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Monday, March 19, 2012

Overlooked Species Theatre presents: Pacific Sleeper Shark

One of the great benefits of living so near the ocean is that every once in a while, something really cool washes ashore. Such was the case last week when a resident of Malcolm island found a dead Pacific sleeper shark on her doorstep.

Well, by the time she found it, it actually looked a bit more like this:

(I must warn you that that the pictures don't get any less graphic from here on in)

I had the opportunity to take some measurements and samples for a fisheries scientist who studies sharks. Having never dissected a shark, I soon found it was unlike anything I had ever seen up close before.

It was about nine feet long, though I later found that sleepers can grow to over 14 feet. It also had incredibly thick muscles along the spine for propelling the shark forward with powerful strokes of its tail.

Unlike most groups of fish, sharks have no swim bladders and must swim continuously to keep from sinking. Their skeleton is made entirely of cartilage, which is much lighter than bone. But this is not the only advantage the shark possesses for staying afloat.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Setting the record straight on what we do around salmon farming

Opposition to net-cage salmon aquaculture in BC continues to escalate, particularly with new revelations of more positive findings for ISAv (Infectious Salmon Anemia virus). Lately, however, we've been alerted to some misunderstandings that are circulating with regard to our work to eradicate net-cages on the BC Coast. For the record, here are the facts.

We’d like to first stress that since its inception over a decade ago, Living Oceans has been committed to the total removal of all net-cage salmon farms from our oceans and a transition of the industry to closed containment. That commitment is shared by our partner organizations in CAAR (Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform) and has never wavered.

Citizens groups, fishermen, communities, activists and numerous First Nations have been protesting the proliferation of farms on the BC coast for over twenty years. But successive governments, both Federal and Provincial, have been equally committed to maintaining salmon aquaculture. It's a tough and ongoing struggle and sadly no strategies, to date, have succeeded in ensuring the removal of these farms.