Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

Great Barracuda - Sphyraena barracuda

January 19, 2018

Ban Balloons!

I noticed an event on FB that will be held in memory of persons to be un-named. It was dubbed "Balloons and Beers." Apparently, the organizers wanted to join up, release balloons in memorial, then reconvene for beers. In my town. Just a few miles away from my home. I sent them a note and asked them NOT to let balloons fly.

Balloons and their tethers are B-A-D! They choke, they strangle, they entangle, they slice, they suffocate, they cause blockages and deaths to birds, mammals, reptiles, fishes... and on and on.

Made from rubber (a source built on the destruction of forests), and twine (what the heck goes into that horrible twine?), balloons represent another one-and-done, use-it-once-throw-it-away, unnecessary, wasteful, human trifle. What's the point? Yay! We let a bunch of rubber and plastic loose into the environment to "celebrate" XYZ.

The movement is at hand. People are wising up.
Plastic straws? Your days are numbered.
Plastic bags? Ditto.
Balloons? I wish they were gone from this planet forever.... beginning now.

Warning: The imagery is grotesque.

PS: Just heard that the organizers have rethought the event and have decided not to let balloons fly. YAY!!!!

January 13, 2018

Sh-thole Countries???

Every morning I brace myself for more vitriol, negativity, attacks, destruction, and lies from the alternate reality that this nation's highest office seems to live in. When the news exploded over T-rumps "Sh-thole" comments, I was enraged. But I soon realized I was wasting my energy. Nothing is likely to change in the next three years. The dye is cast and I am better off spending my energy in positive ways.

Thankfully, at least one of my Facebook friends put a cynical (and hysterical) spin on recent events.

I hope this make you laugh as loud as I did.

"Shithole Countries throughout history that have seen mass immigration to the US:

1619-1865 - Slaves, West Africa. Forced to come to, what would have been to them at the time, a shithole country.
1620 - Puritans, English. Left shithole England because of religious intolerance.
1840’s - Irish. Left shithole Ireland due to massive famine.
1800’s - Germans. Left shithole Germany due to overcrowding and lack of opportunity. (Trumpf is of German descent, Bavaria to be precise. F. Trump left the shithole of Bavaria because he was a Calvanist in a mostly Catholic country). Bavaria was such a shithole it doesn’t exist anymore.
1850’s - Chinese. Left shithole China due to lack of opportunity and in search of riches. Many were ’Shangaied” as indentured slaves.
1870’s - Russia. Russians occupied what is now Alaska looking to escape the shithole Czars and revolution.
1880-1920 - Central, Eastern & Southern Europeans. Italians due to shithole economy and Jews due to shithole pogroms.
1940-1950’s - Germany. Germans left their destroyed shithole country. 
1940-1950’s - Poland. Poles left their destroyed shithole country.
1960’s - Cuba. Cubans leave their shithole country because of Communism.
1990’s - Haiti. Haitians leave Haiti due to an unending procession of storms and Dictators. I’ve left out other shithole countries in South and Central America (too many to count).

We seem to be a nation populated by shithole people from shithole countries."

January 1, 2018

Revisiting the Salmon Question

I don't eat Salmon. I won't serve Salmon. I've banned Salmon from my home and openly shame my immediate family members for even considering Salmon on a restaurant menu.

As I dug and read and conducted research for a project on NW Atlantic and NE Pacific cetaceans, I became even more distressed over how important Salmon are in the ecosystem. A conversation with a person-who-will-remain-anonymous ensued, in which she said, "Don't tell me, I don't want to know. And anyway, there's nothing I can do." I replied, "Yes, there is something you can do. The alternative is bury your head in the sand." As a big Salmon eater, I knew I would not sway her. Instead, I'll do my small part to spread a little knowledge....

Feed: Farm-raised Salmon are fed pellets made from either all or some of these ingredients:
grains, animal byproducts, and fish meal. Before harvesting, the amount of fish meal fed to the pen-raised Salmon is increased from about 30% to 90% to increase the amount of Omega-3. Farmed fishes are being fed wild fishes at the bottom of the food chain that would otherwise be eaten by wild fishes, marine mammals, and sea birds in other parts of the world.
CLICK HERE for FAO information page.
Photo credit: FAO
Color: In the wild, Salmon are carnivores and derive their food entirely from natural prey high in fatty acids, vitamins and carotene. To make up for this gap, farmers add artificial or synthesized supplements to enhance the flesh color before harvesting.
CLICK HERE to read about CARROPHYL (R) a color enhancer.
Photo credit: K. Ganter
Water Quality: Farm-raised Salmon live, feed, and excrete in large, semi-enclosed pens. The excrement and left-over food accumulates or disperses in the surrounding water and on the bottom below, creating changes in the local environment. Pens located in high-current areas are flushed more often and are more environmentally sustainable, but labeling still doesn't require this disclosure.
Image credit: Dr. George Pararas Carayannis
Non-endemic: Northeastern Pacific, farm-raised salmon are Atlantic Salmon which do not occur naturally in Pacific waters. Escapes and pen failures have allowed non-native introductions, and with that, introduction of viruses, diseases and infections which are treated with antibiotics. These illnesses may put wild salmon at further risk.
CLICK HERE for Times Colonist article.
A little additive color with your dinner? Photo credit: Guide to Safe Salmon
Reproduction: Most wild, anadromous Salmons die after spawning. They don't re-enter the ocean and return again to natal streams to spawn a second time. They are a one-and-done species. Each wild salmon taken from the ocean takes away a potential future generation. Additionally, the carcasses of dead Salmons return vital nutrients into streams.
Photo credit: FishWithJD
Predators: Many species prey naturally on wild Salmon: bears, sea birds, pinnipeds, sharks, and Killer Whales. The Southern Resident Killer Whales are known to prey primarily on energy-rich salmon. Atlantic Killer Whales also feed on salmon. Take the salmon out, take the whales out with them... The further Salmon stocks decline, the more these whales are in peril.
CLICK HERE for a podcast and information from NOAA.
Photo credit: NOAA
Offshore Killer Whales have been shown to feed on sharks. There teeth wear down over time from the abrasive skin. These elderly whales then rely on food sharing within the pod. They have been shown to feed on Pacific Sleeper Sharks, Blue or Whitetip sharks, Opah, and halibut. Sleeper sharks are opportunistic feeders and will prey on a wide variety of fishes, marine mammals, and carrion. Large halibut prey primarily on fishes, including... you guessed it... Salmons.

In conclusion, if ignorance is bliss, then knowledge is power. Power to make informed decisions, lifestyle changes, and little changes that do make a big difference.

If you care to pick up a great book on the broader subject, check out "Four Fishes" by Paul Greenberg. Good read.

Cheers and Best Fishes for a fresh New Year!