Arrow crab hanging out in a corkscrew anemone.

These guys are really fun at night when there are lots of bookworms present. They will start picking them out of the water and eating them, but since there are so many they will collect them on their large spike for later!


Petition: Hong Kong Government: Legislate a ban on the sale and possession of shark fin in Hong Kong.

From Honduras to New Caledonia, from the Bahamas to the Maldives, the people have spoken. And governments have listened. Now is the time for Hong Kong to wake up! The public is ready. The business sector is behind us. Now is the time for a total sale and possession ban on shark fin in Hong Kong. By doing so, Hong Kong will take a giant step to join the conservation efforts of numerous countries around the world who have enacted shark protection legislation. In Latin America it will join Honduras. In the United States it will join California, New York, Hawaii, Washington, Maryland, Delaware and Oregon. In the Pacific region it will join Palau, Tokelau, Marshall Islands, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and New Caledonia. Even China has agreed to stop serving shark fin soup at official banquets, to take effect in the next year or two.

Banning shark fin from the streets of Hong Kong will be the single most important marine conservation achievement of the year. It will be an important step towards protecting the health of our oceans. It will also remove the stain on Hong Kong’s reputation as a world-class tourism hub.

This petition is endorsed by: Shark Rescue



The Last of its Kind
Sharks throughout the world are being destroyed at a devastating rate for shark fin soup and other human causes. This image of a lonely reef shark cruising over a desert of sand was captured to help portray the importance of conservation before we lose them FOREVER. Photo by Laz Ruda.

A rare albino green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) swims in a tank at the Sea Turtle Reserve Centre in Kosgoda, Sri Lanka. The centre collects turtle eggs from the beaches for hatching before poachers remove them as they are considered a delicacy. Once hatched the small turtles are let free in the sea. (2010)

(Picture: EPA)                               (via: Telegraph UK)

Thinking of Releasing Balloons and Lanterns? Think Twice!

Thousands of balloons or lit lanterns released into the sky: we have all seen it at least one, and it’s a very mesmerizing sight. People release balloons for various occasions: weddings, birthdays, memorials, graduations, charity events…Unfortunately, these balloons and lanterns have to come back down to Earth at some point, and end up creating an environmental disaster.

Balloons usually slowly deflate overtime, and end up getting stuck on trees, bushes, or floating in the middle of the oceans. They also take years to break down, as it is with many other forms of plastic. Latex balloons are falsely-marketed as biodegradable, and can take years to break down. Once in the air, free-flying balloons and lanterns can travel as far as 1,300 miles away from its release site. 

Many terrestrial and marine species, such as turtles, dolphins, or birds have been hurt or killed by balloons. If ingested, a balloon will block the digestive tract of the animal, thus letting them starve to death. Other animals may become entangled in the ribbon or the ballon, impeding their movements or causing them to choke.

(Rusty Blackbird found dead due to entanglement in balloon ribbon. Photo: David E. Gurniewicz)

Sea turtles are some of the most at-risk animals, as deflated balloons floating in the sea looks dangerously similar to their favorite food: jellyfishes.

(A sea turtle entangled in ribbons. Photo by FWC)

(A sea turtle that appears to have ingested a balloon. Photo by L. Byrd – Sea Turtle Hospital, Mote Marine Laboratory)

A few US states and cities have anti-balloon laws:  Ocean City and Baltimore in Maryland, Louisville in Kentucky, Huntsville in Alabama, and the entire states of California, Connecticut, Florida, New York, Tennessee and Virginia. Plymouth in the UK, and New South Wales and Sunshine Coast-Queensland in Australia also have laws in place.

The thing is, balloon pollution is completely avoidable. Just don’t do it! Is your joy and wonder of letting a balloon go really worth the death and pain of other living organisms? There are plenty of alternatives to releasing plastic into the sky. And if you were to stumble upon a balloon on the beach or while out on a boat, please make sure you pick it up.

This photo was taken by Peri Paleracio, in the Philippines. The whale shark was found by a scuba diver, still alive and trying to swim. Its pectoral and ventral fins were cut off by poachers who sell shark fins at a premium for the Chinese delicacy, shark fin soup. Locals, with the help of local government, pulled the still-struggling shark to shore where it died the next day. Here a local woman mourns its miserable fate.

This photo was named “most compelling image” of 2010 in honor of the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity.

This is not just something caused by Chinese fishermen, it is a global problem. Shark Fin soup is sold all over the world, even in the UK. 

Please support the fight against shark finning. 
* Spread the word.
* Share photos and stories such as this.
* Sign petitions. This one is petitioning the UN for a worldwide ban on shark finning:
* Write to local restaurants serving the dish: Bite-Back Shark & Marine Conservation have a celebrity-signed template letter and map listing restaurants in the UK selling shark fin soup. Find them here:

Most of these things can be done with such minimal effort, just a few seconds, or few minutes, of your time. Collectively our voices DO make a difference. Countries and cities have successfully implemented bans on the sale of shark fin products as a result of individuals coming together to make a stink about it.

Nudi x

(shared with the photographer’s permission)


Why You Should Care That Sea Cucumbers Are Going Extinct

by Jason G. Goldman

Sea cucumbers are in trouble. Everyone knows about the problems that elephants and rhinos face due to poaching, that dolphins face due to drive hunts, and that sharks face when overzealous governments try to convince their constituents that they’re helping them avoid shark attacks. Sea cucumbers may not be as charismatic as their megafaunal counterparts, but they actually provide an important service for reef ecosystems.

They help to keep the sand in reef lagoons and seagrass beds fresh by turning them over, and by feeding on the dead organic matter that’s mixed in with the sand, the nutrients they excrete can re-enter the biological web by algae and coral. Without the sea cucumbers, that sort of nutrient recycling could not occur. It’s also thought that sea cucumbers help to protect reefs from damage due to ocean acidification. Feeding on reef sand appears to increase the alkalinity of the surrounding seawater.

The problem, according to a study conducted by Steven Purcell and Beth Polidoro, is that sea cucumbers are considered a luxury snack. As they explain at The Conversation, dried-out versions of the tropical species retail between $10 and $600 per kilogram in Hong Kong and on mainland China. There’s actually one species that is sold for $3000 per kilo, dried. Sea cucumbers are thought of as “culinary delicacies,” and often adorn the buffets of festival meals and are served at formal dinners…

(read more: animals.io9)


Victory for Australia’s Sharks!

EPA Shuts Down Shark Cull Program; Agrees Shark Cull is Environmentally Unacceptable

Drum lines will not be deployed off Western Australia (WA) beaches this summer after the state’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) advised against extending the government’s controversial catch-and-kill shark policy.

The regulator’s chairman, Paul Vogel said the available information and evidence do not provide the organization with a high level of confidence.

Premier Colin Barnett said the recommendation meant that drum lines would not be in place off the WA coast this summer.

Sea Shepherd Australia’s WA Shark Campaigner, Natalie Banks stated, “This is a tremendous victory for the people that understand the vital and important role sharks play in the health of our oceans. Finally their voices have been heard all over the globe.”

The WA shark cull caught a total of 172 sharks over the three-month trial, with the majority of these being tiger sharks. 50 tiger sharks of breeding size (mostly female) were shot and dumped out to sea. Tiger sharks only reproduce every few years and only a small number of their pups survive to maturity. The majority of the so-called “alive-released” sharks were in such a poor state that their chances of survival were slim to none. The WA Government had applied for a three-year extension of the cull.

Sea Shepherd Australia is now urging the Honorable Greg Hunt, Federal Environment Minister, to listen to the public and to listen to the science and put forth shark mitigation strategies that protect human safety without killing marine life. source

guys this is such amazing news! it’s terrible that so many innocent and ecologically important lives were lost in the very barbaric and pointless cull but the fact that it won’t continue at this point, is beyond amazing.  

Exxon Valdez — 25 Years Later

When the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska 25 years ago, the Monterey Bay Aquarium sea otter team was among the first responders to the March 24, 1989 disaster. We were the only institution on the West Coast with experience rescuing and raising ill and orphaned sea otters, and we played a central role in setting up two emergency centers that cleaned and cared for surviving otters. (Between 1,000 and 5,500 sea otters died in the spill.)

We also brought two orphaned pups to Monterey (similar to the pup shown above) and raised them until they found homes at the Vancouver Aquarium.

This year, the sea otter population in Prince William Sound was finally declared recovered from the effects of the spill. For other species, the picture hasn’t been as rosy. A resident killer whale population may go extinct; the pigeon guillemot seabirds found in the region and a once-robust herring fishery have not bounced back.

We may finally know why.

New research on crude oil impacts

There’s new evidence, published this year by our partners at the Tuna Research and Conservation Center, that for the first time pinpoints significant long-term impacts from crude oil on ocean wildlife. Their published studies, conducted in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, document how crude oil affects the developing hearts of larval fishes caught in spills. They also show a possible link between compounds in oil and long-term risks to cardiac health in many animals exposed to the compounds – including sea otters and even humans.

Even before we opened our doors to the public in 1984, the Aquarium began caring for stranded and orphaned California sea otters. Today, 30 years later, we’re more involved than ever – and in more ways than ever – on behalf of a future with healthy oceans.

A sobering reminder

The 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill is a sobering reminder of how much is at stake.

It’s also a reminder that we can make a difference: if we’re prepared to respond, if we invest in scientific research to understand long-term impacts, and when we work for policies that protect key species and critical ocean ecosystems.

The Aquarium is active on all these fronts – and working just as hard to inspire new generations who will give a voice to ocean issues. We couldn’t do it without your help.

Learn more about our ocean conservation programs.

Donate to support our ocean conservation work.

SeaWorld could have some explaining to do.

An orca known as “Granny” J2 (pictured above) has been monitored since her discovery in the 1930’s! She is now 103 years old and was recently spotted again off the west coast of Canada with her pod. Her pod consists of her children, grandchildren, and ever her great-grandchildren! One of her grandchildren we know as Canuck. Canuck was captured by Seaworld at an early age, and reportedly died at just 4 years old.

As her pod has grown, Granny has kept up with them magnificently. In fact when she was most recently spotted she had just finished swimming an 800 mile journey from the coast of northern California. Orcas are meant to have the space to travel 100 miles per day, but some will barely swim a collective mile in Seaworld’s holding tanks.

This is not only because of the lack of space, but also because of the listlessness of the orcas themselves. Being separated from a pod is known to cause horrific mental and emotional stress, and can prevent calves from developing properly, or healthily. They can become lazy, depressed or even violent.

SeaWorld has claimed that “no one knows for sure how long killer whales live,” but the The Whale and Dolphin Conservation project estimates that whales born in captivity only live an average of 4.5 years. The majority of SeaWorld’s killer whales die before they reach their 20s. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) estimates that wild female orcas, such as Granny, live up to 50 - 60 years on average.

While it’s true that most wild orcas don’t live as long as Granny has, their lifespans are still drastically longer than those of SeaWorld’s. Wild orcas also have the opportunity to fill their lives with much more swimming, exploration, variety and bonding with their family and friends - in other words, their lives are likely filled with much more joy.

Pledge with us here at TurnTides not to visit a marine park until their orca and dolphin tanks have been emptied.

If you’d like to learn more visit us HERE.


Hello from Oregon!

Remember otter 649, the rescued male sea otter pup that was on exhibit for several months with companion otter, Gidget? We’re happy to announce he has a new name and a new home the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The orphaned pup was transported via private plane from Monterey to his new home in Newport, Oregon.

He was the 649th stranded otter to be brought into our sea otter program since 1984 and was only the sixth pup ever to go on exhibit.

Oswald had a furry companion on the plane, Juno— a female sea otter who stranded two months after Oswald and was also rescued and rehabilitated by our sea otter staff. Unlike 649 who was reared on exhibit, Juno was raised behind the scenes with surrogate mother Ivy. Our veterinarian, Dr. Mike Murray, and a mammalogist, escorted the two otters on the flight north. Juno’s found a new home at the Oregon Zoo, where animal caregivers look forward to introducing the youngster to their two resident adult sea otters. Both Oswald and Juno will make their public debuts this summer. 

We partner with Association of Zoos and Aquariums facilities across the country, like Oregon Coast Aquarium and Oregon Zoo, to find good homes for sea otters that can’t be released back to the wild.

Rearing animals like Oswald and Juno for lives at other homes when they aren’t candidates for release to the wild is helping the overall California sea otter population. Today, 36 rescued pups reared by surrogates in Monterey inspire millions of visitors at a dozen top aquariums and zoos in North America. Our resident sea otters and their predecessors have also raised dozens of pups that are back in the wild and having babies of their own.

Curious which otters are in the Sea Otter Exhibit now? Find out on our live web cam



Not every story about sea life mistakenly caught in a net ends this beautifully, so it’s important to recognize when one does.

So watch the full video here and learn this turtles story.