Today's Catch

Jun 7, 2013
"We too are sea creatures," entreats ocean explorer Sylvia Earle in this beautiful short film, which calls for protecting the ocean and, in particular, for ending destructive fishing practices. It's estimated that we've lost on the order of 90% of many of the ocean's big fishes, such as tuna, sharks, and cod, through overfishing what was once considered a limitless resource. Today, people still...Read more
Jun 6, 2013
Credit:

NOAA

A Turtle Excluder Device (TED) enables a loggerhead turtle ( Caretta caretta ) to escape from a fishing net. Technological advancements like this are helping to prevent deaths of unintended marine bycatch. Loggerhead turtles are considered to be threatened and endangered (depending on the specific population) and the their greatest threat is unintended catch in fishing gear. The United States...Read more
Jun 5, 2013
Credit:

Smithsonian Institution

How do right whales size up? North Atlantic Right whales ( Eubalaena glacialis ) are big, but they're not the biggest whales. That distinction goes to the Blue whale ( Balaenoptera musculus ), the largest animal on Earth. While the Orca, or Killer whale size of up to 31 feet make it the largest dolphin. The Sperm whale on the other hand may not be the biggest whale, but it has the biggest brain...Read more
Jun 4, 2013
Credit:

(c) 2004 Berkley White/Marine Photobank

Blast fishing, when dynamite or other explosives are used to stun or kill fish, is a practice used in many villages and isolated regions of the world. Hundreds of fish can be seen strewn across the reef, left as bycatch, such as these tropical fish in Thailand. Fishers are targeting larger, valuable species such as grouper which command a hefty price at the market—yet all the reef species pay the...Read more
Jun 3, 2013
Credit:

New England Aquarium

Fargo, the dog pictured here, is not just having a relaxing day at sea. He is helping researchers at the New England Aquarium in Boston detect scat (or poop) from North Atlantic right whales . The dogs find about four times more whale poop with their scent detection than the researchers would using other methods. Researchers analyze the scat to learn more about the health and reproduction of the...Read more
May 31, 2013
Credit:

Marli Wakeling/Nature's Best Photography

“Lembeh Strait is a fantastic place to find species that have evolved to resemble other animals or plants to survive. Because of the lens I was using, I had to get really close to this crab. As I moved in, it retreated into the xenia coral polyps. When I backed up, it came back out. The skittish crab, in addition to having the wrong lens for the task, made this a challenging shot.” -- Nature's...Read more
May 30, 2013
Credit:

Kunio Amaoka

This deep sea creature, the whalefish ( Cetomimidae ), has a whale-like body, a gaping mouth, no fins or scales and a deep lateral line, which detects vibrations in the water. The first specimens were discovered by two Smithsonian scientists in fish collections at the National Museum of Natural History more than a century ago. In the 1980s, a different scientist realized that they only had female...Read more
May 29, 2013
Credit:

© Michael Moore/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This close-up photo of a right whale's head shows dozens of hitchhikers—tiny crustaceans known as whale lice, or cyamid amphipods. They live on the rough patches of skin (known as callosities) on North Atlantic right whales , eating algae that settles there and only causing minor skin damage. Distinctive patterns formed by their white bodies crowding around rough patches on whales’ skin help...Read more
May 28, 2013
Credit:

Brian Skerry, National Geographic

A gentoo penguin ( Pygoscelis papua ) mother stands with her chick in Antarctica. When walking on land, gentoo penguins waddle with their long tails dragging behind them; but in the water, they are the fastest penguins of them all, reaching swimming speeds of 36 kilometers per hour (around 22 miles per hour). The penguins breed on islands in the Antarctica, stacking stones to build nests to keep...Read more
May 23, 2013
Credit:

John Wang, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research

Sea turtles may have survived the planetary changes that killed the dinosaurs, but now they are threatened by fisheries. It's estimated that some 4,600 sea turtles are killed by fishing nets and hooks every year in U.S. waters. But off the coast of Mexico, one community is trying something different: hanging lights on their nets so turtles can avoid them. They've found a 50% reduction in turtle...Read more

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