The Scuttlefish

Love the Ocean. Wish you were here.

Category: china

How to Farm Fish Without Killing the Planet

aquapod_fish-farm1

Photo: Ocean Farm Technologies.

Aquaculture has been the world’s fastest-growing food sector for several decades, and some argue it is the only feasible answer to the predicament of trying to feed a growing global population that is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.

And they have a point. Since the 1970s, roughly half of the world’s fish and seafood harvested for human consumption has been farmed, and in 2011, aquaculture exceeded global beef production for the first time in history.

But how can it be done without introducing pathogens (as well has hormones and potential toxins, like antibiotics) and depleting the ocean of precious oxygen and nutrients?

While there appears to be plenty of space in the ocean for the industry to expand, many, if not most of these farms lie in lakes and near-coastal waterways where, if not properly managed, they pose a serious threat to the surrounding environment.

Risks_aquaculture_550

Graphic: Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis.

Read more»

Here’s What You Should Know About the Littlest Porpoise and What You Can Do to Help Them.

natgeovaq.jpg

Above: The vaquita (Phocoena sinus). Photo: Flip Nicklin, Minden Pictures/Corbis.

The vaquita is a tiny endangered porpoise that exists within a narrow 1,500-square-mile patch of the Pacific Ocean around Baja, California with a dwindling population of less than 100 as of late 2014.

As is the case with many cetaceans that find themselves fouled in fishing nets, they’re not the target species. Oriental interest in the swim bladder of another endangered specimen, the totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), has fishermen in Mexico setting nets in waters shared by the vaquita.

Read more»

100 Feet Deep in a Mexican Sinkhole, This Incredible Scotch Ad Nods to a Dying Chinese Tradition

ballantines-underwater-river-hed-2015

“What really works in an image is when people cannot tell what’s real, and those lines get blurred.” – Photographer Benjamin Von Wong.

A photographer, a veteran freediver, and a team of 13 divers convened 100 feet deep in a cenote (sinkhole) near Tulum, Mexico to shoot what will likely go down in history as the world’s coolest booze ad.

100 feet, or 30 meters down, below the aqua-blue, gin-clear waters of the cenote lies a deadly layer of hydrogen sulfide, which happens to give off the visual effect that the water above it is pure O2.

The photograph, which is for scotch producer Ballentine’s, pays tribute to the dying culture of the Chinese cormorant fisherman. This ancient fishing method involves the fisherman tying a noose-like knot around the bird’s neck and sending it down to dive for small fish. When the bird surfaces, the fisherman deftly yanks the line and loop tight, pulling the bird back in before it has a chance to swallow its catch. He’ll repeat this until the boat’s full, and then the cormorant gets its meal. Cruel? Yes. But, effective and ingenious? You betcha.

Read more»

The Astonishing Rise of the China’s Reef-Destroying Military Islands In High Resolution

ChinaReef1
Subi Reef – This reef has changed dramatically in recent months. The southern, western, and northern edges of the reef have been reclaimed and an access channel to the inner harbor cut out. Dredgers continued to operate here in June. Two cement plants are being built along the western bank. Image: Washington Post/AMTI. 

In April, we ran a story that tracked some of the troubling destruction China is wreaking on reefs in the South China Sea in the pursuit of miltary and commercial bases. They’re actually building islands out of atolls. 

Today The Washington Post published a stunning series of images collected by the Asian Maritime Transparency Institute that lays out in depressing detail, the level of destruction and the scale of construction that China is bringing to what otherwise once appeared to be beautiful, blue atolls in the South China Sea.

Can we do a damn thing about it? No, not really. Will the future conflicts sure to erupt over these disputed territorial waters one day bring war back to South Asia? That remains to be seen.

Read more»

What Will Be the Fate of the Captain and Chief Engineer of the Eastern Star, The Capsized Cruise Ship in China?

china-river-ship

The ship was righted and raised on June 6th, when the remains of most of those missing were recovered. Photo: gCaptain/Bloomberg.

As recovery crews continue the search for dozens of the 400-plus missing souls after last week’s tragedy in the Yangtze River in China, the captain and the chief engineer of the cruise ship, Eastern Star, which reportedly capsized in the midst of a sudden and rare but ravenous force 12 tornado which sank the ship, remain in custody. The warning of the severe weather was delivered within mere minutes–as is most often the case with tornados–and there wasn’t much time for the vessel to fall into procedure or make for shore, being such a large ship.

raised

The number of casualties from the Yangtze River tragedy has risen to over 430. Photo: Getty Images.

What fate will befall the captain and the chief engineer of the Eastern Star? We asked gCaptain Editor-in-Chief and USCG Master Captain of Unlimited Tonnage John Konrad to weigh in:

“I don’t know what the weather looked like on-scene just prior to the tornado but, even if there were warnings, tornados are hard to predict. I have seen one small tornado (or large water spout) at sea myself and luck is the primary reason we didn’t cross paths with it.”

“In short, unlike other notable incidents like the Costa Concordia and Sewol Ferry, there was probably nothing this captain did wrong… but would it surprise you if I said that Captain Hazelwood (ed’s note: of 1989 Exxon Valdez spill fame) did nothing wrong either?

Read more»

A 20 Foot (Great White?) Shark Was Mysteriously Delivered to a Backyard in Qingdao, China

qingdao-shark

Just another day in the neighborhood. Photo: ImagineChina/REX Shutterstock.

Identified as a great white, the 6 meter shark was delivered by crane to a man in a Tuhao (“provincial rich”, or “uncivilized splendor”) neighborhood in China’s port city of Qingdao.

One neighbor reported that he caught the gigantic fish “very far out at sea”. Another explained that the resident in question bought the shark, as he had a sizable shark delivered the previous year as well, which he shared with the neighborhood. Apparently the man enjoys skinning, dressing and butchering the endangered animals in his backyard.

Read more»

Smile with an Intent to Do Mischief – Why Is China Really Making Islands in the South China Sea?

nytsmischief

Above: A March 16 satellite image shows China’s recent progress on Mischief Reef. Image: CreditCenter for Strategic and International Studies, via Digital Globe

The South China Sea is one of the most heavily trafficked commercial waterways and fishing grounds in the world. Oil and natural gas were discovered in the Spratly Islands in 1968. How large those reserves may be is anyone’s guess; they remain vastly unexplored, but every southeast Asian nation within a stone’s throw away has been grappling to claim ownership in the decades since. Last year, China began a coral-smothering dredging project to create more islands – seemingly with that very idea in mind.

“We are building shelters, aids for navigation, search and rescue as well as marine meteorological forecasting services, fishery services and other administrative services,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reported in a news briefing.

mischief

Mischief Reef, January 24, 2012 (left) and March 16, 2015 (right). Images: NYT/Center for Strategic and International Studies via Digital Globe

135 miles to the west of Palawan Island in the Philippines, China is creating an artificial island by dredging sand and burying the coral on Mischief Reef, an aptly named atoll which they laid claim to in 1995. 200 miles to the west of Mischief Reef is Fiery Cross Reef, atop which China has already established an artificial reef almost two miles long and 1,000 feet wide.

Read more»

What to Do with a 112-Year-Old Chinese Corpse Shipwreck Discovered off New Zealand?

ventnor

The SS Ventnor sinks off New Zealand, 1902. Photo: Auckland Library, artist unknown.

The discovery of a 112-year-old shipwreck containing the remains of 499 Chinese gold miners in the waters off New Zealand in 2012 was publicly announced last month. While some descendants of the miners want to repatriate the bodies to China, others believe they’d be best left undisturbed, and officials face a debacle.

Read more»