Awesome Mako Shark Footage!

Science, Thoughts

Credit: Florida Sport Fishing

When you see this video, you will understand just how eager I was to post it! You usually see awesome footage of Great White Sharks jumping out of the water, but Mako Sharks are giving them a run for their money! Sharks sure are fascinating creatures…and it’s almost the 25th Anniversary of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week! WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?! 😀

CAUTION: Video contains graphic language- put on mute if you’d like- but I get a little giggle each time the guy says “OH MY GOD” every time the shark jumps.

The video was taken in San Diego at their annual Mako catch and release (yeah for that!) fly fishing tournament. The proceeds from the tournament go towards the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research– rock on research! The amazing jumping mako is estimated at about 800 lbs., and 10 feet long. That’s one big fish!

New “Awesome” Hammerhead Shark Discovered!

Thoughts

Hooray! New shark species discovered- although it looks almost identical to it’s so called twin, the scalloped hammerhead shark (which you can view up close and personal at the Monterey Bay Aquarium as seen in a photo I took below).

Monterey Bay Aquarium photo I took in college. My friend Nick Kova is in the middle of the shot- look him up- he's a great photographer.

The new species is still unnamed, but it look so similar to the scalloped hammerhead that it’s restricting the efforts to save that already endangered species.

This new species- which I will name for the time being- “Awesome Hammerhead”- has a large range in the oceans. It has been discovered near the southern coast of Brazil as well as the eastern coast of the United States. Which makes it even more difficult to start researching this new species.

Looking almost exactly like the endangered scalloped hammerhead is not a good thing for the new “Awesome Hammerheads” … that’s because the scalloped sharks are being unsustainably fished for their ‘precious’ fins which is greatly reducing their numbers. (THIS IS NOT OK) Just throwing it out there, the “Awesome Hammerhead” will probably not be around for long if we don’t crack down on illegal shark finning and protect these great predators of the sea.

At least 7% of the sharks in the US waters originally thought to have been scalloped hammerheads turn out to be the new species which I like to call- “Awesome Hammerhead.” Coming to the actualization that the real scalloped hammerhead population could be fewer than we thought..with an already endangered species this isn’t good news at all.

The new look-alike hammerhead is identical to its near twin, the scalloped hammerhead, except for a few key differences:

  • distinctive DNA
  • 20 fewer vertebrae (about 170 versus 190)
  • a genetic profile suggesting it separated from the scalloped hammerhead 4.5 MILLION years ago

That’s an incredibly long period of time, considering how similar the two different sharks look externally. Crazzzy.

While writing this piece- I found a video from the Ellen Degeneres show regarding the danger of fishing nets which I feel is a good ending to this blog post. Keep the ball rolling on sustainable fishing efforts everyone!! Sit back, watch, and learn.

 

A Gray Whale Mom and Baby Get Up Close and Personal!

Photography, Science, Thoughts

My grandma sent me this link today on Facebook and it truly made me all warm and fuzzy inside! I’ve never had an experience like this before with whales, but I hope to one day!

I’ve been close to a whale shark down in Baja Mexico- and I was definitely in awe and freaking out a little too from the boat. I took a couple videos- so I’ll share one with you. Don’t mind the commentary though- you really don’t think about what you’re saying when you’re completely and utterly enthralled with what’s in front of you 🙂 I actually got to swim with one that got close to shore from where we stayed-and I WISH that I had footage from that because it was incredible. Animals that are that big and swimming around you are quite intimidating as well…

But here’s the whale video that touched my heart. It inspired me put a new item on My Bucket List 😉

Here’s my whale shark video!

Cyclops Shark- Eye Love You!

Science, Thoughts

So I’m sure many of you have seen the latest news articles about the 1-eyed shark anomaly. It’s quite an intriguing little creature to look at..still looks extremely fake to me. But I’d totally love to have one!

Credit: Pisces Sportfishing

Found in the stomach of her mother in the Sea of Cortez, this 22-inch-long dusty shark looks like something out of a cartoon than a real life shark. But National Geographic confirms that 2 scientists from the Interdisciplinary Center of Marine Sciences (in La Paz) have studied the shark and determined that the fetal shark does actually have 1 functional eye at the front of its head.

If only the fishermen who “legally” caught the pregnant dusty shark wasn’t catching and killing sharks, or else we might have been able to see this little cyclops in the wild! But to be quite honest the shark’s fate was pretty well determined even if it was born. Kittens and puppies born with the disorder cyclopia die within a day or so after being born. Poor little fellas.. No other cyclops sharks have been caught before- further insinuating that they die soon after birth.

The scientists who studied the shark took X-rays which will be released in their research report  coming out soon (hopefully). Comparing these X-rays to previous cases of cyclopia (which has actually been found in humans) can possibly present some interesting comparisons.

Do you think it’s really REAL or REALLY FAKE? Comment and let me know!

Gov. Jerry Brown Signed the CA Shark Fin Bill!

Thoughts

IF SHARKS COULD TALK..THEY'D BE SAYING THANK YOU!

Well today is not only an amazing day because it’s Friday, and I’m going to the Incubus concert tonight at the Hollywood Bowl, but also because Jerry Brown signed the California Shark Fin Ban Bill!

The bill bans the sale and possession of shark fins in California (AB 376)-introduced by Assembly Member Paul Fong. It’s a huge step for the ocean and shark conservation.

Jerry stated:

“The practice of cutting the fins off of living sharks and dumping them back in the ocean is not only cruel, but it harms the health of our oceans,”

“Researchers estimate that some shark populations have declined by more than 90 percent, portending grave threats to our environment and commercial fishing. In the interest of future generations, I have signed this bill.”

Way to go Mr. Brown! Myself and many other ocean advocates are celebrating today!

Great White Shark SAVED By A California Surfer!

Thoughts

Usually the words “great white shark” and “surfer” have negative, bloody, and sometimes deadly connotations. But not today!! 😀

A couple days ago in Venice Beach, some surfers saw a great white shark south of the Venice pier with a hook in its mouth. They instinctively decided to grab it- and you guessed it- get that hook outta there!

Here is an amateur video of the event. Although the handling of the shark could have been a little more gentle and less stressful on the young shark- It was still a great act of kindness from the surfers. After all, the shark wouldn’t have gotten a hook in its mouth without humans around. Am I right, or am I right?

You’ll see in the video that a couple of the surfers pull the shark out of the water- and one man actually sticks his hand down the mouth of the Great White to get the hook out. No one knows if the shark survived- I sure hope he/she did.

Random acts of kindness benefit not only humans, but animals too. Remember that!

California Legislation PASSES Banning Shark Fin Trade!

Thoughts

Thank goodness I live in California- this week the CA Legislature sent Gov. Brown a bill banning the sale, trade or possession of shark fins. The legislation passed 25-9 in the CA State Senate! Two senators had the audacity to say that bill was “racist” because shark fins were used in some Asian cultures as a delicacy…I’m sorry I don’t care if you consider it a delicacy- capturing sharks, cutting their fins off, and dropping them back into the water is cruel, and horrid. An estimated 25-73 million innocent sharks are killed each year for their fins…so sad.

Associated Press/LA Times

The bill was introduced by Assembly member Paul Fong- and it was supported by my very own Senator from PASADENA Carol Liu!!! She stated that this bill was needed to protect endangered shark species. I live in Pasadena, and I’m so happy to see that she was behind this bill- go Carol!

Shark fins can be sold for $600/lb and even $80 for a bowl of SOUP! Ridiculous I say.

Jay Directo/Getty Images

San Diego based Sentaor, Christine Kehoe, carried the bill through Senate. She mentions that California has the second highest demand for shark fins outside of Asia. Kehoe estimates that 85% of dried shark fin imports to the US come through California- making this legislation of uttermost importance with the restriction of shark fin trade throughout the US and abroad.

Celebrities like Bo Derek, Yao Ming, and organizations such as Oceana, Humane Society of the US and the Humane Society International, rejoiced with this victory.

Co-sponsoring the bill was the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Center for the Future of the Oceans. I used to volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium– they have such an amazing impact on the world with their efforts in protecting our oceans and ocean creatures.

Another co-sponsor of the bill was the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance. Although, some Chinese-American Senators felt different about the legislation. But Chris Chin, an executive director of San Fran-based Center of Oceanic Awareness, Research and Education, wrote in an email mentioning that policymakers were targeting a major CAUSE of shark mortality rather than a specific ETHNIC group. I concur Chris.

Let’s hope Gov. Jerry Brown does the right thing.

Sharks worth more ALIVE than dead.

Thoughts

Fancy that..an animal being worth more being alive than dead?!

If people would stop killing sharks for their fins, they could essentially make more money in the end by letting them live free without harm in their environment! Sharks are a great incentive (for some) to visit a particular location. Such as: whale sharks in Baja Mexico, and great white sharks in South Africa.  If nations are willing to protect these creatures- then they can ultimately benefit from them- up to 2 million dollars in tourist revenue!!

My aunt has been diving in Palau- one of the most destined diving spots in the entire world. Although her experience was quite different than most (cliff jumping into the ocean and not quite landing properly and breaking her back), she saw many sharks. Although they are on the top of her “fears” list, believing that one day she will be killed by a shark, she still enjoyed being able to see them naturally (alive) in their environment.

In Palau- 80% of their GDP (gross domestic product) comes from shark diving! In 2009, the country was the first to declare ALL of its waters to be a shark sanctuary. Other countries that have caught on are the Honduras and The Maldives.

Unfortunately- the International Union for the Conservation of Nature disclosed that 1/3 of open water sharks face extinction. Undoubtedly because of human action-finning, by-catch… Please don’t buy shark-fin soup, or purchase any item with shark in it. You’ll be thanked for your actions in one way or another (like scuba diving and actually SEEING those sharks!).

Picture of my friend Nick at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Here is a picture I took last year at the Monterey Bay Aquarium-my friend Nick Kova is in the middle shooting with his camera too. I was playing around with the settings on my camera- and thought that this turned out pretty cool. I love the scalloped hammerheads- they look like they are floating in the air.

Shark Attack Survivors Speak For Their Attackers.

Thoughts

Paul de Gelder, Achmat Hasseim, and Chuck Anderson- all attacked by sharks- missing limbs- from all over the world- that have never met- along with about 6 other survivors- are gathering in New York this week.

Paul de Gelder-Australian Navy Diver Shark Survivor

Paul de Gelder-Australian Navy Diver Shark Survivor

They plan to speak at the United Nations meeting asking countries to take steps that will help save the sharks whom attacked them. Unfortunately, almost 1/3 of the planet’s sharks are near-threatened, threatened, and many are already extinct.

Hopefully with this ban of survivors, they can influence countries to implement strict rules in order to save the ocean’s top predators. Hopefully the ban will stop fishing on those sharks that are threatened or on the verge of being threatened, as well as construct conservation plans.

Another issue pertaining to the mistreatment of sharks- is shark fining. Ooooohhh I get really heated whenever someone brings it up! Shark fins are put into soup and sold in Asian markets. But, they are taken off the sharks in a cruel, cruel manner. Fisherman catch the sharks, slice off their fins, and then toss the shark back into the ocean. Where the sharks can’t swim without their fins, they sink or bleed to death, and die. HORRIBLE! An astounding 73 million sharks die from this practice EVERY YEAR!

These group of survivors-joining forces from Australia, South Africa, England, Ecuador, France, Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, and of course the United States- are hoping to succeed in influencing globally the protection and conservation of sharks.

If this group of people like this can care for sharks so deeply, why can’t everyone else?

Shark Brains Destroyed by Toxic Algal Blooms

Thoughts

On DiscoveryNews today, I found an interesting story regarding sharks.

Many have heard of “red tides” in the ocean- which is basicaly a population boom of algae in the ocean. Toxins released during certain red tide events can negatively effect a large majority of shark species.

In some algal blooms- brevetoxins are released- which are brain-changing compounds. This can affect free-swimming animals such as sharks and fish. This research in particular focuses on the effects of brevetoxins.

Brevetoxins released can be consumed by smaller organisms such as shellfish- which can get eatten by the sharks. The brevetoxins can easily cross the shark’s blood-brain barrier that essential protects the brain.

These toxins disrupt the flow of sodium released into the brain- which can cause nerve cells to over-fire leading to hyperexcitabilty and ultimately conclude in death.

Of course- we can point the finger at humans for at least a portion of the blame for the rise of algal blooms. Run-offs from agriculture contains lots of nutrients which cause widespread algal blooms all over the world.

Overall..this is not a good thing. 😦 More research still needs to be completed pertaining to other shark species and possibly other animals though.