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Archive for the ‘Marine Connection’ Category

Marine Connection Try to Return Dolphin to the Wild

The Marine Connection is asking Sea World on the Gold Coast of Australia, to return the friendly bottlenose dolphin they are currently housing into the wild. The singular dolphin, nicknamed Cliffy, is between 3 and 5 years of age and was regularly sighted around the Port of Brisbane in Queensland.

Cliffy was taken to Seaworld after being found with fishing lines wrapped around his tail fluke, and after a six week recuperation period was released back into the ocean. Upon returning to the wild, fishermen were reported to be feeding Cliffy as he struggled to come to terms with adapting to his previous life . Sea World and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) authorised the re-capture of Cliffy, though the Marine Connection wildlife charity would like to know what other options were considered.

Many people living in the area do not want Cliffy to stay in captivity and feel he should be released in the wild where he has survived in his natural habitat for his entire life. The Marine Connection would like to see Cliffy released and measures put into place so the public will not to feed him as this can endanger the dolphin further and lead to human dependency.

> > Click here for more information on Marine Connection

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Japan Dolphin Day, 3 September 2008 with Marine Connection

Japan Dolphin Day, 3 September 2008 – Join our peaceful protest in London or sign our on line petition

Once again the Marine Connection is co-ordinating the UK section of the annual worldwide protest over the cruel and barbaric slaughter of more than 20,000 dolphins, small whales and porpoises in Japanese hunts and their capture for sale to marine parks.  We are asking everyone who can, to join us on the day.

However for those who can’t, your voice can still be heard by signing our petition as all signatures will be presented to the Japanese Embassy on the day. Please forward the petition link to all your friends and family too.

>> Further details can be found on the Marine Connection homepage.

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The Marine Connection Launch Report on Solitary Dolphins and Whales

The Marine Connection recently launched its Lone Rangers Report which focuses on solitary dolphins and whales and includes recommendations for their welfare and protection. In recent years there has been an increase in their occurrence within the UK and as a step towards increased protection, the charity is calling for better legislation to make sure that these individuals are given the protection they need.

We do not as yet fully understand their solitary lifestyle, whether it is by choice or through a variety of environmental or man-made pressures but  we do know that whether temporary or permanent there have been over 91 cases to date, worldwide.

The most frequently occurring species of the solitary cetacean is the bottlenose dolphin –other solitaries have included orca, beluga whales, common dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, spotted dolphins, dusky dolphins, tucuxi and even a narwhal. There does not appear to be any trend in the proportion of male or female individuals which become solitary just as there is no pattern to their occurrence, with individuals being found the world over, in every ocean and in many seas.

The report examines the phenomenon of the solitary cetacean – the lone rangers of the sea, in detail. It examines some of the theories behind their existence, considers the process of habituation and the threats to both the cetacean and humans. By reviewing all known cases to date and the current protective legislation the report makes recommendations for their protection in both the short and long term.

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Life back in the Thames

Nearly 60 years after the Thames River was claimed to be ‘biologically dead’, new environmental research show the river is now a hive of activity for underwater life.

The river still suffers from some pollution due to the Victorian designed sewer system overflowing into the Thames through heavy rainfall. But with over a 100 species of fish recently being spotted in the Thames, the water is so clean that the National Environment Agency claim Salmon can now be bred in the river.

Thames Salmon died out over 150 years ago due to pollution, but due to a stricter sewage policy the river is now fit for the fish to be re-introduced. Over 5,000 Salmon eggs were recently incubated and released into the Thames tributary at Welford in Berkshire.

Along with the Salmon farming, the Environment Agency was ‘astonished’ to find Snout Nosed Seahorses now living in the Thames for over 18 months. Along with the seahorses, dolphins, seals and even whales have been spotted in the Thames, along with Bass, Flounder and Dover Sole.

It’s easy to see why Ken Livingstone’s office is now touting the Thames as the ‘cleanest urban river in Europe’.

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Wildlife Spotting In Cornwall and Robson Bight Update

Despite the cold weather over the Easter break, I found myself bobbing about in the middle of the ocean off Cornwall watching seals, seabirds and a porpoise! The Cornish coastline is home to an incredible variety of dolphins, porpoises, whales and other fantastic marinelife.  The area is very popular for watching marine mammals in their natural environment and should be the only way to see these animals, compared to captivity.  Seeing them in their natural environment helps to encourage respect and raise awareness about the species. The basking sharks will soon be visiting also – in 2007 they were spotted in large numbers off Penzance.

Talking about whales, the Marine Connection recently received updated news from our colleagues at Orcalab on Hanson Island, British Columbia with regards to the fuel tanker that sunk in August 2007 in the world’s best known orca habitat – the Ecological Reserve at Robson Bight. Months after the underwater investigation, which showed the tanker almost certainly still full of toxic diesel fuel, no plans for a cleanup before the orcas arrive have been made. This is a very worrying situation and we are asking everyone for their support.

I read with interest about someone in Dalvík, Iceland investigating the feasibility of offering whale watching and undersea tours from a submarine. Apart from the huge costs involved in such a project I am not sure what the whales would think of it as they swim along. Apparently similar operations in other countries have been very popular among tourists but they are in warmer countries like Hawaii and Spain and don’t involve diving down to a depth of 300 metres as planned in Iceland.  To deliver profits it would need to attract 15,000 tourists per year but its not even got off the drawing board yet!  

Until next time, happy spring days!


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Plastic Causing Ocean Pollution

Plastic particles are acting a magnet for poisons in the ocean, according to a study being carried out by the University of Plymouth. These studies are suggesting that billions of plastic particles are drifting underwater and concentrating the ocean’s pollutants. These seeds of toxic threat are not only being found around the shores of the UK, but also across all 7 continents.

The investigation into how plastic fragments in sea water is also being carried out in Midway USA, with the effects on ocean organisms being closely monitored. If these organisms start to ingest these minuscule particles of plastic, it could pose a potentially devastating toxic threat to the world’s ecological system. Once inside an organism, there is a major risk that the toxins may be transferred into the creature itself, with the chemicals being re-released into the ocean.

The plastic content of the sea is rising. Samples are now showing that high tide sand around British coastlines are carrying as much as a quarter of plastic particles in the total weight measured. This is a worrying amount, especially as the plastic does not fully disintegrate, merely the particles fragment.The US Fish and Wildlife Services spokesperson Matt Brown warns –

“The thing that’s most worrying about the plastic is its durability; it’s not going to go away in our lifetime. If people don’t start to take away their plastic today, it’ll still be here when our grandchildren are walking down our beaches.”

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Eco Fishing On The Up

Eco Fishing On The Up

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Marine Stewardship Council and Greenpeace, the British fishing industry is about to become one of the most environmentally friendly in the world market.

The Council has so far persuaded 60% of all British fishing fleets to join their responsible fishing scheme, with a record number of fleets being awarded coveted “eco-labels” for their catches. The fact that the industry acknowledge that the practices of the yesteryear aren’t sustainable, and that eco friendly catches are good for all concerned, is a promising sign.

250,000 tonnes of fish caught next year will be carrying the blue eco friendly label, with the stamp currently only making it on to 4,580 tonnes of fish this year. The MSC have also persuaded the 2 major Scottish fleets to apply for the eco sticker, who’s North Sea catch is roughly 200,000 tonnes a year. Along with the change in attitudes from the fishing industry, welcome changes are afoot within the leading supermarkets, who retail a large proportion of the fish.

Supermarkets are now competing amongst themselves to be the ‘greenest‘ fishmongers in the UK. Having been forced into removing threatened species from their counters by Greenpeace campaigns. Asda have now promised that within 4 years ALL its fish will reach MSC requirements. Waitrose and Mark and Spencers have already banned unsustainable fish from their counters, whilst Sainsbury’s have pledged to double their ranges of eco friendly fish.

At the moment nearly all eco friendly fish sold in the UK is imported from as far afield as New Zealand and Alaska, but with these new plans in place the tide is turning. The British fishing industry seems to have grasped the concept that when the fish run out they won’t have an industry at all, and I for one am looking forward to ordering Pollack and chips in the very near future!

> > Click here to make a donation to Greenpeace

> > Click here to find out more about the Marine Stewardship Council

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Bluefin Tuna on the brink of Extinction

Severe overfishing of the Bluefin Tuna are pushing the breed close to extinction, with reports revealing nearly three times the recommended quota being netted per year. Limits imposed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), claim that nearly half the current Mediterranean Tuna fishing fleet needs to be docked to save the species from extinction.

“The absurdity of this system is long out of control, with hundreds of hi-tech boats racing to catch only a handful of fish. Decisions must be bold if the bluefin is to be saved from a sorry fate – and for any chance of a future for Mediterranean Tuna fishermen.” said Dr Sergi Tudela, Head of Fisheries at the World Wildlife Fund.

Due to the size of the fishing fleets, at least 42,000 tonnes of tuna needs to be caught each year. This also happens to be 13,000 tonnes OVER the legislated limit! These figures themselves could be way under how much Tuna is actually being netted, with these figures not including local trawlers operating outside the restrictions.

ICCAT (The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) are being called upon by the WWF to make radical changes to Mediterranean shipping limits, or the Bluefin Tuna will soon face complete extinction. The next meeting of ICCAT is taking place in Tokyo, Japan from 26-27 March.

As an avid tuna eater, it’s a sorry state of affairs not just for the breed itself, but also for the men who’s livelihoods depend on that specific catch. There are many ways we can ease the Bluefin Tuna’s plight, namely not ordering or eating in the sushi restaurants that still insist on serving the delicacy. Bluefin Tuna is the most favoured breed used in Japanese sushi, due to it’s distinctive flavour. But beware if you do eat Sushi in Japan and it looks a little bit, shall we say, ‘un-Tuna-ary’. During an ocean poisoning scare in 1973, one restaurant owner with no Tuna to sell ended up serving smoked deer and raw horse sushi!

> > click here to help the WWF save the Bluefin Tuna

> > click here to adopt an animal with the WWF

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Marine Connection – Keeping an eye on the whaling issue and plastic bags!

The past couple of weeks have been a busy one – between keeping an eye on the whaling issue, the death of common dolphins around the southwest and producing a new cetacean report, there never seems to be enough hours in a day. A worrying piece of news we received is that by 2012, Busch Entertainment Corporation and Nakheel, a major Dubai real estate developer, will develop ‘World of Discovery’, a major theme park which will include Sea World, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens and Aquatica. Like other SeaWorld parks the new Dubai facility will include killer whales and dolphins which is a huge concern as to where the animals will be sourced from.

I was delighted to read about the Daily Mail’s “Banish the Bags” campaign. We live in a very out of sight, out of mind society and although recycling is being promoted, the average person uses over 280 plastic bags a year. Recycling rates of plastic bags globally stand at only 1% and with four trillion bags handed out around the world! The choices we make each day as to what we buy, how we travel and the lifestyle habits we adopt all have an environmental impact.

On a brighter note it’s lovely to see the lighter evenings coming in and soon it will be spring, the parks are already full of lovely daffodils which never fail to brighten my day as I walk to work. I’ll also be able to post to this blog from my lunch break in the park using unlimited mobile broadband.

All the best Liz,

Marine Connection – Protecting Dolphins and Whales Worldwide

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The Cruel Practice of Shark Finning

I attended the premier of Shark Water in London recently and highly recommend that everyone watches this film.  It sends a clear message and shows that sharks are very vulnerable creatures that desperately need protection. Crocodiles kill more people in one year than sharks will in 100 years – crocodiles are protected, sharks are not. 100 million sharks are killed worldwide every year, mainly for their fins – even the majestic whale shark is not safe from this cruel practice. Shark fin soup is a popular delicacy in China, and is eaten in Chinese restaurants around the world including china town in London.  A multibillion dollar industry now exists to meet restaurant demand for fins for the ‘prestigious’ sharks fin soup dish. Regardless of age, size, or species any shark is taken and numbers of some shark species have dropped as much as 90% over the last 50 years.

Sharkwater took more than four years to make and director and underwater photographer Rob Stewart travelled through 14 countries to collect the stunning footage. The film began as an underwater documentary, but became a shocking expose into the horrific and illegal global finning trade.

Let’s hope that this film will change the way people view sharks and the ocean, further information can be found at :

You can adopt an animal form just £3 a month.

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