Picture of the week: Longfin batfish

Longfin batfish (Platax Teira) from the  Red Sea. Taken with Olympus F 1.8 8mm. D161 strobes,

News: Oil production world wide still increasing

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA)  the world has reached a new record in oil production of  100 million barrels of oil per day.  With one barrel containing 159 liters,  this amounts to 16 milliard liters of oil taken daily from the soil of the earth. No sign of the oil market shrinking due to new resources now introduced like electric cars, solar panels and windmills (in Western Europe at least). One might even say that they have no impact at all, worldwide.  

 The main ‘culprit’ ( others may call it a blessing)  is the introduction of oil shale beds,  which in the US meant a rise from  5 million to 11 million barrels per day in 10 years.  Now becoming again the greatest oil producer in the world.

Another fossil product, natural gas is now also extracted by shaling, sometimes called 'fracking',  which means that wells need to be drilled wherever the gas is. The gas cannot flow through the rock to the wells so the wells have to be drilled at regular intervals of 8 drills per square mile.  Over 45.000 shale gas wells  have been drilled in the US. Other countries like the UK are now also following this method, criticized because it destroys natural landscapes as well.  

Other substantial oil producers are Russia with 11 million barrels per day followed by Saudi Arabia with 10.5 barrels.  China is the great runner-up, rising to 12, 8 million barrels per day (from 4.7 mill in 2000), almost equal to Europe with 13,2 million per day (14,6 mil in 2000).

With the new leadership in Brazil, there is a fair chance that every drop of oil will be squeezed from the soil of the Amazon forest in future decades.

(Adapted  from Peter de Waards column in de Volkskrant 30 October 2018

A new shark repellent?

Does a long distance Ocean swimmer risk a shark bite? Shark repellents sofar have proven to have little effect. But does the answer lie in a gadget like Sharkshield intended to produce a painful but harmless current affecting the muscles that control the electrical sensors of sharks?

News: Elephant DNA helps in localizing cartels illegal ivory trade.

DNA testing of elephant tusks  by  American biologist Samuel Wasser  helps  locating  the three largest cartels involved in smuggling   illegal ivory  and shipping  them from three African towns Mombassa (Kenia), Entebbe (Uganda) and Lomé (Togo).  Malaysia and  Hongkong are among the favorite export sites. Around 40.000 elephants are still killed for their tusks every year.

News: Beluga’s adopt Narwahl

Beluga's adopt Narwhal   A young, orphaned peckled gray male Narwhal became friends with a group of 10 male beluga whales in eastern Canada, where were spotted for three consecutive years in  Canada's St. Lawrence River. Often compared with legendary mythical Unicorn,  the Narwhal  (Monodon monoceros), is a medium-sized toothed whale with a large tusk. Together with the beluga’s, they are the only extant members of the family Monodontidae, sometimes referred to as the "white whales. The fearful tusk has grown from a protruding tooth, which makes the Narwhal a powerful predator in the Arctic waters. The tusk also serves as a sensory organ used for sensing and communication with females, and display of dominance towards other males.

News: Long island new 'hope spot' in the Bahamas

 Long Island hot-spot: Long Island located in the Southern  Bahamas  is known for its astonishing contrasts in geography. There are chalk-white limestone cliffs, forested hillsides and mangrove swamps. Interestingly,  the island has been declared a 'Hope Spot''  by international non-profit Mission Blue in support of the Bahamian government’s tentative plan to proclaim a marine protected area in the area. Long Island Marine Management Area (LIMMA)