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July 2012    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 38, No. 7   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the July, 2012 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Turtle Freed for Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee. The Cayman Turtle Farm said it is freeing a 60-year-old turtle to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's 60 years on the British throne. The turtle, known as Sir Thomas Turtleton, weighs more than 600 pounds and has been used to breed for more than 30 years. He was released in North Sounds, the largest protected bay on Grand Cayman, and will be tracked by satellite. Sir Thomas served his Queen well but doesnt' she deserve more than one free turtle, given her long reign -- and the need to replenish our oceans?

Natural Formation or UFO? A Swedish research team spent 12 days in June exploring a 200-footwide object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea,between Sweden and Finland, with robot camera, sonar and deep sea divers. The conclusion: It apears to be some "natural, geological formation,"like a giant stone. But team leader Peter Lindberg told that it's still unusual because there's no silt covering the rock, typical for sea-floor stones, and it "appears to have construction lines and boxes drawn on it" with straight edges. Also, a 26-foot-tall pillar is holding it up. Lindberg, who is still screening the video footage says "If an intelligent life form has built a spaceship, there's the question of 'why not make it out of stone or coral?'"

No More Shark Fin Soup at China's State Banquets. In what environmental groups call a "monumental decision," the Chinese government just announced a ban on the serving of shark fin soup at official banquets. The move falls short of an outright ban on the possession and sale of shark fins that have been adopted in the United States, and it remains to be seen how well China's instructions will be adhered to by officials countrywide. Still, the news was widely seen as sending an important signal, and it may also increase the pressure on Hong Kong, the main hub of the shark fin trade, to follow suit.

One Pissed-Off Fisherman. On May 9, Florida fisherman Donald Bamford, 74, was so angry that marine biologist Alison Johnson's dive flag was in his fishing spot that he dragged her from the seafloor by her flag line, pulling her to the surface in less than a minute. Once topside, Johnson, who was collecting data on mutton snapper spawn, suffered a severe headache but couldn't convince Bamford to let her keep diving and decompress. Johnson was treated for DCS, while Bamford was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge and released after posting $2,000 bail

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