Holiday Party

Saturday evening on December 20th

at Catherine and David's house in the Oakland Hills


( I believe this time we've even asked them if its OK ... e-mail to follow with exact directions)


From our friends at he DFG:

Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. Her DFG-related question and answer column appears weekly
at www.dfg.ca.gov/QandA/. While she cannot personally answer everyone's questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

Question: Are you allowed to lure lobsters out of a hole with a piece of sardine in your hand?

Answer: Sure, you can give it a try, but I don't know how successful you'll be. The law says that skin and SCUBA divers may take crustaceans by the use of the hands only and may not possess any hooked device while diving or attempting to dive for them (Section 29.80). There is no prohibition against waving snacks in front of them.


Ghana's 'miracle': Logging underwater forests for exotic timber

ACCRA (AFP) — Ghana, which is running short of forests to chop down, is about to turn to the dead trees underneath its Lake Volta as a new source of exotic timber, one of its top export earners. Lake Volta, one of the world's largest artificial lakes, is expected to yield millions of dollars worth of timber in what is set to be Africa's biggest-ever underwater logging of what was thought to be lost forests. Experts say Ghana's forest cover has shrunk to about a quarter of its 1960 size due to over-logging and poaching. Underwater logging is seen as a novelty in the quest to save the west African nation's overland forests. The venture is expected to help fight global climate change by sparing the living trees that are needed to absorb carbon.

Ghana's Forestry Services chief Owusu Abebrese asserts that this harvesting of submarine timber is the first of its kind in Africa.

Timber is Ghana's fourth export earner -- after gold, cocoa and tourism, with the majority of the wood heading to Europe.

In September, the European Union inked a landmark deal with Ghana to fight illegal timber exports from the west African country which will see shipments of uncertified timber being turned away from the EU.

SCUBA Diving in Utah's Desert

Three warm spring-fed pools, from 13 to 62 feet deep, are open to divers and stocked with thousands of fish, including two nurse sharks. Equipment rentals, SCUBA lessons and certification are available. Children are allowed with adult supervision; the minimum age for scuba diving is 8.

Visibility is the Achilles' heel at Bonneville Seabase. Desert storms, wind, blooming algae and thousands of stirring fish make a mix that some days resembles pea soup. On my dive, visibility was about four and a half feet; the best days, according to Ms. Nelson, let sunlight cut 20 feet through the water.

Thousands of fish - from flitting minnows to a pair of nine-foot-long nurse sharks - live in the murky waters at Bonneville Seabase, an independent experiment in marine biology started 20 years ago by George Sanders and Linda Nelson, husband-and-wife scuba divers from Salt Lake City. After years of development costing them about a million dollars, they have created a private tropical-fish preserve off an empty road at 4,293 feet in a valley about 10 miles south of the Great Salt Lake.

It's open to snorkelers and scuba divers four days a week, year round, for $15 a day. Coaxing aquatic life in an ersatz ocean didn't come easy for Ms. Nelson and Mr. Sanders, world-traveling divers and self-taught ichthyologists. Coral couldn't grow in the salty springs. Mussels died. Algae blooms, a constant problem, spread uncontrollably in the warm geothermic water, which is 90 degrees at the bottom but is cooled by the air at the surface.

Last winter, a stock of 10,000 shrimp were introduced to Habitat Bay, a half-acre pool that's 24 feet deep. A flock of hundreds of ducks living in wetlands south of the Great Salt Lake soon discovered them. "They ate them all," Ms. Nelson said.



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