with Sampson and Merigo, who was then directing the New England Aquarium’s Rescue Rehab Program. And thus, Turtles Fly Too was born.

Weinstein found the organization’s first pilot through a volunteer group called Pilots N Paws that transports domestic animals. A full-time dentist in New York, Ed Filangeri’s assignment was to fly eight turtles from Massachusetts to Baltimore, Maryland. Filangeri was immediately hooked, and the two joined forces. These days, Filangeri doesn’t hesitate to cancel dental appointments, because, he says, “the turtles can’t wait” and the clients understand. The organization now counts more than 350 pilots among its ranks and provides emergency transport to other species too, including sea otters, pelicans, and seals.

The flights vary in cost from $1,500 to $100,000 depending on the plane used, the number of drop locations, and the number of turtles on board. According to Weinstein, the average ticket price comes in at about $1,000 per turtle. Public contributions to Turtles Fly Too help cover that, as do airfields that waive landing fees or provide discounts on fuel. One Christmas Eve, when Filangeri had a mission to Virginia, he showed up in a Santa hat, and he and the crew named each of the eight traveling turtles after a flying reindeer. “I thought it was funny that they were flying with a man with a white beard on Christmas Eve,” Filangeri laughs. But, joking aside, “We do what’s necessary. We are the turtle movers,” adds Weinstein. “You can’t put a value on one Kemp’s life.”

After months spent healing from injuries, being treated for their illnesses, and regaining their strength, the turtles that Looby and Gisler transported in December are ready for release. “These guys come in chronically ill, and it takes time to get them healed,” says Joe Flanagan, senior veterinarian at the Houston Zoo. On the appointed day in March 2021, the beaches of Galveston, Texas, are warm, and the spring sun reflects off the light-colored sand. Boxes filled with Kemp’s ridley sea turtles gathered from the New England coastline sit in the shade of a small tent. Several beach-goers line up behind strips of bright pink tape wafting in the wind, marking a safe corridor for the turtle parade. Aquariums and rehabilitation centers coordinate with each other to combine their releases and allow the public to attend. “We’ll probably not see these guys ever again, I hope. But if we do it would be nice to see them nesting,” says Flanagan.

A rehabilitator with the Sea Life Aquarium holds one of approximately 85 endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles released at Galveston Beach in Texas in March.

Staff and volunteers carefully grasp the small Kemp’s ridleys just behind their front flippers and carry them one by one down the sandy strip toward the ocean. The people gathered to watch cheer, clap, take selfies, smile, and wave as the animals complete the final leg of their strange, human-assisted migration. “Goodbye, little one! Good luck!” someone yells. “Look at how cute they are,” says another bystander. The sea turtles seem equally enthusiastic, waving their flippers wildly as if in anticipation of the swim, longing for the embrace of warm water, at last, eager to once again fly beneath the waves.

“Oh my god, he is so ready to go!” says one of the turtle rehabilitators as she places a small pale-green Kemp’s, named Hagrid, slowly into the water. With several fast pumps of his flippers, the young turtle disappears into the Gulf of Mexico.

This story originally appeared in bioGraphic, an online magazine about nature and solutions powered by the California Academy of Sciences.

https://www.vox.com/down-to-earth/22832643/turtle-strandings-rescue-endangered-cape-cod-texas

Horseshoe crab BLOOD in high demand for vaccine and drug testing – and they could go extinct


Conservations warn horseshoe crabs could go to extinct because their blood is being used in Covid vaccines and for drug testing: Up to 30% of the crustaceans have already been killed off in the US

By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com 12:44 EST 17 Dec 2021 , updated 16:42 EST 17 Dec 2021 +7

  • Horseshoe crabs have bright blue blood that is a natural source of Limulus polyphemus
  • This is used to test vaccines, including those for COVID, and drugs for dangerous bacterial toxins before the products hit the market
  • The horseshoe crabs are drained for up to eight minutes and returned to the ocean
  • However, data shows up to 30% of the marine creatures die shortly after 

Horseshoe crabs have been around for 450 million years, surviving mass extinctions and several ice ages, but conservationists say the creatures could soon go extinct because their bright blue blood is vital to pharmaceutical companies.

The blue blood has immune cells, known as Limulus polyphemus (LAL), which are sensitive to toxic bacteria and can be used to test vaccines and drugs for dangerous bacterial toxins before products hit the market. null

The coveted blood has been used for nearly 20 years and has been vital tool in testing the coronavirus vaccines currently on the market.

Scientists drain the horseshoe crabs of their blood and return them to the ocean, after which most of the creatures die – one South Carolina lab says crabs are drained for up to eight minutes. 

‘As it is now, the entire supply chain for endotoxin testing of drugs rests upon the harvest of a vulnerable or near extinct sea creature,’ Kevin Williams, a scientist who manufactures synthetic LAL told The Washington Post.   

Convationists fear the Atlantic horseshoe crabs could go the way of the Asian horseshoe crab that is extinct in Taiwan and disappearing in Hong Kong, as a result of mainly biomedical testing.

While the US horseshoe crab is not currently endangered – they are near threatened – data shows up to 30 percent of the crabs harvested for their blood die when returned to the ocean.

Ryan Phelan, co-founder and Executive Director of Revive and Restore, a wildlife conservation group based in California that lobbied for the synthetic, told Yahoo News: ‘You’ve got a very large, biomedical bleeding industry with a vested interest in keeping those horseshoes crabs coming in and basically protecting this monopoly.’

‘In the US, 525,000 horseshoe crabs per year were captured during 2013 to 2017 and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission estimates short-term bleeding-induced mortality to be 15 percent (4 percent to 30 percent), resulting in mortality of approximately 78,750 horseshoe crabs annually in recent years comprising a minor portion,’ according to a study published in Frontiers.

The Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission also estimates that in 2019 US labs extracted blood from 640,000 horseshoe crabs. 

The Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission also estimates that in 2019 US labs extracted blood from 640,000 horseshoe crabs

The Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission also estimates that in 2019 US labs extracted blood from 640,000 horseshoe crabs
The coveted blood has been used for nearly 20 years and is being used to test the coronavirus vaccines that are currently on the market. Above is someone pointing at the part where the blood is drawn for use
The coveted blood has been used for nearly 20 years and is being used to test the coronavirus vaccines that are currently on the market. Above is someone pointing at the part where the blood is drawn for use

According to The Verge, horseshoe crab blood has become a $500 billion industry – it can bring as much as $15,000 per quart – and a South Carolina lab that still clings to the old practice is worth $13 billion because of it, The State reports.

Representatives from Charles River previously said that more than 80 million LAL tests are performed each year .

Dr James Cooper, who founded the Charleston facility in 1987, wrote in a company publication last year: ‘The horseshoe crab blood donation is similar to human blood donation.

‘The crabs are bled for a few minutes and returned to sea unharmed.’ 

A Charles River representative told The State: ‘Eight minutes is unofficially recognized as the maximum bleeding time across the industry.’

Scientists drain the horseshoe crabs of their blood and return them to the ocean, after which most of the creatures die - one South Carolina lab says crabs can be drained for up to eight minutes
Scientists drain the horseshoe crabs of their blood and return them to the ocean, after which most of the creatures die – one South Carolina lab says crabs can be drained for up to eight minutes
While the horseshoe crab is not currently endangered, data shows up to 30 percent of the crabs harvested for their blood in the US die when returned to the ocean
While the horseshoe crab is not currently endangered, data shows up to 30 percent of the crabs harvested for their blood in the US die when returned to the ocean

Research conducted at the College of Charleston shows that half of the horseshoe crab’s blood can be drained within those eight minutes and this much harvested can the creatures to move slower when returned to the ocean.

Never mind the stress of being captured, hours spent out of the water and mishandling in the lab – all of which experts say contribute to their deaths. null

A 2011 study conducted by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), conservation officers responsible for enforcing the environmental and conservation laws and policies, found 20 percent of the crabs died, according to records obtained by The State.  

READ MORE

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-10321773/Horseshoe-crab-BLOOD-high-demand-vaccine-drug-testing-extinct.html

Newzit

The wonders of the ocean

Rare deep sea fish found washed ashore near San Diego

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego confirmed to Fox News that a football fish was found on at Swami’s Beach in Encinitas on Dec. 10.

www.foxnews.com

Michael Hollan 3 minutes

A rare fish was found washed ashore at a beach near San Diego earlier this month. Only about thirty samples of this particular species of fish have been found so far, making this a particularly interesting discovery.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego confirmed to Fox News that a football fish was found on at Swami’s Beach in Encinitas on Dec. 10. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego)

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego confirmed to Fox News that a football fish was found on Swami’s Beach in Encinitas, California on Dec. 10. The fish, a female, measured to about 13-inches-long and weighed 5.5 pounds.

According to Scripps, only 31 known specimens of this particular species of fish have been collected worldwide.

The football fish is a deepsea creature and is part of the anglerfish family.

Ben Frable, Collection Manager of Marine Vertebrates at Scripps recovered the most recent football fish.

Ben Frable, Collection Manager of Marine Vertebrates at Scripps recovered the most recent football fish. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego)

Several other deep-sea fish were discovered washed ashore in the area in recent weeks. A 4-foot-long lancetfish was found washed up on La Jolla Shores, which was also collected by researchers at the Scripps Institution.

Another football fish was photographed near Black Beach, but it was not recovered by researchers.

Ben Frable, Collection Manager of Marine Vertebrates at Scripps recovered the most recent football fish. The fish was X-rayed and tissue samples were collected for genetic analysis.

Several other deep-sea fish were discovered washed ashore in the area in recent weeks.

Several other deep-sea fish were discovered washed ashore in the area in recent weeks. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego)

According to the Scripps Institution, researchers don’t have any theories as to why these fish have been washing ashore.

According to the post, “As seen in the animated film Finding Nemo, female anglerfish are easily recognized by their globular body shape, sharp teeth, distinctive dorsal spine or illicium (the “fishing pole”), and the fleshy phosphorescent bulb (or esca) used to lure prey. Footballfish are typically found at depths of 650 to 2,600 feet, but there is still much we don’t know about these creatures.”

https://www.foxnews.com/great-outdoors/rare-deep-sea-fish-found-washed-ashore-near-san-diego

Stop the shark fin trade

Suspend trade agreement with Faroe Islands until all whale & dolphin hunts end – Petitions

UK Government and Parliament

In 2019 UK Government finalised a free trade agreement (FTA) with Faroe Islands which allows for £100 million of exports of wild caught and farmed fish to Britain per annum (20% of the Faroe Islands global trade). This FTA should be suspended until all whale & dolphin hunts on Faroe Islands end More details

The Free Trade Agreement with the Faroe Islands gives the UK Government significant leverage when it comes to ending the mass slaughter of pilot whales and dolphins on the Faroe Islands which causes huge anger and revulsion around the world. If the UK is to be considered a world leader in the protection of marine mammals it must use this leverage nowSign this petition

Open Government Licence

All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated© Crown copyright

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/597171

Whale caught on sandbar after giving birth saved by beachgoers

Residents saving mother whale (Credit: Phebe Armas) PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WPDE) —

by Julia Varnier Friday, July 23rd 2021

A Pawleys Island beachgoer said a mother whale who recently gave birth was caught on a sandbar Thursday afternoon. 

The whale’s pup was fine and members of her pod were surrounding her to protect her from nearby sharks due to some blood in the water.  https://ec699d73901d1a68d70a4a03267e0f90.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0

Several people were able to roll her back out to safety. 

READ MORE: Boater untangles what could be world’s rarest turtle from balloon litter off East Coast : View This Story on Our Site

https://wpde.com/amp/news/local/whale-caught-on-sandbar-after-giving-birth-saved-by-beachgoers-in-pawleys-island?fbclid=IwAR17SBVZLrXA1c9uPQzmTHknJ8WyWS3JObjyJyxSR6kEU1NaAapXJCti5RE&__twitter_impression=true

Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter Begins

www.onegreenplanet.org

By Eliza Erskine

Save the Reef shared on Instagram that the Faroe Islands‘ annual whale hunt has started. The organization reported 131 pilot whales were killed overnight.

The organization shared on Instagram, “The Faroese eat dolphin meat and defend a tradition called ‘Grindadrap’, which allowed their ancestors to survive in a hostile climate while today, their supermarkets are full of food of all kinds and yet the hunting persists anyway. On average, 800 cetaceans are killed each year in the Faroe Islands in the name of ‘tradition’ despite less than 20 per cent of the islanders even consuming pilot whale meat and blubber anymore. Once we spread enough awareness and there is enough public outcry about this then barbaric traditions like this will stop once and for all.”

According to Sea Shepherd, 6,500 whales have been killed during the practice in the last decade. Robert Read, chief operating officer at Sea Shepherd, said in the Daily Mail, “The grindadráp is a barbaric relic of a bygone age. A needless hunt of hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins which should have ended a century ago which is not needed to feed anyone on the islands.”

Sign this petition to demand that Norway end the practice of killing whales!

Read more about whale hunting in Norway in One Green Planet, including whale hunting in the Faroe Islands and the Norwegian government’s response to hunting. 

Read more about the Faroe Island slaughter and how you can help. Check out these articles:

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/faroe-islands-whale-slaughter-begins/

Defenders of Wildlife | Urge the FWS to prevent more tragic manatee deaths from starvation and pollution!

Mother Manatee and Calf (c) Sam Farkas/NOAA

Photo Credit: Mother Manatee and Calf (c) Sam Farkas/NOAA

Over 670 manatee deaths has shocked scientists and wildlife lovers alike – we must act immediately to save Florida’s state marine mammal!

This has been one of the deadliest winters ever recorded for threatened manatees. Pollution is destroying the seagrass they depend on for survival, causing hundreds of manatees to turn up dead across the central and south Atlantic coast of Florida, many with signs of starvation.  

This crisis needs an immediate and powerful response. We’re calling on the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to protect manatees and their habitat to save manatees right now and to prevent similar crises from happening in the future.  

Urge the FWS to protect and restore manatee habitat – click here to add your signature!

Message

Dear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: As a member of Defenders of Wildlife and an advocate for imperiled species, I’m asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to prioritize safeguarding and securing manatee habitat to prevent further unprecedented loss of manatees. The past few months have been some of the deadliest on record for manatees. In just three months, over 670 manatees have died, with many showing signs of starvation as the seagrass habitats they depend on for survival have disappeared, leaving them with nothing to eat. I urge you to work with the state of Florida to address excessive runoff from various sources, including agricultural,residential and industrial uses, that is polluting our waterways and leading to widespread manatee deaths. Runoff into our precious waterways is fueling algal blooms that have shaded out and killed tens of thousands of acres of seagrasses. Sediment washing into the water from agriculture and land development can also damage seagrass beds by smothering the seagrass and blocking sunlight. Waterbodies around the state, including Indian River Lagoon, the St. Lucie River estuary, Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay, Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay, are all experiencing devastating impacts from pollution generated by agriculture, development and industry. In addition to comprising a primary food source for manatees, seagrass meadows are one of the most productive ecosystems in Florida. They provide food and shelter to a biologically diverse community of species, from seahorses and commercially important fish, to sea turtles, marine mammals, and birds. The greatest long-term threat to the manatee is lack of warm-water habitat that they need to survive. Coastal development continues to degrade natural habitat, like rivers and springs. Manatees become susceptible to cold stress, which is often lethal, at water temperatures below ~68F. Due to habitat loss, more than 60% of the manatee population depends on warm-water outfalls at electric power plants to survive cold winter days — an unsustainable situation. Restoring natural warm water winter habitat, such as the Great Florida Riverway, is essential to ensuring the long-term recovery of the species. FWS must coordinate with Florida Power & Light to convene a meeting that focuses on establishing and securing regional networks of natural warm water where manatees can take refuge in cold weather that have healthy, adequate food sources nearby. As the number of manatee deaths continues to rise, FWS must ensure that all protections for manatees remain in place and are expanded as necessary. I’m asking you to please take urgent steps to protect manatees and their habitat before the future of this species is once again in jeopardy. Sincerely,

Defenders of Wildlife leads the pack when it comes to protecting wild animals and plants in their natural communities © 2021 Defenders of Wildlife

https://act.defenders.org/page/28132/action/1?supporter.appealCode=3WDW2100ZEXX1&en_og_source=FY21_Social_Action&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=action-manateeUSFWS-040221

Petition · Prime Minister Erna Solberg: Tell Norway’s government to stop cruel whale experiments · Change.org

www.change.org

I need your help urgently to persuade the Norwegian government to stop plans to experiment on live minke whales. Bad weather has delayed the tests but they could start any day – we don’t have much time.

Funded by the US and Norwegian navies, as well as the oil and gas industry, the Norwegian government has approved plans to capture young minke whales to test their reaction to noise from naval sonar and seismic testing for oil and gas. The whales will be caught and forced, one by one, into a modified salmon-farming pen. Once there, each whale will be clamped between two rafts and electrodes attached under his or her skin.

The whale will be bombarded by noise at various frequencies while their brain signals are measured. They could be held like this for up to six hours.

The people carrying out these experiments claim they want to know how much noise the whales can withstand and at which frequencies. They plan to run these tests in May and June, and again next year.

It could literally scare them to death.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation have sent a letter to Norway’s prime minister signed by more than 50 leading scientists and vets. These experts say the stress could kill the whales. Even if it doesn’t, the ordeal will be dangerous and terrifying for these intelligent and highly sensitive individuals.

This appalling experiment is utterly inhumane and unnecessary. Existing research already tells us what we need to know about the effects of underwater noise on whales. We know that noise created by oil and gas exploration and military sonar scares whales and can cause them to strand and can even cause internal bleeding, organ failure and brain damage.

The charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation is supporting me with this petition and they are fighting hard behind the scenes with the Norwegian NGO, NOAH – for animal rights.

https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-erna-solberg-tell-norway-s-government-to-stop-cruel-whale-experiments?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=custom_url&recruited_by_id=ec97f290-73af-4fb7-9c8c-c92a90402c8e

Thousands of Dead Sharks Sold by Greedy Company Deserve Justice – ForceChange

Photo Credit: Nicholas Wang

Posted by Cameron Jenkins

forcechange.com

Target: Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada

Goal: Shut down businesses that willfully kill endangered species for profit.

The Kiu Yick Trading Company, based in Victoria, Canada, has been found guilty of importing shark fins from endangered species. As a penalty for importing 434 kilograms of illegal shark products, this company has been fined a measly $60,000. This fine is a pathetic amount for a company that generates over $2 million in annual sales, and which contributed to the extermination of threatened species.

Most of the fins came from silky sharks, which is considered to be near-threatened. This shark has a long gestation and gives birth to only a few young that are slow to mature, making it particularly susceptible to illegal hunting.

Such businesses should not be allowed to continue to operate. Sign this petition to urge the government to take stricter actions against such willful disregard for the natural world, and shut down these reproachable companies.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Honourable Wilkinson,

Despite national and international bans, companies are still bringing illegal animal products into Canada. Recently, the Kiu Yick Trading Company from British Columbia was found guilty of importing shark fins from “near threatened” species of sharks. In response, your government has fined this company only $60,000. This is a pathetic penalty for a company that draws over $2 million dollars of revenue every year.

I urge you to consider the devastating environmental impact that illegal acts of this nature have upon the whole world. Companies that willfully commit such criminal acts should be severely penalized.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

https://forcechange.com/586807/thousands-of-dead-sharks-sold-by-greedy-company-deserve-justice/

Urgent Action Needed: Dolphins and Porpoises

firepaw.org

Marine scientists are calling on the EU to adopt a comprehensive plan to protect dolphins and porpoises from fisheries bycatch in European waters. To help address the bycatch issue, which is the primary global threat to dolphins and porpoises, the researchers put forward a framework to reduce bycatch levels.

The scientists have outlined a two-step approach that involves establishing a quantitative management objective for each population and implementing monitoring programs:

To ensure an accurate estimation of bycatch levels, the experts recommend using electronic monitoring systems that allow a more comprehensive and representative sampling of the fleets.

The scientists also recommend regular formal assessments of small cetacean populations, including generation of estimates of abundance and bycatch mortality. If total bycatch has been estimated to exceed the calculated biological reference point, then a mitigation strategy needs to be put in place while monitoring is continued until levels are below the reference points.

“Bycatch of small cetaceans in European fisheries is widespread, including very large numbers of common dolphins in trawl fisheries and bycatch of the critically endangered population of harbor porpoise in the Baltic Sea…The failure to effectively conserve Europe’s dolphins and porpoises is not a result of a lack of scientific knowledge or difficulties in monitoring fisheries and bycatch. Instead, it reflects a lack of political will to ensure that these iconic animals are protected from unsustainable mortality in commercial fisheries throughout European waters. We can and must do better.”

-Professor Andrew Read, Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment


Journal reference:  Emer Rogan, Andrew J Read, Per Berggren. Empty promises: The European Union is failing to protect dolphins and porpoises from fisheries by‐catch. Fish and Fisheries, 2021; DOI: 10.1111/faf.12556


https://firepaw.org/2021/05/21/urgent-action-needed-dolphins-and-porpoises/

Illuminating the Mystery of Sea Turtles’ Epic Migrations

Loggerhead Sea Turtle

scitechdaily.com

Stanford University 8 – 10 minutes

Loggerhead sea turtle. Credit: Pixabay

North Pacific loggerhead turtles’ years-long oceanic journeys remain poorly understood. Using data from satellite tracking and other techniques, scientists reveal a unique phenomenon that may explain the endangered migrants’ pathway.

“Not all those who wander are lost … ”
— J.R.R. Tolkien

Known as “the lost years,” it is a little-understood journey that unfolds over thousands of miles and as much as two decades or more. Now, a Stanford-led study illuminates secrets of the North Pacific loggerhead turtles’ epic migration between their birthplace on the beaches of Japan and reemergence years later in foraging grounds off the coast of Baja California. The study, published April 8 in  Frontiers in Marine Science, provides evidence for intermittent passages of warm water that allow sea turtles to cross otherwise inhospitably cold ocean barriers. The findings could help inform the design of conservation measures to protect sea turtles and other migratory sea creatures amid climatic changes that are altering their movements.

“For decades, our ability to connect the migratory dots for this endangered species has remained elusive,” said study lead author Dana Briscoe, who was a research associate at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment during the research and now works at the Cawthron Institute, New Zealand’s largest independent marine science organization. “This work builds on the backbone of exceptional research about these ‘lost years,’ and for the first time ever we are excited to provide evidence of a ‘thermal corridor’ to explain a longstanding mystery of one of the ocean’s greatest migrants.”

Satellite Turtle Tracks

Satellite tracks of 231 juvenile North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles (light gray), including six (various colors) that migrated to the coastal waters of Baja, California. Credit: Dana Briscoe, et al. / Frontiers in Marine Science

Endangered migrants

Wildlife seekers thrill to the sight of sea turtles, but ship traffic, fishing nets, and other perils have been less kind. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists six of the seven sea turtle species as critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable.

Despite scientific advancements in core habitat use, we still know precious little about the movement of turtles and other long-lived sea creatures between disparate locations. This knowledge gap makes it impossible to effectively assess and protect these species.

The researchers wanted to know how and why some loggerheads travel to the western coastline of North America while others remain in the central Pacific Ocean. How is it that some sea turtles – creatures highly sensitive to temperature – can cross a frigid zone called the Eastern Pacific Barrier between the two ocean regions that normally stops most creatures in their tracks?

To unlock that mystery, the researchers created the largest dataset on satellite-tagged loggerhead sea turtles ever compiled, employed sophisticated remote sensing oceanographic techniques and collected one of the first detailed records of sea turtle aging and stable isotope testing – a bone analysis that can be used to provide information about an animal’s life. The work relied upon decades of research by the international team of scientists.

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Swimming

Loggerhead sea turtle swimming. Credit: Ralph Pace

They started by looking at a 15-year study tracking the movements of more than 200 turtles tagged with satellite tracking devices. Six of the turtles caught the researchers’ attention because – unlike their peers – they made distinct movements toward the North American coast. Adding to the intrigue, the “sentinels,” as the researchers called them, made their journey during the early spring months. A look at remotely sensed ocean conditions for the time period showed that the farthest-roaming of the sentinels swam through water significantly warmer than their peers had confronted on their travels.

A bigger picture analysis involved identifying the years loggerheads arrived in Baja California by measuring stable isotope “fingerprints” in the bones of sea turtles stranded on beaches there. Because like us, turtles are what they eat, these stable isotope signatures can reveal when the turtles transitioned from the open sea to the coast. The analysis showed significantly greater annual numbers of eastward-bound sea turtles during warm ocean conditions.

The likely cause, according to the researchers: the development of a “thermal corridor” from unusually warm sea surface temperatures due to El Niño and other intermittent warming conditions that allowed the turtles to cross the Eastern Pacific Barrier to coastal foraging grounds.

The corridor was present during the late spring and summer, and was also preceded by early warming of temperatures in the months before it opened. Such anomalous conditions, especially if sustained for several months, may provide key environmental cues to sea turtles and other animals concentrated in the eastern edge of the central Pacific that the thermal corridor is opening. Studies combining data from loggerhead aerial surveys, at-sea-sightings, stranding records and tissue samples supported the hypothesis.

A dangerous trend

The phenomenon may be part of a trend. As the planet undergoes unprecedented climate changes, locations once considered impassable obstacles to species movements, like the Eastern Pacific Barrier, are being redefined. This, in turn, is shifting the distributions and migratory pathways of creatures ranging from sea birds to white sharks and presenting new conservation challenges.

For the North Pacific loggerhead, the trend could mean higher exposure to bycatch – unintentional fisheries harvest – off the Baja California coast and other potentially important North American foraging grounds, including the Southern California Bight. The study provides important insights, such as an understanding of how animal movements relate to climate variation, that could help predict when sea turtles and other protected species could be vulnerable to such threats.

The researchers caution that their multi-year dataset represents only a snapshot of an important developmental period for sea turtles. The small number of turtles that moved into the eastern North Pacific limits the ability to fully test the study’s hypothesis under varying conditions. To do that, the researchers call for more satellite tagging and stable isotope studies of turtle bones in this region.

“Understanding how and why species like the North Pacific loggerhead move among habitats is crucial to helping them navigate threats,” said study senior author Larry Crowder, the Edward Ricketts Provostial Professor at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station. “Emerging technologies and analyses can help illuminate these journeys.”

Reference: “Dynamic Thermal Corridor May Connect Endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtles Across the Pacific Ocean” by Dana K. Briscoe, Calandra N. Turner Tomaszewicz, Jeffrey A. Seminoff, Denise M. Parker, George H. Balazs, Jeffrey J. Polovina, Masanori Kurita, Hitoshi Okamoto, Tomomi Saito, Marc R. Rice and Larry B. Crowder, 8 April 2021, Frontiers in Marine Science.
DOI: 10.3389/fmars.2021.630590

Crowder is also a professor of biology in the School of Humanities and Sciences and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. Co-authors of the study include Calandra Turner Tomaszewicz and Jeffrey A. Seminoff of the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service; Denise Parker and George Balazs of Golden Honu Services of Oceania; Jeffrey Polovina of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; Masanori Kurita and Hitoshi Okamoto of the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium (Japan); Tomomi Saito of Kōchi University (Japan); and Marc Rice of Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy.

Funding for this study provided by the Crowder Lab at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the National Academy of Sciences, Stanford’s Department of Biology and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

https://scitechdaily.com/illuminating-the-mystery-of-sea-turtles-epic-migrations/

Norway Urged Not To Torture Captured Minke Whales

Scientists Can Now Watch Whales Feed Underwater (Photo credit: Mike Baird)

By Sam Helmy

Scientists Can Now Watch Whales Feed Underwater (Photo credit: Mike Baird)

NGOs, animal welfare charities and a host of other stakeholders have urged Mattilsynet, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, to reverse its approval of an experiment on captured minke whales that they claim amounts to nothing more than torture.

The experiment is designed to see how whales’ brains respond to ocean noise. During the experiment, juvenile migrating minke whales will be trapped using a net and herded into a small enclosure. Once inside, they will be subjected to a host of noises, from naval sonar to the sounds emanating from oil and gas exploration. The experiment will last for up to four days, and up to 12 whales will be subjected to this.

According to Dr. Siri Martinsen, a veterinarian with NOAH, Norway’s largest NGO for animals:

“This research project is alarming for several reasons. We are very concerned for the welfare of the involved whales, as these circumstances are very likely to cause them stress and may even impact their health. There is a significant risk that the whales will panic once they are trapped, causing them to thrash or flail about, which could lead to serious injuries as they attempt to flee.”

You can help the whales by contacting the Norwegian government with your objection here.

Sam Helmyhttps://www.deeperblue.comSam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life!

ISSN 1469-865X | Copyright © 1996 – 2021 deeperblue.net limited.

https://www.deeperblue.com/norway-urged-not-to-torture-captured-minke-whales/?amp&__twitter_impression=true

This is just the first week!

10 Ways to Help Protect the Oceans | Dolphin Project

www.dolphinproject.com

Saving dolphins and whales is more than just ending their captivity. Dolphin Project believes that ocean conservation is vital to the survival of all marine animals. Marine species are currently facing more human-caused threats than ever before.

There are many ways we can help protect them. Here are a few ideas:

1. Ditch single-use plastics

Disposable straws, cups, lids, utensils, bags, water bottles and other single use plastics make up a huge percentage of marine pollution. With an estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste entering the oceans each year, countless marine animals ingest plastics, become entangled in them, or worse, are killed by them. To minimize your impact, do a trash audit and see exactly how much you are throwing away. Think of what you could live without! Every reduction makes a difference. If every person in North America used just one fewer single use plastic item per year, there would be 579 million LESS pieces of plastic thrown away!

Plastic Garbage in Sea Pen Taiji Dolphin Project Captive Dolphin

Plastic Garbage in Sea Pen

2. Join beach or community clean ups

Ocean conservation is vital to the survival of all marine species. In order to protect wild populations and continue to return captive dolphins and whales to the ocean, we must ensure a safe and clean habitat. Clean ups can take place anywhere – you don’t have to live near a beach to partake in one. Every piece of plastic and debris that you clean up is one fewer item of trash that will find its way into the ocean and potentially entangle and harm marine life. Cleanups can take place at a beach next to the ocean, at a park, a river, or just around your local town- or even join in our global beach clean up on July 14th!

3. Avoid items and experiences that exploit marine life

Certain products contribute to the harming of ocean habitats, which in turn affect the species that live in them. Avoid purchasing jewelry made from turtle shells or coral, and cosmetic products that contain squalene (a compound obtained for commercial use from sharks).

Experiences such as swim with dolphins programs, dolphin therapy and dolphin shows may be promoted as “educational” or “fun,” but in reality they are forms of exploitation. Not only do dolphins suffer greatly in captivity, but as long as these experiences are promoted this way it will fuel the demand for cruel wild dolphin captures to continue to fill the tanks of new marine parks around the world. Take the pledge NOT to buy a ticket!

captive dolphins tank crowded dirty Dolphin Project

Overcrowding at captive dolphin facility

4. Be mindful of what’s on your plate

Overfishing of the oceans is a tremendous problem on a global level. Fish populations around the world are rapidly being depleted due to seafood demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. Commercial fishing methods often involve gear that entangles unintended species. Bycatch, or the incidental capture of non-target species such as dolphins, whales, pinnipeds, sharks, turtles and seabirds causes a staggering number of deaths each year.

If you consume seafood, stay informed about different fishing methods and their harmful impacts, and the health of populations that your seafood came from, so that you are able to make the meal choices with the smallest environmental impact. As an even better alternative, take a step further and avoid seafood all together!

5. Be an ocean-minded pet owner

Make sure to read the labels on your pet’s food, and to extend sustainable seafood practices to your pet’s diet. Be sure to responsibly dispose of your pet’s waste and to never flush cat litter; when owners neglect to pick up after their animals, pet waste can wash into storm drains, where it becomes a pollutant in drains and waterways, eventually ending up in the ocean. Both on land and in water, the waste left by our pets can spread harmful diseases through bacteria and parasites.

6. Contact representatives and lawmakers

Be aware of authorities and governmental figures with jurisdiction over your area. Contact them and let them know just how important the oceans are to the environment – and to us! Ask that they take action for the oceans such as banning single-use plastics, supporting renewable energy and other initiatives to ensure clean and healthy marine habitats. One urgent call to action we must continue to take now is to ask for the Snake River dams to be breached to save the Southern Resident orcas from extinction!

Scarlet/‘J50’ swims alongside her mother Slick/‘J16'

Southern Resident orca Scarlet/‘J50′ swimming with her mother Slick/‘J16′. Credit: NOAA Fisheries /Public Domain

7. Reduce your carbon emissions

There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint both inside and outside your home: take a bus or bike to work, adjust your thermostat, turn off lights and electronics when you’re not using them, use cold water to wash your clothes and shop local to avoid products shipped over long distances.

8. Travel the seas responsibly

When boating or embarking on a marine eco-tour, make sure that responsible practices are used. Be a whale-wise boater and keep respectful distances from marine mammals that do not negatively affect their behavior. Make sure to contain any trash, so that it does not get blown into the water. When on the beach or in the water, be sure to use reef-safe sunscreen and keep mindful distances from animals that may be nesting on beaches.

9. Ignite change in your community

Tell family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and anyone else who will listen about why the oceans are so important. Share incredible facts about dolphins and other marine species that they may not know, and inspire them to love and protect the oceans! Present the facts about dolphin captivity to anyone who may be vacationing at or near captive facilities. Contact local restaurants about offering locally sourced produce and sustainable seafood (and more vegan options!).

Empty the Tanks at Duisburg Zoo

Empty the Tanks Demo at Duisburg Zoo

10. Stay informed; make your voice count

Be informed of opportunities to vote on issues related to the ocean and the environment. Stay up to date on petitions, public demonstrations and opportunities for public commenting, making sure to add your voice! We often post these opportunities on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, and additionally have ongoing petitions for several of our campaigns!

Every action we take makes a difference and collectively, the difference is huge! We must hold ourselves accountable to not only what we are comfortable doing, but capable of doing to help the environment.

Let’s all continue to care for the oceans!

Humpback whale fluke at sunset on the open ocean

Humpback whale fluke at sunset on the open ocean | Photo by Tracie Sugo

Featured image: Short beaked common dolphins frolic off the coast of Southern California, credit – Tracie Sugo

https://www.dolphinproject.com/blog/10-ways-to-help-protect-the-oceans/

How to Watch Whales and Dolphins Responsibly | Dolphin Project

www.dolphinproject.com

Whale and dolphin watching tours are a fantastic alternative to seeing captive dolphins under inhumane conditions in marine parks and dolphinariums. When responsibly conducted, eco-tours play a huge role in inspiring people to love and cherish wild dolphins, and in turn be inspired to help protect them. The benefits of responsible marine mammal-based ecotourism span from a better appreciation of the marine wildlife to supporting local economies, especially in developing countries in where whale and dolphin watching tours present an alternative to hunting or capturing dolphins.

It is vital to find a responsible tour operator that minimally impacts dolphins and whales, so that both you and the animals can have the best encounter. Below are tips to having the best encounters with wildlife, and letting the wildlife have the best encounter with you!

Wild orcas swim free monterey bay california

Wild orcas swimming free in Monterey Bay, California | Photo by Tracie Sugo

How do I find a responsible ecotour operator?

Responsible operators stick to local whale watching guidelines, are led by knowledgable captains and naturalists, notify the appropriate authorities when a whale is in distress and set an example of how to maneuver around marine mammals for other boaters. Oftentimes these aspects are evident on operator’s websites, or reviews of their tours posted online.

The trip should be about education, not sensation. Always remember to let whales and dolphins decide what happens; never force an interaction and keep a respectful distance appropriate for each species. Some dolphins willingly approach to surf in the pressure wave created by the bow on the front of the boat (also called “bow riding”); larger whales typically travel or forage at a distance but may occasionally approach or “mug” a vessel.

Humpback whale breaches off the coast of California

Humpback whale breaches off the coast of California | Photo by Tracie Sugo

What are some red flags to look for?

Responsible operators would never overcrowd a marine mammal; if there are too many boats around a whale or a pod of dolphins, they must be left alone. Having too many vessels around may make it difficult for the animals to travel, forage or rest; it is best not to interfere with their natural behavior.

Responsible operators would also never approach marine mammals head on, or at high speeds. Baleen whales, such as humpback, blue, minke, gray and fin whales do not have echolocation like dolphins and toothed whales do. This makes it difficult for them to anticipate a boat and put them in danger of being spooked, or worse, in danger of collision. High speeds and irresponsible driving can also potentially disturb hunting or resting pods of dolphins.

Lastly, responsible operators would never chase or harass marine mammals. If whales or dolphins do not want to be watched, they will swim away. In these cases, it is best to leave them to go as they please. Chasing them would make them expend unnecessary energy; for migrating whales who fast for long periods of time, this is quite harmful.

Is it possible to watch wild whales and dolphins from land?

In some parts of the world and during the right time of year, it is possible to see wild cetaceans from shore. Some populations either have a permanent coastal range, or come very close to land during their migration.

The growing trend for land-based whale watching is taking off big time in South Africa, Hawaii, Scotland and Norway. With zero impact on the animals, land-based whale watching is the least invasive way to watch marine wildlife. It’s also the best method for anyone who suffers from sea sickness.

The west coast of the United States has many great spots to watch gray whales as they migrate near shore from Alaska to Mexico and back again. Many areas of the world are also home to coastal populations of bottlenose dolphins that can be seen from beaches as they surf and play in breaking waves. There are many great places around the world to watch dolphins and whales from land, particularly with species that have a very coastal range.

gray whale breach

Gray whale breach near the California coast | Photo by Tracie Sugo

Is swimming with wild dolphins a responsible alternative to captivity?

Wild spotted and bottlenose dolphins together in the Bahamas.

Wild spotted and bottlenose dolphins together in the Bahamas. Credit: DolphinProject.com

For some, swimming with wild dolphins can be a very attractive alternative to visiting a captive facility, but extra caution and consideration is necessary. A tour should never guarantee or promote that you can swim with dolphins, or make any physical contact with them. In fact, touching or pursuing a dolphin in the water can be considered “harassment”, which is illegal under US federal law.

In order to guarantee wild dolphin interactions, some operators have been known to feed wild pods to encourage interaction, which can be harmful to their independence, upset their digestion and health, or encourage them to approach other boats and increase the risk of a strike. Any tours that offer fish food or feeding opportunities should be avoided.

In some areas such as Hawaii, there are additional concerns that boats and tourists are disrupting sleeping pods of dolphins, which can reduce birth rates and cause additional stress. Ask a tour operator if they follow federal or local guidelines to prevent disruptions to sensitive species.

Finally, every operator should have rules of conduct and safety information regarding potential encounters of wild dolphins by swimmers. Those rules should be designed to discourage contact and protect the dolphins from unwanted interference. Wild dolphins are exactly that – wild, and they should be respected as such. Just as you would not approach a wild lion to pet it, you should treat all encounters with wild marine mammals with caution, for your safety and theirs.

Some dolphins are curious and may approach a swimmer or diver in the water, but it should always be their decision to initiate contact as well as end that encounter.

Keep in Mind Whales and Dolphins are Wild Animals

The ocean is a wild environment; we are visitors and we must respect the residents. Wildlife viewing is not always people watching wildlife; oftentimes it’s also wildlife watching people. It can bring people to tears when they make eye contact with a dolphin or whale during a close approach.

Chances are that people will always want to see dolphins and whales, and where they choose to spend their money makes a big difference. It is important to support responsible dolphin and whale watching tours because the alternative is to watch them in captivity, where cetaceans are known to suffer. As more and more people become aware of the problems of captivity, they may choose to see them wild and with that in mind, we must not overcrowd or harass marine mammals but watch them in a responsible and sustainable way. Marine mammal-based tourism, if conducted properly, can not only work, but it can work well for both people and mammals.

Marine mammals’ welfare should always remain the most important aspect of these eco-tours because, without these animals, there will be no ecotourism at all! Let’s help inspire more people to care about dolphins and help ecotourism stay responsible!

Wild dolphin looks towards people on a whale watching boat

Wild common dolphin looks towards people on a whale watching boat | Photo by Tracie Sugo

https://www.dolphinproject.com/blog/how-to-watch-whales-and-dolphins-responsibly/

Safe travels little one…

Texas frigid weather is over… 🐢

Master of disguise