How do the oceans move? Sasha Wright explains the science behind the phenomenon in a cool TED-Ed animation!


I saw this statement posted on Laughing Squid the other day and it intrigued me:

“Our Earth, covered by 71% water, moving in one enormous current around the planet.”

But how does it do it?

Well the answer to this question is Janet and John‘ed in a TED-Ed animated lecture, where TED educator Sasha Wright explains the physics behind our oceans’ concentration gradient, and how that causes the contents of any given ocean to fight over space.

According to Wright:

The constant motion of our oceans represents a vast and complicated system involving many different drivers. Sasha Wright explains the physics behind one of those drivers — the concentration gradient — and illustrates how our oceans are continually engaging in a universal struggle for space…”

Lesson by Sasha Wright, animation by Andrew Foerster

Drone Surveillance of the Best Kind: Stunning images of a dolphin ‘stampede’ & Grey Whales captured by ‘drone cam’!


Another video doing the rounds is this one [Camera Equipped Drones Capture Stunning Footage of Stampeding Dolphins and Migrating Whales] where:

“Camera-equipped drones launched by Captain Dave Anderson of Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari captured stunning footage of stampeding dolphins off of Dana Point, California and migrating whales in the waters of Maui, Hawaii.”

I must say I agree with National Geographic who like seeing drones being used this way:

“Whatever you think of drone technology, this may be one use that we can all agree on.”

This birds-eye view of a  a pod of hundreds of common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) which typically live and play togther in large ‘super-pods’,  and three grey whales (Eschrichtius robustusdemonstrates what can happen when technology is innovated and adapted. 

Imagine the potential in addition to observation….. Management of marine mammals and other large fauna? Monitoring of endangered species? Population studies?

I am thinking New Zealand Sealions here :P

Flight of the Pelican: Beak-mounted GoPro camera shows a young pelican taking its first flight!


This video has been making the rounds…. Of course it has! It is one of the internet videos that makes one smile.

Stuff described it:

Learning to fly . . . spreading your wings . . . letting your spirit soar . . . birds give us our metaphors for realising potential. Perhaps that’s why this video, that looks right into the eyes of a pelican taking wing for the first time, feels so good.

The Back Story

According to the Greystoke Mahale Blog the young orphaned pelican [named "Big Bird"] was saved by staff at Greystoke Safaris in Tanzania after being washed ashore after a storm on Lake Tanganyika.

He [Big Bird] was young but already large, maybe 3 months old then. He couldn’t fish without his flock. This species doesn’t dive for fish, instead they corral the fish co-operating with each other and then scoop the cornered prey into their large stretchy pouches below the bill. So we have been given permission from Tanapa, the park authority to feed him…

He didn’t fly for some weeks but with encouragement he got the idea. We aren’t sure how much flying he may have already done before arriving here but he was pretty shaky in his next attempts on the beach. We would run up and down flapping our arms and simulating flight for him. He would look on curiously until one day he showed us how it was done!

"Big Bird": The orphaned pelican who was filmed from the moment the giant bird took to the air.  Source: Grey Stoke Mahale Blog []

“Big Bird”: The orphaned pelican who was filmed from the moment the giant bird first took flight.
Source: Grey Stoke Mahale Blog


New Zealand the 9th State to ratify the FAO Port State Measures Agreement


New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced that the New Zealand Government has ratified the 2009 UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing; an agreement designed to fight illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

The objective (Article 2) of the PSM Agreement is to:

Prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing through the implementation of effective port State measures, and thereby to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources and marine ecosystems.”

To view the a PDF of the PSM Agreement click this hyperlink.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO):

The Agreement envisages that parties, in their capacities as port States, will apply the Agreement in an effective manner to foreign vessels when seeking entry to ports or while they are in port. The application of the measures set out in the Agreement will, inter alia, contribute to harmonized port State measures, enhanced regional and international cooperation and block the flow of IUU-caught fish into national and international markets. The Agreement will enter into force 30 days after the deposit of the 25th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. The Agreement is binding and stipulates minimum port States measures. However, countries are free to adopt more stringent measures than those outlined in the Agreement.”

New Zealand is the ninth country to ratify the  Port State Measures (PSM) Agreement, which requires 25 ratifications to come into force. So far only eight other states that ratified the PSM Agreement. These States are:

      • Myanmar – (November 22, 2010)
      • Sri Lanka – (January 20, 2011)
      • European Union – (July 7, 2011)
      • Norway – (July 20, 2011)
      • Chile – (August 28, 2012)
      • Uruguay – (February 28, 2013)
      • Seychelles –  (June 19, 2013)
      • Oman – (August 1, 2013)
      • Gabon – (November 15, 2013)

The FAO’s PSM Agreement sets minimum standards for port access by foreign flagged fishing vessels and related support vessels. Adopted in 2009 by the U.N. FAO, the treaty requires parties to exert greater port controls on foreign-flagged vessels, and as a result to keep IUU fish out of the world’s markets by removing incentives for the practice of IUU fishing to continue.

According to a press release by the New Zealand Government, Murray McCully (New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs) said that:

Widespread implementation of the agreement would make it more difficult and less economic to undertake illegal fishing… It would mean New Zealand fishers could operate in high-value international fisheries with less threat of illegal fishers, while ensuring sustainability of the oceans…. 

New Zealand has been at the forefront of international efforts to combat IUU fishing. Ratifying this agreement further cements our commitment.”

Nathan Guy (New Zealand Minister for Primary Industries) said that:

“For New Zealand, it [ the ratification of the PSM Agreement] will mean our fishers can operate in high value international fisheries with less threat of IUU fishers, while ensuring sustainability of our oceans…

Supporting an international framework that enables long-term sustainable use of fisheries resources is important for New Zealand.”

Essentially as the New Zealand Herald so aptly put it,

The Government has signed up to an international fisheries agreement which could [enable it to] block illegal fishers from using New Zealand ports.”

A chase at sea near South Korea: an entire fleet of illegal Chinese fishing vessels attempts to evade the South Korean Coast Guard. Source: World Ocean Review (

A chase at sea near South Korea: an entire fleet of illegal Chinese fishing vessels attempts to evade the South Korean Coast Guard.
Source: World Ocean Review (

New Zealand TV3 reports a “vicious disease killing NZ’s sea lions”


Last night New Zealand TV (TV3) reported that the presence of a “vicious disease killing around 600 New Zealand sea lions per year

TV3 also reported a statement by Deepwater Group that:

New technology has reduced the number of deaths caused by fishing nets by 90 percent, to 15 adult sea lions a year.”

Further adding that the focus now needs to turn to securing the lives of those [New Zealand Sea Lions] on land and it’s keen to work with the Government, George Clement (CEO of Deepwater Group) made the statement:

If you were on a sheep farm and a lot of your lambs were dying before they became productive, you’d look at dosing them for parasites and giving antibiotics. On teh face of it, it is no more complicated than that.”

When solutions are this simple… surely we just have to get out there and implement them…. don’t we?

The Deepwater Group says a bacterial disease is killing more than 600 pups a year in the Auckland Islands. Source: TV3 Click on above picture to play video at

The Deepwater Group says a bacterial disease is killing more than 600 pups a year in the Auckland Islands. Source: TV3. Click on above picture to play video at

For more information please see the following Greenfish Bluefish posts:

Can Environmental Scientists be Environmental Advocates? Doesn’t the advocacy degrade the objectivity of the science?


I just learned that Daniel Pauly serves as a Director on the Oceana Board:

Dr. Daniel Pauly (The University of British Columbia)

Pauly is a renowned fisheries scientist. Since 1994, Pauly has been a professor at the Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia. He currently serves as the principal investigator of the Sea Around Us Project at the Fisheries Centre, where his global, multi-year analyses of marine ecosystems has allowed him to reach startling and important conclusions, most critical among them that fish populations are declining rapidly all over the world.”

Some selected publications by Dr. Daniel Pauly

Dr. Daniel Pauly is Principal Investigator of the Sea Around Us Project.   Source:

Dr. Daniel Pauly is Principal Investigator of the Sea Around Us Project.

What’s my point?

Should I be surprised?  Where once science and advocacy were apart, increasingly over the last 20 years or so we’ve seen them conflate and even arguably fuse, Right? Is it just that times have changed?

It seems clear that environmental scientists like Daniel Pauly are no longer troubled by any real or perceived conflict of interest that active environmental advocacy brings, nor do they seem to be troubled by the erosion of the objectivity of the science that may either lend its support or not to a cause, when they are already advocating for a cause for which their science or technical information may be used… So why should I be troubled, these scientist/advocates don’t seem to be?

Well I think it is the question as to whether…  one is able to provide the best scientific and technical information, when one is advocating a position based on that information? What about future scientific and technical information? What about changes in information parameters?  Changes as a result of peer review? Methodological changes? What if results have to be re-worked? Re-computed? Re-interpreted?

I shouldn’t be shocked… floored… disappointed… But I am… I just can’t see how scientific and technical objectivity and environmental advocacy can reside effectively in the same professional?

Am I just being naive?