Posts Tagged ‘safe’

Dolphin safe tuna… A dolphin is worth how many fish?

// September 30th, 2010 // 2 Comments » // Unethics

Flickr Image by david.nikonvscanon

In the immortal words of Marge “I brought you a tuna sandwich. They say it’s brain food. I guess because there’s so much dolphin in it, and you know how smart they are.” Dolphin safe tuna is for some of us environmental types a no-brainer like eating free range eggs.

I was one such person, until I read this post last year.

The ecological disaster that is dolphin safe tuna by Southern Fried Science is one of my top five ever blog posts (the top prize going to the Nacho Average Cheesecake by the sadly ended Chem Blog. Read it read it read it!)

For those of us too lazy to click through, I’ll summarize the dolphin safe tuna post. Consider this cliffnotes. Hells, I’m just that kinda pirate.

To fish for tuna, ships like to locate a big school of ’em so they can nab them all at once. Finding a school of tuna is tricky.

The non-dolphin safe method is to follow some dolphins, because dolphins have their fins on the pulse and know the happy-haps of where the tuna are at. Dolphins are easy to follow because they come up to the surface for air. The downside is that the dolphins are accidentally caught with the tuna (bycatch), Southern Fried Science estimates it as 500,000 a year.

The dolphin safe method does it differently. Instead, an object is floated on the ocean. For some weird reason, floating objects attract sea life, including big ol’ schools of tuna. So you just scoop up the tuna when it comes in. Of course, this leads to bycatch of its own, including all the other sea life that came to investigate the mysterious floating object. There’s more bycatch through this method, but less of it is dolphins.

When you compare the bycatch of the dolphin safe method and the non-dolphin safe method you come up with the following.

1 dolphin saved through dolphin safe fishing costs 382 mahi-mahi, 188 wahoo, 82 yellowtail and other large fish, 27 sharks, and almost 1,200 small fish.

Food for thought. Read the original post here.

The Eastern Hognose Snake, one of Nature’s great actors

// July 1st, 2010 // Comments Off on The Eastern Hognose Snake, one of Nature’s great actors // The Realm of Bizzare

The Eastern Hognose Snake is mostly harmless. Though it has large fangs and is mildly venomous, it mainly eats toads and is immune to the toxins secreted by their skin. It’s large fangs can puncture toads if they try swell up with air to defend themselves. Why it chooses to eat toads over other, more delicious foods beats me.

Despite the interesting diet, this particular snake is pretty crafty. When threatened it flattens out its neck and lifts up like a cobra, hissing and striking at the offender. It’s all an act. Most of the strikes are made with the mouth firmly closed.

If the macho act fails to scare away the threat, the snake plays dead. Convincingly, emmy-award-winningly dead. It first writhes about quite dramatically as if saying loudly “oh noes, you got me!”

To finish the act the snake rolls onto its back. Its head lolls to the side, the mouth opens and tongue hangs out. It may stop breathing. Sometimes it even vomits blood or gets dirt into its mouth for added effect. Again, all an act. Once the threat is gone, the snake revives and goes on its merry way.

This video shows both deceptions in action, first the snake fakes an attack, then fakes its own death.

One thing gives away the farce, did you pick it? Although the snake is limp when moved, if it is put onto its stomach it will immediately roll onto its back. The snake knows the illusion is complete when it’s belly up.

There are plenty of great animal actors out there, but I know of none are better than the Mimic Octopus. Hats off.

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