- Spain Aquarium Faces Power Shutoff Crisis
- Cape Town Ready to Deploy Shark Nets
- Pacific Bluefin Tuna Population Severely Diminished From 1950s Numbers
Spain’s largest aquarium, located in Roquetas de Mar, is facing a huge crisis over an unpaid electric bill that could endanger the lives of more than 1,000 different species, many of which are rare and protected. Aquarium Roquetas has been mired in 3.5 million euros of debt over the last several years, of which they owe Spanish electric company Endesa a sum of 9,500 euros, or service will be disconnected on February 7. The aquarium’s director is in talks with the energy provider to stay the shutoff until the summer season when revenues are higher, as cessation of electricity that powers many of the tanks will likely result in the animals’ death. Having only opened in 2006, Aquarium Roquetas began experiencing financial difficulty in 2009, and it is speculated that the facility will need a cash injection of roughly 150,000 euros just to keep it in operation. There has been no alternative aquarium found that is large enough to take on their existing stock.
South Africa’s city of Cape Town is awaiting permission from the national environment department to deploy shark exclusion nets on Fish Hoek, one of its most popular beaches, in an effort to keep bathers safe from possible interaction with the area’s great whites and other sharks. However, Cape Town’s head of environmental policy and strategy Greg Oelofse admonished the public that the net would be implemented on a trial basis only, and if it showed to have any major negative ecological impacts, the net would be removed. Approval for the shark net, which is not aimed at killing sharks, but rather keeping them separated from swimmers, could come as early as today.
A study conducted by the International Scientific Community for Tuna and Tuna-Like Species in the North Pacific Ocean found that population numbers of the Pacific bluefin tuna have been reduced by 96 percent since the 1950s, before large-scale commercial fishing of the species began. The study analyzed catch data from 1952 to 2011, and determined that if current fishing rates are continued, a complete crash of the fishery is imminent, as many fishermen are now catching primarily juvenile specimens. NOAA disagreed with the assessment, saying there is no solid evidence that the species is near extinction, but did concur with the fact that the total weight of fish caught at reproductive age is at or near its lowest level. Pacific bluefin tuna spawn in just two areas off the coast of Japan, further highlighting the need for better international management if the population is expected to recover. Catch limits for the species have been recently adopted in the eastern Pacific, which led to an early shutdown of the fishery when the limits were exceeded in August 2012.