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WWF Reports on the Status of Our Oceans

On the heels of international climate talks in Paris the World Wildlife Fund has released a startling review of the status of our oceans titled “Living Blue Planet Report.” The WWF and Zoological Society of London releases a bi-annual report that details the state of our planets “health” or homeostatic condition, but this report released just a couple of months ago is an amplified message, explaining how we as a species have mismanaged our oceans to the extent of imitate collapse. “When I wrote the foreword to the 2014 edition of WWF’s Living Planet Report, I said it was not for the faint-hearted. This edition – a deep dive into the health of marine species and the habitats on which they depend – is equally if not more sobering” explains Marco Lambertini Director General at WWF International.150917095044_1_900x600 Although the report tells a grim tale of our current state it spends much time offering solutions and reinforcing our innate ability to create change. “The good news is there are abundant opportunities to reverse these trends,” said Brad Ack, senior vice president for oceans at WWF. “Stopping black market fishing, protecting coral reefs, mangroves and other critical ocean habitats, and striking a deal in Paris to slash carbon pollution are all good for the ocean, the economy, and people. Now is the time for the US and other world players to lead on these important opportunities.” Please follow this link to view the ENTIRE REPORT FOR FREE but if you don’t have time to read the entire study please review these stunning statements written at the beginning of the paper: 

  • Nearly 3 billion people rely of fish as a major source of protein.
  • Overall, Fisheries and Aquaculture assure the livelihoods of 10-12 percent of the world’s population.
  • 60 percent of the world’s population lives within 100km of the coast.
  • Marine invertebrates populations have declined 49 percent between 1970 and 2012.
  • Populations of fish species utilized by humans have fallen by half, with some of the most important species experiencing even greater declines.
  • Around one in four species of sharks, rays, and skate is now threatened with extinction, due primarily to overfishing.
  • Tropical reefs have lost more than half their reef-building corals of the past 30 years.
  • Worldwide, nearly 20 percent of mangrove cover was lost between 1980 and 2005.
  • 29 percent of marine fisheries are overfished. If current levels continue, the ocean will become too warm for coral reefs by 2050.

Weak Snick: Suspect Nutritional Myopathy In Syngnathids

Seahorse mid strike; hyoid bone visible which is part of the complex musculoskeletal system seahorses utilize in suction feeding. This can be damaged easily. Photo by Tami Weiss You may have heard of ‘weak snick’, a common description of a clinical sign in syngnathids whereby attempts to feed appear weakened, that is, they don’t produce the nice ‘click’ sound you like to hear when healthy syngnathids strike at their prey. Multiple causes have been attributed to this particular clinical sign however in some severe progressive cases; this has been suspected to be due to a nutritional myopathy, which simply means a muscle disease caused by a nutritional imbalance. The suspected nutritional myopathy can present in many ways including: lethargy, weak snick, inappetence, and in severe unresolved cases,

I Found A Seahorse, Now What?

Seahorses can be found along many shorelines frequented by people. Photo by Caio R. N. Periera cc-by/nc So you’ve found a seahorse, and you want to keep it. Or maybe you stumbled across one washed ashore, and are unsure what to do next. This question comes up from time to time. It’s not frequent, but it does happen enough that I wanted to provide some guidance. Release It! The best thing to do is to release the seahorse back where you found it, if at all possible. The sooner you can do this, the better off the seahorse will be. This is especially true for those found washed up on the beach, as can happen from time to time due to seahorse’s poor swimming abilities.

Hawaii’s Angelfish Diversity: Part 2

Japanese AngelfishThe highly sought after Japanese Angelfish (C. interrupta) is known primarily from the subtropical portions of mainland Japan and the nearby Ogasawara Islands, and, with specimens reaching upwards of 15cm, it certainly pushes the size limits for dwarf angelfishes. This is likely due in part to its preference for cooler waters, where many reef fishes tend to grow to larger sizes. C. interrupta is by no means a common find in Hawaii, with it only being documented from the northernmost extension of the archipelago at Midway Island and Kure Atoll. When taking into account the primarily Japanese distribution of this species, there is a fascinating biogeographic pattern to study here. Just how does a Japanese species create a population in the Hawaiian Archipelago?More:

Why Isn’t Cryptocaryon irritans a Major Problem for Wild Marine Fish?

Whitecheek Tang (Acanthurus nigricans) afflicted with Cryptocaryon irritansDuring yesterday’s Thanksgiving get-together, which my wife and I host for my side of the family every year, a teenaged nephew asked me about marine ich (Cryptocaryon irritans)—the one fish disease he’s heard something about from a friend who keeps saltwater tanks. As I explained the parasite and its lifecycle and why I think it’s so important to quarantine new specimens, he asked, “If ich spreads so easily, why aren’t all the fish in the ocean infected?” Thrilled that, for once at least, I could offer my curious young nephew something akin to wisdom, I explained that the following factors help keep ich infections at a manageable level in wild fish populations:The vastness of the ocean Even though coral reefs appear to be bristling with fish, the density of the fish population relative to the volume of the ocean is, if you’ll excuse the pun, a mere drop in the bucket. Remember, during the tomite, or theront, stage of the Cryptocaryon lifecycle, the free-swimming parasites must find a host fish to attach to and feed upon within a relatively short period or they die. In the vast ocean, with its limitless water volume and powerful, dynamic currents, only a very small number of tomites ever succeed in locating a host. On the other hand, in a closed aquarium system, even if the actual number of fish specimens is fairly small, the population density is still extremely high relative to the volume of water. Of course, the density of host-seeking parasites relative to the water volume is also very high.

Hawaii’s Angelfish Diversity: Part 1

Credit: Greg McFall NOAA, 2104

Credit: Greg McFall NOAA, 2104

 Hawaii is a fascinating archipelago to study when it comes to the biogeography and evolution of shallow water marine fishes. These isolated volcanic islands, separated by more than 1000 miles from their nearest neighbor, are a hotbed of endemic speciation, with much left to discover concerning how this region’s coral reefs were first populated. A great deal can be learned by focusing on just one familiar group of aquarium fishes: the angelfishes of the family Pomacanthidae.More:

Coney, Cephalopholis fulva

Hello from overcast Curacao. I went with Aimee and the three dogs before work this morning and we again planted baby yucca’s, and we are finally almost done!! When our giant century plant we had in our front yard died it left behind close to 500 babies which we have been taking out to the desert every single day and planting them in hopes of keeping the circle of life alive. I have a super curious, completely unafraid brown Coney for you all today that I again shot while on my last trip to our small remote island of Klein Curacao. These are considered sea bass with their heavy bodies and large lips and are very common in many areas around Curacao

Reef Threads Podcast #254

Ret Talbot is our guest this week.

It’s time for a new Reef Threads podcast. This week we’re joined by Ret Talbot to talk about the tremendous and exciting progress that is being made with the Philippines fisheries. Collecting in the Philippines has long been a sore spot for this hobby. But it’s all changing for the better through the efforts of a new under secretary. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Sponsor: Rod’s Food
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