September 2014 – News

Two new species of marine life were discovered this month. Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides are mushroom shaped organisms which were discovered in water around 1,000 metres deep off the coast of Australia. Their nearest living relatives are through to have died out around 600 million years ago. The two new species do not fit into current scientific classifications, meaning they may represent an early aspect of life on planet earth which scientists have yet to understand. Read more here.

A British ex-pat was killed by a great white shark off the coast of Australia this month. Paul Wilcox, 50, originally from Coventry was swimming in the sea near to his home in Byron Bay, New South Wales when the attack happened. Mr. Wilcox was apparently bitten on the upper thigh in the attack and died in the water due to blood loss despite the efforts of other people who jumped into the water to assist him. Sharks have been responsible for a number of deaths in Australian waters in recent years, leading to the Australian authorities launching a massively controversial shark cull.

There were concerns Cape Cod is rapidly running out of the fish which gave the place its name. The cape in Massachusetts has been famous for its cod fishing for generations but there is strong evidence that the number of cod has dropped dangerously low. In the mid-1990s fishermen would catch over 30 million pounds of cod a year, by 2009 this was down to 13 million pounds and in 2013 only two million pounds were caught. Read more here.

There were claims this month that one of the rarest creatures in British water – the seahorse – is being wiped out in Studland Bay, previously an area where this species was relatively common. The cause of the decline of seahorses in this area was not due to anglers or commercial fishing, but rather the number of pleasure boats in the bay. It was stated that up to 350 boats could be in the bay every day in peak season and the anchors of these boats has been destroying the eelgrass beds in which the seahorses live. Read more about this here.