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June 2011    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 26, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the June, 2011 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Another Reason to Go Diving Now. While the annual seafood catch in Indonesia's 17,000 islands is already the world's third largest, the government wants to dominate the market, and is modernizing its roads, ports and pricessing facilities while aiming to double the country's haul. "Wherever you have water, you have fish, and two-thirds of our country is water," says Fadel Muhammad, Indonesia's minister of maritime affairs and fisheries.

Adopt a Shark. For $2,000, you can purchase a satellite tag to be attached to a bull, hammerhead or tiger shark, tracking its movements for up to a year while you follow it in real time on the Internet. And you also get to name your shark. The money goes to support the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation program at the University of Miami. The oneyear- old program has resulted in the adoption of 20 sharks in the Florida Keys, the Gulf of Mexico and the Bahamas. After Wells Fargo executives were brought along on a sharktagging expedition to see what they got for their money, the bank contributed $40,000. For details on how to adopt and contribute, go to www.shopforsharks.com

Last Words: "It Was an Accidental Shark Bite." Warren Smart had no anger at the shark that gave him a fatal bite on May 21. While on a spearfishing dive trip at South Africa's Cape Vidal, Smart, 28, was removing the fish from his spear when a nearby shark grabbed his thigh instead of the fish. While being attended to by paramedics, Smart told his three dive buddies that he wasn't the target. "He said it was an accident and that the shark may not have meant to attach him," Light's friend Trevor Hutton told the Johannesburg Times. Minutes later, Light died from excessive blood loss. It wasn't know what type of shark bit him, but it was Cape Vidal's first fatal shark attack since 1890.

An Even Cheaper DPV. In last month's issue, John Bantin raved about the newer, lesiure model of the Pegasus Thruster diver propulsion vehicle, priced at $1,550, compared to Pegasus's top-line model at $2,350. Reader David Stone (Turks & Caicos) has an even cheaper suggestion for a good DPV. "I use the Bladefish 5000 model, weighing a scant 12 pounds and costing under $700. I have used it on a dolphin cruise in Bimini with great success - - the dolphins loved the toy as much as I did. I have found that it does not seem to bother most animals, it actually attracts their curiosity. And the weight makes it easily carried or stowed for air travel." (www.bladefish.net)

Good News, Bad News for Bali Diving. A recent marine survey by Conservation International researchers in Indonesia have discovered eight potentially new species of fish and one new species of coral on Bali reefs, which have "surprisingly high levels of diversity." Among the new species documented: two types of cardinalfish, two varieties of dottybacks, a garden eel, a sand perch, a fang blenny, a new species of goby and a previously unknown Euphyllia bubble coral. After surveying 33 sites around Bali, Mark Erdmann, senior advisor for the survey, says, "The coral reefs appeared to be in an active stage of recovery from bleaching, destructive fishing and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks." But while there's a seven-to-one ratio of live to dead coral, the survey team observed that big reef fish were severely depleted. In more than 350 hours of diving, the team only observed three reef sharks and three Napoleon wrasse. Other problems: plastic pollution and the encroachment of fishers on no-take areas in the West Bali National Park. The Bali government requested the survey to get recommendations for a network of marine reserves.

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