A request to environmentalists and journalists discussing shark fin ban legislation

Many of the U.S. state-level shark fin bans which make it illegal to buy, sell, or possess shark fins include exemptions for smooth and spiny dogfish, i.e. by far the most common species of sharks caught by U.S. fishermen. Some of these fisheries have significant conservation concerns associated with them. Much of this fishing is not currently subject to catch limits or other basic management

You would never know that most locally caught sharks are not affected at all by fin bans by reading most of the action alerts that some conservation organizations send out to encourage ocean lovers to support these laws, by following most of the media coverage of these laws, or by reading most people’s excited posts after these laws pass. Many of these inaccurately say that shark fin bans “protect all sharks.”

I have a request to make to the conservation organizations supporting these laws, journalists covering them, and the shark and ocean lovers celebrating when they pass. If you want to support laws with an exemption for dogfish sharks, that’s fine, but let’s have an open and honest discussion about why you are doing this instead of just acting like it isn’t happening.

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Introducing the Southern Fried Science Class of 2013!

I am thrilled beyond measure to announce that, after 3 years blogging as a trio, we are welcoming four new authors to the ranks of Southern Fried Science. You will, know doubt recognize these familiar faces from around our humble corner of the ocean blogosphere.  The incredible Southern Fried Science Class of 2013 includes:

ChuckprofilephotoChuck Bangley

Chuck is a former Rhode Islander attending graduate school in North Carolina.  He combines his dual interests in sharks and seafood by researching the interactions between marine apex predators and fisheries, with a focus on U.S. fisheries management.  Chuck’s field misadventures and older posts on fisheries science can be found at Ya Like Dags?, and he can be followed on Twitter (@SpinyDag) and Google+.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALyndell Bade

Lyndell comes to us from People, Policy, Planet and Save Our Sharks. She is currently finishing her M.Sc. in Biology, using genetic techniques to investigate the feeding ecology of cownose rays in North Carolina and Chesapeake Bay. You can follow her on twitter at @lyndellmbade and on Google+.

 

100x100ed BC salmon profile pic

Iris Kemp

Iris joins us from Alevin to Adult, where she blogs about salmon. She is currently finishing her MS in Aquatic & Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle where she studies causes of variable growth and survival of Puget Sound salmon. You can follow Iris via twitter and LinkedIn.

 

sfs meMichael Bok

Michael is finishing up his PhD in Biology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He works on the visual ecology of the mantis shrimp, a specious order of marine crustaceans that boast the fastest strike, worst disposition, and most complex (convoluted) visual system in the world. You can follow him on Twitter and Google+.

Just enough about “Certainly More Than You Want to Know About The Fishes of The Pacific Coast” to pique your curiosity

There is a website floating around the interwebs entitled “So you want to be a marine biologist?” that most future marine biologists who came of age in the early 21st century have encountered. The sage page of advice is followed up with “So you want to be a marine biologist, the revenge“. Reading through these two essays, one might come to the conclusion that their author, Dr. Milton Love of the University of California, Santa Barbara, should compose a voluminous tome to the fishes of the Pacific coast. Which is exactly what he’s done. Welcome to Certainly More Than You Want to Know About The Fishes of The Pacific Coast: a postmodern experience.

Despite it’s self-aware title, this book is far more than just an exhaustive guide to the fishes of the Pacific, though it certainly is that. The highly detailed taxonomic descriptions are rich with humor and insight into the ecology, behavior, and physiology of, if not each species, than each genus or species complex. Interspersed among the taxa are descriptions of prominent Pacific researchers, anecdotes from a lifetime of work on the water, stories by people who lived, worked, and fished these species, and the occasional poem, song, or limerick. Somehow, these disparate units manage to complement each other in a way that makes you want to read what is essential a taxonomy textbook cover-to-cover.

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Posts of Note from around the Gam – July 7, 2011

This is a new weekly feature on Southern Fried Science where we’ll highlight 4 or 5 posts from other blogs in our network, and one post from outside our network published in the previous week. Posts of Note will run every Thursday, but the hosts will alternate among myself, David, and Amy. Enjoy this week’s selection.


Chris Grinter from The Skeptical Moth brings us the incredibly loud world of bug sex. Head on over to learn about the animal with the highest ratio of sound production to body size, the minute water boatman Micronecta scholtzi. Were we to be shrunk down to the same size, the sound of M. scholtizi would be equivalent to standing near a jackhammer. And of course, in true Skeptical Moth fashion, he finishes off by taking news outlets to task for running poorly informed headlines, although that same poorly worded article does have some nice recordings of the water boatman’s song.

Rebecca Nesbit at The Birds, the Bees, and Feeding the World has a short meditation on Locusts, the Bible and Dictators. In this short but pithy post, she compares the biblical plagues to the current locust swarms unfolding in the Middle East, while also touching on the hazards of pest control in a geopolitical unstable region, the effects of locust swarms on crop production, and a transition in dispersal patterns due to over-crowding. That’s some serious analysis to pack into ~300 words.

Over at Chronicles of Zostera, John Carroll shares some videos of silly spider crabs. Watch as a spider crab devours a blue fish! See it wrestle with a fearsome jelly! Gasp in horror as one recruits on to a recruitment tile! And learn a little bit about the ecology of these cosmopolitan, yet underrated benthic scavengers.

Chuck of Ya Like Dags? fame provides a nice roundup of Cape Cod dogfish tagging. It’s always nice to get a rundown on what researchers are doing in the field, especially when accompanied by high quality pictures of science in action. Plus, who doesn’t love a good hagfish sliming? You can also listen to him making smart ass comments at his lab’s research website here.

Finally, from the wider world of ocean blogging, the nascent powerhouse team at the SeaMonster have brought together some of the biggest names in ocean conservation for a Forum on the Future of the Oceans. Here, more than 20+ leaders in marine science, policy, and conservation discuss the impact, importance, and validity of the IUCN’s recent report on ocean health. Incidentally, you can also listen to me discuss the same report on Dr. Kiki’s Science Hour.

U.S. Senate passes Shark Conservation Act, but at what cost?

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog-cation to bring you some exciting news- today, the U.S. Senate passed the Shark Conservation Act!

The act, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year, closes important loopholes in current U.S. shark management policy by banning the practice of removing fins * at sea (for almost all species, more on this later). It also provides a framework for Federal officials to work with our trading partners that don’t similarly protect sharks.

It was expect to easily pass the Senate, but as we reported earlier this fall, Republican firebrand Tom Coburn blocked it and related conservation legislation. Senator Coburn’s stated objection to the bill was that it would cost too much, but the estimated cost according to GovTrack is less than $1 per American taxpayer.

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