29 November 2005

South Africa: Cage diving craze raises fears of increase in shark attacks

Tourists' close encounters with great whites provoke debate in South Africa.

The cage is lowered half into the blue-green swell of the southern Atlantic. At the skipper's command we don wet suits and masks and clamber in, four of us. A crew member throws a foul-smelling mix of shark liver and tuna (chum) into the water, spawning an "odour corridor" discernible a mile away. Lunch is served.

Minutes later a dark shape is spotted about 200 metres away. Then 100 metres. "Dive, dive!" A deep breath and we sink to the bottom of the cage. The world has turned grey and silent. We stare into the murk. Nothing. We stare, eyes wide and unblinking. Then it comes. A shadow looming huge and fast. It rolls and a white belly appears. It turns and makes another pass, jaws slightly open. Reach out and you could slip your hand in. We have just met Carcharodon carcharias, a great white shark.

The spectacle, four miles off the South African coast at Joubert's Dam, was a typical excursion for White Sharks Project, one of eight cage-diving firms at Gansbaai, two hours from Cape Town. The tourists who each paid £105 were mesmerised by five great whites, the biggest about 3.5 metres (11ft) long.

Not everyone is thrilled. Critics accuse the industry of meddling with nature and possibly increasing the number of attacks on humans. Recent high-profile incidents have generated fears that something unusual is happening. Divers and surfers have had a spate of close shaves since last November when a shark ate Tyna Webb, a 77-year-old on a morning swim at Fish Hoek last November. With the summer season under way the Cape is worried. New shark signs are to be unveiled today along with extra funding for two shark-spotting projects.

"Kayakers, surfers and bathers have been frightened out of the water at Fish Hoek. They are scared," said Craig Bovim, a diver who set up Shark Concern after surviving an attack in 2002. For some it is taboo to name the predator. They prefer euphemisms such as the "men in grey suits", or "tax collectors".

Attacks have risen only slightly from the 1990s, said Ryan Johnson, a PhD student at the University of Pretoria, but increasingly the attacks are concentrated in Western Cape. Some blame cage diving. The theory is that by using chum to attract sharks, and then baits to keep them nearby, the industry makes great whites associate humans with food.

Surfers and other groups want to ban it. Chum is not food, and sharks are not meant to get the bait, but the odour and the odd success in grabbing the bait could link boats and humans with meals. "It is a Pavlovian principle. The animal comes to get its reward," said Mr Bovim. "They get comfortable with humans, go to investigate and something might happen."

He said the link was not proved but urged less invasive sea safaris as a precaution. This week he launched a yacht offering shark tours without chumming or baiting - an experiment tourists may shun if sharks do not show up.

Cage dive operators, who operate with government permits, dismiss concerns. "Unless we're waving frantically the sharks don't even know it's humans on the boat or in the cage," said Andre Hartmann, who survived an encounter in 1977. "The water is no more dangerous than before. I let my kids go spear fishing."

A study in southern Australia found that a small minority of sharks did become used to baits and vessels, although it did not mean they associated boats with food.

An unpublished study in South Africa submitted to the journal Biological Conservation backs both sides. Of 300 great whites tracked at Mossel Bay, south of Cape Town, four became "conditioned" by cage diving. Over several months the four met the boats more quickly, spent more time circling and learned how to steal the bait. The industry needs to be more cautious, said Mr Johnson, the main author. "The big issue is making sure the sharks do not get the bait."

During the Guardian's excursion, one shark managed to wrestle about a kilogram of bait after a frenzied thrashing which turned the sea to foam. "Sometimes they are too quick for us," said the skipper, Grant Tucket. Other operators reputedly feed bait because it makes for dramatic photographs.

But the study did not find that sharks posed any greater risks, or prove any conditioning at Gansbaai; apparently the great white sharks there were more nomadic and had less time to learn. Mr Johnson said cage diving could raise ecological awareness but was uneasy with billing it as an adrenaline-fuelled adventure sport.

Source: www.guardian.co.uk/southafrica
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South Africa: Cage diving craze raises fears of increase in shark attacks

Burma: Myanmar’s underwater wonderland

Much of the natural beauty of Southeast Asia has ironically been destroyed by the development and tourism it has attracted. Yet for divers and other enthusiasts of unspoiled nature, Myanmars Mergui Archipelago is a paradise left over from an earlier age.

Please read the full article at: www.asiadivesite.com/news
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Burma: Myanmar’s underwater wonderland

Philippine fishermen rescue German divers adrift overnight

Three German divers spent the night at sea before they were rescued off the island of Limasawa, Southern Leyte yesterday noon.

The foreigners were identified as Holger Holly Klopper, 40, a diving instructor; Phillip Haungartner, 35, and Jurgen Undanaiar, 35.

All three were guests at the Flower Beach Resort in Barangay Virgin, Anda, Bohol.

They hired a pumpboat so they could go scuba diving at 6 a.m. last Friday.

The man operating the pumpboat began to panic when the three failed to resurface from about 80 feet deep, knowing that their tanks were good for only 45 minutes.

He immediately reported this to the owners of Flower Beach Resort, who in turn sought help from the Anda Police Station.

A Sikorsky helicopter from the Philippine Air Force (PAF) was sent to conduct search and rescue operations around the coast of Anda, but returned after nearly two hours to the Mactan Benito Ebuen Airbase without the three.

Central Command spokesperson Jefferson Omandam said the crew sent out to rescue the tourists found no more signs that they were still in the area, which was why they pulled out.

Pumpboats of the townsfolk were also dispatched to search for the three, but to no avail.

Six fishermen from Limasawa spotted the three Germans adrift about noon yesterday and immediately brought them to shore.

None of them was injured, though they appeared exhausted from swimming all night.

Senior Insp. Magdaleno Mendez Jr. of the Bohol Provincial Police Office said the waters in Anda faced Mindanao and that it was often windy in those parts.

The resort, which is owned by a German and his Filipino wife, was grateful to the fishermen and served them lunch.

Anda is about 95.3 kilometers from Bohol's capital, Tagbilaran.

Source: www.asiadivesite.com
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Philippine fishermen rescue German divers adrift overnight

La Jolla scuba diver trapped by high surf rescued by lifeguards

Swimmers rescued a scuba diver who was buffeted by high surf after he became trapped in a depression at the side of a cliff in La Jolla Cove, a lifeguard lieutenant said.

The diver was rescued about 8:40 a.m., San Diego lifeguard Lt. Nick Lerma said. Waves in the area were as high as 8 feet, Lerma said.

When lifeguards brought the man to shore, he was having difficulty breathing and was in shock, Lerma said. Paramedics took him to a hospital.

Source: www.signonsandiego.com/news
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La Jolla scuba diver trapped by high surf rescued by lifeguards

Mares introduces 3 new Buoyancy Compensators

Mares announces the introduction of 3 new BC's: DRAGON AIRTRIM, DRAGON and KAILA.

The DRAGON availible in AIRTRIM and ERGO Inflator styles for Men and the KAILA for Women as part of the SHE DIVES Collection use a new exclusive DRAGON bladder design. This new design offers outstanding lift capacity (Dragon size L = 44lbs, Kaila size L = 41 lbs) and streamlined fit for maximum comfort.

All three BC's incorporate a NEW MRS Plus weight release system. MRS Plus is an evolution of Mares MRS, the first mechanical release system introduced to the market. MRS Plus has new buckle design for easy/secure placement of the weights and allows an easy one pull movement to release your weights. BPS Plus, Mares patented Back Protection System now also has the added benefit of a dual position lumbar pad which can be used for increased lumbar support or it can be extended down for increased padding length.

These new BC's have many additional Mares features (Quick Adjust System, low position Trim Weight pockets Dual adjustable shoulder straps, Neoprene padded collar, Plush interior lining etc…..) to making them highly adjustable for all body sizes and shapes while offering maximum comfort at all times.

The DRAGON and KAILA are availible now during Mares Spring 2006 Preview, The DRAGON AIRTRIM will be availible in January 2006. Contact your Mares District Sales Manager to Preview these new BC's now.

Source: www.sportdiver.com
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Mares introduces 3 new Buoyancy Compensators

Malaysia: 200 reef balls 'planted' to restore corals

About 200 reef balls weighing a total of 540 tonnes were planted at the Mid Reef area off Manukan Island, near here, to restore coral reefs wrecked by the Greg Storm about eight years ago, Thursday.

Officiating at the ceremony were Assistant Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Karim Bujang, and Sabah Parks Director, Datuk Lamri Ali.

The reef ball, which is a designed artificial reef, is also useful in protecting coral reefs from trawlers.

The reef balls are made of special marine-friendly concrete and are designed to mimic natural reef systems, with Sarawak being the first place in Asia to use it.

Containing no toxins and any biologically active compounds that can leach into seawater, it remains stable on the seabed even during cyclones and predicted to last at least 500 years.

As for Sabah Parks, it is the first time that reef balls were used towards the conservation of marine lives in Tunku Abdul Rahman Parks and Karim said the next area identified was Selingan Island, Sandakan under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

The reef balls that cost Sabah Parks about RM398,000 are sourced from Dasanrama Enterprise.

In this respect, he urged corporate bodies and tourism players to contribute by sponsoring the reef ball project in the future.

Among them, he said, was the Turtle Island to protect sea turtles and control beach erosion.

In the meantime, he advised the fishermen and trawlers to stay away from the park's waters to avoid their nets from getting stuck on the reef balls.

At the same time, he hoped Sabah Parks would monitor the reef balls so that it would not be damaged by fish-bombing.

"It would be a waste of money if it is bombed and we have to replace it again and again," he said.

Source: www.dailyexpress.com.my
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Malaysia: 200 reef balls 'planted' to restore corals

Total Immersion Dive Festival begins April 2006

"What's it like to go to a PADI Diving Society event?" Though the true spirit of a Society event is difficult to describe in words the following offers a peek at the fun and adventure that is the Total Submersion Dive Festival at Sunset House, Grand Caynman Island from April 28 through May 2006...

DAY ONE: From all across the country, the Total Submersion group begins to arrive at Grand Cayman airport. Weary travelers grow giant grins as they step off the plane and are greeted by a tropical breeze and friendly faces from PADI. Back at Sunset House, everyone receives a bag of goodies and gets settled in to life on the island. Some of the more enthusiastic scuba divers grab a tank and make their first dive of the week.

DAY TWO: Attendees gather for a short orientation. After the orientation it's time to go diving!

DAY THREE – SIX: Each morning everyone has the option to take in a two-tank boat dive at some of Grand Cayman's most beautiful dive sites. The underwater population includes stingrays, grouper, angel fish, tangs, jacks, turtles, eels, the occasional tarpon, beautiful soft corals and more.

After the morning dives, most divers enjoy lunch at My Bar or the Sea Harvest restaurant. Last year's cuisine included top-notch salads, burgers, curry, pasta, fresh seafood, and much more. The rest of the day is spent shore diving, relaxing poolside, or socializing with other guests.

DAY SEVEN: On the last day, many people choose to take an optional day trip to Stingray City and/or rent a car and take a tour of the island. That night the photo contest and poker run winners are announced and awarded prizes from event sponsors.

To learn more visit: Full Immersion 2006

Resrve your space by contacting your local PADI Dive Center or Resort, or by phoning PADI Travel Network at: 800-729-7234 (U.S. and Canada).

Source: www.divenews.com
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Total Immersion Dive Festival begins April 2006

Australia: Reef pest proving problematic for dive firms

Dive companies say they are destroying up to 150 crown of thorns starfish a day on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.

The Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators has been granted $600,000 to continue eradicating the coral predator.

The association's Col Mackenzie says the state's major tourism reefs should be free of the pest in 18 months.

"Very hard to work with because we've got to be careful we don't break the coral as well," he said.

"And if you've got the plate coral and it's fairly open, you can get in and get a large number.

"But most of the stuff we find is on the branching corals which are quick growing corals and it's still very difficult to deal with, [very] labour intensive very, very slow work."

Source: www.abc.net.au/news
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Australia: Reef pest proving problematic for dive firms

Book of condolence for leading BSAC diver, Penny Glover

BSAC is to open a book of condolence for national instructor Penny Glover, who went missing from a trimix dive in the South of France on Monday 21 November.

Penny, 42, and her buddy, Jacques Filippi, were diving with friends in Porquerolles, when they both disappeared.

"The book will give everyone who knew Penny an opportunity to say a final few words and hopefully for her family to gain some solace from understanding the impact of her loss on the whole diving community," said BSAC national diving officer Clare Peddie.

The book will be located at BSAC's headquarters in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire from Monday 28 November until Friday 2 December. It will then be taken to the BSAC Diving Officers' Conference at the Institute of Education, London University, on Saturday 3 December.

Peddie said the book will be placed in the downstairs foyer outside the main hall of the conference and will be accessible to people not attending the conference.

For those who are unable to attend either venue, BSAC is planning to gather electronic messages of condolences. Email inmemory@bsac.com.

Source: www.divemagazine.co.uk
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Book of condolence for leading BSAC diver, Penny Glover

Nets killing 800 whales and dolphins every day

Fishing nets are killing up to 800 whales, dolphins and porpoises every day, according to latest research. A team of marine experts from universities and conservation in the UK and US said bycatch was the biggest danger cetaceans faced.

The majority of the 300,000 cetaceans that die annually in nets drown, die of exhaustion or are attacked by sharks, according to the report. Dr Andrew Read, of Duke University Marine Laboratory in the US, Dr Simon Northridge, of the Sea Mammal Research Unit at St Andrew's University in the UK, said deaths could be cut significantly by implementing ways to reduce bycatch.

"This level of bycatch is significantly depleting and disrupting many populations of whales, dolphins and porpoises," said Dr Read, who also co-chairs the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) cetacean bycatch task force. "It will lead to the loss of several species in the next few decades if nothing is done."

WWF said the most endangered species included the European harbour porpoise, baiji dolphins in China, Maui's dolphin in New Zealand and Irrawaddy dolphins in the Philippines.

"There are various ways to tackle the problem – acoustic devices called pingers on gillnets, for example," said Dr Northridge. "Another is to try to persuade the fleets to change their gear or use alternative techniques."

Source: www.divemagazine.co.uk
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Nets killing 800 whales and dolphins every day

Australia: Shark fishing under scrutiny

Northern Territory scientists are about to start a three-year study into the sustainability of shark fishing in Australia's northern waters.

The Australian Research Council and the fishing industry are jointly funding the project that will see thousands of sharks tagged and tracked.

Mark Meekan from the Australian Institute of Marine Science says the project will determine whether commercial operators are overfishing or whether the shark population could sustain a higher harvest.

Dr Meekan says the study will also try to estimate the size of the illegal shark catch by using genetic profiling.

"When a customs boat comes along and arrests an illegal fisherman, we'll get the fins off those boats," he said.

"Now we'll be able to look through those sharks and try and make a match with the fingerprint, the genetic fingerprint of the sharks we've already tagged.

"If we can do that we'll actually be able to estimate on a real-time basis, just how many sharks those illegal fishermen are taking out of the stock."

Source: www.abc.net.au/news
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Australia: Shark fishing under scrutiny

Womb with a view to save grey nurse sharks

Scientists have begun working on an artificial uterus to breed the endangered grey nurse shark.

Australian marine ecologist, Dr Nick Otway of the New South Wales fisheries agency is spearheading the work, a new approach to captive breeding.

"It's outside the square, certainly," says Otway who says he dreamt up the idea after his minister asked whether it was possible to breed the animals.

There are fewer than 500 grey nurse sharks in eastern Australia, says Otway.

He says the sharks are sensitive to pressures such as fishing because the animals have so few offspring.

The artificial uterus is aimed at boosting the number of shark babies for release into the wild.

Are sharks cannibals?
Mother grey nurse sharks do not feed their babies in utero because there is no umbilical cord connecting the two, says Otway.

So, to survive, the growing babies eat their younger siblings until there's only one pup left in each of the mother's two uteri.

"It's inter-uterine cannibalism," Otway says.

The plan is to remove the embryos from the mother before they become cannibals and place them in artificial uteri where they can be fed artificial eggs, giving all siblings a chance to grow up.

Are sharks fussy about giving birth?
Otway says his team has been collecting a range of basic information about shark reproduction, including tagging sharks in the wild to collect information on conditions, such as water temperature, they need to reproduce.

The researchers have also been trying to work out what type of material to make the uterus from.

"We have a preliminary design," says Otway.

He says the uterus is likely to be made out of clear acrylic tubing about 20 centimetres in diameter and at least 1.2 metres long, the maximum size of sharks before they are born.

It will be fitted with tubes, pumps and filters to ensure fluids and oxygen are circulated and waste is removed, Otway says.

The final aim is to have a batch of uteri, wrapped in foil to simulate the dark conditions of the normal womb.

The best way to conserve the sharks?
The project has met with mixed response from scientific and conservation groups, which have been concerned about the impact of fishing on shark populations.

The New South Wales branch of the Australian Marine Sciences Association recently wrote to the state fisheries minister expressing concern that such research could "divert public attention away from the issue of protecting wild populations and properly managing critical habitats".

While welcoming funding for the uteri research, it urges the minister to also completely exclude fishing activities from habitat zones.

Associate Professor Andy Davis, an Australian marine ecologist at the University of Wollongong, says building the uteri is more politically acceptable than locking away habitat from fishing.

But, he says, it is an unproven approach and could undermine other more effective ways of conserving sharks.

"Let's say it was 100% successful," he says. "The question is, where are all these juveniles going to go?"

How much is it to cost?
Michael Kennedy of the Humane Society International is concerned about the cost.

"It's a lot of money over a long period of time," he says.

His group is looking at legal avenues to force expulsion of fisheries from shark habitats and he says money is needed to help compensate fisheries for being kept out of areas critical to the grey nurse shark's survival.

Otway says: "You are never going to stop all fishing related mortality."

"You could look at a breeding program as being an insurance policy."

He estimates his project overall will cost around A$500,000 (US$370,000) a year and will take at least 10 years to complete.

Source: abc.net.au/science/news/enviro
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Womb with a view to save grey nurse sharks

University Of Oregon scientists reveal how coral reefs got the blues

University of Oregon scientists report their discovery of the basis for the blue coloration found in many coral reef formations in an article published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...

Jim Remington and Nathan Henderson of the university's Institute of Molecular Biology describe the crystal structure of a cyan (greenish-blue) fluorescent protein from a sea anemone in the report, which completes the Remington laboratory's systematic study of the five classes of reef chromoproteins.

"Molecular and cellular biologists are familiar with the popular green fluorescent protein, first isolated from a jellyfish, which is used by researchers to label internal structures in living cells," said Remington, a physics professor.

"However, it is less well known that the dramatic coloration of coral reef formations is largely due to four closely related classes of proteins: cyan, green, yellow and red fluorescent proteins. In addition, a fifth class of protein is not fluorescent, but conveys a deep purple coloration to the tentacles of sea anemones and similar animals."

Although the biological function of coral reef coloration is poorly understood, Remington said there is growing concern that "bleaching" of coral reefs may be an early indicator of serious ecological damage due to environmental stresses, possibly resulting from human activities.

Ongoing research may help solve this problem while providing an unrelated bonus."Understanding how these organisms tune their coloration to meet specific biological requirements will lead to new tools for molecular and cell biology research," Remington said.

Remington's latest research on the cyan protein (known scientifically as amFP486) is part of a large project underway since 1995. "There is huge interest in fluorescent proteins. They are used by essentially every molecular biology lab in the world to light up and label the interior structures of living cells," he explained.

Remington's lab achieved the world's first structure of a fluorescent protein (Green Fluorescent Protein), a discovery published in 1996 by the journal Science.

The National Science Foundation funded Remington’s work. Henderson, a doctoral student, is supported by an Institute of Molecular Biology fellowship funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Remington's group includes physicists, chemists and biologists who use an interdisciplinary approach in applying physical techniques to the study of biological molecules, especially the structure, function, and interaction of enzymes and fluorescent proteins.

To learn more visit: Coral Blues Study

Source: www.divenews.com
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University Of Oregon scientists reveal how coral reefs got the blues

Thailand: Oil spill threatens coastal coral reefs

Crude oil slicks from the oil spill on Sunday near the main beach resort of Pattaya have threatened coral reefs and tourism, and suggested that Thai Oil Plc was too early and too optimistic in announcing the spill was contained, official Thai News Agency reported.

Slicks from that 20,000-litre 'leak' at the Thai Oil delivery pipeline is endangering coral around Koh Khang Khao off Chon Buri province. It also calls into question the long-term viability of such deliveries, and the ability of Thai Oil and its contractors to safety co-exist with the needs of Thailand's environment.

Government authorities have applied chemical dispersants to push layers of oil beneath the ocean surface. That was the opening bid in keeping coral reefs and marine life safe, and prevent masses of oil from coagulating on one of the few remaining reefs in the province.

The company assured both the government and the public that the problem was contained. The possibility of an endangered reef is hardly encouraging, TNA quoted an unnamed environmental observer as saying.

Marine and Coastal Resources Department director general Maitree Duangsawasdi said today that buoys used as a barrier had not been able to contain the oil slicks, at least partly because of strong winds. Chemical dispersion now is the last remaining hope for protecting coral along the north and east shores of the island, Mr Maitree said.

Officials of the Marine and Coastal Resources Department and the Pollution Control Department were to investigate. Mr Maitree said more compensation might be demanded from the oil firm in addition to the five million baht damage which the Marine Department had already claimed, as the containment and cleanup costs may be much higher than originally estimated.

The incident occurred Sunday when oil was being piped to the Thai Oil refinery in Si Racha by the Japan-registered oil tanker "Ryaho Maru", which anchored offshore while making a standard delivery to the refinery. About 20,000 litres of oil leaked into the sea.

Thai Oil, the country's largest refinery, said it accepts full responsibility for damages, but they are yet to be determined. The company said the oil spill would not affect its refining output of about 200,000 barrels per day.

Source: www.bangkokpost.com
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Thailand: Oil spill threatens coastal coral reefs

25 November 2005

Search called off for missing divers

The search for BSAC rebreather diver Penny Glover has been called off by the French coastguard. The former BSAC rebreather chief instructor and her buddy, Jacques Filippi, went missing following a rebreather trimix dive in Porquerolles in the South of France on Monday 21 November.

According to reports, the divers had deployed an SMB, but failed to return to the surface. Coast guards in the Mediterranean resort were called immediately. However, an extensive search for the divers was hampered by bad weather and was called off Wednesday afternoon.

Penny, 42, first learned to dive in 1986 and became a highly experienced and respected technical diver and BSAC volunteer. An instructor trainer for semi-closed and closed-circuit rebreathers, she was instrumental in developing the first-ever rebreather courses for BSAC launched this year.

‘It is extremely sad,’ BSAC chairman Marcus Allen told DIVE. ‘Penny gave so much to the club for so many years and was highly regarded in the diving community. It is a great loss to diving. Our thoughts go out to friends and family of both divers.’

Clare Peddie, BSAC's national diving officer, added: 'This is an extremely sad loss for all of us who have been privileged to know Penny. Her warmth and kindness will be so deeply missed. Penny was a leading light in the BSAC.'

Source: www.divemagazine.co.uk/news
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Search called off for missing divers

BSAC expert lost on deep rebreather dive

Penny Glover, one of the British Sub-Aqua Club's most highly qualified instructors and divers, is feared lost together with her diving buddy after failing to surface from a dive in the South of France.

According to French media, Glover and Jacques Filippi, a Frenchman living in Holland, were part of a group trimix-diving the 80m-deep Caramel Reef, off the island of Porquerolles.

It was reported that Glover's surface marker buoy surfaced, but that divers who descended down its 50m-long line found nothing.

The French Coastguard searched to nightfall on Monday, after which searches were set back by bad weather and were called off on Wednesday.

Glover, 42, was a respected technical diver and became a leading exponent of rebreather diving within BSAC. As the club's rebreather chief instructor and instructor trainer, she was instrumental in developing BSAC's first rebreather training scheme. Her enthusiasm for rebreather diving led her to instruct for other diving organisations.

Glover took up diving 20 years ago while at Bradford University. Her passion for rebreathers apart, she was one of BSAC's most highly qualified divers and instructors, holding the club's First Class Diver, National Instructor and Instructor Trainer qualifications.

She served as BSAC's Regional Coach for Northern Europe, and sat for many years on the governing BSAC Council. Glover mixed her major commitments to the club with a high-powered career, working as a technical specialist at the European Space Agency and, later, as MD of a Canadian-based satellites company.

BSAC has paid tribute to Glover's "unconditional generosity, enthusiasm and energy for diving". Clare Peddie, BSAC National Diving Officer, said: "This is an extremely sad loss for all of us who have been privileged to know Penny, her warmth and kindness will be so deeply missed.

"Penny was a leading light in the BSAC and she was highly regarded throughout the whole diving community. My thoughts are with all the friends and families of both divers."

Glover spent a lot of time in France and had a base near Hyeres, not far from where she made her final dive.

Those who knew Penny Glover have an opportunity to sign a book of condolence, which will be passed to her family.

The book will sit from 28 November to 2 December at BSAC's HQ at Telford's Quay, South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

That evening the book will travel to London where, throughout 3 December, it will be in the downstairs foyer off the main hall of the Institute of Education, London University, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1, where the BSAC holds its annual Diving Officers' Conference.

Electronic messages can be sent via inmemory@bsac.com

Source: www.divernet.com
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BSAC expert lost on deep rebreather dive

Sharks finned on Tofo Beach Mozambique

Shark finning is becoming an increasingly common phenomenon for the locals along the Mozambique coast. Asians have set up camp in many of the coastal towns and offer around R800 for 1Kg of dried shark fin.

This is a substantial amount of money to the local subsistence fishermen who are now encouraged to target sharks for their fins.

The images below were taken on the 19/11/05 on Tofo Beach near Inhambane. Tofo is a world renowned area for scuba diving and the revenue generated by the diving industry in Tofo is vital to the areas development.

Sharks finned on Tofo Beach Mozambique

Sharks finned on Tofo Beach Mozambique

Currently more than 100 million sharks are taken from the seas each year. Many just for their fins. In simple terms, they are literally being caught and killed faster than they can reproduce. Please help stop the spread of this destructive process.

Please email your comments to this address: nick.raba@kangela-mz.com

Nick will ensure your comments are printed and posted to the relevant ministries.

Thank you.

Source: www.sharklife.co.za
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Sharks finned on Tofo Beach Mozambique

UK: Leaders working to save sharks

The UK is pressing world governments to agree to new measures ensuring the survival of the increasingly rare Basking shark.

The Basking shark is listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List - the World Conservation Union's list of species most at risk of global extinction.

UK Biodiversity Minister Jim Knight is now asking nations to pledge to take

measures to protect both species and conserve or restore their habitats, limit obstacles to their migration, and control other factors that might endanger them.

He also wants states in whose territorial waters Basking sharks live, breed, or migrate to, to cooperate internationally and reach agreements to protect the species.

The enormous, plankton-eating Basking shark is the largest shark found in UK waters and can be spotted near the surface of the sea in the summer months, mainly off the coast of South-West England, the Isle of Man and the West of Scotland. The world's second largest fish can grow to 11 meters long and 7 tons in weight.

"We are incredibly lucky to have the Basking shark as a regular visitor to our shores and it is appalling that an unsustainable demand for its meat and fins could be a real threat to its future. The Basking shark is an amazing creature and I am determined that we do everything in our power to protect it," says Knight.

The shark takes between 12-20 years to reach maturity, has a long gestation period and gives birth to few young. This means that when they are commercially fished the local population is very vulnerable to depletion and can take many years to recover.

Source: www.sharktrust.org
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UK: Leaders working to save sharks

Coral reefs may be adjusting to climate change

An expert says there are signs that some coral reefs are adapting to climate change.A coral bleaching expert says there are signs that some coral reefs are adapting to climate change. Many coral clusters in Queensland's Great Barrier Reef have struggled to survive in the rising sea temperatures of the past decade.

Dr Ray Berkelmans says the algae that lives with some coral can be a form of protection.

"There is more than one type of algae and if they have one type, for example type 'c', they are normally thermal intolerant if you like but if they have type 'd' on board they can increase their thermal tolerance to maybe levels of one to up to two degrees Celsius," he said.

"I know that doesn't sound like a lot but in the ecology of coral two degrees is a tremendous ecological benefit to corals."

Source: www.abc.net.au/news
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Coral reefs may be adjusting to climate change

Swimming with dolphins lifts depression

Swimming with dolphins can be a therapy for people with depression, a new study finds.

Nature lovers or biophiles have long argued that interaction with animals can soothe a troubled mind but this claim has always lacked the scientific data to back it up.

Now UK psychiatrists publish the results of their randomised controlled trial in the British Medical Journal.

Dr Christian Antonioli and Professor Michael Reveley at the University of Leicester recruited 30 people in the US and Honduras who had been diagnosed with mild or moderate depression.

The severity of their symptoms was calculated according to established yardsticks for mental health, the Hamilton and Beck scales, which are based on interviews and questionnaires with the patient.

The volunteers were required to stop taking antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy for four weeks.

Half of the group was then randomly selected to play, snorkel and take care of bottlenose dolphins each day at an institute for marine sciences in Honduras.

The other half was assigned to a program of outdoor activities, also at the institute, that included swimming and snorkelling at a coral reef, but without the dolphins.

Two weeks later, both groups had improved, but especially so the patients who had been swimming with the dolphins.

Measurable symptoms of depression in the dolphin group had fallen by half and by two-thirds according to the two scales, twice as much as in the non-dolphin group.

In addition, a self-rating measurement of anxiety symptoms, the Zung scale, found a fall of more than 20% among the dolphin group, compared with a decline of 11% among the non-dolphin groups.

A first for dolphins
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first randomised, single blind, controlled trial of animal-facilitated therapy with dolphins," say Antonioli and Reveley.

"The effects exerted by the animals were significantly greater than those of just the natural setting. The echolocation system, the aesthetic value, and the emotions raised by the interaction with dolphins may explain the mammals' healing properties."

Three months after the study, patients from both groups said their symptoms were still improved and did not need treatment.

Is biophilia the answer?
This suggests that in patients with mild or moderate depression, using drugs or conventional psychotherapy may not be necessary when biophilic treatment with animals is used, the scientists include.

Supporters of biophilia say that our affiliation with nature is an innate human tendancy. And disrupting that affiliation means tipping the equilibrium, so damaging our psychological health.

Source: abc.net.au/science/news
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Swimming with dolphins lifts depression

Maldives to attempt a world dive record!

Maldives Tourism Promotion Board together with Dhiraagu Maldives is to attempt a new world record for greatest number of scuba divers simultaneously diving on a single site.

The targeted number of divers for this attempt is 1000 inclusive of locals and tourists and the tentative location and time has been set for Sunlight Thila on February 25th, 2006 at 11:00hrs.

Current world record for the greatest number of people scuba diving simultaneously at the same location is 722, held by Koh Tao Underwater festival, Thailand in Feb 2005. Scuba Diving is one of the major products that attract tourists to the Maldives and as such this event has been incorporated as part of worldwide promotional activities for 2006.

Maldives Tourism Promotion Board and Dhiraagu anticipate increased international exposure through this event. This idea of establishing a world record that is very relevant to the Maldives is been initiated by Dhiraagu, and they are receiving extensive support from the scuba diving community and tourism sector in the Maldives.

Source: www.askmaldives.com
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Maldives to attempt a world dive record!

24 November 2005

3491 Australians sign petition for shark warning signs and sirens

PEOPLE of Eyre Peninsula want to swim at the front beach again; but only after signs and sirens to warn of sharks are installed, according to three local mothers.

Katrina Wright, Kaylene Dufek and Delise Sheehy started a campaign to have signs on the Port Lincoln foreshore with a shark response plan and a siren to notify swimmers of a shark sighting.

In just five weeks 3491 people have signed their petition.

Kaylene Dufek said a letter was presented to the city council two weeks ago calling for signs and sirens to be placed at the foreshore.

"Our reasons for this are to let people make an informed decision and alert them to an emergency plan," the women state in a letter to state parliament.

"The threat of shark attack is very real in the minds of the community in Port Lincoln and for those family and friends who have experienced a near miss or a tragic loss of a loved one," the letter concludes.

Mrs Wright said the feedback from the petition indicated the community would feel safer if there was signage on the beach.

"Signs would make people more aware and alert them to an emergency plan," she said.

The signs would tell people who to call if a shark is sighted and if the siren is sounded everyone will know to get out of the water.

Education of the emergency plan is an important part of the signs and sirens with Mrs Dufek saying it was envisaged schools and media outlets would play a role.

"It's such a simple thing, why have we not got it?," she said.

"We are the home of the great white shark.

"Shouldn't something be done here?"

Their letter to Parliament highlights the moves made by the government to make the Adelaide beaches safer.

They say it is important something be done to make Port Lincoln beaches safer also.

Local marine industry workers also raised concerns with the women about the number of sharks in the bay.

There has also been strong support for a larger and safer enclosed swimming area at the front beach.

Mrs Dufek said on the northern side of the town jetty a tidal pool could be built.

Benefits of a tidal pool are that it would require very little maintenance, would not look ugly, would be safer than the current net enclosure and would be tourist friendly.

"It may be costly initially but it will be there forever," she said.

Member for Flinders Liz Penfold will present the petition and letter to state parliament this week.

Source: portlincoln.yourguide.com.au
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3491 Australians sign petition for shark warning signs and sirens

23 November 2005

Divester reports on short video of Fabien Cousteau's shark sub

The New York Times isn't just about the printed word anymore. I see they have a component to their online service that features short videos, too. Pretty cool. And guess what the first story in their "Science and Times" directory concerns? Fabien Cousteau and his shark subs!

If you listened to Erik's Stellar podcast with Fabien, then you know the history of the shark sub. But the NY Times video has some interesting images of the shark sub, as well as some very cool graphics about how Fabien actually fits into the sub. I was interested in seeing how he squirmed into that little space, and this video cleared up my confusion. Very cool stuff.

Source: www.divester.com
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Divester reports on short video of Fabien Cousteau's shark sub

Japanese diver found drifting out to sea by New Zealand rescue vessel

A chance encounter with a police rescue boat saved a young Japanese diver as she drifted out to sea during a weekend scuba trip that went wrong off the coast of the New Zealand capital, Wellington.

Yuki Fujita, 28, from Kobe, went diving for crayfish on Saturday. When she surfaced early from the dive, she couldn't find her diving buddy, the dive group or their boat, local media reported Monday.

She had drifted 4.5 kilometers away from the party near Cook Strait between North and South Islands and was paddling for her life wearing her scuba tank and weight belt in heavy seas.

After 2-1/2 hours adrift, when Fujita, an experienced diver, was out of sight of land, a police search launch suddenly appeared close by -- as it sped to the search zone several kilometers away.

"It was my last hope and I yelled 'help, help' and waved my rescue sausage," she said, referring to the bright orange inflatable plastic strip divers carry to attract attention in an emergency.

She was pulled from the water and only then realized how near she had come to death.

"I started shaking and burst into tears and vowed I would never scuba dive again," she told Wellington daily, The Dominion-Post.

The newspaper reported that about the time of the rescue back in Kobe, her mother, Mieko Fujita, was visiting the shrine at the family grave to pray, a prayer Mrs. Fujita believes helped save her daughter's life.

Source: mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp
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Japanese diver found drifting out to sea by New Zealand rescue vessel

Australia: Shark poachers defy machineguns to seek prey

Machineguns and machetes are being used in a growing conflict between Australia and Indonesian pirate boats poaching sharks for the lucrative Chinese market.

Record prices for shark fin soup have lured more and more poor Indonesian fishermen to Australia's tropical northern waters.

They are making audacious forays along the sparsely populated coast because over-fishing has all but wiped out sharks in other parts of south-east Asia. Up to 25,000 tons of shark were poached in 2003, a government report found.

A record 216 illegal fishing boats have been seized this year, double the number caught in 2002. Australian authorities say there may be hundreds more in the area. In addition, 242 boats have been intercepted, had their fishing gear confiscated and were ordered out of Australian waters.

"This is the first time we have reached a double century in a calendar year," Ian Macdonald, the federal fisheries minister, said. In recent weeks the Indonesians have used sharpened bamboo stakes, machetes, knives and pit bull terriers to fend off boarding parties from customs and fisheries patrol vessels. The bigger poaching boats have shocked Australian officials by refusing to stop even when deck-mounted machineguns are fired across their bows.

Last month an Indonesian boat crew fishing illegally off the Northern Territory used burning poles, lead weights and machetes to fight off customs officers. Officers took control after a chase lasting several hours. They found a large quantity of shark fins and 50 shark carcasses in the hold. Australian commercial fishermen, who must observe strict quotas, say the rampant poaching will turn the sea into "a marine desert".

Western Australia's fisheries minister, Jon Ford, has issued a warning that the poachers also pose a threat to aboriginal communities and isolated tourist resorts.

"There are lots of expensive charter boats running around the area with tourists on board," his spokesman said. "It would not take much for a misunderstanding to lead to an unfortunate incident."

The issue will be discussed by ministers from Indonesia, Australia and East Timor at a fisheries summit in Canberra next week.

The demand for shark fins, which can fetch £400 per kilo, is being encouraged by China's burgeoning middle class, which regards shark fin soup as a status symbol. "There is an enormous market," said Jim Fox, of the Australian National University's school of Pacific and Asian studies. "Shark fin soup is an integral part of any middle-class wedding in China."

A government source said: "We suspect that Chinese criminal cartels are behind many of the boats. They are not subsistence operations any more - they have GPS navigation systems."

As well as tougher enforcement, Australia is trying to provide poachers with alternative livelihoods.

On the island of Roti in West Timor, where many of the illegal fishermen come from, about 60 families have been persuaded to switch to drying and selling seaweed for use in products such as toothpaste and plastics. But seaweed will never be as lucrative as shark fin.

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk
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Australia: Shark poachers defy machineguns to seek prey

22 November 2005

USA: Georgia Aquarium hopes to breed whale sharks

Georgia Aquarium officials say they want to breed whale sharks — the biggest fish on earth — at the Atlanta fish tank, a never-attempted feat that would push the bounds of known aquatic science.

The world's largest aquarium, which opens its doors to the public next week, has two juvenile male whale sharks now swimming in a 6.2 million-gallon tank. Officials want to get at least one female for a possible breeding program.

John Spink/AJC Ralph (or is that Norton?) may one day become the proud papa to 300 whale shark pups.

"I would love to breed the whale sharks because very little is known about these animals," said Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, who is funding most of the aquarium’s $280 million construction cost. "The more that we proliferate the species the better. You learn about these animals, and you can save the species by reproducing them."

Aquarium Executive Director Jeff Swanagan said the Ocean Voyager tank was designed with the capacity to hold four to six whale sharks, which can grow to the size of a school bus. He said there are no immediate plans to bring more whale sharks to Atlanta, but confirmed the facility would like to acquire a female.

"This is a long-term venture, and that's why we had to design this exhibit so large," Swanagan said. "This isn't going to happen quickly. It will happen over years and years of research on these animals."

Said Marcus: "Whether or not we get another whale shark, I can't tell you. But if we can, we probably will."

Shark scientist Robert Hueter, who is studying whale sharks off the Yucatan Peninsula, said he thinks breeding whale sharks in captivity is feasible.

"It's all doable, but it would take a major effort to sort all of the issues out," Hueter said.

Hueter, who directs the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., said other types of sharks have been bred in captivity. Any breeding program in Atlanta could be years off, he said, because the Georgia Aquarium's two whale sharks, Ralph and Norton, are still sexually immature.

"I can't imagine they would be ready for mating any sooner than three years, and it could be longer than that," Hueter said.

Scientists think male whale sharks do not reach sexual maturity until they are about 27 feet long, Hueter said. Ralph and Norton are growing, but measure less than 20 feet.

Atlanta aquarium officials initially thought they had a male-female pair, which they first dubbed "Ralph and Alice" after the characters in the old TV sitcom, "The Honeymooners."

Ray Davis, the aquarium's vice president for zoological operations, said when the big fish were first captured in Taiwan an initial exam confirmed Ralph was a male.

The other whale shark appeared to be female — males are identified by so-called "claspers" on their underside, organs that are difficult to detect in immature animals.

"They called me [from Taiwan] and said, 'Hey, we have Alice,'" Davis recalled. "I said, 'Are you sure? And they said, 'Absolutely.' So I asked them to go back and get me photographic proof."

A close examination of the photos revealed the truth, Davis recalled.

"It was very hard to discern, but you could see it on the photograph. Alice was really Norton."

Very little is known about whale sharks in general and almost nothing is known about their courtship and breeding behavior, Hueter said. The gentle plankton-eaters, which can grow to more than 40 feet, are found in most of the world’s warm-water oceans.

They are considered a threatened species because they are killed for food in some countries. But no one knows how many exist or how the populations around the globe are related.

A pregnant female killed by Taiwan fishermen has provided a few hints about the creature's reproduction, Hueter said. That huge fish had 300 immature "pups" inside, he said. The Georgia Aquarium's two whale sharks were purchased from a Taiwan fishery where they too were destined for the dinner table.

Many varieties of sharks have been bred in captivity, Hueter said, including sandbar sharks, bonnethead sharks, bamboo sharks, sawfish and rays. Sawfish and rays are closely related to sharks.

Swanagan said scientists have no idea whether a whale shark program would involve natural breeding or artificial insemination.

"All of this would be new ground," he said. "The body of knowledge [obtained], even if we are not successful, can be shared with field scientists as they try to figure out how to manage this animal in the wild."

Swanagan said aquarium scientists have already "explored" what they would do if a female whale shark gave birth to a large number of pups in captivity. They would release the young sharks into the wild at some point, he said, but that would require the clearance of numerous government agencies and a complex plan to raise the whale shark pups to release size in offshore pens.

The pups are only about 18 inches at birth, Swanagan said, and scientists would have to create a "head start program" to get them ready for release.

"You want to improve their chances of survival," he said. "You wouldn't just want to throw them back in."

Sources: www.underwatertimes.com and www.ajc.com
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USA: Georgia Aquarium hopes to breed whale sharks

Archaeological team discovers underwater ancient harbor in the Bahamas

An American archaeological team has discovered definitive evidence of underwater ancient harbor remains at two separate locations at Bimini. A hoax begun in 1978 by skeptics has also been uncovered.

Archaeologist William Donato and a team of researchers have confirmed a complex of ancient harbor works in shallow water off Bimini, 50 miles from Miami. In May 2005, the team investigated a little-known line of underwater stones located a mile from a controversial site known as the "Bimini Road." The new mile-long line of stones was found and videotaped from the air. Subsequent dives revealed several large stone circles on the bottom, formed from large blocks of limestone arranged into circular patterns. The circles were spaced at regular intervals. Stone anchors, identical to ancient Phoenician, Greek, and Roman anchors, were also found. "These finds took us by surprise," stated Dr. Greg Little, who organized the expedition. "The circles may be similar to ancient Mediterranean harbor 'mooring circles.'"

Near the new site is the Bimini Road, a misnamed J-shaped underwater formation of stone blocks. A careful search there yielded two stone anchors in the 1800-foot long stone formation. "One of these is identical to unusual ancient Greek anchors found at Thera," Little related. Several other artifacts were found, "but the most important finds directly contradict skeptical claims." The team found numerous multiple tiers of blocks including one set of three on top of each other. "The top block has a U-shaped channel cut all the way across its bottom," Little said. "The most definitive evidence was found under the massive blocks. We found rectangular slabs of smooth, cut stone literally stacked under several blocks. These were used as leveling prop stones. This is proof that the so-called Bimini Road was a breakwater forming an ancient harbor."

The team took 20 hours of underwater video and 1000 photos. "It's taken us five months to process the information and organize the evidence," Little stated. "While the finds are definitive, the real problem is that a few skeptics wrote articles asserting the main formation was simply natural limestone. A hoax was perpetrated at Bimini by the skeptics, but you have to examine a 1978 report to understand it. Academic archaeologists and geologists don't read that report. They cite later summaries, which are based on falsified data. The hoax is a disgrace, but it's been actively supported by key people."

Source: i-newswire.com
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Archaeological team discovers underwater ancient harbor in the Bahamas

Mexican divers try to fix coral reef damaged by Hurricane Wilma

Mexican scuba divers are struggling in surging seas to repair one of the world's biggest coral reefs after it was badly damaged by Hurricane Wilma last month.

Buffeted by strong currents, it takes three divers to hold broken chunks of coral in place and tie them down with plastic straps that are tricky to fasten even above the surface.

After an hour of silent underwater work in Mexico's turquoise Caribbean waters, several pieces of the fragile coral gardens are back in place.

"We got some good work done but it's moving a lot down there; it makes it very difficult," said diver Monica Escarcega, panting as she surfaced from the Manchones coral reef off Isla Mujeres and clambered onto a waiting boat.

"There's still a lot of live coral down there which is great, but we have a lot more work to do, and this weather's not helping," said Luis Guerra, water pouring off his wetsuit as the dive boat lurched over a huge swell.

Weather in the area worsened on Friday as Tropical Storm Gamma brewed off the coast of Honduras on its way toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

As well as battering luxury resorts and clawing away entire beaches in Cancun, Wilma damaged up to half of the spectacular coral reef chain that runs along Mexico's Caribbean coast, biologists say.

Mexico's reefs are part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef which runs for hundreds of miles (km) to Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, and is second only in size to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. It first won fame in a 1961 documentary by French filmmaker Jacques Cousteau shot off Mexico's Cozumel island.

The coral devastation not only hurts the marine ecosystem, but it is one more blow to Cancun's ravaged tourism sector, which normally sees boatloads of vacationers and diving enthusiasts heading out daily on snorkeling and scuba trips.


Three weeks after Wilma, the only dive boats out of Cancun carry 40 professional divers hired by the government to clear debris from the reef and repair the coral, hoping to speed up its agonizingly slow recovery time.

Coral grows just a few millimeters (fraction of an inch) a year, so left to its own devices the reef would take decades to recover -- especially as clumsy snorkelers and passing ships often chip off bits of coral. Pollution is another threat.

"If we leave it to nature, the pressure of tourism and water contamination don't give the coral much chance," said Juan Carlos Huitron, who is in charge of the repair mission.

"We can't change the rate at which coral grows, but we can try and make sure more of it survives."

The scuba teams use various means to fix broken coral back in place, including metal rods inserted in holes drilled into rocks on the seabed and glue made from cement mixed with sand.

The cement can only be applied on calm days, otherwise most of it seeps away and dissolves before it can set.

"The reef is the ocean's most powerful ecosystem. A great quantity of flora and fauna depend on its health," said Alfredo Arellano, regional head of Conanp, the government body in charge of Mexico's protected natural areas.

As well as damaged reefs and shrunken beaches, biologists are worried about the damage Wilma did to local forests.

They estimate the area around Cancun lost some 1.98 million acres (800,000 hectares) of tropical forest in this season's storms and say the dead trees and brush are a serious fire hazard.

"There is a lot of dead wood and leaves about. It's a latent danger," said Mauricio Limon, who headed a visit last week by Mexico's environmental protection agency to assess local storm damage.

"Nature's capacity to recover from disasters is marvelous and the forests will grow back. But it's certain we will see forest fires next year."

Source: www.alertnet.org
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Mexican divers try to fix coral reef damaged by Hurricane Wilma

21 November 2005

South Africa: Cape warned of increased shark activity

The great White shark tagged off Bailey's Cottage between St James and Muizenberg on Saturday, spent much of Sunday morning cruising slowly in circles off Muizenberg beach.

But at other times during the 24-hour period after its tagging, the 4.3-metre predator moved quite quickly several times between Bailey's Cottage and Sunrise Beach, researchers reported.

And at one point on Saturday night it headed out in the direction of Seal Island, but did not go all the way there.

The Shark Working Group, the umbrella body which is helping to coordinate research into the apex predators, has appealed to False Bay bathers to be extra vigilant and cautious as there appear to be a higher number of sharks in the area than usual.

Mike Meyer and Deon Kotze of the Marine and Coastal Management branch of the Department of Environmental Affairs succeeding in placing the acoustic tag on the shark on Saturday afternoon.

But "it appears to have a fault and it doesn't have the strength it should have," said Meyer.

"We tested another tag and that one worked perfectly, so we're thinking of putting another tag in (another shark) if we can. But at least we know a little bit about this one. It spent a long time just tracking in circles, which was quite surprising, but it moved quite fast otherwise."

The batteries in the acoustic tag should last for six months.

The department's research vessel Sardinops is also servicing and redeploying the shark listening stations in the bay, part of a separate but related study on Great Whites in False Bay by University of Cape Town scientist Alison Kock who earlier this year tagged more than 20 off Seal Island. Signals from the tags and data such as depth and sea temperature are recorded by the listening stations when the tagged Seal Island sharks swim within a couple of hundred metres of them.

Saturday's tagging, done in collaboration with the City of Cape Town under the banner of the Shark Working Group, is part of a larger study on the abundance, behaviour and distribution of white sharks.

"The main objectives of this study are to investigate if white sharks are permanent or seasonal residents in False Bay, if there are any preferred areas where they occur, if they form social groups, if they prey in the bay and if they do, where and on what," said Environmental Affairs spokeswoman Carol Moses.

"It will further explore if there are any times of the day that the sharks prefer to be inshore and the importance of Seal Island to the white sharks, if there are any possible stimuli that increase shark aggression that could lead to an attack on humans, the abundance of sharks, if there are seasonal trends in the number of sharks in the bay, and general behaviour of white sharks."

A genetic study is also under way with the University of Aberdeen in Scotland to determine if there is only a single population of white sharks in the southern hemisphere.

The larger study has indicated that the "South African" white shark moves widely - they tracked one, named Nicole, from Gansbaai to Australia and back - and is under threat on the high seas and in countries which do not protect them.

Source: www.iol.co.za
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South Africa: Cape warned of increased shark activity

South Africa: Faulty tag blamed as Great White shark slips away

Researchers tracking the Great White shark that was tagged in False Bay on Saturday could not locate it on Monday because of a fault with the acoustic tag.

They were unable to pick up a signal, said Mike Meyer of the Shark Working Group, composed of representatives from marine and coastal division of the department of environmental affairs, Cape Town's Iziko museums, the universities of Pretoria and Cape Town and the Natal Sharks Board.

The skiboat that had been following the shark traversed the area where it had been swimming on Sunday, from Fish Hoek to Sunrise beach and beyond, in a zig-zag pattern three times, but they were unable to locate it.

Meyer said there were two possibilities: either the signal was so weak that they were not picking it up in the right spot or the shark had moved out of the area, but he doubted this.

The transmitter had a range of only 300 metres, so once the shark moved out of range, the researchers would lose the signal.

The tag was intended to provide information on the four-metre shark's movements around False Bay.

Meyer said it was very frustrating, as the tags had worked before without a problem and the one they really needed to work was giving problems.

The tag had shown irregular functioning from the start: it was supposed to ping at regular one second intervals but had started pinging at 1.5 second intervals before reverting back to one second, which it was not supposed to do.

The wind had also created a lot of "noise on the water", Meyer said, and this added to the difficulty in detecting the signal.

The researchers will again try to locate the shark on Tuesday.

Source: www.iol.co.za
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South Africa: Faulty tag blamed as Great White shark slips away

South Africa: Green groups keeping tabs on False Bay Great White shark

A small fault with an acoustic tag that researchers attached to a Great White shark on Saturday is causing difficulty in tracking the shark when the water is rough.

But researchers still hope the tag will, for the first time, give them some clues as to the detailed movements of the shark around False Bay.

The bay, with beaches popular with both locals and tourists, has been the scene of sporadic shark attacks over the past few years, including a fatal one on Fish Hoek resident Tyna Webb a year ago.

Department of environment affairs marine scientist Herman Oosthuizen said the four-metre shark was tagged shortly before 3pm off Bailey's Cottage near Muizenberg and researchers were following it in a skiboat to monitor and map its movements.

"We haven't had much time to get anything out of this," said a Marine and Coastal management spokesperson who was in the boat on Sunday, adding that in the 11 hours they had managed to track the shark by mid-afternoon on Sunday, it had moved between Bailey's Cottage and Sunrise beach.

They were not sure what they were going to do about the fault. Although the tag's batteries would last about six months, the transmitter had a range of only 300m, so once the shark moved out of range, the researchers would lose the signal.

They hoped to be able to stay with the shark for at least 24 hours, he said. On a similar Great White tagging project in Mossel Bay, a team had managed to stay with one shark for 100 hours.

"Here at False Bay we've got no idea how long we'll be able to track it. This is the first time we've done it here: it's trial and error." A larger research vessel was on standby for crew changeovers, he said.

Oosthuizen said satellite tracking of the sharks, which hit the headlines recently after a Great White swam from Gansbaai on the Southern Cape coast to Australia and back in nine months, recorded only their broad movements.

The acoustic tag, which is jabbed into a shark's dorsal fin using a long pole, was aimed at discovering more about their fine movements and whether, for example, they had home ranges or moved freely around the whole bay.

"You sit on the tail of a shark and you can see what it does," he said.

More acoustic tagging of other Great Whites in the bay is to follow.

"We're trying to see if there are any patterns that make sense in why sharks attack humans," he said.

Twenty-three False Bay Great Whites have already been tagged with a different sort of acoustic transmitter, one that sends a signal when the fish comes within a few 100m of one of the 23 listening stations placed at the bottom of the bay.

That project does not record the movement of the sharks between stations.

Organisations co-operating in the Great White research include the department of environment affairs' marine and coastal management division, Cape Town's Iziko museums, the universities of Pretoria and Cape Town and the Natal Sharks Board.

Source: www.iol.co.za
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South Africa: Green groups keeping tabs on False Bay Great White shark

Mexico's Cozumel, awaits tourists after recent storms

At first glance, Mexico's Cozumel island -- a Caribbean jewel ringed with coral reefs -- looks like the site of a nuclear explosion.

Chunks of concrete pier have been swept away, palm-thatched beachside bars are stripped to skeletons, lush forest has turned into dry brown kindling and huge bites have been taken out of concrete buildings.

Yet unlike nearby Cancun, whose high-rise resorts are nearly all shut for repairs after their beaches were sucked away by Hurricane Wilma last month, many of Cozumel's hotels are open. Its best white sand beaches -- which are natural rather than man-made like Cancun's -- remain intact.

All the island needs now is for the tourists to return.

"We have hotels, restaurants, beaches and diving, we're all ready, we just desperately need tourists," said Kristi Groff, a diving instructor at the Pascual Scuba Center.

"We depend on package tourists and most have canceled their holidays until February. We're dying for this to end."

Wilma hung over Mexico's Yucatan peninsula for three long days, pounding resorts along the Caribbean coast.

With the flow of tourists cut off since then, the region is losing millions of dollars a day in what is normally the busiest season of the year.

The ancient Maya came to Cozumel to worship the goddess Ixchel. Later, 17th century pirates sheltered in its sandy coves. Today it is a favorite of divers and cruise ships.

A handful of cruise ships returned to Cozumel last week, but more rain from Tropical Storm Gamma drove them away again. Tourist divers are also scarce.

"We are taking out a couple of people a day. But we should be taking 30 to 40," said Guillermo Ramirez at Dive Paradise.

Travel agents are reluctant to send tour groups back with many of Cozumel's main attractions shut, such as the Chankanab marine wildlife park which has been smashed beyond recognition. Its dolphins, who sheltered from Wilma in the pool of a swanky hotel, have been transferred to the mainland for now.

"We used to have 1,000 visitors a day but there's nothing left. Just sea, rocks and rubble," said security guard Joaquin Chuc at the park entrance.

Some chunks of coastline were ravaged when Wilma drove a sea surge inland. Shops are boarded up and many beachfront hotel complexes need months to repair.

Hotels are offering discounts because of malfunctioning air conditioning and phone lines, and the few guests politely ignore the tape holding the window panes together.

Yet locals are upbeat.

"No one has been laid off. Hotels are still paying their staff, and the government has hired taxi drivers and bar staff to help with the clean up," said Eddie Rosales, who spent two weeks cleaning up debris and disinfecting contaminated water.

"If we work together, we know tourism will recover."

Construction workers bused in from around Mexico repair hotels and restaurants. The whine of drills and tap of hammers fills the air.

At Playa San Francisco, laborers far outnumber the four Mexican tourists on the beach, but the newly reopened bar pumps up the reggae to drown them out as it serves up cocktails.

"We heard about the hurricane and thought it would be nice and quiet if we came now," said Sonia Fernandez, collecting shells at the water's edge. "It's pretty here. It's perfect."

Source: today.reuters.co.uk/news
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Mexico's Cozumel, awaits tourists after recent storms

Australia: Japanese tourist dies on trip to Great Barrier Reef

A 67-year-old Japanese tourist has died on a dive trip on the Great Barrier Reef, police say.

Police said the man had indicated to a friend that he was going to surface off Hastings Reef near Cairns in Queensland's far north about 10.40am (AEST) on Sunday.

His friend told police the man had dived and was snorkelling on the surface before lapsing into unconsciousness.

Boat staff tried in vain to revive the man. Paramedics flown by chopper to the scene also could not save him.

The man's relatives in Japan have been notified.

Police said a post mortem would be carried out to determine the cause of death.

Dive Queensland spokesman Col McKenzie said the tourist had extensive diving experience and may have suffered a heart attack.

"He was wearing a computer and we've had a look at the computer information and it shows he made a perfectly normal ascent with no warnings and with plenty of air left in his tank - I mean it's hard to think what else it could be," he told ABC radio.

Source: news.ninemsn.com.au
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Australia: Japanese tourist dies on trip to Great Barrier Reef

New Zealand: Japanese diver adrift for 2 and a half hours

Saturday was going to be Yuki Fujita's day to remember. It was, but for all the wrong reasons.

The 28-year-old from Kobe, Japan, got her much-hoped-for working visa in the mail that morning, just in time to begin a job at Wellington Hospital today.

She had a party on Saturday afternoon, and the day began so well she was sure that during the lunchtime dive she was doing with friends off Wellington's south coast, she would catch some crayfish to take.

Instead, after surfacing, she couldn't find her friends or the dive boat. Paddling for her life in heavy seas, she drifted 4.5 kilometres wearing her scuba tank and weight belt, at times able to hear a helicopter searching for her far away, and wondering what her mother would think if she drowned.

About the same time, back in Kobe, her mother, Mieko Fujita, was visiting the shrine at the family grave to pray, a prayer Mrs Fujita believes helped save her daughter's life.

For after 2 and a half hours adrift, when Ms Fujita had almost given up and land was out of sight, the police launch Lady Elizabeth III suddenly appeared, on its way to the search zone many kilometres away. "It was my last hope, and I yelled 'help, help' and waved my rescue sausage," she recalled yesterday, referring to the bright-orange inflatable strip divers carry to draw attention in an emergency.

She was pulled from the water and only then realised how near she had come to death. "I started shaking and burst into tears and vowed I would never scuba-dive again."

Ms Fujita, who came to New Zealand for a working holiday a year ago, is an experienced diver who had made many dives with the group, which included her dive buddy, Brett Bailey. Buddies are meant to stay together under water. After the group began the dive in 15 metres of water about 11.45am on Saturday, Mr Bailey did not see Ms Fujita, but was given a signal by the instructor with them that she had surfaced and was fine, so he continued the dive.

The sea was rough as they had motored to the dive spot, about 500m offshore, near the Karori lighthouse, and Ms Fujita had felt ill, so Mr Bailey assumed she'd decided to abandon the dive and stay on the boat. "It was a mistake among a series of mistakes we made," Mr Bailey said yesterday. "Buddies should never split for a moment, and I shouldn't have accepted (the instructor's signal) that she was okay."

Source: www.stuff.co.nz
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New Zealand: Japanese diver adrift for 2 and a half hours

19 November 2005

Missing Belize Snorkeler: Divester update

Divester provides an update regarding the missing snorkeler in Belize and the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

From Divester: I told you about the missing snorkeler in Belize this week. Unfortunately, they still haven't found the 68-year-old Nebraska man, but I did learn a bit more about the circumstances surrounding his disappearance.

According to authorities, John Dresp and about 50 other cruise ship passengers went for a guided snorkel with eight licensed tour guides in Shark Ray Alley. After a few minutes, John's brother, Donald, noticed he was missing and notified the operator of the trip, Discovery Divers Limited. Authorities immediately began searching for Dresp, but did not find him. They presume he drowned.

Discovery Divers Limited issued a statement describing snorkeling conditions as "ideal." However, Donald Dresp told local news media there was a strong current and the water was deeper than the group had anticipated. Divester contributor, The Tick, visited the place recently and claims the spot is generally about 10 feet deep – although there are areas of deeper water – with very little current. It seems very strange. And, of course: sad.

Source: www.divester.com
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Missing Belize Snorkeler: Divester update

18 November 2005

Irish furious over use of live dogs as shark bait

AN Irish MEP has called on the EU to investigate claims that live cats and dogs are being used as shark bait, writes Treacy Hogan.

Avril Doyle says she has received reports from the North Wexford Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that some fishermen in the French-controlled Island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean have been using live cats and dogs as bait to catch sharks.

The Fine Gael MEP says she understands that stray dogs are allegedly being skewered on hooks and dragged behind boats as live shark bait.

Other dogs and kittens have faired less well, and have been torn apart and swallowed by sharks, she also claimed.

Speaking in Brussels Ms Doyle said: "I am shocked and disgusted that live cats and dogs are allegedly being used as bait in shark fishing."

Source: www.underwatertimes.com
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Irish furious over use of live dogs as shark bait

Epic shark cage swim to aid Aids orphans

Six students will brave the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean in a protective shark cage during an epic 100km relay swim around the Peninsula in aid of Aids orphans.

The six University of Cape Town students tested the cage at Hout Bay Harbour on Thursday for their swim from the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay to the V&A Waterfront on Monday.

The effort is in aid of the Starfish Greathearts Foundation that delivers care to Aids orphans.

The students will swim inside the steel-and-netting cage which is suspended from two dinghies and pulled by a boat.

Nicholas Marshall, 21, Paul Barron, 23, Gavin Netley, 23, Kristi Jooste, 21, Sarah Matthews, 18, Juliette Ball, 20, and Ram Barkai, 50, will swim the relay for about 36 hours wearing only a swimming costume and a swimming cap.

Matthews, of Rondebosch, said she expected the swim to be "loads of fun".

"It's for a good cause."

Starfish Foundation CEO Tracey Webster said the swimmers had chosen "a tough challenge".

"Not only is the water freezing, and the distance great, but the threat of sharks is an additional obstacle."

# Donations to the Starfish Greathearts Foundation can be sent via SMS to 30855 or at www.starfishcharity.org

Source: www.iol.co.za
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Epic shark cage swim to aid Aids orphans

Greece opens coastline to scuba diving industry

Dive operators say that the Greek government's decision to end its draconian restrictions on scuba diving will usher in a golden era of underwater exploration.

As thousands of miles of coastline open up to divers for the first time in 50 years, local professionals say that hundreds of wrecks are waiting to be discovered.

Greece has long been seen as a tantalising option for divers, with its clear waters and long history of shipping and shipwrecks – but the country's culture ministry has always been concerned that unfettered diving would result in artefacts being removed. Now, after years of lobbying by the dive industry and pressure from government insiders, thousands of miles of coastline will open up for the first time in more than 50 years.

As a result of a campaign led by diver and government adviser Manilos Alifierakis, new laws have been drafted that will allow access to 18,000 miles of coastline, rather than the meagre 126 dive sites designated under a 2002 ruling.

"This is a major change," said Phrederika Miltiadow of Odyssey Dive Centre in Hakidiki on the Greek mainland. "Before this, we were able to dive in five per cent of the area around us, now the change in law means we can explore all the marks we have recorded on our sonar.

"There are wrecks that have never been seen by divers, reefs which we have no idea about. We're about to enter a new age of exploration, and we're going to have heaps of new dive sites before we even begin to think what could be waiting for us in the trimix range. The same will be true all over Greece and its islands."

The new laws will also open dive sites around the Greek Islands, which are noted for their clear water. Pavlos Manallos of the Crete Underwater Centre said he was expecting to double or triple his list of quality dive sites. "We had a dozen sites we use regularly, but this means more variety, more exploration and better diving," he told DIVE. "It's a very exciting time."

Under the new rules, diving federations from other EU countries will be recognised (as was not always previously the case), but dive centres will have to apply for licences. Government adviser Manilos Alifierakis has said Greece is likely to create a system of marine parks in order to monitor and manage diving tourism in the future.

Source: www.divemagazine.co.uk
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Greece opens coastline to scuba diving industry

17 November 2005

Australia: By 2050, 95% of the Great Barrier Reef's living coral could be dead

Australia's Great Barrier Reef could lose 95 percent of its living coral by 2050 should ocean temperatures increase by the 1.5 degrees Celsius projected by climate scientists.

The startling and controversial prediction, made last year in a report commissioned by the World Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Queensland government, is just one of the dire scenarios forecast for reefs in the near future. The degradation and possible disappearance of these ecosystems would have profound socioeconomic ramifications as well as ecological impacts says Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, head of the University of Queensland's Centre for Marine Studies.

Hoegh-Guldberg, speaking at the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University, says the most important threat facing the Great Barrier Reef and other reefs of the world is higher sea temperatures that cause thermal stress for corals.

Corals are tiny animals that live in colonies and derive nourishment and energy from a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae algae known as dinoflagellates. Coral reefs are formed over the course of thousands of years as limestone skeletons constructed by corals accumulate and form a structural base for living corals. Research indicates that is takes roughly thousand years for a reef to add a meter of height. Individual corals are capable of faster growth -- about one meter every hundred years -- but wave action and other forms of disturbance moderates overall reef growth.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest reef, stretching more than 2,300km along the northeast coast of Australia. Made up of about 2,900 unconnected coral reefs and roughly 900 islands, the Great Barrier Reef is home to over 1,500 species of fish and 400 species of coral making it one of the most important marine ecosystems on Earth. Scientists consider it Earth's largest living organism which makes it the only individual living thing visible from space.

While the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's healthiest reefs, coral reefs are particularly fragile ecosystems, partly due to their sensitivity to water temperature. When corals are physiologically stressed -- as is the case when water temperatures are elevated -- they may lose much of the their symbiotic algae, an event known as "bleaching." Corals can recover from short-term bleaching, but prolonged bleaching can cause irreversible damage and subsequent death.

The first coral bleaching on record occurred in 1979. Since then, there have been six events, each of which has been progressively more frequent and severe. In the El Niño year of 1998, when tropical sea surface temperatures were the highest yet in recorded history, coral reefs around the world suffered the most severe bleaching on record. 48% of reefs in the Western Indian Ocean suffered bleaching, while 16% of the world's appeared to have died by the end of 1998. 2002 was even worse: 60 to 95 per cent of individual reefs of the 110,000 square mile (284,000 square kilometer) Great Barrier Reef suffered some bleaching, while reefs in Palau, the Seychelles, and Okinawa suffered 70-95% bleaching. Early surveys suggest the Caribbean is currently in the midst of a serious event. While most of these reef ecosystems have recovered to some degree, warmer water temperatures in the future may have a more lasting impact.

"An increase in frequency of coral bleaching may be one of the first tangible environmental effects of global warming," said Dr. Arnold Dekker of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in a European Space Agency news release."The concern is that coral reefs might pass a critical bleaching threshold beyond which they are unable to regenerate."

Hoegh-Guldberg agrees. "By 2050 bleaching may be an annual event, that is, if there are still reefs around to be bleached. If you have bleaching events every four years and they take 15-20 to recover, you will start to see bleached reefs not recovering. They will be dying," he adds.

Acidic Oceans
While rising sea temperatures are likely to have the biggest impact of coral reefs in the future, Hoegh-Guldberg notes are there factors that will affect the health of coral reefs including changes in sea level, elevated storm frequency and intensity, altered ocean circulation, variation in precipitation and land runoff, and increasing ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification is of particular concern to scientists because it is crucial to the formation of coral. Coral and other marine organisms use free carbonate ions in sea water to build calcium carbonate shells and exoskeletons, but as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise and more carbon dioxide is absorbed by the world's oceans, sea waters become increasingly acidic by stripping out carbonate ions. Lower carbonate ion concentrations make it more difficult for organisms to form shells, leaving them vulnerable to predators and environmental conditions. In the past, changes in ocean acidity have caused mass extinction events. According to a study published in the September issue of Geology, dramatically warmer and more acidic oceans may have contributed to the worst mass extinction on record, the Permian extinction. During the extinction event, which occurred some 250 million years ago, about 95% of ocean's life forms became extinct. The same fate could befall modern day marine life. In September 2005, a team of scientists writing in Nature warned that by 2100, the amount of carbonate available for marine organisms could drop by 60%. In surface ocean waters, where acidification starts before spreading to the deep sea, there may be too little carbonate for organisms to form shells as soon as 2050.

Hoegh-Guldberg believes an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 500 parts-per-million (ppm) is a key threshold for coral reefs. "Beyond 500 ppm coral reefs may no longer exist. Much of the Pacific Ocean will likely be marginal for coral reefs while net calcification rates will be approaching zero" says Hoegh-Guldberg. Currently the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stands around 380 ppm but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projects that if no precautionary action is taken, carbon dioxide concentrations will rise by 2050 to between 450 and 550 ppm.

Worldwide impact
The degradation and loss of coral ecosystems in will likely have a wide-ranging impact on the world economy. Hoegh-Guldberg points out that more than 500 million people live within 100 kilometers of coral reefs, many of whom rely on reefs and the services they provide for daily subsistence. Should reefs become severely damaged by climate change it could well create a class of ecological refugees in need assistance.

Further reefs play an important role in buffering adjacent shorelines from wave action, erosion, and the impact of storms. For example Moorea in French Polynesian, only experiences a 10 cm tidal range due to its protective barrier reef. Should the reef die and begin to crumble, the island's low-lying structures could be at risk.

Impact of a dying Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Australia may be the best example of the potential ramifications of dying reefs. Though Australia is among the world's most developed countries, a damaged Great Barrier Reef would likely have a significant impact on the country's economy. A recent study found the reef is worth more to Australia as an intact ecosystem than an extractive reserve for fishing.

Each year more than 1.8 million tourists visit the reef, spending an estimated AU$4.3 billion (Australian dollars) on reef-related industries from diving to boat rental to posh island resort stays. Revenue from tourism -- popular activities include snorkeling; scuba diving; fishing; glass-bottomed boat and semi-submersible vessel excursions -- dwarfs the commercial and recreational fishing industries which generate $360 million (Australian dollars) annually. Furthermore, tourism is an important source of employment: in 1998-1999, more than 47,600 people were employed in the sector compared to around 2,000 involved in commercial fishing in the region.

Tourism has given the Australian government an incentive to preserve the reef and last summer it banned all forms of extraction in one-third of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, making it the largest fully protected area of ocean in the world. The protected area will also benefit the fishing industry by serving as a nursery for fish-breeding to restock the entire reef.

The reef also offers great potential for Australia's nascent but blossoming biotech industry in the form of compounds derived from corals and other organisms that live in the region. Sessile invertebrates -- like corals -- have a special affinity for providing medicinally valuable compounds through their production of toxic chemicals used for defense. Several promising drugs have been developed from coral and other invertebrate species.

There is little doubt that the Great Barrier Reef, as a viable and relatively intact ecosystem, will continue to play an important role in the thriving Australian economy. The big question is, how long will it remain viable and intact?

Some scientists argue that the Great Barrier Reef and other coral ecosystems may be around longer than has been suggested by Hoegh-Guldberg's scenario. Critics say his scenario does not the current level of uncertainty about either the impact of warmer waters on the reefs, or likely climate change -- IPCC projections have been hotly debated.

Since the fossil record for corals is spotty -- the "resolution" for prehistoric dating is only 400 years -- so the impact of abrupt changes on coral are difficult to detect. While corals have certainly persisted through warmer and more acidic periods in Earth's geologic history, Hoegh-Guldberg suspects corals will face a difficult adjustment period in the face of rapidly rising sea temperatures and falling carbonate ion concentrations.

"Biological adaptations can't keep pace with the forecasted level of change," says Hoegh-Guldberg. "In the past the time scale was likely thousands of years, not decades."

Hoegh-Guldberg argues that coral reefs will likely recover in geologic terms, but not in terms of a human lifetime. The short term impact of dying and degraded reefs will be significant.

"For a tour operator, two years of bleached coral can mean the difference in putting food on the table or finding a new job. The tourism industry will be hit especially hard by worsening bleaching events."

Over the longer term, reefs will recover. According to Hoegh-Guldberg model, under the best-case global warming scenario -- where temperatures stabilize around 2100 -- the Great Barrier Reef will recover within a century. Under the pessimistic, it will take at least 500 years for the reef to regenerate, populated by coral species adapted to living in warmer waters. Hoegh-Guldberg says reefs are unlikely to migrate to cooler, higher latitude waters due to other conditions -- including light levels and ion concentrations -- required for their growth.

Despite a bleak future, Hoegh-Guldberg doesn't believe reef conservation and research efforts should be abandoned.

"There is still a lot we don't know about coral reefs. We need to understand these ecosystems to be totally effective in their preservation. Technologies still in their infancy may make it possible for us to moderate some of the effects of climate change on coral reefs."

Source: news.mongabay.com
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Australia: By 2050, 95% of the Great Barrier Reef's living coral could be dead

16 November 2005

South African policeman attacked by Ragged Tooth Shark

A local policeman came a bad second on Tuesday against a ragged-toothed shark when he tried to catch the awesome predator in the sea in Jeffrey's Bay.

Sergeant Ivan Gerger, 32, who catches sharks in his free time for the shark aquarium in Jeffreys Bay, was admitted to the Humansdorp hospital after the attack. His condition is stable.

After biting him the shark swam back into the sea.

Police spokesperson Inspector Marianette Olivier said the attack took place at about 14:00 at Aston Bay when Gerber tried to pull the shark out of the water.

"It bit both his hands and his right leg. The shark bit his palm and fingers but didn't bite anything off," said Olivier.

The shark aquarium at Jeffreys Bay exports sharks to different places in the world. Local fisherfolk are contracted to catch these sharks in the sea.

Source: http://www.news24.com
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South African policeman attacked by Ragged Tooth Shark