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  • July 11, 2011

    Fish Learn To Use Tools

    By Chad Love

    The next time you hook a big fish and then lose it, don't just assume the line broke. The fish may have whipped out his multi-tool and cut it. No, really...

     

    From this story on Wired:   
    Professional diver Scott Gardner has captured what are believed to be the first images of a wild fish using a tool. The picture above, captured in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, shows a foot-long blackspot tuskfish smashing a clam on a rock until it cracks open, so the fish can gobble up the bivalve inside. Tool use was once thought to be exclusive to humans, and was considered a mark of our superior intelligent and bulging brains. In recent decades, though, more and more animals have shown an ability to work with tools and objects.

  • July 11, 2011

    New US Fish & Wildlife Dir. Says Hunters, Anglers Should Focus on What's Happening in Washington

    By Chad Love

    Recently-appointed US Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe says hunters and anglers need to stop focusing on issues like wolves and start paying attention to what's going on in Washington.  

    From this story in the Salt Lake Tribune:   
    The new director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Saturday that while hunters and environmentalists fight over things such as wolf delisting, proposed major cuts to long-established conservation plans could have much more dire consequences. Dan Ashe said an anti-regulatory and deficit cutting mood in the U.S. House of Representatives toward environmental programs could close refuges and dismantle key wildlife conservation programs.

  • July 8, 2011

    Chinese Offshore Oil Rig Was Leaking for 2 Weeks Last Month, Public Not Notified

    By Chad Love

    Offshore drilling disasters are fairly hard incidents to cover up, at least if you live in a democratically-minded nation with a free and independent press. But what if you live in, say...China? Not so much, at least until all that oil starts washing up in other places.

    From this story in the New York Times:

    Oil that spewed from an offshore drilling rig in northeastern China for two weeks last month has spread over 320 square miles, government officials acknowledged Tuesday, amid public uproar over why it took so long for fishermen, local residents and environmental groups to be informed of the spill. News of the accident emerged in late June on the microblogging site Sina Weibo and was not confirmed by the state-owned operator until last Friday.

  • July 8, 2011

    Report: Big Game Fish Species Facing Serious Threats

    By Chad Love

    Some of the most spectacular and sought-after big game fish species swimming the world's oceans are at risk, including blue marlin and five species of tuna, according to a report to be released by an organization of scientists.

    From this story in the New York Times

    Some of the mightiest fish in the sea, including the blue marlin and five of the eight species of tuna , are facing serious threats, the International Union for Conservation of Nature warned on Thursday.

    "...In its first assessment of of the family of Scombridae, which includes the billfishes, tunas, mackerels and bonitos, the organization said that seven of the 61 members of the family faced a serious risk of extinction. Four other species were listed as “near threatened,” while two-thirds were classified in the lowest-risk category. The southern bluefin (Thunnus maccoyii) was listed as “critically endangered,” while the Atlantic bluefin (T. thynnus), the focus of one of the highest-profile ocean conservation efforts now under way, was listed simply as “endangered.” The bigeye tuna (T. obesus) was listed as “vulnerable,” while the yellowfin (T. albacares) is classified as “threatened.” Albacore (T. alalunga) was classified as “near threatened.All three bluefin tuna species are susceptible to collapse under continued excessive fishing pressure,” Kent Carpenter, a professor at Old Dominion University and an author of the paper, said in a statement. “The southern bluefin has already essentially crashed, with little hope of recovery.”

  • July 8, 2011

    US Fish & Wildlife Propose Increased Hunting in Nat. Wildlife Refuges

    By Chad Love

    Here's a refreshing bit of news: at a time when many are clamoring for increased restrictions on hunting, the US Fish & Wildlife Service is proposing to actually increase hunting opportunities on a number of national wildlife refuges.

    From this story in the Miami Herald:
    Officials will ease hunting restrictions at 10 wildlife refuges across the country if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approves changes it proposed this week. The public has until Aug. 4 to comment on the proposal. The changes, which would affect wildlife refuges in eight states, would take effect by the fall. At the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Texas - one of the sites that would see an ease in regulations - certain animal populations have grown so quickly they threaten other species and habitat, refuge manager Stuart Marcus said. "We are definitely not controlling all the hogs and deer," he said.

  • July 7, 2011

    Chicago Gun Range Ban Struck Down in Fed. Appeals Court

    By Chad Love

    Citing an infringement of citizens' Second Amendment rights, a federal appeals court has struck down the city of Chicago's ban on gun ranges.

    From this story on Bloomberg.com:
    A Chicago law banning firing ranges in the third-largest U.S. city probably harms gun owners’ Second Amendment rights and must be temporarily blocked, a federal appeals court ruled.

    The Chicago-based court’s decision today comes in a case challenging a city ordinance restricting handgun possession to inside the home, mandating an hour of range training as a prerequisite to gun ownership and barring those ranges from operating within its borders. The Responsible Gun Ownership Ordinance was passed by the city council after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s outright ban on civilian handgun possession in 2010.

  • July 7, 2011

    Difficult Cleanup Continues After Yellowstone River Oil Spill

    By Chad Love

    Workers in Montana are still struggling to clean up after a ruptured oil pipeline dumped thousands of gallons of oil in to the Yellowstone river. Meanwhile, local residents are becoming frustrated at the lack of communications from officials.

    From this story in USA Today:
    Residents along portions of the oil-contaminated Yellowstone River are expressing frustration over the lack of information flowing from ExxonMobil, state and federal officials following last weekend's pipeline burst. An ExxonMobil pipeline that runs under the Yellowstone River near Laurel, Mont. ruptured near midnight Friday and leaked hundreds of barrels of oil into the river, contaminating riverbanks and flooding fields for miles. Montana Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer estimates that the contamination may have spread more than 270 miles downstream into North Dakota.

  • July 7, 2011

    Hiker Killed by Grizzly in Yellowstone National Park

    By Chad Love

    A hiker in Yellowstone National Park was killed by a grizzly bear Wednesday after apparently surprising a female grizzly and her cubs. It was the park's first fatal bear attack since 1986.

    From this story in the Washington Post:
    A killer grizzly is roaming Yellowstone National Park’s backcountry after mauling a man who apparently surprised the female bear and its cubs while hiking with his wife. Officials closed remote campgrounds and trails near the scene of Wednesday’s attack close to Canyon Village, which sits in the middle of the sprawling park. The identity of the 57-year-old victim was being withheld until his family could be notified, said Yellowstone spokesman Al Nash.

    The mauling occurred just after Yellowstone’s peak weekend for tourism. While lamenting the death, officials said they didn’t want to overemphasize the danger to visitors.

  • July 6, 2011

    Japanese Tsunami Debris Heading For West Coast

    By Chad Love

    --Chad Love

    Who can forget the amazing footage of the Japanese tsunami sweeping literal mountains of debris into the ocean? Now scientists say all that debris - millions of tons of it - is slowly making its way to the west coast.

     
    From this story on mercurynews.com:
    Millions of tons of debris that washed into the ocean during Japan's catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in March -- everything from furniture to roofs to pieces of cars -- are now moving steadily toward the United States and raising concerns about a potential environmental headache. Scientists using computer models say the wreckage, which is scattered across hundreds of miles of the Pacific Ocean, is expected to reach Midway and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands by next spring and beaches in California, Oregon and Washington in 2013 or early 2014.

  • July 5, 2011

    Minnesota Government Shutdown Leaves Anglers Without Fishing Licenses

    By Chad Love

    --Chad Love

    If you're about to embark on that epic "Minnesota Fishing Safari" you've been dreaming of for years, you better hope you got your fishing license early. Otherwise, you may be facing an ethical conundrum: should you fish illegally if there's no one there to check your license?
     
    From this story on northlandnewscenter.com:
    If you call a Minnesota DNR phone line these days, you're likely to be directed to an automated voicemail message telling you to call back once the government reaches a compromise. Many Fourth of July anglers were surprised to get that message over the big holiday weekend. Those who didn't get the chance to purchase a fishing license before the government shut down are now facing a decision. Should they fish illegally or forgo fishing to enjoy other recreational activities?