Tag Archives: fish

Shell Games – Craig Welch


Shell Games

Rogues, Smugglers, and the Hunt for Nature’s Bounty

Craig Welch

Genre: Nature

Price: $1.99

Publish Date: April 6, 2010

Publisher: HarperCollins e-books


A unique blend of natural history and crime drama, Shell Games by Craig Welch is a riveting tale of rogues, scoundrels, and the hunt for nature’s bounty in the tradition of The Orchid Thief. A stranger-than-fiction true story centered around a larger-than-life character who pursued a larger-than-life clam—the Geoduck—and then led wildlife police on a two-year-long chase, Shell Games is enthralling and remarkable from page one on.

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Shell Games – Craig Welch

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Climate change is making it more dangerous to eat certain fish

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Climate change is making it more dangerous to eat certain fish

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Dam it all: More than half of the world’s long rivers are blocked by infrastucture

It hasn’t even been a week since the U.N. released a depressing report on biodiversity, and now, a new study in Nature shows that 63 percent of the world’s longest (at least 620 miles) rivers are impeded by human-built infrastructures such as dams and reservoirs. Dam(n).

Rivers are a key source of food and water for agriculture, energy, and humanity. They’re critical to many cultures and communities and home to a plethora of species like salmon and trout. They also bolster ecosystems by restoring groundwater and serve as a buffer against drought.

But with the increasing demand for more water, energy generation, and flood management, the construction of dams, levees, reservoirs, and other river-obstructive infrastructures is becoming ubiquitous.

“Free-flowing rivers are important for humans and the environment alike, yet economic development around the world is making them increasingly rare,” lead author Günther Grill of McGill University said in a statement. Here are a few gloomy statistics from the study.

  1. There are 60,000 large dams and more than 3,7000 hydropower dams currently planned or are under construction worldwide.
  2. The longest uninterrupted rivers are restricted to remote regions in the Arctic, the Amazon and Congo basins.
  3. The last two uninterrupted long rivers in Southeast Asia are critical sources of food for fisheries that provide over 1.2 million tonnes of catch each year.
  4. While Asia is flowing with dam installations, the Amazon, Balkans, China, and the Himalayas are facing a huge increase in hydropower construction. Other countries such as India, Brazil and China are also planning and building infrastructure that will harm rivers through dredging and building dams.

Rivers are vital to our ecosystems. But hydropower is a difficult balancing act in a planet where there’s a desperate need for more clean energy.

There’s one bit of good news. Carmel River in California is seeing a big recovery of fish populations after a centuries-old dam was removed. The demolition is considered the largest dam removal in California history. And four years later the dam went down, species such as trout and lampreys are rebounding and other tributaries are reviving.

“We don’t want to do the touchdown dance yet, but so far things are looking good,” Tommy Williams, a biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Mercury News. “It’s just amazing how fast these systems come back. Everything is playing out like we thought.”

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Dam it all: More than half of the world’s long rivers are blocked by infrastucture

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Climate change’s deadliest effects are unfolding under the sea

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Climate change’s deadliest effects are unfolding under the sea

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What’s the catch? With seafood, it’s often a mystery.

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That last time you ordered the sea bass, odds are you got some other denizen of the deep — maybe an endangered species. In a report out Thursday, the advocacy organization Oceana suggests that fish fraud is rampant. That, in tandem with climate change, poses a dangerous threat to the world’s food supply

Over the course of a monthslong investigation, Oceana took 449 samples of seafood from restaurants, grocery stores, and markets, then sequenced their DNA to see what species they really were. One in every five fish tested had been mislabeled. More than half of the fish called “sea bass” were something else, often Nile perch, or giant tilapia. A third of the fish on the menu labelled “Alaskan halibut” — a thriving fishery — was Atlantic halibut, a species struggling to recover from overfishing.

“To guarantee that we still have fish in the future, we need to make sure that the seafood we are eating is properly labeled,” said Kimberly Warner, senior scientist at Oceana.” “Without that transparency we can’t tell if it is legally attained, implicated in human rights abuses, or safe,”

It’s one of two major threats to the world’s seafood supply, a vital source of nutrition for half the world’s population. Thanks to climate change warming the oceans, the amount of fish people could sustainably catch is now 1.4 million metric tons less than it was in 1930, according to a recent study. The mislabeling monkeyshines make the problem worse, thwarting efforts to police overfishing, and protect vulnerable fish stocks.

In an effort to clamp down on fraudulent labelling last year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration started monitoring imports of 13 species of fish, including bluefin tuna, abalone, and dolphinfish. But the Oceana testing shows that fraud still abounds where the government isn’t looking.

The flimflam schemes allows miscreants to hide rule breaking and environmental damage, and it also hurts regular eaters, Warner said.

“Diners in the Great Lakes region are thinking they are getting a freshly caught local species,” she said, “and instead they are getting something that’s been shipped halfway around the world.”

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What’s the catch? With seafood, it’s often a mystery.

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After farmed salmon break-out, Washington state says: “Please, go fishing.”

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative announced yesterday that it plans to curb power plant emissions by 30 percent between 2020 and 2030.

The participating states — Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont — will finalize the agreement on Sept. 25. According to the Washington Post, Massachusetts wanted to set the bar higher by “reducing carbon emissions 5 percent a year. But Maryland balked and threatened to pull out of the pact, saying it would lead to higher energy costs for consumers.”

The agreement caps the emissions from the power generation only (unlike California’s system, it does not include other industry, transportation, or agriculture), and allows those electricity generators to buy and sell emissions rights. This latest move simply lowers the cap.

Even though Washington, D.C., tends to suck up all the oxygen in the conversation, local and regional leaders are trying different approaches to suck all the carbon out of the economy. In these statehouses, it’s a lot less hot air, and a lot more action.


After farmed salmon break-out, Washington state says: “Please, go fishing.”

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Now Trump’s Going After the Bumblebees

Mother Jones

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First, it was puppies. Now Trump is going after bees.

Just weeks before leaving office, the Obama administration’s Fish and Wildlife Service placed the rusty patched bumblebee on the endangered species list—the first bee species to gain that status in the continental United States. Just weeks after taking office, the Trump administration temporarily reversed that decision. (See great pictures of this charismatic pollinator here.)

The official announcement of the delay cites a White House memo, released just after Trump’s inauguration, instructing federal agencies to freeze all new regulations that had been announced but not yet taken effect, for the purpose of “reviewing questions of fact, law, and policy they raise.” The Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the endangered species list, acted just in the nick of time in delaying the bumble bee’s endangered status—it was scheduled to make its debut on the list on February 10.

Rebecca Riley, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told me the move may not be a mere procedural delay. “We don’t think this is just a freeze—it’s an opportunity for the administration to reconsider and perhaps revoke the rule entirely,” she said.

Why would the Trump administration want to reverse Endangered Species Act protections for this pollinating insect? After all, the rusty patched bumble bee has “experienced a swift and dramatic decline since the late 1990s,” with its abundance having “plummeted by 87 percent, leaving small, scattered populations in 13 states,” according to a December Fish and Wildlife Service notice. And it’s not just pretty to look at—the Fish and Wildlide Services notes that like other bees, rusty patched bumblebees “pollinate many plants, including economically important crops such as tomatoes, cranberries and peppers,” adding that bumblebees are “especially good pollinators; even plants that can self-pollinate produce more and bigger fruit when pollinated by bumble bees.”

The answer may lie in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s blunt discussion of pesticides as a threat to this bumblebee species. Like commercial honeybees, bumblebees face a variety of threats: exposure to pesticides, disease, climate change, and loss of forage. FWS cited all of those, noting that “no one single factor is likely responsible, but these threats working together have likely caused the decline.” But it didn’t mince any words about neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides widely used on US farm fields.

Neonics, as they’re known, are a highly contentious topic. They make up the globe’s most widely used insecticide class, with annual global sales of $2.6 billion, dominated by agrichemical giants Syngenta and Bayer (which is currently in the process of merging with Monsanto). They have been substantially implicated in the declining health of honeybees and other pollinators, birds, and waterborne animals. The European Union maintains a moratorium on most neonic use in farming, based on their threat to bees. The US Environmental Protection Agency is currently in the middle of a yearslong reassessment of the risk they pose to bees and other critters.

Here is what the Fish and Wildlife Service wrote about neonics in the context of the rusty patched bumblebee:

Neonicotinoids have been strongly implicated as the cause of the decline of bees, in general, and for rusty patched bumble bees, specifically. The introduction of neonicotinoid use and the precipitous decline of this bumble bee occurred during the same time. Neonicotinoids are of particular concern because they are systemic chemicals, meaning that the plant takes up the chemical and incorporates it throughout, including in leaf tissue, nectar and pollen. The use of neonicotinoids rapidly increased when suppliers began selling pre-treated seeds. The chemical remains in pre-treated seeds and is taken up by the developing plants and becomes present throughout the plant. Pollinators foraging on treated plants are exposed to the chemicals directly. This type of insecticide use marked a shift to using systemic insecticides for large-scale, preemptive treatment.

Note also that of the 13 states that still harbor scattered rusty patched bumblebee populations, four—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Ohio—are in the US Corn Belt, where corn and soybean crops from neonic-treated seeds are common.

The NRDC’s Riley noted that as the EPA reassess neonics, it is obligated to consider the insecticides’ impact on endangered species. If the rusty patched bumblebee makes it onto the list, that would place an endangered species that’s clearly harmed by neonics directly into the region where the lucrative chemicals are most widely used—possibly forcing it to restrict neonic use in those areas. It’s worth noting that the man Trump chose to lead the EPA transition team, Myron Ebell, works for the industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute, which runs a website, SafeChemicalPolicy.org, that exists to downplay the health and ecological impacts of chemicals. More on that here.

If science guides the Trump team, this fast-disappearing bumblebee will get its endangered status soon, Riley said. “We don’t think there’s any legitimate basis to roll this rule back,” she said. “The original decision to protect the bee was based on compressive scientific analysis.” The question is the degree to which science will guide the administration as it decides the fate of this once-flourishing insect.

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Now Trump’s Going After the Bumblebees

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What If We Never Passed the Clean Air Act?

Fortyyears ago, the United States government passed theClean Air Acta federal law that regulates atmospheric emissions in order to protect the air we breathe from pollution. Without it, our world would look a whole lot different.

But what exactly does that mean?

Let me take you into an alternate reality, with the help of a report from our friends at Save on Energy: a reality in which air pollution levels have reached a new height, where impurities rule and air visibility is just about non-existent. You can find that full report here!

What would our cities look like? How would our lives be different?

The following graphics demonstrate how American citieswould look in a world without the Clean Air Act. The pollution levels were determined by calculatingconcentration of particles in the air (similar to China’s post polluted city, Xingtai), to visibility in miles.

Here’s the actual formula, for all your science aficionadosout there:

Adj. Max. Daily PM2.5 for Population = (US Pop. / Xingtai Pop.) * Max Daily PM2.5 for Xingtai

VL= (A * 10^3)/G

VL= Equivalent visual range.

A = 0.75 Adjusted for miles

G = Micrograms per cubic meter.

Here’s how Chicagowould look without the Clean Air Act:

What about Dallas? Houston?San Jose? Take a look!

What isAir Pollution?

According to the Save on Energy report, which gives a great definition, “Air pollution occurs when particulate matter, biological agents, or other harmful pollutants are introduced into the atmosphere, posing both an environmental and human health risk.” The World Health Organization (WHO) considers this to be just about any contaminant that “modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.”

Pollutants like this can come through anything like industrial facilities, the burning of fossil fuels, vehicle exhaust, household fires and more. These pollutants can cause allergies and seriously detrimental diseases like lung cancer, chronic and acute respiratory disease, asthma, reduced fertility, neurological disorders and stroke.They also make their way into our foods, contaminating the fish and plants we eatthrough bioaccumulation,and cause acid rain. The Guardian suggests that air pollution kills approximately 3.3 million people every single yeara number that will double by 2050 if we don’t make some more serious changes to our pollution policies. That’s more than malaria and HIV/AIDScombined.

Did the Clean Air Act really make a difference?

Absolutely! Since 1973, when the Act was passed, the Clean Air Act has helped decrease surface ozone levels by 25 percent since 1980, reduced mercury emissions by 45 percent since 1990 and taken out more than half of the nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide responsible for acid rain since 1980. We can also thank the Clean Air Act for preventing the premature deaths of some 40,000 people, and millions more from contracting diseases like those listed above.

Thank goodness for proactivity!

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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What If We Never Passed the Clean Air Act?

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A 1-acre permaculture farm supplies 50 families


The Art of Raising a Puppy (Revised Edition) – Monks of New Skete

For more than thirty years the Monks of New Skete have been among America’s most trusted authorities on dog training, canine behavior, and the animal/human bond. In their two now-classic bestsellers, How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend and The Art of Raising a Puppy, the Monks draw on their experience as long-time breeders of […]

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo

This New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing. Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles? Japanese cleaning consultant […]

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Make a Statement – Janet Crowther & Covington

From runways to boutiques, statement jewelry has become the coveted accessory. In Make a Statement, jewelry designers Janet Crowther and Katie Covington share their trade secrets for using basic techniques and easy-to-source materials to make stylish jewelry and accessories, from a gold bib necklace and geometric hoop earrings to a classic charm bracelet and elegant […]

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Cesar Millan’s Short Guide to a Happy Dog – Cesar Millan

After more than 9 seasons as TV’s Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan has a new mission: to use his unique insights about dog psychology to create stronger, happier relationships between humans and their canine companions. Now in paperback, this inspirational and practical guide draws on thousands of training encounters around the world to present 98 essential lessons. Taken together, they will […]

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The Sustainable Vegetable Garden – John Jeavons & Carol Cox

From the author of our best-selling and widely beloved HOW TO GROW MORE VEGETABLES comes this “quick and dirty” introduction to biointensive gardening that shows it is not only possible but easy to grow astonishing crops of healthful organic vegetables and fruits, while conserving resources and actually helping the soil. A revolutionary approach to feeding […]

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How to Raise the Perfect Dog – Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier

From the bestselling author and star of National Geographic Channel’s Dog Whisperer , the only resource you’ll need for raising a happy, healthy dog. For the millions of people every year who consider bringing a puppy into their lives–as well as those who have already brought a dog home–Cesar Millan, the preeminent dog behavior expert, […]

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The General’s Handbook Enhanced Edition – Games Workshop

An essential resource for all warlords of the Mortal Realms, the General’s Handbook comes packed with new, exciting ways to play Warhammer Age of Sigmar, including: Open Play – Ideal for new hobbyists, this straightforward system will have you playing games in no time. Narrative Play – Narrative play brings the stories of the Age […]

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Be the Pack Leader – Cesar Millan & Melissa Jo Peltier

Bestselling author Cesar Millan takes his principles of dog psychology a step further, showing you how to develop the calm-assertive energy of a successful pack leader and use it to improve your dog’s life–and your own. Filled with practical tips and techniques as well as real-life success stories from his clients (including the Grogan family, […]

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Spark Joy – Marie Kondo

Japanese decluttering guru Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up  has revolutionized homes—and lives—across the world. Now, Kondo presents an illustrated guide to her acclaimed KonMari Method, with step-by-step folding illustrations for everything from shirts to socks, plus drawings of perfectly organized drawers and closets. She also provides advice on frequently asked questions, such as whether to […]

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Gardening Basics For Dummies, Mini Edition – Steven A. Frowine & National Gardening Association

Your green-thumb guide to planning, planting, and cultivating a garden With some basic knowledge, the right tools, and a little work, anyone can transform a boring old yard into a beautiful garden. This friendly guide tells you how. From improving your soil to selecting plants and caring for them, you get just the information you […]

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A 1-acre permaculture farm supplies 50 families

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17 Random But Fascinating Facts About Our Oceans

About 70 percent of the Earth is actually ocean, and 94 percent of life on Earth is aquatic. In fact, life on earth began in the ocean 3.1 billion to 3.4 billion years ago. Land dwellers didn’t show up until much later(approximately 400 million years ago). Even though we’re newbies, wehave a tendency to think the planet is all about us humans and what happens on land above the sea.

To mark World Oceans Day, here are 17 intriguing facts about the oceans that might make you think twice about the watery world we live on and how we should treat it.

1. Fifty percent of the United States (in terms of our complete legal jurisdiction, which includes ocean territory) lies below the ocean, reports MNN.com.

2. We probably know more about the moon than we do our oceans; we have better maps of Mars than we have of the ocean floor. In fact, weve only exploredless than5percent of the Earths oceans, even though we depend on them for everything from food to transportation to recreation.

3. Forget the Smithsonian, the Louvre or the Parthenon. There are more artifacts and remnants of history in the ocean than in all of the worlds museums combined, thanks to shipwrecks, tsunamis, tidal waves, floods, wars and the general tendency of people to treat the ocean as a big dumping ground.

4. An underwater mountain chain running through the middle of the Atlantic Ocean from the Arctic Circle all the way down into the Indian Ocean and across the Pacific is the longest mountain range in the world. It coversmore than 35,000 miles, making it four times longer than the Andes, Rockies and Himalayas combined. Ithas peaks higher than those in the Alps.

5. The Pacific Ocean isthe world’s largest water body. It occupies a third of the Earth’s surface and contains about 25,000 islands, which is more than the total number in the rest of the world’s oceans combined. Most of those islandsare found south of the equator.

6. The oceans make up 97 percent of the Earth’s water.Of what remains, less than 1 percent is the fresh water we use for drinking. 2-3 percent of the remaining water on earth is contained in glaciers and ice caps, though due to global warming, this amount is decreasingas the ice caps melt.

7. The sea level is rising seriously due to climate change. 10,000 years ago the ocean level was about 110 m lower than it is now. If all the world’s ice melted, the oceans would rise 66 m. Sea levels will continue rising even if the climate stabilizes because the ocean is too vast to react quickly to change.

8. Ninety percent of all volcanic activity occurs in the oceans, reports MarineBio.org. Undersea earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides can cause tsunamis, powerful seismic sea waves that can destroy entire cities and kill hundreds of thousands of people, as we saw when an earthquake occurred in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sumatra in 2004, letting loose a tsunami that eventually killed 230,000 people.

9. Sound travels nearly five times faster through water than it does through air.

10.Air pollution is to blamefor 33 percent of the toxic contaminants that end up in oceans and coastal waters. About 44 percent of the toxic contaminants come from runoff via rivers and streams, especially runoff contaminated with agricultural chemicals.

11. Each year, three times as much rubbish is dumped into the world’s oceans as the weight of fish caught. Much of that is plastic which will never decompose but instead may get eaten by fish and end up being eaten by people, as well.

12. Nearly one-third of the world’s oil comes from offshore fields in our oceans, especially those in the Arabian Gulf, the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

13. Oil is a major source of ocean pollution. But while some of that comes from oil spills, most of it comes from leaking automobiles and “non-point sources” like oil that is poured down street drains and otherwise improperly disposed. According to MarineBio.org, more oil reaches the oceans each year as a result of leaking automobiles and other non-point sources than the oil spilled in Prince William Sound by the Exxon Valdez or even in the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

14. The Great Barrier Reef, which coversan area largerthan Britain, is the largest living structure on Earth and can be seen from space. Its reefs are made up of 400 species of coral, supporting over 2,000 different fish, 4,000 species of mollusc and countless other invertebrates. The “reef” is actually an expanse of nearly 3,000 individual reefs and 1,000 islands. Because the physiology of coralis so similar to human bone, coral has been used to replace bone grafts, helping human bone to heal more quickly.

15. People eat more fish than any other protein source. Unfortunately,most of the world’s major fisheries are being fished at levels above their maximum sustainable yield; some regions are severely overfished.

16. More than90 percent of the trade between countriesis carried by ships traveling back and forth across the oceans. About half the communications between nations from one side of the world to another relies on cables that have been laid across the ocean floor.

17. Blue whales are the largest creatures on the planet, ever. They’re bigger than the largest dinosaurs ever were.

13 Ways to Celebrate the Oceans
7 Tips for Reducing Pollution and Saving Our Marine Species
Overfishing is Actually Worse Than We Thought

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


17 Random But Fascinating Facts About Our Oceans

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