SeaWorld is an entertainment company that has large aquatic mammals in captivity performing tricks for humans. Their entertainment shows look impressive, but what goes on behind the scenes is rather scary. The good news is that in 2013 this aquatic animal abuse got mainstream attention.
In Canada, the Toronto Star ran an exposé on Marineland (similar to SeaWorld). In the USA a documentary on SeaWorld, Blackfish, has impacted attendance at both companies. Now that people know the poor conditions animals are held in, people have stopped supporting these misbehaving companies.
Seeing these animals can be impressive but we shouldn’t forget what the animals are used to.
In a recent interview, he explained that killer whales, which can cover 100 miles a day in open waters, don’t bother humans in the wild. Indeed, there’s only one documented case of an orca biting a surfer (in 1972), and even that incident was more likely an accident than an attack (the surfer was wearing a wetsuit and may have resembled a seal).
But captivity is a different story. Killer whales are kept in tight quarters, fed a diet of thawed fish, and routinely separated from their calves. These circumstances, according to Kirby, “create stress in these animals,” often to the extent that they lash out.
We also shouldn’t forget the power that even a small group of people can have:
What’s more assured is that, in an era of increasing corporate dominance, a low-budget investigative work can still send shock waves through an established corporation with a once pristine reputation. “SeaWorld used to be the darling of the media,” said Kirby.
Chinese demand for the fins of sharks (I have no idea what they are good for) has gone up over the past couple years. India is one of the largest exports of shark parts to China and the Indian government has decided to ban the act of removing fins from sharks.
Worldwide, sharks are in sharp decline, with some species’ numbers now 10 per cent of what they were three decades ago. Their demise threatens the health of ocean ecosystems, experts say, as the top predators are key to keeping fish and turtle populations in check. Tens of millions are caught every year. … Conservationists applauded the ministry’s move as key to ending a cruel practice threatening to push some shark populations to the brink.
“Given the perilous status of many shark species, we urge the state governments to act quickly and work to enforce the policy,” said Belinda Wright of the Wildlife Protection Society of India.
Tidal wave energy installations are nothing new, but installing it on a scale that can power 42,000 homes is. The other day, the Scottish government gave the go ahead for starting a wave-powered energy installation.
“This is a major step forward for Scotland’s marine renewable energy industry. When fully operational, the 86 megawatt array could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 42,000 homes – around 40% of homes in the Highlands. This … is just the first phase for a site that could eventually yield up to 398 megawatts.”
Speaking at the Scottish renewables marine conference, Ewing also announced that developers Aquamarine Power Limited and Pelamis Wave Power are to share a slice of a £13m wave “first array” support programme, part of the Scottish government’s marine renewables commercialisation fund.
Ewing said the tide is turning for the wave sector.
Coral reefs are under threat. Recreational boating and increased shipping have increased the risk to coral reefs from humanity, and increased temperatures have caused coral acidification. There are scientists and biologists around the world trying to help protect coral reefs and revive some of their lost areas. A team in Florida is growing coral on PVC piping then transplanting the coral to endangered areas.
It shows little branches of staghorn coral growing on a “tree” made of PVC pipes. Harvested from wild coral colonies when they’re only 5 cm long, these samples will double in size every two months while attached to the tree. Once they’ve put on enough heft, they’re transplanted to new homes on damaged coral reefs, where they grow into the surrounding environment and help to restore ecosystems that could otherwise be lost. I’d heard about coral restoration before, but had never seen pictures of the process. At the RJD website, you can see a series of photos that take you through it step-by-step. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it looks a lot like underwater gardening — similar to grafting fruit trees.
Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) uses the difference in temperature at different water depths to produce energy, similar to how geothermal works. A green resort in China is going to be powered by the OTEC system and the companies involved in building the power plant are hoping that this will prove the technology works well enough for larger projects.
OTEC uses the natural difference in temperatures between the cool deep water and warm surface water to produce electricity. There are different cycle types of OTEC systems, but the prototype plant is likely to be a closed-cycle system. This sees warm surface seawater pumped through a heat exchanger to vaporize a fluid with a low boiling point, such as ammonia. This expanding vapor is used to drive a turbine to generate electricity with cold seawater then used to condense the vapor so it can be recycled through the system. … The companies claim each 100 MW OTEC facility could produce the same amount of energy in a year as 1.3 million barrels of oil and decrease carbon emissions by half a million tons. Assuming oil trading at near US$100 a barrel, they estimate fuel savings from one plant could exceed $130 million a year.