Fish and aquatic news » William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news The latest news from below the surface Wed, 23 Oct 2013 11:30:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Cloudy with a chance of fish http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/515 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/515#comments Tue, 02 Mar 2010 00:44:13 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=515 Fish raining down on you from the sky is rare, but fish raining down on you two nights in a row is just plain eldritch. The unlikely two-night fish rain occurred last week in a small Australian town called Lajamanu in the Northern Territory.

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Fish raining down on you from the sky is rare, but fish raining down on you two nights in a row is just plain eldritch. The unlikely two-night fish rain occurred last week in a small Australian town called Lajamanu in the Northern Territory.

On Thursday around 6 pm hundreds of small white fish started falling from the sky, to the shock and surprise of the local inhabitants who live on the edge of the Tanami Desert, hundreds of kilometers from Lake Argyle and Lake Elliot and even further away from the ocean. To make things even more bewildering, the same thing happened around 6 pm on Friday as well.

Christine Balmer, an aged care co-ordinator working at the Lajamanu Aged Care Centre, said her family interstate thought she had lost the plot when she told them about the event.

“I haven’t lost my marbles,” she said to local media. “Thank god it didn’t rain crocodiles.”
Balmer also managed to snap some photos of the fish littering the ground.

“They fell from the sky everywhere”, she explained. “Locals were picking them up off the footy oval and on the ground everywhere. These fish were alive when they hit the ground.”

Lajamanu has a population of less than 700 people, of which a significant amount are of Aboriginal origin. Its only accessible by air or dirt road and governed by a combination of community government council and local tribal council.

The town is no stranger to fish rains. Back in 2004 Lajamanu experienced a similar downpour and there are also reports of fish falling from the sky in 1974. This is however the first recorded incident of fish raining down on Lajamanu two evenings in a row.

Fish rains are normally caused by tornadoes that sweep up fish, and fish captured in this fashion can travel far distances and still be alive when they land.

According to Ashley Patterson, senior forecaster at the weather bureau, conditions were perfect on Friday for a tornado in the Douglas Daly region. However, no tornadoes has been reported to the authority.

“It’s a very unusual event,” he said. “With an updraft, (fish and water picked up) could get up high – up to 60,000 or 70,000 feet. Or possibly from a tornado over a large water body – but we haven’t had any reports.”

The small white fish has been tentatively identified as spangled perch (Leiopotherapon unicolor ), one of the most widely distributed Australian native freshwater fishes.

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Dead fish are covering the beaches of Brazil http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/514 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/514#comments Tue, 02 Mar 2010 00:42:32 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=514 Massive amounts of dead fish are covering the beaches of Brazil and roughly 80 tonnes (175 000 lbs) have been removed from the iconic Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro.

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Massive amounts of dead fish are covering the beaches of Brazil and roughly 80 tonnes (175 000 lbs) have been removed from the iconic Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro.

The mass death, which seems to have occurred at sea right before the weekend, remains unexplained. Over 100 people are currently trying to rid a 4.5 square kilometer area from rotting fish carcases.
Environmental experts in Rio de Janeiro have suggested that the mass death might be caused by marine algae. The deaths are not limited to any specific species of family of fish.

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Swedish vacationer killed by jellyfish in Malaysia http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/506 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/506#comments Fri, 05 Feb 2010 03:12:06 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=506 A Swedish woman vacationing with her family in Langkawi, Malaysia was killed by a jellyfish while bathing off the coast of Pantai Cenang.

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jellyfishsting Swedish vacationer killed by jellyfish in Malaysia A Swedish woman vacationing with her family in Langkawi, Malaysia was killed by a jellyfish while bathing off the coast of Pantai Cenang.

Carina Löfgren was on her way back to the beach when she encountered the dangerous jellyfish just a few meters from the shore.

Carina was walking roughly one meter in front of me,” her husband Ronny Löfgren told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “It wasn’t deep; the water barely reached my trunks. Suddenly she started screaming violently and grasp at her legs. It made us realise that it was some kind of stinging jellyfish. We tried to remove the tentacles from her. It took four to five seconds, then she collapsed.”

Carina was dragged out of the water and her brother, who used to work as an emergency first responder, administered first aid with heart compressions and mouth-to-mouth.

He administered CPR for four or five minutes”, Ronny Löfgren explained. “Then I replaced him. But I instantly felt that she was lifeless. She died in my arms.”

The ambulance reached the beach after 15 minutes. According to Ronny Löfgren they immediately understood that they could do nothing to help Carina at this point.

One of them said ‘ah, jellyfish’ and shook his head. They tried to revive her for half a minute. Then they shook their heads again.”

Box Jellyfish

Box jellyfish are a group of invertebrates belonging to the class Cubozoa. One of the most dangerous members of this group is Chironex fleckeri, also known as the Sea wasp. Chironex fleckeri is found in the oceans of Australia and southeastern Asia and an average specimen contains enough venom to kill 60 adult humans.

They can be very small and transparent which makes them difficult to spot”, says Swedish marine biologist Lars Hernroth. “Heart failure is the most common cause of death when stung by a sea wasp. In most cases, it happens extremely fast. The overall health condition of the victim will in part determine the victims’ resilience towards the venom.”

Hernroth believes it is important to ask local tourist information agencies about the jellyfish situation in the area. Some popular holiday destinations places nets in the water to catch jellyfish, but it will only work against the big ones – the small ones will slip through.

Swimmers stung by Chironex fleckeri often fail to make it back to the shore; they die from drowning or cardiac arrest within minutes. If a person does make it back he or she will be in need of immediate treatment, and even with proper treatment, fatalities are common. While administering first aid, make sure that some calls an ambulance. Chironex fleckeri antivenom does exist, but must be administered quickly. In areas where Chironex fleckeri is common, ambulances often carry antivenom – at least in developed parts of the world.

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AquaSketcher http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/505 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/505#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2010 00:46:45 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=505 If you’re into interior design, you have probably encountered the online tools that allow you to try different types of interior designs online without breaking a sweat. With a simple drag and click you can move around heavy sofas, rearrange book shelves and try out 54 different types of rug. But did you know that there is a very similar tool has been created for all the aquarium aficionados out there: the AquaSketcher.

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aquasketcher AquaSketcher

If you’re into interior design, you have probably encountered the online tools that allow you to try different types of interior designs online without breaking a sweat. With a simple drag and click you can move around heavy sofas, rearrange book shelves and try out 54 different types of rug.

But did you know that there is a very similar tool has been created for all the aquarium aficionados out there: the AquaSketcher. You start out by picking out an item, e.g. a plant, piece of wood or nice rock from a list, and then proceed to choose its colour, dimensions etc. Last but not least, you start placing your objects in the aquarium to see how well they go together. You can naturally go back and change things, gradually building towards the perfect setup.

Naturally, a tool like this has its limitations. Just as the tools developed for interior design it will only give you a hint about the final results, and it will naturally be impossible to find a plant, root or rock that looks exactly as in the picture. Also, you have to keep in mind that factors such as light play no small part in how we perceive a room or an aquarium. In an aquarium, water movements will also be of importance. Perhaps a later version of the AquaSketcher will allow you turn on your imaginary filter system to see the plants move with the current?

If you want to give the AquaSketcher a try you can find it here:

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Hemorrhagic fish virus identified in Lake Superior http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/504 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/504#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2010 00:40:53 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=504 For the first time, a viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV or VHSv) has been identified in fish from Lake Superior, the largest of the five Great Lakes of North America. The virus was identified by researchers at the Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the finding has also been confirmed by the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle.

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Lake Superior Hemorrhagic fish virus identified in Lake Superior For the first time, a viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV or VHSv) has been identified in fish from Lake Superior, the largest of the five Great Lakes of North America.

The virus was identified by researchers at the Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the finding has also been confirmed by the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle.

The virus causes viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) in fish and can result in significant losses in wild and captive raised fish populations.

VHS is one of the most important diseases of finfish,” says James Winton, a VHSV expert working at the Western Fisheries Research Center. “It not only affects the health and well-being of populations of several important native fish species, but it can also impact trade, and, should it spread into the U.S. aquaculture industry, could do substantial damage as happened in Europe and parts of Japan.”

The infection is one of only nine fish diseases that must be reported to the World Organization for Animal Health. Until 2005 it was not known to exist in the Great Lake system but that year it caused several massive die-offs. Since then the virus has been detected in all of the Great Lakes except Lake Superior, and was for instance the culprit when 40,000 freshwater drums died in Lake Ontario over the course of just four days. In addition to the Great Lakes, the virus is also present in the rivers of Niagara and St. Lawrence and in inland lakes in New York, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Previous genetic research carried out by scientists in Canada and the United States show that the VHS virus was probably introduced to the Great Lakes during the last 5-10 years.

Experts now fear that current federal and state restrictions placed upon the movement of fish and fish products won’t be enough to prevent the virus from reaching native fish in the 31 states of the Mississippi River basin.

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Medieval shipwrecks threatened by the spread of shipworm into the Baltic Sea http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/501 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/501#comments Wed, 20 Jan 2010 01:40:38 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=501 The shipworm Teredo navalis is spreading to the Baltic Sea, threatening to destroy archaeological artefacts. Researchers* at Gothenburg University suspect that climate change is what’s making it possible for this species to spread and are now joining the EU project WreckProtect, a cooperative effort to assess which archaeological treasures are at risk.

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1293814 sk.maskwebb Medieval shipwrecks threatened by the spread of shipworm into the Baltic Sea The shipworm Teredo navalis is spreading to the Baltic Sea, threatening to destroy archaeological artefacts. Researchers* at Gothenburg University suspect that climate change is what’s making it possible for this species to spread and are now joining the EU project WreckProtect, a cooperative effort to assess which archaeological treasures are at risk. The project includes researchers from Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, as well as experts from France and Germany.

Not really a worm
Shipworms are not actually worms but saltwater clams with much reduced shells. They are notorious for borrowing into and gradually destroying wooden structures in saltwater; earning the nickname “termites of the sea”.

There are 65 different know species of shipworm but Teredo navalis is the only one currently known to spread into the Baltic Sea via the Great Belt. Teredo navalis forms up to 30 cm deep tunnels in submerged wood and is difficult to detect since it remains hidden inside the tunnel. It has a life expectancy of 3-4 years.

Teredo navalis can survive in a salinity of 4-6 practical salinity unit (PSU) for short periods of time but can not reproduce unless the salinity is at least 8 PSU. The salinity of the Baltic Sea decrease the further north you get with the Stockholm Archipelago sporting an average salinity of roughly 5 PSU.

The shipworm is capable of completely destroying large maritime archaeological finds in only 10 years, and while it has avoided the Baltic Sea in the past, since it does not do well in low salinity water, it can now be spotted along both the Danish and German Baltic Sea coasts.

14th century shipwrecks under attack

Wrecks that have been resting unharmed since the 14th century have now been attacked off the coast of Rügen in Germany, and we are also noticing attacks along the Swedish coast, including destruction of the Ribersborg cold bath house in Malmö,” says Christin Appelqvist, doctoral student at the Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg.

Appelqvist and her colleagues suspect that increased water temperatures may be helping the shipworm to tolerate a lower salinity.

One of the objectives of project WreckProtect is to develop methods for the preservation and protection of shipwrecks. It might for instance be possible to cover the wrecks with geotextile and bottom sediment.

100,000 wrecks may be at risk
Thanks to the absence of Teredo navalis there is currently around 100,000 well preserved shipwrecks resting in the Baltic Sea, a true treasure for historians and archaeologists. If the shipworm continues to spread these ships may vanish before anyone has a chance to explore them.

Around 100 wrecks are already infested in the Southern Baltic, but yet it hasn’t even spread past Falsterbo. We know it can survive the salinity of the Stockholm archipelago, although it needs water with higher salinity than that to be able to reproduce,” says Appelqvist.

* Christin Appelqvist, Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg
http://www.marecol.gu.se/Personal/Christin_Appelqvist/

* Jon Havenhand, Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg
http://www.tmbl.gu.se/staff/JonHavenhand.html

Picture credit: http://www.science.gu.se

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First ever U.S. marine debris action plan implemented in Hawaii http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/500 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/500#comments Thu, 14 Jan 2010 03:45:04 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=500 Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its Hawaiian partners announced the first marine debris action plan to be implemented in the United States. The goal of the plan is to actively assess and remove man-made debris such as plastics and lost fishing gear from Hawaii’s coastal waters. Each year, thousands of pounds of marine debris wash ashore on this delicate island chain.

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Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its Hawaiian partners announced the first marine debris action plan to be implemented in the United States. The goal of the plan is to actively assess and remove man-made debris such as plastics and lost fishing gear from Hawaii’s coastal waters. Each year, thousands of pounds of marine debris wash ashore on this delicate island chain.

We’ve all been working to address marine debris in Hawai‘i in our own way for years. It’s great to have a plan that we can all contribute to and work together on to tackle marine debris in Hawaii,” said Marvin Heskett, member of the Surfrider Foundation’s Oahu Chapter.

The plan establishes a cooperative framework for marine debris activities and aims to reduce

  • the current backlog of marine debris
  • fishing gear and solid waste disposal at sea
  • land-based debris in waterways
  • the number of abandoned and derelict vessels

For too long marine debris has marred the natural beauty of our ocean and threatened our marine ecosystem,” said Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. “I have long championed a coordinated effort to mitigate the many tons of debris that suffocate our coral, kill our fish and aquatic mammals and blanket our coastlines. This is a critical issue for our state and I am proud that Hawaii is taking the lead in finding a solution to this global problem.”

The Marine Debris Program has been developed by NOOA in cooperation with Hawaiian governmental agencies, NGO’s, academia, and private business partners. The plan builds on ongoing and past marine debris community efforts.

You can find the plan here. The site also has a video for download.

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Starfish and sea urchins counteract our carbon emissions http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/498 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/498#comments Sat, 09 Jan 2010 02:49:27 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=498 Out of the estimated 5.5 gigatonnes of carbon emitted each year by human activities, about 1.8 percent are removed from the air and stored by echinoderms such as starfish, sea urchins, brittle stars and sea lilies. This makes them less important “carbon sinkers” than plankton, but the finding is still significant since no one expected them to catch such a large chunk of our wayward carbon.

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starfish Starfish and sea urchins counteract our carbon emissions Out of the estimated 5.5 gigatonnes of carbon emitted each year by human activities, about 1.8 percent are removed from the air and stored by echinoderms such as starfish, sea urchins, brittle stars and sea lilies. This makes them less important “carbon sinkers” than plankton, but the finding is still significant since no one expected them to catch such a large chunk of our wayward carbon.

The new discovery is the result of a study* led by Mario Lebrato**, PhD student at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science. The work was done when he was at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) and affiliated with the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES).

I was definitely surprised by the magnitude of the values reported in this study, but [the study's] approach seems sound, so the reported numbers are probably fairly accurate,” says palaeoceanographer Justin Ries of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Ries also points out that these important creatures might be affected by ocean acidification.

“If the echinoderms end up being disproportionately susceptible to ocean acidification then it’s conceivable that the dissolving of echinoderm-derived sediments will be one of the earliest effects of ocean acidification on the global carbon cycle,” he explains. “In fact, maybe it already is.”
The body of an echinoderm consists of up to 80% calcium carbonate and according to the Lebrato study these hard-shelled animals collectively capture 100 billion tons of carbon each year.

The realisation that these creatures represent such a significant part of the ocean carbon sink needs to be taken into account in computer models of the biological pump and its effect on global climate“, says Lebrato. “Our research highlights the poor understanding of large-scale carbon processes associated with calcifying animals such as echinoderms and tackles some of the uncertainties in the oceanic calcium carbonate budget. The scientific community needs to reconsider the role of benthic processes in the marine calcium carbonate cycle. This is a crucial but understudied compartment of the global marine carbon cycle, which has been of key importance throughout Earth history and it is still at present.

The study has been published in the journal ESA Ecological Monographs.

* Mario Lebrato, Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez, Richard Feely, Dana Greeley, Daniel Jones, Nadia Suarez-Bosche, Richard Lampitt, Joan Cartes, Darryl Green, Belinda Alker (2009) Global contribution of echinoderms to the marine carbon cycle: a re-assessment of the oceanic CaCO3 budget and the benthic compartments. Ecological Monographs. doi: 10.1890/09-0553.

** mlebrato13 [at]googlemail.com

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Bioorb 60 Classic Collection review http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/497 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/497#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2010 02:46:49 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=497 Below you will find my review of the Reef One (reef-one.com) 60L/16 gallon BiOrb. The orb was provided to me by the company, but this is not paid advertising space. If I’ll end up hating the orb, you’ll know about it

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biorb1 Bioorb 60 Classic Collection reviewBelow you will find my review of the Reef One  60L/16 gallon BiOrb. The orb was provided to me by the company, but this is not paid advertising space. If I’ll end up hating the orb, you’ll know about it. Other companies that are interested in having their product reviewed here are welcomed to contact me, provided that they understand that giving me something for free doesn’t guarantee a positive review.

BiOrb 60 Classic Collection review – setting it up
I am going to start by saying a few words about Reef One. Reef One develops aquarium products sold in more than 20 countries. Their goal is to be innovative and offer new exiting products, and as a part of this quest they have developed a line of small aquariums and BiOrbs of which I will review the BiOrb 60.

This is an initial review based on my experiences of setting up the BiOrb. It will be followed by a second review when I have had the aquarium up and running for a few weeks and know how it works over time.

The BiOrb arrived as a big package in the mail; 60 cm x 60 cm (24 cm x 24 in). The parcel contains everything you need to setup a simple, basic beginner aquarium. You get a 5 stage internal filter, ceramic media, air pump, plug top 12 volt transformer, halogen light unit, water treatment, plastic plants and even some fish food. The equipment is plastic but does not feel cheap or tacky and can be used in most settings without looking out of place.

Inclbiorb3 Bioorb 60 Classic Collection reviewuded in the package is a manual on how to setup the tank, and I personally find the manual easy to understand and follow. It should allow even a beginner aquarist to set up his or her first aquarium without much ado. If you are an experienced fish keeper, you are probably already familiar with the steps of the manual that doesn’t specifically pertain to the orb itself.

As mentioned above, the BiOrb comes with its own filtration system. It is designed to promote biological filtration and is surprisingly quiet. Unlike many other filter systems, this one won’t be a problem in the bedroom or office. Since I haven’t had the BiOrb running for very long I don’t know if the filter system works well or not; I will get back to it in my follow up review.

The filter is designed to allow you to setup the BiOrb as a marine tank if you get the marine tank conversion kit, but I decided to set it up as a freshwater tank for this review because I believe that more people will use it for freshwater. After all, the quantity of freshwater aquarists vastly outnumbers that of marine fish keepers. If you decide to set it up as a marine tank it will give you the option to keep marine creatures that aren’t suitable for normally rectangular aquariums. Jellyfish are for instance prone to get stuck in corners, something that won’t be a problem in a sphere shaped tank like the BiOrb.

bioorb5 Bioorb 60 Classic Collection reviewThe BiOrb can be put to together in a short amount of time, but you should nevertheless wait at least a week or two before you add the fish since you need to cycle the aquarium first. This is true even if you use the included water treatment from Reef One or any other type of starter kit – regardless of what the bottles or the staff of your local fish store might say.

The tank looks good at once after it has been setup and I have at this point not found any problems with it. It seems like a good product at this point. The only thing I might complain about is that the advanced LED light that simulates real daylight isn’t included in the standard package, but that would on the other hand make the package more expensive and for most beginner aquarists the included halogen lights will suffice.

I must however admit that I might be a bit hesitant to buy this product myself for one reason and one reason alone: the price. Sure, it is a nice product, but you could get a larger tank for the same price – or the same size for a lower price – if you went for a regular rectangular or square tank. In other words; the BiOrb is a fine tank but at £164.99* it is a pricy choice. Is it worth the money? Well, that’s up to you and will depend on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a low-cost beginner tank, than no, I wouldn’t recommend the BiOrb. If you on the other hand have some extra cash to spend and are in the market for a sleek orb that fits your interior design in a highly visible space like your living room or corporate office, than yes, this might be the right one for you.

You can read more about Reef One and their product line on their webpage, where you can also order their products.

*£164.99 is 264 USD or 183 Euros.

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Don’t feed the Trash Vortex! http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/496 http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/lib/496#comments Fri, 08 Jan 2010 02:30:05 +0000 William http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/news/?p=496 If you’re an environmentally conscious golf enthusiast you probably cringe at the shear notion of playing golf near the shoreline or practise your swing onboard a yacht or cruise ship where the risk of your balls ending up in the ocean is high.

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golfball Don’t feed the Trash Vortex!If you’re an environmentally conscious golf enthusiast you probably cringe at the shear notion of playing golf near the shoreline or practise your swing onboard a yacht or cruise ship where the risk of your balls ending up in the ocean is high.

To remedy the problem with awol golf balls polluting our oceans, Barcelona based golf ball manufacturer Albus Golf has created a 100% biodegradable and non-toxic golf ball filled with fish food. According to the company, the outer part of the ball will biodegrade within 48 hours after ending up in the water, giving the oceanic fauna free access to the tasty fish food inside.

Around the globe, more and more costal regions outlaw the use of ordinary golf balls near the shore since they have a tendency to end up in the ocean where their durable plastic materials live on “forever”. Our ever increasing production of plastic and other materials that are difficult to break down have caused the formation of five enormous trash vortexes in the ocean; areas to where sea currents bring the floating debris we throw into our oceans and waterways each day. The largest of them, the Great Pacific Trash Vortex, currently covers an area twice the size of the continental U.S.

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