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June 2002 Vol. 28, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the June, 2002 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Better Red than Dead: If a fish wants to be invisible to predators, the proper color to be is not sea blue — it’s red. According to researcher Sînke Johnsen (Duke University), red light scatters most evenly in the ocean at depths greater than sixty feet. So although fish nearest the surface are hard to spot from above if they’re blue, any swimming deeper than twenty feet are less likely to be seen by predators if they’re red. Johnsen says the finding makes sense when you look at marine creatures. “There are really blue animals near the surface think of a tuna then redder animals like shrimp farther down.” (New Scientist, 9 February 2002)

Better Dead than Red: Twelve Iowa divers who dived Cuba in 1999 received a Treasury Department notice earlier this year, fining them $7500 each for breaking federal laws that forbid casual travelers from spending money there. The Des Moines Register reports that the trip was organized by Leydens’ Dive Shop, which used Canada’s Scubacan to book the trip. “They assured us that everything was on the up-and-up,’ said Matt Leydens, owner of Leydens’ Dive Shop. Leydens said he would not pay the fines until he gets an administrative hearing on an appeal. His attorney told him that could take years. The Treasury Department asked Scubacan in 1998 to stop promoting the Cuba trips as permissible after calling company advertisements misleading.

Lobster Poacher to Stew in Can: Marc Sosnowski, 34, was arrested in 1999 when he was caught with 94 lobsters taken from the La Jolla Underwater Reserve, near San Diego. He paid $715 in fines, cleaned county restrooms, and was placed on three years probation. Eighteen months later he got nailed with a hundred lobsters he had speared. Game wardens determined that he was selling them to acquaintances where he worked and to a local eatery. In February he was sentenced to six months in jail, was fined $15,214, had to forfeit $1,800 worth of diving gear, and cannot dive in San Diego county during his three-year probation. ( San Diego Tribune )

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