Subject: New England Aquarium Seabits Seabits 1.3 (fwd)

mike williamson (
Thu, 11 Sep 1997 08:57:51 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 00:36:03 -0400
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Subject: New England Aquarium Seabits Seabits 1.3

New England Aquarium Monthly e-mail Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 3
Copyright, New England Aquarium, 1997.

** Special Note **
We apologize for the delay in getting this issue out. Part of this issue
was prepared in Africa and we encountered unexpected e-mail difficulties.
October should be back to normal.

September for many means "back to school." But for most Aquarium
researchers, September is the heart of "field season." It's when they
disappear for two months to learn neat things about the aquatic world, get
tanned, escape Boston construction, and give us something to write about.
This issue tells you a bit about what they're up to.

In this issue
 Watery Words
   Right Whale Dies in Ship Collision
   Fishermen, Scientists Team Up for a Porpoise.
   Fishermen Help Scientists Track Giant Bluefin Tuna
 Out On The Net
 Expansion Update
 September Calendar
 Teachers Have a Friend in the Aquarium
 Subscribe/Unsubscribe Information

=-=-= WATERY WORDS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
"The human race has been fascinated by sharks for as long as I can
remember. Just like the bluebird feeding its young, or the spider
struggling to weave its perfect web, or the buttercup blooming in spring,
the shark reveals to us yet another of the infinite and wonderful facets of
nature, namely the facet that it can bite your head off. This causes us
humans to feel a certain degree of awe."

     -- Dave Barry, "The Wonders of Sharks on TV"

=-=-= STORIES =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

----- RIGHT WHALE DIES IN SHIP COLLISION ----------------------------------
New England Aquarium right whale researchers spent August 20 on a Nova
Scotia beach examining the carcass of a female right whale that was struck
and killed by a ship. Her entire right side was badly bruised and her jaw
broken, clearly indicating that she was struck and killed by a large ship.
The death of this 41-foot female, known as "2450" to Aquarium researchers
who first sighted her in 1994, is a tragic blow to a population of only
about 300. Collisions with large ships are the number one killer to the
right whale, the world's most endangered large whale. According to
Aquarium research, large ships have struck and killed at least fourteen
right whales since 1976, totaling one third of all documented right whale

Droplet: Right whales were once so numerous that early New England
settlers used to say you could walk across whole bays on the backs of
whales. But now, there are fewer right whales than days of the year.

----- FISHERMEN, SCIENTISTS TEAM UP FOR A PORPOISE ------------------------
New England Aquarium chief scientist Scott Kraus, with the help of southern
Maine and New Hampshire fishermen, has shown that small underwater alarms
called pingers are effective in preventing accidental entanglement and
drowning of harbor porpoise in gillnet fishing gear-the most serious danger
to porpoise and dolphins around the world.

More than 80,000 small dolphins and porpoise are killed annually in coastal
waters around the world and at least two species are in imminent danger of
extinction because of fishing gear. To help prevent this, Kraus outfitted
fifteen New Hampshire and southern Maine fishing vessels' nets with these
underwater alarms. Other boats were fitted with "dummy" silent alarms.
Active alarms sent out a single acoustic signal every four seconds. Over a
two month period, Kraus found that only two harbor porpoise were caught in
nets with the active alarms, while 25 were caught in the inactive alarms.

Kraus and New England Aquarium Conservation Director Gregory Stone are
currently experimenting with the same devices in New Zealand to prevent
entanglement of Hectors' dolphin, the rarest marine dolphin in the world.

Droplet: Harbor porpoise make the highest pitch sounds of any porpoise in
the world, up to 160 thousand herz, eight to ten times higher than the
highest sounds audible to heard by humans.

In another rather unusual team effort, New England Aquarium researchers and
local fishermen are tracking the travels of giant Atlantic bluefin tuna-the
world's most commercially-valuable fish-via satellite.

Applying traditional harpoon fishing technique developed by fishermen Bill
Chaprales of Cape Cod, MA, harpoon fishermen are implanting satellite
pop-up tags into bluefin tuna as the fish swim at the surface. These tags,
pre-programmed to transmit at specific intervals, send information
regarding exact location and water temperature to an ARGOS satellite. Dr.
Molly Lutcavage of the New England Aquarium and her colleagues will use the
information to get a clearer picture of the Atlantic-wide migratory paths
and spawning areas of these seasonal New England residents.

Believed by many to be fast becoming a depleted resource, bluefin tuna have
been at the center of a heated debate. The International Council for the
Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), the body responsible for tuna
regulation globally, has been recommending increasingly stringent fishing
limits. Fishermen, however, claim they see more bluefin tuna in a single
day than regulators have said exist in the entire North Atlantic.

The study is a cooperative effort of the New England Aquarium and the East
Coast Tuna Association. New England Aquarium researcher Dr. Molly
Lutcavage will be assisted by colleagues at the University of Hawaii,
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and National Marine Fisheries
Service. The work is funded by the East Coast Tuna Association and through
donations by cooperating bluefin tuna charter boats and anglers.

Droplet: Giant bluefin tuna are the largest living species of tuna,
reaching up to 10 feet in length and weighing more than 1,400 pounds. One
of these fast-swimming, highly migratory animals can net up to $30,000 at
the dock.

=-=-= OUT ON THE NET =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
For additional information, you might want to check out the following
websites. Some of these links represent partners in aquatic conservation
and animal husbandry; others are simply resources we think may help you
enrich your perspective on our watery world. By listing these websites, the
New England Aquarium is not automatically endorsing or verifying the
accuracy of their content unless explicitly stated.

Right whales

Harbor Porpoise

Bluefin Tuna

=-=-= EXPANSION UPDATE =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
West Wing are the words of the year on Central Wharf. Though it's
officially scheduled to open January 10, 1998 with a new exhibit, "Coastal
Rhythms," many of the amenities will already be up and running shortly
after Labor Day. It's going to be a beautiful addition to the late 60s
architecture you're used to seeing down here. The West Wing will put a new
face on the Aquarium. The outside is a modern, multi-angled design with
stainless steel fish-scale canopies that swoop out to mirror the sky, and
reflect the ocean. Inside--where there'll be a new two-level changing
exhibit gallery, gift shop, restaurant, and lobby--the look is oceanic.
The masterminds, Schwarz/Silver Architects, have chosen a warm combination
of azure pebble floor tile (gorgeous!), natural maple finish work and lots
of glass.

Our website contains more information on the expansion, and the New England
Aquarium's goals in research, conservation, and education. See

=-=-= SEPTEMBER CALENDAR =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Arrival of The Matthew, September 5
A 15th century reconstruction of the vessel that took John Cabot on his
historic expedition across the Atlantic from Bristol, England to the New
World in 1497. This year, to mark its 500th anniversary, the ship has
retraced the path of the original voyage, stopping first in St. John's in
Newfoundland before coming to Boston, where it will dock at the New England
Aquarium for about three weeks. Open to the public. General admission:
$2.00. Children under 12: $1.00. Free for school groups. For more
information, (617) 973-5222.

Behind-The-Scenes Tours, Sunday, September 14, offered at 2 P.M. and 3 P.M.
Come backstage and learn how our exhibits are made and the animals are
cared for. $4.00 per person for members and $14.00 per child for
non-members. Recommended for ages 6 and older. Children under 18 must be
accompanied by an adult. Fee includes Aquarium admission. Call (617)
973-5232 for registration information.

Microscopic Journeys, Saturday, September 20, 10:30-11:30 A.M.
Ages 12 and older are invited to use magnifying glasses and microscopes to
take a different look at what's beneath the surface. $4.00 per child for
members and $8.00 per child for non-members. Children under 18 must be
accompanied by an adult. Fee does not include Aquarium admission. Call
(617) 973-5232 for registration information.

Watery World, Saturday, September 27, 9:30-10:30 A.M.
Story and activity hour for pre-schoolers ages 3-5. $4.00 per child for
members and $8.00 per child for non-members. Children must be accompanied
by an adult and there is no fee for the adult participant. Fee does not
include Aquarium admission. Call (617) 973-5232 for registration

Environmental Writers' Festival, Sunday, September 28
Meet award-winning nature and environmental writers and participate in
lectures and panels during an all-day workshop. Call (617) 973-5295 for
fees and registration information.

=-=-= TEACHERS HAVE A FRIEND IN THE AQUARIUM =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Our Teacher Resource Center (TRC) is the place to come to bring your
lessons to life. You'll find all kinds of curricula and hands-on materials
such as turtle shells, alligator skulls, audiovisual materials, books,
puppets, and kits. Most items are loaned for free. Large kits, for which a
rental fee is charged, provide curricula and materials to teach such
two-week units as New England Coastlines and Whales. Most materials can
also be mailed (COD) to your school. Call or visit us. Much of our
collection may be photocopied for a small fee. The phone number is (617)
973-6590. You may also send email to <>

The Teacher Resource Center consultation is free. Please call for an
appointment. Appointments can be made for weekday and weekend hours.

=-=-= SUBSCRIBE/UNSUBSCRIBE INFORMATION =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
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Content questions and comments? Contact Susan Gedutis at
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at <>.

=-=-= THAT'S ALL FOLKS =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Hope you've enjoyed the September issue, and remember... summer doesn't
officially end 'til September 20. Live it up!