News and Events

p2

April 7th through 9th

Opening of Ab Season at Little House

Mendocino

Only a few spots left - call Curt or Carol.

Heck call 'em both so you don't miss out! Bug 'em at work.

 

Marine Management News

No e-mails really jumped out at me this month. I'm done.

California Program to Sink Ships Moves Ahead - from The California Diving News

The non-profit Sunken Treasures Society of Los Angeles was co-founded by Schmiedeke and others in late 2005 to environmentally clean and intentionally sink retired war ships off the L.A. coast. Similar “sink groups” exist in Northern California and Orange County, and it was the San Diego-based California Ships to Reefs (CS2R) that was responsible the first major, successful sinking of a Canadian destroyer escort, Yukon, seven years ago.

Now, CS2R has re-formed as a state-wide non-profit corporation to assist “sink groups” like Sunken Treasures, the Northern California Oceans Foundation and an Orange County group. Its purpose is to act as the liaison point with state and federal governments for ship requests and permitting functions. CS2R’s long term goal is to create a model process that will eventually result in a “sink fleet” of 20 or more ships up and down the California coast.

The group has several objectives in the next year including:
• Investigating an offer by the US Navy to take possession of the world’s largest conventionally powered submarine, the Sailfish, to determine the feasibility of conversion into a cultural reef. Also Squalus. Additional warships are waiting in the wings.


“States like Florida reap hundreds of millions of dollars annually in underwater tourism dollars by having an active cultured reef program. This is over and above the obvious recreational benefits and the contributions it makes to the ecological health of these areas,” says Schmiedeke. “We can turn ‘deserts’ of mud and sand into healthy reefs. California deserves to take its rightful place as a world class wreck-diving destination.”

For more information, on California Ships to Reef visit www.sunkentreasures.org online.

Also:

San Diego Oceans Foundation.

Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia

 

Whaler Wants Legal Action Against Activists - By Elaine Lies in Tokyo March

The head of Japan's latest whale hunt called for legal action today against anti-whaling activists who clashed with Japan's fleet during an Antarctic hunt cut short by a fatal fire. But neither the Japanese Government nor the institute that oversees its whaling program said they were considering such a move.

Japan's main whaling ship, the 8000-tonne, the Nisshin Maru, limped into port last Friday with a haul of 508 whales after a fire last month that killed one crew member, crippled the ship and raised fears that oil or chemicals could spill into the Southern Ocean near the world's biggest Adelie penguin colony. This year was the first time in 20 years that Japan was forced to shorten its whaling expedition and its fleet took 505 minke whales and three fin whales instead of a planned 850 minke whales and 10 fin whales. In all, the Japanese killed 508 whales, 452 short of their target. The hunt was marked by clashes with anti-whaling groups, mainly the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, one of whose boat was damaged in an incident with a Japanese whaling vessel.

Sea Shepherd activists also poured acid on the decks of the Nisshin Maru to halt the crew's work of cutting up whales, slightly injuring two crew members. "We'd like to take strong legal action and stamp out this sort of activity," Shigetoshi Nishiwaki, expedition leader and a staff member at the Institute for Cetacean Research, which oversees Japan's whaling program, said. . An official at the Institute for Cetacean Research said such decisions could only be made by the Fisheries Agency, and an official there said it was not considering legal steps.

Japan began its scientific whaling program a year after an international ban in 1986. The meat ends up on supermarket shelves and restaurant tables, but it is far from a daily menu choice for most Japanese. Karli Thomas, who was on the Greenpeace anti-whaling ship Esperanza in the Southern Ocean, said there were no grounds for legal action and the Esperanza had offered help to the stricken Nisshin Maru after the fire broke out. Japan declined the offer.

The Esperanza is due to arrive in Tokyo tomorrow and Greenpeace said it plans to invite whaling officials on board.

In Australia, an Australian Federal police forensics investigations will soon release the results of their inquiry into allegations by the Japanese that the Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter had rammed the Japanese whaler Keiko Maru.

“I am confident that the results will demonstrate that it was the Keiko Maru that rammed the Robert Hunter,” said Founder and President of Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson.“When we ram a whaling ship, we are damned proud to have done so and we would have said so if we did. The fact is that we did not and the evidence will back our position on that.”



Thames 'clean enough' for Salmon
Salmon released into river

The 2cm (0.8in) long salmon have been released into the river



Salmon have been introduced to the River Thames after experts declared the water clean enough for the fish to breed - after almost 200 years.

The young salmon, were released into the Thames tributary, Lambourne river, at Welford, near Newbury, Berks.

Thames salmon died out in the 1830s, with salmon from other sources, which do not breed there, present from 1974, the Environment Agency (EA) said.

It is hoped a salmon population will be back in the River Thames in 5-10 years.

An EA spokesperson said the new salmon should stay in the river for a year before heading downstream through London, and up to Greenland before coming back to breed.

Darryl Cilfton-Dey, of the Environment Agency, told BBC news: "People do fish for salmon on the Thames but the population is so small at the moment that there's not a great deal of chance of catching one.

"Hopefully if these come back, and if they breed and if the young from those come back, then in a few year's time there'll be quite a few salmon around."

Salmon eggs, about 5,000, were incubated and 2cm (0.8in) long baby salmon introduced to the river.

 

Can the monkey god save Rama’s underwater bridge?
- Ruth Gledhill and Jeremy Page in Delhi

Rama

Hindu groups are launching an international campaign today to halt India’s plans to create a shipping channel by dredging the sea between India and Sri Lanka.

NASA satellite photo of Adam's Bridge—oblique, Sri Lanka to the left

They say that the project will destroy an ancient chain of shoals known as Adam’s Bridge, which Hindus believe was built by an army of monkeys to allow Lord Rama to cross to Lanka to rescue his abducted wife. They are also protesting on environmental grounds, arguing that the 30-mile string of limestone shoals, also known as Ram Sethu, protected large parts of India from the 2004 tsunami.

“The bridge is as holy to Hindus as the Wailing Wall is to the Jews, the Vatican to Catholics, Bodh Gaya to Buddhists and Mecca to Muslims,” said Kusum Vyas, president and founder of Esha Vasyam, a US Hindu environmental lobbying group. “It is an unacceptable breach of the religious rights of over one billion Hindus to destroy such a sacred landmark without even consulting us.”

The £280 million Sethusa-mudram project has been mired in controversy ever since it was inaugurated by Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister, in July 2005. The Government says that the 167km (104mile) channel through the Palk Strait will cut an estimated 400km (and 30 hours) off the journey between the east and west coast of India. The fastest current route is around Sri Lanka.

It argues that Adam’s Bridge is a natural geological formation and that its plans to dredge to a depth of 12 metres will not cause serious environmental damage. It also says that the plan will benefit millions of people in the area by allowing the development of a commercial fishing industry. The project is due to be completed next year, by which time an estimated 48 million cubic metres of silt will have been removed from the Palk Strait.

Central to the controversy is the question of whether Adam’s Bridge is man-made or a natural formation. The bridge is believed by some to have been passable on foot as recently as the 15th century. According to Hindu belief set out in the epic poem the Ramayana, it was built about 3,500 years ago. Its purpose was to allow Lord Rama, one of the great kings of ancient India and an avatar of the god Vishnu, to travel from India to Sri Lanka, where he defeated the demonic tyrant Ravana and rescued his wife, Sita.

In 2002, Hindu nationalists cited NASA satellite photographs of the shoals as evidence that the events described in the Ramayana really took place, although NASA has distanced itself from those claims.

This month a panel of Indian scientists concluded that the bridge was “a geological formation, which took place about 17 million years ago”.

They could not, however, explain a mysterious series of accidents which have stalled work. First, the dredging vessel Duck6 sank. It was replaced by the Dredging Corporation of India’s biggest dredging vessel, but its spud broke. Another ship was then sent to retrieve the spud, but its crane snapped and crashed into the sea.

At least one Hindu leader has suggested that the bridge is being protected by Lord Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god.

"Don't monkey with my bridge." - Lord Hanuman

 
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