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Seattle Aquarium Gets Grant for Study of Sea Star Wasting Disease


The Seattle Aquarium has been awarded $75000 grant from Boeing Company for study of sea star wasting disease. Sea star wasting syndrome was first reported from Olympic National Park in the summer of 2013. Seattle aquarium is collaborating with many institutions including Monterey Bay Aquarium, SeaDoc Society, Cornell University and US Geological Survey in an effort to understand the outbreak of sea star wasting disease. Occurrence of this disease is the largest one recorded in the history of mankind and its cause still remains unknown even today. Major objective of Seattle aquarium research project is to investigate the causes of wasting syndrome. It is learnt that research report will be disseminated to scientists, policy makers, government agencies, media houses and general public.
Research grant is offered to Seattle Aquarium by National Sciences Foundation. Some unconfirmed reports indicate that a water borne microorganism is behind sea star wasting disease. Abundant population of sea star is found along Pacific Coast of United States of America. Complete disappearing of sea star from some of the Pacific coastal areas surprise marine scientists. Experts correlate massive death of sea stars with adverse climate events such as El Nino. Multiple scientific institutions in North America approach sea star wasting disease issue from different angles.

Via [Seattle Times]

Plymouth Aquarium is in the Race for Devon Tourism Award


Plymouth aquarium is in the final lap of grabbing a prestigious distinction named Devon Tourism Award. According to local newspaper reports, Plymouth marine exhibition center may get an award in business tourism category. The aquarium will get one more accolade in the form of sustainable tourism award. Driving marine conservation through engagement is the objective of Plymouth aquarium. Names of Devon Tourism award winners will be announced in the third week of November. Industry leaders, subject experts, and previous winners will be the jury members of Devon award committee. Managing Director of Plymouth aquarium said, “We are delighted to be finalists at this year’s Devon Tourism awards. The team here at the aquarium works really hard to ensure all our visitors enjoy their visit and that goes all the way through to our corporate guests. So it is great to be recognized for this”.
Being the largest aquarium in United Kingdom, Plymouth is well famous all over the globe. Coveted Devon tourism award will add elegance to the reputation of Plymouth aquarium. It is very rare that aquariums get considered for tourism awards and Plymouth broke this precedent. National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth is a member of British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It features distinct marine species including conger eel, bream, Pollack, smooth hound shark and flatfish.
Via [Plymouth Herald]

Sharks Hatched at Malta Aquarium Released


Six nurse hound shark pups hatched at Malta national aquarium were recently released into the sea. World Record Diving Malta organized the program in association with Project Aware. People gathered at the venue were given the opportunity to adopt a shark. Ongoing shark recovery and release program under the aegis of Malta National Aquarium received media attention. Malta marine center has already released seventeen sharks to the sea. Shark Lab Malta is the principal organizer of shark hatching program aimed at increasing awareness about shark finning. It is reported that eggs released from these sharks is preserved in a controlled environment. Sharks were released in an area where they had a best chance of survival.
Pups are a result of an embryological project conceptualized by Malta National aquarium and Shark Lab Malta. The project began as a part of research study conducted by Shark Lab for data collection at Valletta fish market. Malta aquarium officials had taken certain precautionary measures before launching the shark hatching project. They include circulatory system and technical infiltration system. It is to be recalled that Shark Lab Malta volunteers regularly visited local fish markets to spot pregnant sharks as a part of this project. Nurse hound shark is harmless to human and grows approximately one meter in length.

Via [Times of Malta]

Newport Aquarium Greets Eleven Millionth Visitor


The Newport aquarium celebrated its arrival of eleven millionth visitor on previous Monday morning. A family from Pittsburg was declared as the eleven millionth visitor by aquarium Vice President. Staff members of Newport aquarium welcomed the family with a large visitor banner and a ‘meet and greet’ session with African penguin. Six members of Pratt family hailing from Pittsburg namely Tom, Marcia Pratt, Caroline, Kate, Edie English and Bella were given annual complimentary visitor pass. They were provided with a unique opportunity to enjoy “VIP Bravo” experience where they met Galapagos tortoise named Bravo. Pratt family came to Newport for visiting their family member pursuing undergraduate studies at University of Cincinnati.
An elated Tom Pratt says, “We decided to visit Newport aquarium today because it is a unique place to see God’s creations up close. We were very surprised and excited to be the eleven millionth visitors. It is amazing that so many people have gone through to see all that’s here. It is a great facility and a great experience”. Aquarium in Newport had celebrated its fifteenth anniversary in previous May. It features seventy exhibits, fourteen galleries, and five acrylic tunnels. Newport aquarium is an accredited member of Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a global leader in wildlife conservation.

Via [River City News]

Florida Aquarium Launches Shark Swim Program


Florida aquarium has launched a program called shark swim which allows anyone to swim in the coral reef gallery. It is a thirty minute experience scheduled at 1:15 pm and 3:30 pm every day at the aquarium. Artificial reef at Florida marine center is home to sand tiger shark, stingray, eels, sea turtle and barracudas. The new facility is equipped with a scuba tank, regulator and flotation device. According to aquarium marketing manager, swimming with shark will be an incredible experience for aquarium visitors. Sand tiger shark is the major attraction of Florida aquarium visitors and they are enthusiastic about swimming with sharks. The divers get a mandatory education session to learn the basics of swimming with predators.
Aquarium in Florida has been organizing swimming with shark program for more than ten years for scuba divers. It includes $100 per person including aquarium admission for the diver. It is the first time that Florida aquarium extends this facility to people without scuba diving certification. Objective of ‘dive with the shark’ program is to make people want to dive more, to become more aware of marine species and become advocates of ocean. It is expected that many urban residents of Florida will utilize this opportunity to swim with sharks. More information about ‘dive with the shark’ program can be obtained from the Florida aquarium official website.
Via [Tampa Bay]

Commercial Fish Farming Emerges Highly Profitable in Kenya


It seems that commercial fish farming will slowly replace other agrarian activities in Kenya. Farmers fed up with low maize and bean yields are now experimenting fish farming and gaining amazing profits. Although issue of climate change persists, fish farmers in Kenya will never have to look back. Venturing into commercial fish farming is referred as a wise decision in countries like Kenya where other agrarian activities are in adverse condition. Concept of commercial fish farming gains prominence all over Africa in an era where climate change paralyzed their agricultural sector. Kenyan ministry of agriculture advises farmers to shift their focus from mono cropping to mixed farming.
Kenya witnessed many tragic incidents where death of livestock and fish caused extreme hunger in the households. In 2000, Kenyan departments of agriculture, fisheries and livestock began a countrywide commercial fish farming awareness campaign. Fish farmers in East Africa are experimenting new methods in commercial fish farming to increase their income. According to an official working in Fisheries department of Nakuru County, “Commercial fish farming in Kenya is a lucrative venture which can alleviate hunger and poverty in many households”. Demand of fish in Kenya increased mainly due to changed eating habits of its population and a ray of hopeawaits fish farmers based in this country blessed with splendid wildlife.
Via [Shanghai Daily]

Cage Fish Farming in Caspian Hit the Headlines Once Again


Cage fish farming in Caspian once again becomes a controversial topic hitting the headlines of newspapers. “Cage fish farming: Catastrophic or Beneficial” is the current issue which led to heated debates. Some people believe that cage fish farming is unprincipled and catastrophic for the environment. Supporters of cage fish farming opine that it is beneficial in creating number of job opportunities. At present, cage fish farming in coastal areas of Iran is being practiced by a private sector organization. Although many world countries practice cage fish farming, it became a sensitive issue in Iran. According to university professors based in Iran, rainbow trout fish farming in Caspian Sea is non professional and it ignores environmental consequences.
Iran Fisheries Department is the implementation agency of cage fish farming project. Officials of Fisheries Department carefully assess impacts of cage farming on sea ecological balance. As per reports, each cage produces twenty tons of trout fish. A high level meeting of senior representatives of Fisheries and Environmental Departments of Iran were convened recently to discuss all issues pertaining to cage fish farming in detail. Iran Fisheries Department authorities aim to create job opportunities and increase fish production. Necessary permits for carrying out cage fish farming have already been obtained from Iran government agencies. Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on earth.
Via [Payvand]

300000 Square Foot Aquaculture Facility Will Come Soon


Hubbs Sea World, a nonprofit research center, has teamed up with an equity firm to construct a 300000 square foot aquaculture facility. If this dream project of Hubbs Sea World becomes a reality, it will be the biggest aquaculture facility in the world. It is located 4.5 miles off the San Diego coast and Rose Canyon Fisheries Project will be able to raise 5000 tons of California yellowtail per year. Hubbs Sea World is rated as the third largest consumer of seafood in the world. As United States depends on other countries for seafood, new aquaculture center gains special importance. It is perceived that opening of Hubbs Sea World aquaculture facility will give new energy to seafood industry.
Many people expressed their surprise over why a nonprofit research institute gets involved in a for-profit business venture. Aquarium industry experts tell that the new facility will serve as a role model for environmentally sustainable offshore aquaculture. Profit generated from fish farm will be used to fund upcoming research project at Hubbs Sea World. It is understood that San Diego aquaculture center project will give great respect for environmental concerns and economic viability. This 300000 square foot facility will be a gift for fish farmers looking for alternative ways. As it nears completion, aquaculture will turn out to be a huge revenue generator of USA.

Rare Freshwater Fish Spotted in Britain


A rare freshwater fish named vendace has been spotted in Cumbrian Lake of Britain. It is known as a relic of the last ice age which was declared locally extinct before decades. Presence of a single young vendace was recorded in the previous year’s annual fish survey of United Kingdom. Everyone involved in the restoration of Bassenthwaite Lake and its multidimensional wildlife is enthusiastic about the finding of adult vendace. The new achievement is a result of unanimous effort carried out by Center for Ecology and Hydrology, Environment Agency and United Utilities. As a part of this project, abundance and composition of fish community is assessed each and every year. It is hundred percent sure that more number of vendace lives in Bassenthwaite Lake.
Researchers are skeptical about persistent sediment problems in the lake due to vendace egg incubation. It is believed that vendace actually survived in Bassenthwaite Lake below the limit of detection for the previous decade. Millions of pounds have already been spent in an effort to conserve this fish species which is rare among the rarest. Bassenthwaite Lake is a beautiful and unique living environment for vendace. Local nutrient enrichment is cited as the major reason behind deterioration of vendace. After many years of waiting, Vendace made a comeback to the lake with a big bang.
Via [The Fish Site]

Research Study Records Cichlid Fish Response


A recent research study has indicated the response of cichlid fish on seeing their reflection in mirror. It undermines many past studies of aggression in cichlid. Mirrors were used to record the behavior of animals and birds ever since the beginning of twentieth century. Now, it is scientifically proved that fish species are not reacting to their reflections in the same way as they would react to other fish. The study published in Animal Behavior Journal testifies that reaction of cichlid fish is entirely different while facing a rival fish and seeing their own mirror reflection. According to the research report, cichlid fish tend to swim next to one another in a head to tail configuration. When facing the mirror, this phenomenon will not happen as the fish will keep bumping into the rival.
Author of the research report Robert Elwood told that he likes to compare this kind of behavior to boxers. According to him, scientists generally underestimate cognitive skills of fish species. Robert Elwood’s research report on neural activity of cichlid fish became a focal attraction in 2010. “We have shown that cichlid fish can do logical reasoning. Fish can infer social rank by observation alone. So why should they be fooled by a mirror?” asks Robert.
Via [Nature World News]