THE FIRST DIGITAL MAP OF THE OCEAN FLOOR HAS BEEN CREATED

The Jolly Good News

The-first-digital-map-of-the-o“The deep ocean floor is a graveyard with much of it made up of the remains of microscopic sea creatures called phytoplankton”, Dutkiewicz said in a statement.

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South Africa: Young male surfer, 20, bitten by White Shark in Muizenberg – Multi-agency response – Published 010814 1715z (UTC)

“At 14h07, Friday, 01 August, NSRI Simonstown volunteer sea rescue duty crew and CMR (Cape Medical Response) were activated following reports of a man bitten by a shark while surfing off-shore of the Pavilion, Muizenberg Beach.

The man was reported to have been assisted out of the water.

NSRI Simonstown volunteers, CMR paramedics and a CMR ambulance, the SA Police Services, WC Government Health EMS, City of Cape Town Law Enforcement, Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services and the Red Cross AMS Skymed helicopter responded.

NSRI Strandfontein were placed on alert.

On arrival on-scene a 20 year old male, from Newlands (originally from Durban), was found to be in a stable condition with multiple lacerations to his lower limbs (some of which are deep lacerations) and an avulsion to the left thigh.

A member of the public had begun first aid treatment on the scene prior to paramedics arriving and the member of the public had cut the surf board leash from the surfers surf board and had tied the leash around the patients limbs to act as a tourniquet to stem the flow of blood.

The man has been airlifted by the Skymed helicopter to hospital in a stable condition for further treatment.

He was assisted out of the water by his friend.

At the time of the incident the Shark Spotters were flying the Black Shark Flag (indicating poor water and weather visibility conditions – a misty haze) and a bystander had approached the shark spotters to inform them that they had seen a shark fin in the water and the incident happened when the Shark Siren (indicating swimmers and surfers to clear the water) was in the process of being activated.

Shark Spotters and Law Enforcement officers have closed Muizenberg Beach and bathers and surfers along the False Bay coastline are urged to exercise caution.

The species of shark involved has been confirmed by the bite marks to have been a White Shark and eye-witness accounts suggest the shark to have been between 3 and 4 meters in length but the length of the shark cannot be confirmed pending further investigations.

These pictures are low resolution but are available on Sea Rescue’s Flickr page.

” – NSRI

At 14h07, Friday, 01 August, NSRI Simon's Town volunteer sea rescue duty crew and CMR (Cape Medical Response) were activated following reports of a man bitten by a shark while surfing off-shore of the Pavilion, Muizenberg Beach.

At 14h07, Friday, 01 August, NSRI Simon's Town volunteer sea rescue duty crew and CMR (Cape Medical Response) were activated following reports of a man bitten by a shark while surfing off-shore of the Pavilion, Muizenberg Beach.

 

UK: Police investigate dead bottle nosed #dolphin hit by a boat in #Padstow. Witnesses, photos & videos sought – 220713 2300z

Bottlenose Dolphin (Photo: wikimedia.org/ NASA)

Specialist Wildlife crime trained police officers are currently investigating reports of a dead bottle nosed dolphin which was seen in the Camel Estuary, Padstow on Saturday 20 July 2013.

It is believed several boats were in the area at the time and one of the dolphins was hit by a boat and killed.

The juvenile dolphin was found dead at around 4.45pm on Saturday at The Rumps, north east of Pentire Point, which is between Polzeath and Port Quin. Police are keen to speak to any witnesses who saw a number of boats circling around the dolphins on Saturday afternoon. In particular they would like any photographs or videos of the boats, which were part of the flotilla of up to 25 boats, between 1.30pm and around 5pm on Saturday. PC Del Allerton-Baldwin, Wildlife Crime Officer on the Marine and Coastal Policing Team in Bodmin, said:

“We would like to get a list of all boats that were in the area at the time. They should all have names on them. “Many of the boat users were in fact behaving responsibly around the dolphins and keeping a distance of around 100 yards. However a few appear to have been harassing them. If you were part of the flotilla, it does not mean you were committing an offence but we would like to speak to you and eliminate you from our enquiries. You may also have vital information which may assist with the investigation.” Anyone with information, photographs or video clips is asked to call police on 101 quoting 399 of 21/07/13.

Philippines: Chinese fishing vessel crashes into Tubbataha Reef. Large area of ancient coral damaged – 040513 1520z

(Photo: pinoyrepublic.net) Coral

A Chinese fishing vessel has crashed into one of the Philippines’ most famous reefs and damaged thousands of square metres of centuries-old coral, the marine park has said.

(image: asiadivesite.com) Tubbataha Reef

Some 3,902 square metres of coral was destroyed after the boat became stranded in the Tubbataha marine park, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed Tubbataha Coral Reef, the park management said on Saturday.

“The damage the Chinese vessel caused to the reef is heart-breaking,” Angelique Songco, the head of the marine park said in a statement after experts assessed the affected area.

Some of the coral destroyed by the Chinese vessel was 500 years old, Songco said, adding that the damage was much larger than the area destroyed when a US Navy minesweeper, the USS Guardian, got stranded on Tubbataha in January.

The 48-metre vessel, carrying 12 suspected Chinese fishermen, plowed into the Tubbataha Reef near the western island of Palawan on April 8. Authorities later found hundreds of dead pangolins, an internationally-protected species, hidden inside the vessel. Tubbataha marine park information officer Glenda Simon told the AFP news agency that the 12 Chinese would likely be fined about $2.32m just for trespassing into the marine park and destroying the coral. The government has already charged them with poaching and they could face an additional 12 to 20 years in jail for possession of the pangolins in violation of wildlife law. Pangolins are widely hunted in parts of Asia for their meat, skin and scales and in China they are considered a delicacy and to have medicinal qualities. The Philippine office of the World Wide Fund for Nature condemned the poaching of the pangolins after the men were caught, saying that growing demand in China was wiping the animal out in Southeast Asia.

Chinese fishermen from the vessel that ran aground on Monday in Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, sit with their belongings on a Philippine Coast Guard vessel as they arrive in Palawan Province, west of Manila April 10, 2013 in this picture provided by Tubbataha Management Office. REUTERS/ Tubbataha Management Office Handout

Saturday, 04 May, 2013 at 13:54 (01:54 PM) UTC RSOE

Other Reports

Chinese vessel did more damage to Tubbataha than USS Guardian TMO

The F/V Min Long Yu, a 48-meter Chinese fishing vessel, ran aground Tubbatahas North Atoll last 8 April. Though smaller than the 68-meter USS Guardian, the Chinese ship is steel-hulled, which is far more destructive to coral reefs. TMO, which is leveling a PHP58M (USD1.4M) fine against the US Navy for destroying 2345.67 square meters of coral reef, will now file charges against the Chinese poachers. (TMO Archives)

“Despite being smaller than the USS Guardian, the Chinese fishing vessel that ran aground at Tubbataha Reef last April 8 caused worse damage to the heritage site than the US minesweeper, the reef’s caretaker said Friday.
The Tubbataha Management Office said this was the finding of a team of scientists that analyzed the damage caused by the F/V Min Long Yu.
According to the team, the Chinese vessel destroyed 3,902 square meters of corals including some massive corals 500 years old. This is 66 percent larger than the 2,345.67 square meters damaged by the USS Guardian when it ran aground last Jan. 17.
“The damage the Chinese vessel caused to the reef is heart-breaking. Some of the massive corals that were pulverized are estimated to be about 500 years old,” Tubbataha Protected Area superintendent Angelique Songco said.
The USS Guardian measured 224 feet by 39 feet (http://www.guardian.navy.mil/), while the Chinese fishing vessel measured 48 meters long and eight meters wide.
Dr. Wilfredo Licuanan of De La Salle University (DLSU) led the team that conducted the assessment from April 23 to 30.
Joining him were marine biologists Miledel Christine Quibilan, Eznairah Jeung Narida and Renmar Martinez from the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute and Norievel Espaa of DLSU.
Also with the team were the Automated Rapid Reef Assessment System team (Philippine Department of Science and Technology) team, World Wildlife Fund-Philippines, Tubbataha Management Office and marine park rangers.
Extent of damage
The TMO said the damage extended from the original location of the F/V Min Long Yu when it ran aground on April 8, since big waves caused the vessel to move from its original position before it was pulled off the reef last April 19.
“It bulldozed through vibrant coral reefs leaving a highway of destruction in its wake,” the TMO said.
The team measured the grounding site using two methods aerial photography and boundary mapping using Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS).
For aerial photography, the team used a GoPro camera attached to a kite. Images taken over the area were georectified to determine the size of the damaged area.

(Photo: gmanews.tv) Tubbataha marine park

In DGPS, marine ecologist divers and a snorkeler were deployed and placed tags to establish the perimeter of the damaged area.
“Research stations have also been set up in the area to monitor coral and fish recruitment rates. The next monitoring activity will be in October 2013,” the TMO said.
Payment
The TMO said it has sent an official communication to the Chinese Embassy and the Department of Foreign Affairs seeking assistance in identifying the person or company liable.
“So far, they have received no response,” it said.
Meanwhile, the 12 Chinese aboard the vessel had been charged for poaching and possession of protected species, as well as for attempting to bribe park rangers.
They will also face administrative cases before the Tubbataha Protected Area Management Board (TPAMB).” TJD, GMA News

Pangolins (Scaly Anteaters) Seized from Chinese Vessel – WWF

The F/N Min Long Yu was carrying about 2000 dressed and rolled-up pangolins. Rising demand in China for pangolin meat and scales is wiping out the unique, toothless anteaters from their habitats in Southeast Asia. (TMO Archives)
About 400 boxes containing illegally-traded pangolins or scaly anteaters were seized from the F/V Min Long Yu, the same 48-meter Chinese fishing vessel which ran aground the Tubbataha Reefs last 8 April 2013.

Each box was estimated to contain from five to six dressed and rolled-up pangolins, which means the vessel could be carrying as many as 2000 of the toothless, insect-eating creatures.

Resembling large olive lizards, pangolins are actually scaled mammals which range throughout Asia and Africa. Eight species exist all threatened by habitat loss plus the illegal trade for their meat and unique scales, which are used for both traditional medicine and the curio trade.

The grisly discovery was made by the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park Rangers and the Philippine Coast Guard last 13 April 2013. The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) is set to lodge legal action against the 12 Chinese fishermen, who are already facing poaching charges in violation of Republic Act No. 10067 for their illegal entry into the Tubbataha Reefs.

The World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-Philippines) strongly condemns this latest act of wildlife trafficking.

It is bad enough that these Chinese have illegally entered our seas, navigated without boat papers and crashed recklessly into a national marine park and World Heritage Site, says WWF-Philippines Vice-chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan.

However, it is simply deplorable that they appear to be posing as fishermen to trade in illegal wildlife. Should the carcasses check out as Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis), we can be sure they were being smuggled out of Palawan. In which case, the full force of the Philippine Wildlife Act should be applied.

As the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora bad (CITES) prohibits trade in Asian pangolin species, WWF-Philippines calls on the government to fully prosecute the Chinese poachers for violating both national and international wildlife trade laws.

The Illegal Wildlife Trade

The latest seizure of pangolins from the F/N Min Long Yu comes right as the WWF global network is scaling up its campaign to combat the illegal wildlife trade, which now comprises the fourth largest illegal global trade after narcotics, counterfeiting of products and currency, and human trafficking.

The illegal wildlife trade, estimated to yield at least $19 Billion per year, has become a lucrative business for criminal syndicates because the risk involved is low compared with other crimes. Poaching syndicates flourish because there are presently no effective deterrents to the trade. High-level traders and kingpins are rarely arrested, prosecuted, and convicted for their crimes.

Today, pangolins are widely hunted and traded for their alleged medicinal properties. They are among the most commonly encountered mammals in Asias wildlife trade and alarming numbers have been seized throughout East and Southeast Asia in recent years.

WWF-Philippines encourages the public not to patronize products that may have come from species that are illegally traded. ” – wwf.org.ph

Concludes Tan, When the buying stops, the killing will, too.

Related:

Tubbataha Reef

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park – UNESCO

https://johnib.wordpress.com/tag/chinese-vessel/

Italy: 100 Dolphins in Measles epidemic, washed up dead along Italian coast – 230413 1155z

Scientists believe that more than 100 dolphins washed up dead along the Italian coast were struck down by a killer strain of measles.

(Photo: theonlinetraveljournal.com) Striped Dolphin

A total of 101 dolphin carcasses have been counted on the west coast of Italy since the beginning of the year. All are the same species – striped dolphins which have a distinctive blue and white pattern and grow to about eight feet long. They usually live for 50 or 60 years. The bodies have appeared on beaches spanning more than half the western coastline of Italy, from Tuscany to Calabria, as well as the island of Sicily – which suggests that the problem is not caused by humans pollutants such as oil. Instead the deaths are being attributed to a possible outbreak of Morbillivirus, the virus that causes measles in humans, which scientists believe created a gateway for other illnesses among the animals.

(Image: dailymail.co.uk) The bodies have been found all along the Italian coast, from Tuscany in the north to Sicily in the south

Thirty-five per cent of the corpses tested positive for dolphin measles, Italy’s Ministry for the Environment said. A statement from the ministry read: ‘At the moment the suspected cause of the mass cetacean deaths is measles (morbillivirus delphini) and the bacterium Photobacterium damselae. ‘The deaths could be caused by food shortages which weaken the animal making them more easily exposed to diseases and parasites.’ A similar epidemic decimated Spanish dolphin populations between 2006 and 2008. The current strain has mostly affected young dolphins between the age of 15 and 20, who have not come across the disease before. Animals born after a 1990-92 epidemic are devoid of the antibodies needed to defend them against the disease, scientists said.

None of the dead dolphins had food in their stomachs, which suggests that they may have starved to death because the virus left them weakened. Overfishing which has left the Mediterranean with sparse reserves of dolphin prey could also be a factor, the government agency said. Striped dolphins feed on small prey including hake, cuttlefish, squid, mackerel and sole, all species subject to intensive fishing. The species is found in all the world’s tropical oceans. They are very sociable, travelling in large pods which can include hundreds of dolphins and are among the most acrobatic breeds. There are thought to be around two million striped dolphins in the world.

(Image: holisecleveland.files.wordpress.com)

Morbillivirus is a type of virus that causes serious disease in several species of animals and in people. Distemper in dogs and rinderpest in cattle are caused by different morbilliviruses. Measles (rubeola) is a generally less severe morbillivirus-induced disease of people, although this morbillivirus caused many fatalities prior to the age of modern medicine. An important feature of morbillviruses is their ability to cause major epidemics when populations without immunity are exposed. A large proportion of the canine population died when canine distemper entered Europe 200 years ago. Rinderpest, otherwise known as the “cattle plague”, has caused epidemics of biblical proportions. Furthermore, one half to two thirds of the native population died when measles was introduced into various areas of the New World in the 1500s. There have been several major die-offs among marine mammals caused by morbilliviruses in recent years. Baikal seals in Lake Baikal (1987), harbor seals in northwestern Europe (1988), and striped dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea (1990) have all been affected by separate morbillivirus epidemics. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association recently implicated morbillivirus infection as the primary cause of the 1987-1988 U. S. Atlantic coast bottlenose dolphin die-off. In each of these events, thousands of animals are believed to have died.

Blixenkrone-Moller M., G. Bolt, E. Gottschalck and M. Kenter. 1994. Comparative analysis of the gene encoding the nucleocapsid protein of dolphin morbillivirus reveals its distinct evolutionary relationship to measles virus and ruminant morbilliviruses. Journal of General Virology 75:2829-2834.

Blixenkrone-Moller, M., G. Bolt, T. D. Jensen, T. Harder and V. Svansson. 1996. Comparative analysis of the attachment protein gene (H) of dolphin morbillivirus. Virus Research 40:47-56.

Domingo, M., L. Ferrer, M. Pumarola, A. Marco, J. Plana, S. Kennedy, M. McAliskey and B. K. Rima. 1990. Morbillivirus in dolphins. Nature 348:21.

Duignan, P. J., et. al. 1995a. Morbillivirus infection in two species of pilot whales (Globicephala sp.) from the western Atlantic. Marine Mammal Science 11:150- 162.

Duignan, P. J., et. al. 1995b. Morbillivirus infection in cetaceans of the western Atlantic. Veterinary Microbiology 44:241-249.

Duignan, P. J. et. al. 1996. Morbillivirus infection in the bottlenose dolphins: Evidence for recurrent epizootics in the western Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. Marine Mammal Science 12:499-515.

Kennedy, S., J. A. Smyth, P. F. Cush, M. McAliskey, D. Moffett, C. M. McNiven and M. Carole. 1992. Morbillivirus infection in two common porpoises (Phocoena phocoena ) from the coasts of England and Scotland. Veterinary Record 131:286- 290.

Kraft, A., J. H. Lichy, T. P. Lipscomb, B. A. Klaunberg, S. Kennedy and J. K. Taubenberger. 1995. Postmortem diagnosis of morbillivirus infection in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico epizootics by polymerase chain reaction-based assay. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 31:410-415.

Lipscomb, T. P., F. Y. Schulman, D. Moffett and S. Kennedy. 1994 a. Morbillivital disease in Atlantic bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) from the Gulf of Mexico . Journal of Wildlife Diseases 30:567-571.

Osterhaus, A. D. M. E., I. K. G. Visser, R. L. deSwart, M-F. Van Bressem, M. W. G. Van de Bildt, C. Orvell, T. Barrett and J. A. Raga. 1992. Morbillivirus threat to Mediterranean monk seals? Veterinary Record 130:141-142.

Osterhaus, A. D. M. E., R. L. de Swart, H. W. Vos, P. S. Ross, M. J. H. Kenter and T. Barrett. 1995. Morbillivirus infection of aquatic mammals: Newly infected members of the genus. Veterinary Microbiology. 44:219-227.

Van Bressem, M-F., K. Van Qaerbeek, M. Flemming and T. Barrett. 1998. Serological evidence of morbillivirus infection in small cetaceans from the southeast Pacific. Veterinary Microbiology 2:89-98.

Van Bressem, M-F. and T. Barrett. 1998. Further insight on the epidemiology of the cetacean morbillivirus in the northeastern Atlantic. Marine Mammal Science 14(3):605-613.

Visser, I. K. G., et. al. 1993. Characterization of morbilliviruses isolated from dolphins and porpoises in Europe. Journal of General Virology 74:631-641.” – DOLPHIN RESEARCH CENTER, 58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019
305-289-1121 www.dolphins.org

Tuesday, 23 April, 2013 at 03:04 (03:04 AM) UTC RSOE

Related:

Striped dolphin – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Antarctica: 97 saved from Chinese factory fishing ship fire – 180413 1615z

“SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) –

A Chinese factory fishing ship caught fire Wednesday just off the coast of Antarctica and 97 crew members were rescued by a nearby Norwegian vessel as Chile’s military mobilized to prevent any environmental damage.

(Photo: komonews.com) In this picture released by Chile’s Air Force, smoke billows from a Chinese factory fishing ship Kai Xin just off the coast of Antarctica, Wednesday, April 17, 2013.

The crew members abandoned the burning Kai Xin and were taken aboard the Juvel about 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula, Chilean officials said.

The ship was not immediately at risk of sinking, and nearby vessels could tow it away from the Antarctic coast if necessary, officials said.

Capt. Juan Marcelo Villegas, maritime governor for Chile’s portion of Antarctica, told The Associated Press that Chile’s navy could send a tugboat from Punta Arenas, near the southern tip of South America, to tow the ship to harbor as long as it remained seaworthy.

Chile’s air force was preparing a second flight for Thursday to check on the vessel’s condition. The Kai Xin left port in Uruguay and Chilean officials did not know how much fuel it was carrying, Villegas said.

“At the moment the weather conditions are pretty favorable. There’s little wind and the ocean conditions are good, so, for the moment, there’s no imminent risk of sinking,” Villegas said.

China’s Panamanian-flagged Skyfrost ship was approaching the area and would be able to take on the rescued sailors, he said.

Chile’s Antarctic base could not handle the rescued crew, Villegas said. He said the chief of China’s Antarctic base had been notified.

China’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment, but the official Xinhua News Agency said the Chinese Embassy in Santiago was in close contact with Chilean authorities over the matter.

The environmental group Greenpeace said the crippled Chinese ship is part of an international fleet of about 50 vessels authorized by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources to fish off the Antarctic coast.

“This Chinese fishing ship that’s on fire has permission to fish for krill,” Milko Schvartzman, who campaigns against overfishing for Greenpeace, said in an email.

He said Greenpeace opposed the Antarctic fishing. “They don’t know how the ecosystem might be affected by fishing for krill, which forms part of the foundation for the entire ocean food chain,” Schvartzman wrote.

The commission is meeting in July in Berlin to discuss the possible creation of large Antarctic marine reserves. Schvartzman said Greenpeace is lobbying for approval, saying the reserves would “protect one of the most pristine regions left in the oceans.” ” – komonews.com

Scotland: 80th anniversary of first Loch Ness monster sighting – 140413 1545z

One of the worlds greatest mysteries will be celebrated tomorrow when a special boat trip marks the 80th anniversary of the first modern sighting of the Loch Ness Monster.

On April 14 1933, Mrs Aldie Mackay, manageress of the Drumnadrochit Hotel, spoke of seeing a “whale-like fish” in the loch. Alex Campbell, a water bailiff and part-time journalist, recorded the sighting in the Inverness Courier, under the headline: “Strange Spectacle in Loch Ness”.

Exactly eight decades on since Mrs Mackay first saw something strange in the loch, a group of monster buffs will head out on to the water to raise a glass of whisky to the woman whose sighting sparked a phenomenon that continues to captivate the world.

Adrian Shine, leader of the Loch Ness Research Project and designer of the five-star Loch Ness Exhibition in Drumnadrochit, will lead the excursion, which also includes Edinburgh Fortean Society president Gordon Rutter, Loch Ness investigator Dick Raynor and a number of other noted Loch Ness specialists.

A single malt, “Superstition”, has been specially selected to mark the occasion, along with a blend of port and brandy named “Conviction”. Members of the boat party will also enjoy a slice of “Nessie at 80” birthday cake designed and made by Drumnadrochits own Cobbs Bakery.

Although Nessie herself has not yet confirmed her attendance, she will not be left out of the party, receiving her own beer liberation poured in the loch courtesy of local, Loch Ness Brewery.

Loch Ness expert MrShine, one of VisitScotlands Meet the Scots ambassadors, said: “Even without Nessie, Loch Ness is a place of great beauty and remarkable intrigue, but the first modern sighting by Mrs Mackay was a key date in history, not only for Loch Ness, but for Scotland as a whole.”

Malcolm Roughhead, chief executive of VisitScotland said: “It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Mrs Mackays sighting of the Loch Ness Monster to tourism in Scotland. There are few places in the world where people havent heard of the phenomenon and the 80th anniversary is sure to spark renewed interest and encourage even more visitors to come here and see if they can spot Nessie for themselves.”

Graeme Ambrose, executive director at Destination Loch Ness, said: “Clearly Mrs MacKays sighting has had a huge impact on the worldwide perception and tourism potential of Loch Ness. The icing on the cake is that there is even more to this fascinating area beyond the monster, and we know that visitors to Loch Ness are intrigued, inspired and impressed by what they do see.”

Meanwhile, today there will also be a gathering at The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition in Drumnadrochit. The reception will include local experts and will meet in Mrs Mackays old dining room (now The Loch Ness Exhibition foyer).Mr Shine will welcome everyone and Mrs Mackay will make an appearance by way of her filmed interview from some 20 years.” - Jenna Conti highland-news.co.uk

Other Reports

The BBC asks……

Loch Ness Monster: Is Nessie just a tourist conspiracy?

BBC

The Goodies riding Nessie

Related Stories

It is 80 years since hotel manageress Mrs Aldie Mackay first reported seeing a “whale-like fish” in the waters of Loch Ness.

Now an academic at St Andrew’s University is trawling through 1,000 eye-witness accounts since to see what they can tell us.

He wryly notes more than a few hotel proprietors among typical spotters. So is “Nessie” just a conspiracy to boost tourism?

It was 14 April 1933 and Mrs Mackay, manageress of the Drumnadrochit Hotel, was driving with her husband along the road to Inverness.

As they drove, she glanced out across the still calm waters of Loch Ness towards Aldourie Castle. There, in the water, she saw something.

Mrs Aldie Mackay Mrs Aldie Mackay, manageress of the Drumnadrochit Hotel, said she saw a “beast” in the loch on 14 April, 1933

In a rare interview years later, she described the moment to marine biologist and founder of The Loch Ness Project, Adrian Shine.

“She said it was black, wet, with the water rolling off it,” he says.

“It went in a circle, round and down. She yelled at her husband “Stop! The beast!”

It is an interesting remark, Mr Shine says.

Start Quote

I suppose it is possible that people have an agenda. But I stress that I believe the vast majority of people are reporting the truth

Dr Charles Paxton University of St Andrew’s

Mrs Mackay’s sighting was reported in the Inverness Courier on 2 May 1933 by Alex Campbell, the water bailiff for Loch Ness and a part-time journalist.

It is widely regarded as the first “modern sighting” of a monster in the loch.

“But the fact that she said “the beast”… It’s as though she knew there was something strange in the loch,” Mr Shine says.

Local legend

There was already one account of a monster in the area dating back to the Middle Ages.

According to Adamnan’s account of the life of Saint Columba, believed to have been written in the 7th century, the Irish monk saw a “water beast” in the River Ness.

But Mrs Mackay’s sighting opened the floodgates.

Police inspectors, bank managers, students, town clerks, lorry drivers, clergymen, forestry workers, office workers, water bailiffs and fishermen were all among the people who claimed to have seen the monster.

Adrian Shine Marine biologist Adrian Shine says he has made a living out of being a sceptical Loch Ness investigator

Tourists and ‘Nessie hunters’ flocked to the area. There were traffic jams around the loch.

There were even a few celebrity spotters such as authors Gavin Maxwell and Sir Compton Mackenzie.

Dr Charles Paxton, a research fellow and statistical ecologist at St Andrew’s University, has so far sifted through 800 of the 1,000 recorded sightings.

And, he adds, a sizeable number came from cafe and hotel proprietors, including Mrs Mackay herself.

Certainly there was much to be gained from the legend.

According to Visit Scotland, Nessie tourism brings in more than Ł1m to the area per year.

Loch Ness facts and figures

  • Loch Ness holds by far the greatest volume of water of any loch in Scotland – measured at 263,162 million cubic feet
  • The maximum depth recorded is around 230m – twice the height of St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Loch Ness is the second longest loch in Scotland at 24.24 miles

So was Mrs Mackay motivated by cynical thoughts of her bank balance?

Mr Shine believes not.

“She was far from a self-publicist. It was her husband who told the water bailiff, and she stayed anonymous in the newspaper report.

“She didn’t say anything for two reasons. Firstly, because she thought she would be seen as self-advertising.

“But also because they used to say for people who had seen something in the loch “take more water with it”… suggesting they were drunks.”

But there are plenty of people who have made a living from Nessie, including Mr Shine himself, who now runs the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition out of Mrs Mackay’s old hotel.

Fame and fortune

“I don’t conceal that I first came seeking fame and fortune, that there was a wildlife mystery and I was the one to solve it,” he says.

“I have become more sceptical over the years, but oddly enough I have made a living out of being a fairly sceptical investigator.

“But I do believe the vast majority of witnesses are sincere…and not drunk,” he adds.

Fake photo British surgeon Colonel Robert Wilson claimed he took this photograph on 19 April 1934

What does Dr Paxton – who is using the Loch Ness phenomenon to analyse how science handles anecdotal and low frequency data – think?

He has trawled through old newspaper clippings, reports, books and records from the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau of the 1960s and 1970s, for all recorded sightings that peaked especially after the infamous ‘surgeon’s photograph’ of 1934.

Highly respected British surgeon, Colonel Robert Wilson, claimed he took his photograph on 19 April 1934, while driving along the northern shore of Loch Ness. It was later revealed to be a toy submarine outfitted with a sea-serpent head.

“I suppose it is possible that people have an agenda,” Dr Paxton says.

“But I stress that I believe the vast majority of people are reporting the truth. They believe they have seen something strange.

“Now there might be a lot of people who are mistaken, but I think they are sincere.”

In fact, Dr Paxton says, analysing the eye-witness accounts may tell us more about ourselves than whether or not the Loch Ness monster exists. He is due to publish the results of his study later this year.

Drumnadrochit Hotel The Drumnadrochit Hotel, which is now the Loch Ness Centre

“I am carrying out a statistical analysis of Loch Ness monster accounts since 1933, specifically looking for clusters in terms of what is reported,” he says.

“In some cases there are multiple witnesses, or witnesses giving multiple accounts of the same event, which allow us to test eyewitness consistency.

“These cases are very interesting because they allow us to consider whether certain witnesses have a tendency to see Nessie more than might be expected by chance alone.”

He could have chosen another unexplained phenomenon to analyse – ghost sightings or Big Foot, for example – but as a former aquatic biologist, Nessie appealed to him.

On Sunday, a boat will set sail onto the still calm waters of Loch Ness.

Onboard will be Dr Paxton, Mr Shine, and a number of other ‘monster hunters’, Loch Ness experts, and Visit Scotland representatives.

They may not agree when it comes to Nessie, but there on the loch they will raise a glass of whisky to Mrs Mackay and 80 years of the legend of Loch Ness.

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The Beast of Loch Ness – PBS (1998)

Published on 16 Mar 2012

Is it just a fairy tale, or could a primeval beast lurk in the deep, dark waters of a Scottish lake?

Since it was first reported more than 60 years ago, hundreds claim to have witnessed the Loch Ness Monster, while one scientist after another has brought the latest technology to the loch to probe the phenomenon.

Twenty-five years after their first, groundbreaking expedition to Loch Ness, NOVA joins two American scientists as they return to Scotland for one last go at Nessie.

During a three-week expedition, they use state-of-the-art sonar and sensitive underwater cameras in an attempt to track down and identify the elusive beast. Biologists study the ecosystem of the loch to determine if it could support a large animal. Geologists study its history, looking for clues about what kind of creature might have colonized it, and when.

NOVA examines the photographic evidence in the case. And eyewitnesses vividly recount their sightings. Could this legendary creature be real, perhaps a relic from the time of dinosaurs? Or is it a shared illusiona product of myth, mirage and wishful thinking?
Original broadcast date: 01/12/99
Topic: animal biology/behavior, unexplained phenomena

(Video credit: documentarynetwork)

US: Fisherman Fights Shark For Tuna Off Coast Of Hawaii (Video) – 120413 1915z

(Video credit: Vox151)

Every fisherman has a story about the one that got away, but Isaac Brumaghim was lucky enough to get video proof of his battle with a big fish.

He was even luckier to survive his face-to-face encounter with an agitated shark

On Sunday, Brumaghim, 37, was fishing two miles off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, when a tiger shark took an interest in his catch. The 400-to-500 pound carnivore nearly jumped into his kayak to grab a kawakawa he’d just hooked.

“I was reeling in the kawakawa and at the last moment I could see right behind that there was something big and green. And I was kind wondering like what was going on there,” Brumaghim told KHON-TV. “And it happened so fast. Next thing you know the kawa took off again and then the shark splashed and that’s when I realized that there was a shark trying to get the kawakawa.”

The frenzied footage was captured in a camera Brumaghim mounted on his kayak.

Marine biologist Wayne Samiere reviewed the clip said the shark did what comes naturally.

“If a fish is distressed it sends out electrical vibration signals, plus if it’s hooked it’s probably also leaking some blood, and all a shark needs is just one little small taste of that signal and it’s going to make a beeline right for that target,” Samiere told Hawaii News Now. “It would have been an intimidating thing to be around and in the water.”

The experience still rattles Brumaghim, who, fortunately, escaped uninjured.

“It definitely was an adrenaline rush for me out there,” he said, according to NPR.com. “Life and death right in front of you. It put some things into perspective.”

But not that much.

After his encounter with the shark — which the shark won — Brumaghim stayed in the seas long enough to catch two more fish, OutdoorLife.com reported.