Oceans / Biodiversité
By Rhitu Chatterjee and Rob Hugh-Jones PRI's The World "The cable is going underneath here," says Benoit Pirenne, standing at the water's edge on Canada's Vancouver Island. "It's going out 500 miles (800km) in a big loop in the ocean, coming back in the same place." The Vancouver cable connects a network of scientific instruments on the floor of the north Pacific, some as deep as 1.5 miles (2.5km).
When Michael Fishbach set out for his day of boating around the beautiful waters of the Sea of Cortez, he probably didn't think that it would be the day he and his friends would become wildlife heroes. As luck would have it, that's exactly what happened. The group came upon a stranded humpback whale who was so tangled in a mesh of nylon netting that she was beginning to drown, and as Fishbach noted in this video, was possibly an hour from death. The crew worked tirelessly for more than an hour to free the stranded whale and, to their elation, eventually succeeded.
For the study, researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science considered the expenditures of divers who travel from around the world to the tiny Pacific nation of Palau to dive with the mainly gray reef and reef whitetip sharks that inhabit its waters, which were declared a shark sanctuary in 2009. As a remote country of more than 300 islands — Manila, 530 miles away, is the closest city of consequence — Palau does not have many attractions beyond diving, so spending by international tourists on airfare, lodging and diving makes up an important part of the nation’s economy. The economic logic is straightforward: diver tourism contributes about 39 percent of the country’s gross domestic product of $218 million, and 21 percent of divers chose their vacation there specifically to see the sharks, meaning that tourism to view sharks contributes about 8 percent of G.D.P., the study said.