When we ate the rich.

On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.

The first floating city, Aquapolis, set sail in 1975 at the Okinawa World Expo. Aquapolis was intended to be a symbol of the infinite possibilities of life at sea. It would herald a new era of seasteading and create permanent colonies, even nations, that existed exclusively at sea.

Aquapolis was sold for scrap in 2000, her vision unrealized.

From Sealand to the Seasteading Institute, from the Republic of Rockall to China’s Reclaimed Island Territories to the tech pirates harbored aboard The World, the dream of a micro-nation at sea renews itself with every new generation.

The Maldives were the first nation-state to float away.

It shouldn’t be surprising that catastrophic sea level rise was the catalyst that finally ignited the first self-sufficient floating colonies. This tiny island chain, none more than a meter above sea level, had two advantages: The Maldives had already invested in developing floating platforms to expand their territory and develop novel luxury hotels and the Maldives were rich. Read More

Shark conservation news: Fisheries closures, fish and chips, and a new shark sanctuary

It has been an exciting week for shark conservation! We can only hope that this provides some momentum for CITES, which begins tomorrow.

And now, for this week’s shark conservation news:

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission declared a ban on commercial landings of all thresher sharks (each of the three thresher shark species is considered vulnerable globally by the IUCN).While threshers aren’t the most threatened sharks in the area, they are some of the most threatened sharks in the area with an active commercial fishery. Threshers also are common bycatch species, so I’m skeptical about the long-term effectiveness of this plan, but being killed as bycatch only is certainly better than being killed as bycatch and as a target species. H/T WWF Environmental News

Spiny dogfish is commonly sold in the United Kingdom as the fish in “fish and chips”. It has been illegal to harvest this species of shark in European waters for some time, so it is simply imported. However,they are one of the species up for CITES protection, which could end international trade of their meat. While I understand the cultural importance of fish and chips to the British, we probably don’t need to be using species that are long-lived and have few young for such a large-scale fishery. If I’ve learned anything from years living in the South, it’s that anything tastes good if you deep fry it. Let’s try to find a more sustainable fishery to use for fish and chips. H/T The Telegraph

Finally, the Maldives has made their territorial waters into a shark sanctuary. All shark fishing is banned within their nearly 100,000 square mile exclusive economic zone, and the buying and selling of shark fins within the Maldives is now illegal. Approximately 30 species of sharks are found in this area (though some only pass through as part of large migrations). H/T Oceanic Defense.