Court says fisheries can’t punish sea lions when dams and fishermen kill more salmon

Court rules NOAA can’t just ignore the amount of salmon killed by dams and fishermen, then go nuclear on sea lions, who kill far less of the migratory fish.

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Freakiest Shark Exhibit Ever At Santa Monica Aquarium

Santa Monica Aquarium showcases local fish, but it’s not boring. They have a freaky exhibit of live shark embryos in egg casings. Bonus: eel, starfish & urchin

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Animals Catch World Cup Fever

black squirrel soccer ball

Mickey is all feet with the football

Around the world animal lovers are posing cute critters with soccer balls. It’s as if instead of Brazil versus England, it’ll be Team Fish versus Team Elephant.   A Japanese aquarium figured out how to give a soccer ball to fish, with “Blue tangs, symbolising Japan’s national soccer team who are popularly known as “Blue Samurai.”

I’m not above it. Here’s the squirrel football team.

Alvin puts on his game face

The Gray Team has the ball

Blue tangs symbolize Japan's team, who are called "Blue Samurai"

South Korean OAfrican penguins play football at Hakkeijima Sea Paradise aquarium in Yokohama (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

African Soccer Star !! by Picture Taker 2

Corgi in Training by this is emily

AnimalTourism: Where to Go to See Animals

ESPN Nuttily Claims Obama May Ban Fishing

When my husband David sent me a story about the Obama administration’s secret plan to abolish fishing, I assumed it was from The Onion. But it’s ESPN who’s getting the word out that the president could single-handedly “prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing the nation’s oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even inland waters.” You really don’t have to know anything about this upcoming report to know that’s not going to happen.

ESPNOutdoors writer Robert Montgomery then basically turns over the ESPN platform to Phil Morlock, whom he describes as director of environmental affairs for Shimano, a Japanese maker of bikes and fishing equipment. Montgomery lets Morlock ululate uninterrupted for paragraph after paragraph, using preposterous phrases like “Big Green.” A more accurate description would have been that Morlock is a lobbyist for fishing and hunting groups. He’s on the board of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), the group that lobbies for hunters and anglers. And he’s just started a similar group in Canada.

What works for the hunting industry is scaring hunters that Obama has a secret plan to take their guns away. Gun sales rose after Obama was elected. Morlock clearly wants to infect anglers with the same psychosis that makes hunters feel aggrieved and embattled.

Hunters have long tried to rope fishermen into their “sportsmen” mantle. Morlock and Montgomery whine that Obama isn’t considering the huge economic impact of fishing. (I guess they don’t have Google.) Hunters love to conflate stats on how many people fish and hunt

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Will Asking People To Text for Dolphins Work Post-Haiti?

Last night dolphins near Taijii, Japan, were oblivious to the break The Cove won an Oscar. The film’s hero, former Flipper trainer Ric O’Barry, has been trying to show Taijii’s dolphin slaughter to the world for years, even if it meant walking around with a TV on his chest. So, it’s no surprise he’d use the stage for the dolphins. O’Barry unfurled a banner saying “TEXT DOLPHIN TO 44144”.

What was the reaction? Twitter immediately ricocheted the message around thousands of time–and it’s still bouncing. This USAToday blogger says the sign–and its inherent naughtiness–got him to look up the film. But over at the Huffington Post, they ran a story explaining “What Happens if You Follow Ric Barry’s Sign?” The answer: you’re signed up for text message updates, up to 30 a month. Call me old-fashioned, but I subscribe to his blog, so that’s about 30 more than I need.

The Haiti earthquake taught the public that the easiest way you can donate money to a cause is by texting a charity. I doubt that causes can ask you to just text them anymore without people worrying how much it will cost. The various charities send you back a confirmation before your cellphone carrier sends off your money, Charity Navigator explains. If you haven’t done it, you won’t know that.

O’Barry wants you to write a letter to Obama. Taiji was, predictably, annoyed at the win. Controversy is swirling, the LA Times says. But what else does controversy

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Visitors to a Chinese Zoo Feed Carp Bananas by Hand

American zoos frown on feeding the animals, but the Nanning Zoo in China isn’t so persnickety. Visitors feed their carp bananas by hand.

What I can make out from on online translation of the zoo’s story: people in Guangxi got some bad bananas, so naturally they brought them to the zoo. And, of course, the zoo didn’t mind people giving the fruit to the monkeys and hornbills. Then, almost inevitably, somebody fed them to the gold fish. And now, as long as you peel the bananas, the carp think of them as a treat.

And it seems to be cultural: only this one pool of fish like bananas. There’s another pool in the zoo with the same kind of fish but they have “no enthusiasm on the banana.”

To see more animals go to animaltourism.com

Shark Cage Dives–Right in New England

New Englanders want to see sharks; that much is clear from the way they’ve crowded Chatham on Cape Cod in recent weeks, hoping for a glimpse of the sharks preying on the seal colony. There were enough sharks to close some beaches, but not really enough to make shark-watching successful. Few would-be shark tourists realize that New England is starting to have a thriving shark cage-diving industry, with three tour companies, one right on Nantucket.

Bryce Rohrer led shark cave dives off South Africa, the shark cage dive Capitol of the World, then realized he could start Nantucket Shark Divers closer to home. Rohrer grew up fishing in the area, but “that slowly evolved into ditching the fishing rod for a camera.” He knew there was enough sealife tantalizingly close to shore to make a good trip. “Not many people know sharks out there,” he says. “It’s a very attractive spot for people. The bottom line is there’s a ton of wildlife around there, lots of whales, sharks, dolphins–all the things people care about.”

This year he’s lead some free-diving tours–no cage, no airtanks–just a snorkel. He’s got a few warm, relatively shallow spots 10 to 40 miles off shore. Next year, he’ll also have a shark cage, which goes in the water behind the boat. He’ll let divers venture out of the cage at their own pace once they’re comfortable. He also has options for people like me, who can’t swim and are a little chicken; you

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Cape Cod Shark Update: Look Further Up the Coast, Captain Says

Yesterday we reported on how the Great White Sharks that are closing beaches on Cape Cod are also drawing shark tourists. Today another seal boat captain tells us they’re looking in the wrong spot.

Captain Keith Lincoln of Monomoy Island Ferry says that people are mistakenly hanging around Chatham Lighthouse since that’s where the shark was first sighted by kayakers a eating a seal in August. “That is all due to the misleading information given by the media,” says Captain Keith. “Massachusetts Department of Fisheries page shows all the taggings being done three miles south of the lighthouse near the area where South Beach and South Monomoy Island attached in 2006.”

Looking at the Fisheries map here, he’s totally right. Excellent tip, Captain Keith. (Though they do also show pictures of sharks offshore of the lighthouse.) He also warns that even if you’re in the right place, the odds of seeing a shark are pretty impossible. The tagging teams use spotters on planes and perches 35 feet out of the water.Captain Keith reports he’s “calls about seeing the sharks, which is nearly impossible to guarantee.” I think the seal tourists of Cape Cod have gotten spoiled; the tour boats can guarantee sightings because they’re dealing with the east coast’s biggest colony of gray seals, which is somewhere around 10,000. Normally wildlife watching is no sure thing.

Captain Keith, a 20-year veteran of the seal tours, says the sharks (and attendant media frenzy) come every year. “I think this year

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Sharks (& The East Coast’s Biggest Seal Colony) Draw Tourists

When news got out that Chatham, MA’s, gray seal colony–the biggest on the east coast–was drawing sharks that closed beaches, a funny thing happened. Or didn’t happen. Instead of running away scared, more tourists came to this little town on Cape Cod’s elbow to see some sharks, hoping for a picture, or at least a glimpse.

“It’s a big draw,” says Lisa Franz, executive director of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce. “We have traffic jams… People are still walking in today and saying ‘Where can we see them?’”

Tony LaCasse, a former veteran Boston TV newsman, says years ago local TV news would’ve been filled with scared would-be swimmers. But that was before years of education that drilled home how very unlikely it is to be bitten, let alone eaten, by a great white shark in New England. (Last fatal attack: 1936) Now we get shark tourists. “It’s a long way from Jaws,” says LaCasse, where the premise was they couldn’t possibly close the beach on the Fourth of July.

The sharks are coming because the water is (briefly) warm and because the seal population has grown unchecked–well, that is, until the sharks showed up. Seal populations were kept artificially low for decades–maybe centuries. Until the 1960s, Massachusetts even paid a bounty for each seal (“a nickel a nose” in the early 1900s). Now seals are making a comeback. Cape has the biggest population on the American east coast, with roughly 10,000 (no one’s done a formal count since

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The Cove: By Seeing the Movie, You’re Participating in the Effort

The Cove is a movie about dolphin slaughter in Japan, but the filmmakers have the sense to know that an hour of dolphins being harpooned, flailing and bleeding to death would be unwatchable. Instead they tell the fascinating, adventure story of trying to get footage of a slaughter of dolphins that Taiji, Japan tries desperately to keep secret.

Spoiler alert: they get the footage. And here’s where the audience feels like they’re participating. The point of the effort is to get the word (and video) out on how horrific and unnecessary the process of killing 23,000 dolphins a year is. It’s an act of faith by the filmmakers that once the world knows this will have to stop. And just by witnessing The Cove, you fee like you’re part of their journey.

They also list things you can do to help. You can write President Obama and the Japanese. You can donate. You can carefully choose your seafood–for your own health and for the fish’s sake.

One of the actions they suggest is that you pledge not to go see dolphins in captivity. (The sale of show dolphins supports dolphin slaughter.)

Here are some places you can go see dolphins in the wild instead.

To see more animals go to animaltourism.com