Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

July 30, 2010

Shark Week Redux

I never much partook of Shark Week. The sensationalism, the hype, the misinformation, and the spread of fear turned me off. I'd watch long enough to become disgusted by the scary music, the bloody shark carcasses, the 'shark attack' stories. But, I may take a look this coming week only because Oceana has partnered with the Discovery Channel to promote education and conservation of these maligned animals. It's about time. Shark Week has done little else, in my opinion, than perpetuate the 'Jaws' mentality. With a viewing audience in the millions, Shark Week can either do a great deal or harm, or a great deal of good. The times they are a changin'!

Redux Update:
Well, I think I was duped. Sunday's show was mostly informational and based on valid research. But, Monday and Tuesday were more of the same: blood, gore, creepy music, retelling the past, sensationalism. Don't get me wrong...I wouldn't wish a shark bite on anyone. But, let's not forget, sharks do not prey on humans. Most cases are due to mistaken identity. And, who in their right mind attracts sharks to their feet and is surprised one takes a bite? Last year there were, 61 confirmed cases of sharks biting humans. And, last year, there were approximately 100,000,000 sharks killed by humans. Ugh. Two more nights of viewing. I'm not holding my breath.

July 28, 2010

Saving the most vulnerable: Sea turtles

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I know this is slightly 'off topic', but then again, not really. The Sea turtles are a part of the web of life in the oceans, and connected to our beloved fishes. It is reassuring to know that these little ones have a chance.

July 23, 2010

Sustainable Seafood Supper

When my husband and I go out for supper, invariably we wrestle over what he should order. The conversation goes something like this:
AM: "What are you going to have?"
VK: "The salad."
AM: "What should I have?"
VK: "The steak. Medium."
AM: "What about the shrimp?"
VK: "If the waiter knows where it's from and what happens to the bycatch."
AM: "How about the salmon?"
VK: "Is it farmed or wild? Depends on where it came from."
AM: "Snapper?"
VK: "What kind?"
AM: "I don't want the scallops.
VK: "Don't go there."
AM: "Ha Ha! Swordfish?"
VK: "Where did you see THAT?"
AM: "What should I have?"
VK: "Is there Bluefish on the menu?"
AM: "No, and anyway, I don't want Bluefish."
VK: "Trout?"
AM: "No. What should I have?"
VK: "Steak."
(Ten minutes later...)
Waiter: "Are you ready to order?"
AM: "My wife will have the salad, and I'll have the steak. Medium."

(This said, if we catch it, you can bet we eat it!)

July 21, 2010

Shark Slaughter - WARNING!

Warning, this is possibly the most disgusting thing I've seen since the BP catastrophe. Be forewarned, it is graphic. That said, I applaud Alex Hoffard for exposing this to the world.

July 20, 2010

Andy Casagrande 'Sings' to a Great White

Photo credit: unknown
My jury was out on this one... The message is slightly mixed, but after checking out Andy's website, it appears he means very well indeed. And, these animals need every voice available to sing for them... See above.

July 17, 2010

Wicked Cool Video

I don't know about you, but the Frogfish lure just melts me. How can this be? God? Evolution? Both? Certainly, the Frogfish cares not. He just knows it works.

Colours Of Ambon from Alex.Be. on Vimeo.

July 5, 2010

The President of Fish Geek Nation?

Photo credit: Steve (not the co-founder of Apple) Wozniak

If there were a named collective of fish-obsessed folks, Steve would easily be elected president. He is one of many men I've met who match my fishy drive and ambition. But, Steve takes it to a whole new level. I set out to illustrate all the fishes from Maine to Texas, he set out to catch 1000 fishes. And, he's only a matter of months, or weeks. If there's a ditch with fish in it, I don't doubt Steve will pull over, whip out the rod with a no. 22 hook and add to his growing life list.

Along the way, he's traveled the world, identified and cataloged each fish while tapping into a host of ichthyologists. He's kept a (ahem!) lively journal, and photographic library. All while avoiding a pink-slip from his day job. It's not your run-of-the-mill fishing adventure. Even ESPN has bitten onto this story. Beyond ESPN, this feat may wind up in in Ripley's Believe It Or Not. I am not kidding.

As an aside, I hope to twist his arm into writing a book about his exploits. He writes from the heart with big injections of humor and color, but without an ounce of glorification. Having a bad day? Read one of his posts at 1000fish's.

July 3, 2010

Crimes Against Marine Life

Although I live only two hours from D.C., and could easily trek up to see this exhibit, I'll have to pass. I have not yet become anesthetized to the sight of finned sharks. I doubt I ever will. And, the laws in place are largely uninforced, which only compounds my emotion. But, for those with the stomach... go visit the National Museum of Crimes and Punishment. Then, don't tell me what you saw.

July 1, 2010

Deep Sea

I was poking my way around the web pages of a new Deep sea exhibit at London's Natural History Museum. Although visiting the exhibit is not possible, there are some very educational videos and articles to watch and read. The message is clear: there is still so much to discover, and so much to learn about this environment.

When I began my career, one of my first clients was Monterey Bay Aquarium. We had a fabulous relationship, and I created a multitude of interesting illustrations for them over the years. One of the most intriguing, and challenging projects was illustrating deep sea fishes that had been recorded and captured by MBARI in the trenches off of Monterey. The fishes had fallen apart on their ascent to the surface. In the jars supplied to me, they appeared battered and dismembered. My job was to piece them back together. I loved this kind of work.

Recently, R.O.V.s played a role in my latest project. Without the help of two scientists conducting deep water research over the Flower Garden and Stetson Banks, I would not have been able to illustrate several fishes for our new book!

Deep sea animals are fascinating. Imagine the pressure, the cold, the darkness. And yet, they find eachother to spawn or breed, they locate food, and manage to eke out a living in one of earth's more barren environments. I've often wondered, if it's dark, why are so many of them brightly colored?

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in my library...