This has been a huge issue for quite awhile now, with attention drawn to the numbers of fish in decline and the habitual overfishing for profit. I can remember a time here in my hometown when we could fish for whatever we wanted to, no quotas, no questions asked. But there were Trout and Redfish in the rivers and canals. Today, you are hard pressed to find either fish that is longer than a few inches. All the big guys are gone and all that’s left are their babies. It’s questionable how many of the newborns survive.

Now, this issue has spread out onto the world stage. The EU Ministers have now agreed to some changes in the fishing quotas, expanding the Cod quotas by 30% on the one hand and then limiting catches for other species with the other. The quotas have come about as a compromise between environmental groups and fishermen. The environmental groups are alarmed as they watch fish just disappear from the oceans, rivers and lakes. But fishermen are suffering a mighty struggle for survival with reduced catches, competitive markets and shrinking quotas.

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I have another cool method of generating energy. There are researchers who are trying to harvest energy from various sources that are now working with a power generator that works in slow moving currents where traditional turbines have not worked effectively. This means that tidal streams and slow moving rivers in the US could generate something like 140 BILLION killowatt-hours per year or about 3.5% of our entire electricity demand. This is all according to the EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute).

In the past, most efforts to tap energy from slow moving current have used underwater windmills that use the force of the lift to turn their blades. This is because we have usually tapped air for energy and use it support boats and other water devices. But when you watch the way fish use water to propel themselves, you realize that they create vortices in the water that allow them to push off and propel themselves forward. This is why they are currently referring to this application as fish as fuel. But it has nothing to do with using actual fish as a source of fuel. Nobody is grinding up fish and putting it in an engine somewhere.

When researchers realized that these natural vortices could be used to drive generators, a new concept for creating energy emerged. A group of researchers have now created a machine called the VIVACE (Vortex Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy) and yes I know it sounds sort of funky and even kinda geeky. But the cylinders in this new machine oscillate up and down in actual moving water. This is a first. It is especially exciting because the device works naturally in the marine environment and is non invasive.

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Bluefin Tuna. You know what they are. They are delicious, they cherished, they are expensive. And in huge demand worldwide. The Japanese, in particular, prize them above all other fish for use in sushi and sashimi. But so great is the Japanese demand that it is driving fisherman to pursue catches that go well beyond what scientists consider to be safe limits. In this effort, they are also driving the Bluefin Tuna towards commercial extinction.

It is imperative that we make every effort to save this fish, however, a vital opportunity to pull the bluefin back from the brink was missed when the official body charged with preventing the stock from collapsing agreed to allow catch quotas for 2009 far higher than its own scientists recommended. Does this anger you? It should. Even with a chorus of protests and expressed dismay from conservationists, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas ( ICCAT), meeting in Marrakech, Morocco, endorsed a total allowable catch (TAC) of 22,000 tonnes for next year – while ICCAT’s own scientists had recommended a TAC ranging from 8,500 to 15,000 tonnes per year, warning there were real risks of the fishery collapsing otherwise.

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This is a very cool and fascinating item I found online. Scientists have discovered reef structures off the coast of Brazil’s Bahia state and these structures double the size of the Albrolhos Bank heretofor considered the largest and richest reef system in the Atlantic Ocean.

This reef structure is far more abundant in marine life than any other. Researchers from Conservation International (CI), Federal University of EspÃrito Santo and Federal University of Bahia announced their discovery in a paper presented today at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Fort Lauderdale.

This is an exciting find for those of us who care about the planet. It is also unusual to find a structure this large that also has so many fish. Previously, the Abrolhos Bank was considered one of the world’s most important reefs because of a high number of marine species found only in Brazil. This includes species of soft corals, mollusks and fish found only in the Abrolhos shelf.

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In a report from Barcelona, Spain, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released the results of it’s study of Penguin colonies in the Antarctic. According to the study, 1/2 to 3/4 of major colonies could be damaged or wiped out if global temperatures are allowed to climb by more than 2C (3.6F). This hike in temperature would also threaten as much as 50% of breeding grounds of Emperor Penguins and as much as 75% of Adelie Penguin colonies. These results from their study were released at the World Conservation Congress, held this year in Spain.

Since the UN’s panel of climate change Scientists has already warned that the average temperature on Earth could increase even more than 2C by the end of the century, this threat to the Penguin population is serious and real. The UN claims this change will occur regardless of major efforts that may be made to curb greenhouse gases and would occur even faster if no changes were made. In other words, it’s way to late for the Penguins.

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I got this online at Scoop Independent World News, a New Zealand website. It totally disgusted me so I thought I’d pass it along. I had just read a report about a group of whalers who had captured and killed a mother whale with babies in tow and dragged her away to slaughter, leaving the pups to struggle alone. It broke my heart, in fact made me tear up and I never forgot that image. And then I heard this report and the conservationist and conservative in me just cried out in pain. How on earth can this waste just go on?

According to Greenpeace, in Tokyo, Japan, 85 tons of whale meat may soon have to be discarded. Likely the meat of young mothers like the one I saw in the video; killed needlessly, it seems. Because of bureaucratic bungling, which makes the whole thing even more sordid. According to Greenpeace, the Japanese Government has not received the proper application for import of the meat and this means it’s going rancid in the mean time and will have to be tossed. In my opinion, this is among the worst anti-life violations I find in the world around me. Mom was killed for nothing and her pups probably died, too.

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This is a great new item I picked up online. The reports are now saying that fishermen will be recycling junk into power and scrap metal. This program has started in Hawaii and is currently being started in New England, as well. It is a great concept that will greatly improve earth and ocean conditions. So much junk is lost off fishing boats, from fishing tackle to huge nets. These lost items, from ropes to traps, end up on the bottom of the ocean for decades as destructive debris. Nets and ropes are notorious for suffocating life on the ocean floor as well as snaring fish and drowning them. Not to mention getting twisted in the propellers of other boats at sea.

This new program introduced in New England this year makes better use of this garbage. The idea is to start cleaning the ocean up by collecting everything from nylon nets to wooden lobster traps and burning this debris to generate electricity. In the article I saw, they referred to a fisherman named Frank Mirarchi of Scituate who says he spends hours untangling discarded gear from his nets. It can be dangerous if heavy pieces snap free of the net. Getting it out of the ocean is essential, he was quoted as saying. Turning it into electricity is a bonus. He was also quoted as saying that “right now, anything we can do to avoid burning foreign oil makes me feel pretty good, actually.”

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