The endangered school shark is being sold as food in Australia

July 14, 2020 by  
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Last year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ) listed the school shark as critically endangered. But that hasn’t stopped it from being regularly sold in Australian fish shops. While the international group chose one designation for the shark, Australian authorities put the species in a category known as “conservation dependent.” This means people can commercially trade the shark despite it being endangered. Related: Right Whales now ranked as critically endangered species “It’s a quirk in our national laws that prioritizes commercial exploitation and economic drivers over environmental ones,” said Leonardo Guida, a shark scientist and spokesperson for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, as reported in The Guardian . “We stopped harvesting whales for that very reason. Why is it different for a shark? Why is it different for a fish? There is no reason why any animal that has had a 90% decline in modern times should still continue to be harvested.” School sharks are smaller sharks that can measure up to 6 feet long and live for up to 60 years. This migratory species is found in many parts of the world, including off the shores of Brazil, Iceland, British Columbia, the U.K., Azores, Canary Islands and New Zealand. But they would be wise to steer clear of Australia , where their meat is sometimes sold as “flake,” Australia’s generic term for the shark meat popularly sold by fish and chip shops. The school shark is one of several animal species listed as conservation dependent that experts say should actually qualify for stronger protection. The school shark population has plummeted to 10% of its original numbers since 1990, when the species was officially declared as overfished. Countries recently voted to list the school shark on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) appendices. This international agreement tries to get countries to cooperate in conserving migratory species. Australia was the only country to vote against it, claiming that the school shark population found in the ocean around Australia doesn’t migrate. Via The Guardian Image via Queensland State Archives

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The endangered school shark is being sold as food in Australia

Wood lattice walls ventilate this beautiful Costa Rica home

July 10, 2020 by  
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Perched in the mountains of Nosara, a surfing paradise on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica , Casa Guayacán boasts a beautiful ocean view and a tranquil setting. A stunning example of sustainable architecture in a tropical setting, this home being designed by two talented professional architects comes as no surprise. Evangelina Quesada and Lucca Spendlingwimmer, architects who moved to the remote mountain location with their two daughters, built the home based on their mutual love for contemporary tropical architecture. The home takes advantage of the ocean breeze with ventilating lattice walls and is equipped with a rooftop solar panel system that provides 100% battery autonomy throughout the day and night. Related: Stunning Costa Rican beach home uses passive features to stay cool The facade incorporates a design that combines spacious floor-to-ceiling windows and wood lattice walls for natural cross ventilation . Elongated from north to south, most of the space faces the sea, with the west side facing the sunset in the evening. Half-open wood slats help emphasize airflow, while also creating a unique light pattern that changes during different times of the day. To move the house as far from the public street as possible and address the site’s uneven terrain, the design was developed over two levels. A shorter lower level allows for entrance access below the main structure, room for parking, a studio and service area. The upper level contains common areas, bedrooms and the property’s best ocean views. The home’s modular floor plan allowed for a faster construction time and less material waste. The home uses materials such as stone, polished cement, metal, wood and glass. The wood , taken from controlled teak plantations, was treated with linseed oil to maintain natural texture and color. Incorporating traditional building methods and talent from local artisans in the woodwork helps make Casa Guayacán a captivating addition to the tropical Costa Rican foothills. + Salagnac Arquitectos Images via Salagnac Arquitectos

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Wood lattice walls ventilate this beautiful Costa Rica home

500-mile-long shark highway could become a protected wildlife corridor

May 23, 2018 by  
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For the very first time, scientists filmed sharks traveling along a 500-mile-long shark highway in the Pacific Ocean  that stretches between the Galapagos Islands and Cocos Island. The reason for filming? While Cocos and the Galapagos have protected areas for fish , the shark highway is not included, and scientists want to transform it into a protected wildlife corridor . Costa Rica group Fundación PACÍFICO , a collaboration of four environmental funds, organized an expedition to videotape the shark highway. President Zdenka Piskulich told NPR it’s difficult to get people interested in a corridor out in the ocean , but “finally we have visual evidence that there is a huge abundance in this area that needs to be protected, that there really is a highway.” Related: Russia built a critical wildlife corridor to help save endangered big cats The scientists utilized GoPro-style cameras, fish bait and metal frames to create what are called baited remote underwater video systems, or BRUVS. They dragged these behind a research boat for nearly two weeks. Biologist Mario Espinoza said, “We actually documented over 16 species of sharks and fish, also sea turtles and dolphins …It’s really surprising to see that many animals .” Sharks — including hammerhead, thresher and silky sharks — were the predominant marine animal. The shark highway follows an underwater mountain range, or seamounts, according to Fundación PACÍFICO . Espinoza said this was “the first time we actually documented animals using these seamounts. We don’t know exactly whether they are feeding or they’re like stopping by or using these seamounts as navigation routes.” Lee Crockett of the Shark Conservation Fund said sharks straying outside of protected areas are at risk of being caught on the long lines of high seas tuna fishing. Some species of hammerhead sharks are endangered ; others are declining. He described protecting this shark highway as “the next step in conservation .” + Fundación PACÍFICO Via NPR Image via Depositphotos

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Breakthrough device is ‘100% successful’ in protecting swimmers from sharks

April 11, 2018 by  
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Though it may not feel it in some places, summer is just around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere and with warmer weather comes a rise in shark attacks. To protect swimmers and surfers from oceanic predators, scientists in Australia have developed a surfboard with LED lights on the underside that may deter shark attacks. In studying the ways in which sharks see and interact with the world around them, the research team at Macquarie University uncovered a surprisingly simple method to hide the silhouettes of surfers from sharks below that has so far proven to be “100% successful” in trials. “Pure basic research can sometimes lead to unexpected applications and potentially contribute to life-saving technology,” study leader Dr. Nathan Hart told the  Macquarie Lighthouse . “Studying the sensory systems of sharks and what triggers them to attack, and how they might mistake a human for a seal was where it all started,” Hart says. “It’s taken us to the forefront of developing shark deterrents.” Initial testing of the light-up surfboards in South Africa have shown promising results and the research team is now working with the Taronga Zoo, the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, and a commercial partner to develop a market-ready product. “The designs we have tested have been 100 percent successful in preventing Great white sharks from attacking,” Professor Nathan Hart, associate professor of comparative neurophysiology at Macquarie, said in an interview with The Australian . Related: 512-year-old Greenland shark may be the oldest living vertebrate on Earth The well-lit surfboard as shark deterrent was informed by observations of the natural world. “This strategy is a common strategy used by midwater fish, which are trying to avoid predators swimming below them,” Hart told ABC . “Some of these fish have light-emitting organs on their underside, which put out light and help them to camouflage themselves from the light coming from above. Technology and engineering take inspiration from nature, so we’re really trying to use that inspiration that has evolved over many millions of years, and apply that to a very modern problem.” The team expects to continue their research for the next two years before finalizing a product that can be used by the public. Via Australian Broadcasting Corporation Images via Depositphotos and  Macquarie Lighthouse

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Breakthrough device is ‘100% successful’ in protecting swimmers from sharks

This secret tiny house in the Belgian countryside could be yours for the weekend

April 11, 2018 by  
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We’ve seen lots of tiny house rentals that offer the chance to get away from it all – but this new service adds a touch of mystery to the experience. Slow Cabins rents tiny houses set in idyllic locations across Belgium, with one catch–their locations are only revealed after the reservation is made. By keeping the location of the rental a mystery, the company removes all of the stress when it comes to planning relaxing, off-grid getaways. Slow Cabins is the brainchild of entrepreneur Xavier Leclair. The service offers solar-powered wooden cabins with built-in rainwater collection and filtration systems, as well as dry toilets. The cabins come in two sizes: one size for couples and a family size that sleeps up to five people. Regardless of model, the cabins are designed to provide a healthy atmosphere built with a small deck to enjoy the natural surroundings. Related: Escape the city in this new Harvard startup’s affordable tiny home rentals near NYC The interiors have been left as “raw” as possible. Wooden floors and walls keep the cabins rustic, and blonde wooden furniture provides a minimalist, Scandinavian feel. The furnishings are simple, with a wood-burning stove to keep guests warm during the chilly nights. Renters looking for a relaxing getaway have no absolutely no say in the location, but are guaranteed a complete, off-grid , back-to-nature vacation in a truly picturesque setting. The cabins have no WiFi or TV; instead, they feature large insulated windows that let the renters enjoy views of the idyllic fields and forest landscape. + Slow Cabins Via The Spaces Photography by Jonas Verhulst / Slow Cabin

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This secret tiny house in the Belgian countryside could be yours for the weekend

512-year-old Greenland shark may be the oldest living vertebrate on Earth

December 14, 2017 by  
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A recently identified 512-year-old Greenland shark may be the world’s oldest living vertebrate. Although scientists discovered the 18-foot fish in the North Atlantic months ago, its age was only recently revealed in a study published in the journal Science .  Greenland sharks have the longest lifespan of any vertebrate animal, so it is perhaps unsurprising that the species would boast the oldest living individual vertebrate as well. Nonetheless, the fact that this creature may have been born as early as 1505 is remarkable. “It definitely tells us that this creature is extraordinary and it should be considered among the absolute oldest animals in the world,” said marine biologist Julius Nelson, whose research team studied the shark’s longevity. To determine the shark’s age, scientists used a mathematical model that analyzes the lens and cornea of a shark’s eye and links size of the shark to its age. Greenland sharks grow at a rate of about 1 centimeter per year, which allowed scientists to estimate a particular shark’s age. The ability to measure the age of this mysterious shark is relatively new. “Fish biologists have tried to determine the age and longevity of Greenland sharks for decades, but without success,” said Steven Campana, a shark expert from the University of Iceland. “Given that this shark is the apex predator (king of the food chain) in Arctic waters, it is almost unbelievable that we didn’t know whether the shark lives for 20 years, or for 1,000 years.” Related: Airbnb is offering a night in an underwater bedroom surrounded by 35 sharks The Greenland shark thrives in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. Despite its considerable size, comparable to that of a great white shark, the Greenland shark is a scavenger and has never been observed hunting. Its diet primarily consists of fish, though remains of reindeer, polar bear , moose, and seals have been found in the species’ stomachs. To cope with life in deep water, the living tissues of a Greenland shark contains high levels of trimethylamine N-oxide, which makes the meat toxic. However, when the flesh is fermented, it can be consumed, as it is in Iceland as a dish known as Kæstur hákarl. Via International Business Times Images via Wikimedia and Julius Nelson

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512-year-old Greenland shark may be the oldest living vertebrate on Earth

Electronic Shark Shield keeps swimmers and surfers safe in the water

June 19, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. Surfers and ocean swimmers all over the world will likely be thrilled to hear about this new electronic shark deterrent , especially in light of recent shark attacks on the East Coast. The Shark Shield was developed by the University of Western Australia’s Ocean Institute and successfully deterred sharks from approaching a “baited test rig” in trial runs. By emitting an electric field, the Shark Shield confuses a shark’s electroreceptive system — a network of receptors in a shark’s head, giving swimmers the chance to high-tail it to dry land. Read the rest of Electronic Shark Shield keeps swimmers and surfers safe in the water Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: australia sharks , nathan hart , shark bait , shark deterrent , shark shield , shark testing , shaun collin , surfers and sharks , western australia ocean institute

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Electronic Shark Shield keeps swimmers and surfers safe in the water

Has Earth Day marketing jumped the shark?

April 19, 2012 by  
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Earth Day traditionally brings piles of sustainability announcements from companies, but experts say big news can get lost in the crowd.  

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As Oregon Bans Shark Fins, Will California Follow?

August 8, 2011 by  
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Photo by Willy Volk via Flickr CC (and our TreeHugger Flickr Pool ) Oregon’s Governor John Kitzhaber signed bill HB 2838 last Thursday, appropriately during Shark Week, which bans the sale, trade and possession of shark fins. It follows Hawaii and Washington to hammer down on the shark fin trade, and helps with the federal government’s legislation on shark finning in US waters. … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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As Oregon Bans Shark Fins, Will California Follow?

US State Of Washington Bans Sale & Distribution Of Shark Fin Products

May 14, 2011 by  
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Bowl of shark fin soup.

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