Weekly Diving News - 19/03/07
19 March Monday, 9:32 AM


Twenty New Shark and Ray Species Discovered in Indonesia

It has been reported on National Geographic News, that during a survey of local fish markets in Indonesia, 20 previously unknown species of Shark and Ray have been discovered. Indonesia comprises of more than 17,000 islands, and during the five-year study, 130 species were sampled revealing 6 species that have since been described in scientific journals, and 14 more that the scientists are preparing to describe.

This survey has filled in some gaping holes in knowledge of Indonesian marine species, and is the first step in ensure that they survive. Rays and Sharks are particularly venerable to overfishing because of their relatively slow reproduction rate, and it is only with reliable taxonomic information that the current abundance and diversity of species can be assessed.

Indonesia has always been popular amongst divers as it is one of the most diverse marine environments in the world. There have been regular research trips to the islands, and they regularly discover new aquatic species. It is now becoming increasingly essential for regulations to be placed on the local fishing communities to ensure that the sustainability of the community, does not affect the sustainability of the marine life.

 

Orissa, India, Site of 1800 Endangered Turtle Carcasses.

Annually, thousands of Olive Ridley Turtles get trapped in fishermen's nets or struck by sharp motor blades of trawlers illegally fishing along the coast of Orissa. Previous figures for casualties in the area have been in excess of 15,000 in a year, so although the figures are high, Wildlife Wardens in the area are pleased to see the numbers drop.

The problems occur during the early months of the year, when these turtles come to shore to breed, making them much more venerable to those fishing in the areas. The Orissan State Government has declared the whole nesting area a marine sanctuary, and slowly the numbers of turtle deaths are declining, but more has to be done to persuade local fishermen to be more selective about the species they catch.

 

Ross Worms - UK Reef Builders and Marine Conservationists?

The segmented Ross Worm uses sand or shell fragments to construct tubes. This they have been doing feverishly and their industrious efforts have given rise to a stunning reef, approximately the size of a football pitch.

This is what has brought the marine environments to the governments attention , and has led in part to the white paper increasing conservation sites, reported in last weeks bulletin.

Although most of the areas will impose blanket bans of fishing and gas & oil drilling, sensitivity and discretion will be used when considering the impact on local Communities.




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