'Punk rock snail' named after Joe Strummer

A new species of sea snail has been named after the lead singer of The Clash, Joe Strummer.

Alviniconcha strummeri is one of five new species of Alviniconcha described by a team from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). The snails live in the hottest and most acidic waters near hydrothermal vents. The conditions are so extreme that the shells of the snails are severely degraded, covered or spikes — or even non-existent.

The genus was originally described as monotypic with A. hessleri as its only member, but DNA sequencing has revealed there are actually six species.

Alviniconcha strummeri is named to highlight the 'hardcore' nature of these snails from the Indo-Pacific, while also recognising the spiky surface of the snail's shell, which researchers say resembles the fashion of punk rock bands.

The Clash formed in 1976 and were part of the original wave of British punk. Joe Strummer died suddenly in December 2002 from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect. 

New world record for deepest fish

A new species of fish is discovered at a depth of over 8,000m

The Mariana Trench is the Western Pacific is the deepest place on earth with its deepest point known as Challenger Deep, which measures nearly 11km below the surface.

This month an international team have returned from the first detailed study of the Mariana Trench aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel, Falkor.

Rather than solely focusing on the deepest point of the trench an effort was made to study the relationships between life and geologic processes across the entire hadalpelagic zone, the deepest part of the ocean.

Dr Jeff Drazen, co-chief scientist explained, "Many studies have rushed to the bottom of the trench, but from an ecological view that is very limiting. It's like truing to understand a mountain ecosystem by only looking at its summit."

The research will help to answer questions about what species live there and how they adapt to such extreme environments. New species were discovered that will give insight into the physiological adaptations of animals to this high-pressure environment.

Several records were broken for deepest living fish with the final record at 8,143m being set by an unknown species of what's thought to be a snailfish. The white translucent fish with wing-like fins and an eel-like tail was filmed several times during seal floor experiments.

Dr Jamieson said, "We think it is a snailfish, but it's so weird-looking; it's up in the air in terms of what it is.
"It is unbelievably fragile, and when it swims, it looks like it has wet tissue paper floating behind it.

"And it has a weird snout - it looks like a cartoon dog snout."

Without catching the fish and bringing it back to the surface, the team is unable to confirm that it is a new species, but Dr Jamieson said it did not look like anything he'd seen before or knew of.

The new record-breaking creature is close the the depth-limit at which scientists believe fish can survive.

Dr Jamieson added, "We've got more than 20 hours of footage of them, and we're learning the way they swim, the way they feed and the way they fend off predators.

"They clamp down on the bait, and bore their head into it and put their spiky tail in the air like a thorn bush.

"Anything that goes for it gets stabbed in the nose."

Aquarium closed amid safety concerns

A public aquarium situated within a shopping complex in South Korea has been closed amid fears over its safety.

A huge 5,200-ton display tank at Lotte World Aquarium, which is located at the newly opened Lotte World Mall, was ordered to be closed by the Seoul Metropolitan Government following the discovery of a number of cracks.

The Korea Times reports that aquarium officials tried to cover up the problem by blocking off the area around the leaking tank, with signs displayed that said the area was out of bounds to the public due to cleaning and 'environmental improvement'.

The first crack was discovered in early December and was reported to be 7cm in length. Lotte said the crack was caused by weakened acrylic coating and that it had been fixed.

However, more cracks have since been discovered in the main tank and on the side of a tank housing Beluga whales.

The situation is particularly hazardous because Lotte World Aquarium is situated right on top of a three-storey underground 154,000-volt transformer substation, so if the tank ruptured there could be disastrous results.

The Lotte World Aquarium offers visitors the chance to see more than 600 species of fish. It was only opened to the public in October 2014.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad/iPhone.


Fish changes its smell to avoid being eaten

A new study has found a coral-eating fish that disguises its scent to hide from predators.

Research published in the Royal Society's flagship biological research journal, Proceedings B, discovered that the harlequin filefish, Oxymonacanthus longirostris, changed its smell to match the coral it fed upon.

"For many animals vision is less important than their sense of smell," says the study's lead author, Dr Rohan Brooker from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

"Because predators often rely on odours to find their prey, even visually camouflaged animals may stick out like a sore thumb of they smell strongly of 'food'", says Dr Brooker.

The studies co-author, Professor Philip Munday says the ability to camouflage itself chemically is a great advantage for the fish.

"The harlequin filefish shelters among the branches of coral colonies at night, where not only does it look like a coral branch, it also smells like one, enabling it to remain undetected by nocturnal predators."

Professor Munday says it's a remarkable example of how closely animals can be adapted to their habitats.

The ability to chemically camouflage occurs in some invertebrates but this is the first time this biological process has been discovered in higher order animals like fish.

"This is very exciting because it opens the possibility of a wide range of different animals also using similar mechanisms, right under our noses," Dr Brooker says.

Listen: You can hear the reefs dying!

You can hear the sound of former bustling coral reefs dying due to the impact of human activity, according to new research.

Believe it or not, coral reefs are among the noisiest environments on our planet and healthy reefs can be heard using underwater microphones from kilometres away.

However, scientists have found that coral reefs affected by human activity, such as overfishing, are much quieter than protected reefs, which can have a big impact on the fish and invertebrates, which rely on them for survival.

Led by Dr Julius Piercy, from the University of Essex, the study involved taking acoustic recordings of coral reefs with different levels of protection around islands in the Philippines. The research found that the noise produced by the few remaining resident fish and crustaceans on unprotected reefs was only one third of the sound produced at bustling, healthy reef communities.
This is particularly important to the larval stages of reef fish and invertebrates, which spend the first few days of their life away from reefs and use sound as an orientation cue to find their way back. With less sound being produced, the distance over which larvae can detect habitat is ten times less, impacting on the replenishment of future generations needed to build up and maintain healthy population levels.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad/iPhone.


Aquarium visitors give shark a 'nervous breakdown'

A shark at a Russian aquarium is on sedatives after it was scared by visitors who repeatedly banged on the glass of her tank.

According to a report in The Moscow Times, the reef shark at Kaliningrad Zoo suffered a "nervous breakdown" after guests repeatedly banged the glass with their fists, despite requests not to do so.

The shark became so stressed that she started to charge around the tank in fright, resulting in damage to her nose and eye.

"Our shark was not ready for such attention from the visitors and the persistent tapping of the aquarium glass," the zoo's press secretary Ekaterina Mikhailova told RIA Novosti. "By flopping in panic onto the glass walls of the aquarium, she first hit her nose and then one eye."

Despite treatment with antibiotics and sedatives, the wounds refused to heal while the shark's enclosure was still open to the public, so it has now been closed to visitors until she fully recovers.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad/iPhone.


Is the fugu puffer being eaten to extinction?

Japan's love of fugu is driving at least one of the species used in the dish towards extinction.

The demand for the Chinese pufferfish (Takifugu chinensis), one of the four main species used in the popular and expensive fugu food dish, is so high that it has now been listed by the IUCN on its Red List as critically endangered.

Fugu is prepared by licensed chefs who have been specially trained in preparing and cooking the poisonous fish. The tetrodotoxin stored within the puffer's organs is 1,200 times stronger than cyanide, with one fish capable of killing around 30 adults.

The dish has been responsible for many deaths over the years when prepared at home by those lacking the experience and training to cook it properly.

Symptoms of tetradotoxin poisoning can occur anything from 15 minutes to several hours later and include numbness, nausea, vomiting, extreme stomach pains and sometimes paralysis and death. There is no known antidote to tetradotoxin poisoning.

The IUCN states that the global population of T. chinensis is estimated to have declined by over 99.99% in the last 40 years.

Black devil anglerfish captured on video for the first time

Scientists from MBARI have filmed a deep sea anglerfish of the genus Melanocetus alive and swimming.

Despite its fearsome appearance, the Black devil anglerfish is only 9cm/3.6in long. It was filmed at a depth of 600m in the dark waters of the Monterey Canyon during a research expedition (scroll down for video). 

MBARI Senior Scientist Bruce Robison, who led the dive using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), said: "Anglerfish, like this Melanocetus, are among the most rarely seen of all deep-sea fishes. The shining spot at the tip of the 'fishing pole' projecting from the fish's head is a glowing lure. The anglerfish uses its light to attract prey in its deep, dark habitat."

MBARI believes that this is the first video footage ever made of this species alive and at depth.


Part-time algae cleaners required at TMC!

Tropical Marine Centre is looking to put together a team of three people to work as algae cleaners at its fish-house based in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire.

The team will work up to two days per week Monday to Tuesday (approximately 18 hours). Their role will be to undertake full cleaning of all the aquariums and cubes in the fish-house.

TMC says: "Our Chorleywood fish-house has a busy working environment and critical to the running of this is the maintenance of the tanks. Successful candidates should be able to work quickly but competently and exhibit attention to detail as well as care towards the fish. We are looking for a diligent team to work well together during the start of the week so as to enable the fish-House assistants to deal with feeding, husbandry and customers. Experience and keenness to work with animals is advantageous."

Desirable competencies:

Attention to detail
Reliable and hard working
Hands on
Team player

Send your CV to: Nina Potter, Tropical Marine Centre, Solesbridge Lane, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, WD35SX or email: careers@tropicalmarinecentre.co.uk — please reference the job: CWD AC

Closing date: December 1, 2014.

New coral species discovered off coast of California

A NOAA-led research team has discovered a new species of deep sea coral.

In the first intensive exploration of California’s offshore areas north of Bodega Head, marine scientists used small submersibles and other innovative technologies to investigate, film and photograph marine life that has adapted to survive in offshore waters reaching 1,000ft deep.

The new species of deep-sea coral is a member of the Leptogorgia genus and was located at a depth of about 600ft. Scientists say the new species is most likely closely related to gorgonian corals.

Submarine canyons, such as Bodega Canyon, extend from the continental shelf to the deep sea – making their exploration difficult but worthwhile. The canyons are important because they act as a refuge for important species of fish and provide a habitat for sensitive species of deep water corals and sponges. 

Scientists also discovered a catshark nursery, which also featured hundreds of skate egg
cases on the seafloor and in bundles on the rocks surrounding the catshark nursery area.

"This is a highly unusual nursery because rarely, if ever, are shark nurseries in the same area as skate nurseries," said Peter Etnoyer, a deep-sea biologist at NOAA’s National Centres for Coastal Ocean Science.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad/iPhone.


New stamps show endangered marine fish

A set of 12 beautiful stamps has been issued by the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) depicting endangered marine life.

These will be the 22nd set of stamps in UNPA’s multi-year series on Endangered Species. The series was launched in 1993 to highlight the need for the protection of endangered species throughout the world.

The designs are as follows:

The US$ 1.15 stamps (pictured above):
Hippocampus denise (Denise’s pygmy seahorse)
Rhincodon typus (Whale shark)
Sphyrna lewini (Scalloped hammerhead)
Scleropages formosus (Asian arowana)

The CHF 1.40 stamps:

Arapaima gigas (Arapaima)
Cetorhinus maximus (Basking shark)
Pristis pristis (Largetooth sawfish)
Acipenser baerii (Siberian sturgeon)

The €0.70 stamps:

Cheilinus undulatus (Humphead wrasse)
Carcharodon carcharias (Great white shark)
Manta birostris (Giant manta ray)
Polyodon spathula (Paddlefish)
For more information visit the UN Stamps website.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad/iPhone.


Stunning video shows puffer creating circles in the sand

See the amazing underwater circles made by this male puffer fish to attract a mate.

The footage is being used as a promotional ident for BBC One alongside its swimming hippos and basketball players in wheelchairs.

This small 12cm/4.75in puffer, which was discovered relatively recently in waters off Japan, is believed to be a new species of the genus Torquigener. It can spend a week or more constructing these geometric circular structures 20-30m below the surface in order to attract a mate.

Up until the discovery of the puffer, the 'mystery circles', which appear on the seabed off the coast of Amami-Oshima island in subtropical Japan, had baffled divers for decades.

The puffer features in David Attenborough's new Life Story series, the first episode of which was shown last night. If you missed it, you can catch Episode One on BBC iPlayer.

Police investigate attempted sharknapping!

Staff at a wildlife centre in Florida were shocked to discover that someone had tried to steal a 90cm/3ft shark overnight.

Employees at Gumbo Limbo Nature Centre in Boca Raton first noticed that some of the nets were out of place, one tangled up and another in the tank housing the shark. On checking the fish, they found a female Bonnethead shark with a hook in her mouth, raising concerns that someone had tried to fish her out of the tank, which is situated outdoors, using a hook and line.

Police are checking footage from surveillance cameras to see if they can identify the would-be shark thief.

The shark is fine and the hook fell out on its own.

Oil platforms provide important habitats for fish

Oil platforms off the Southern California coast are some of the world’s most productive marine fish habitats, a new study has found.

The research could inform decisions to be made about the inevitable decommissioning of the world’s roughly 7,500 oil and gas platforms. Rather than completely removing them, underwater portions could be left intact to provide habitat for increasingly threatened fish populations on natural reefs.

Marine biologists at Occidental College, UC Santa Barbara and the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management estimated rates of production for the entire community of fish associated with oil platforms, comparing them to previous research that made similar measurements in highly productive estuary, coastal lagoon and coral reef ecosystems.

They found that the platforms tended to produce about 10 times more fish biomass — chiefly various species of rockfish and lingcod — than other more conventional marine habitats studied in the Pacific and North Atlantic oceans, Mediterranean and North seas, the Gulf of Mexico and along the coasts of South Africa and Australia.

When compared to the fish production on natural rocky reefs at similar depths off the Southern California coast, the platforms, on average, produced more than 27 times as much fish, according to the study.

Multiple lines of evidence also suggest that the offshore platforms are not simply drawing fish away from other natural habitats, but producing a net overall increase in the fish population.

"The most exciting thing for me is that this study could provide a basis to start thinking about how to modify new renewable energy-generating structures like wind farms or wave energy devices in ways more beneficial to marine conservation and fisheries," said Jeremy Claisse, adjunct assistant professor of biology at Occidental and study co-author. "From a biological standpoint, the fish don’t know if it’s an oil platform or the bottom of a wind turbine. Complex structures can provide a lot of different kinds of habitat to various species of fish at multiple points in their life cycle."

The researchers next hope to explore how individual platforms contribute to regional fish production in the Southern California Bight, and to better understand what makes one platform more productive than another — insights that could then be used to create fish-friendly designs for other offshore structures.

The new study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Woman bitten by unidentified creatures in river

A swarm of mystery creatures attacked a woman in an Australian river.

Adele Shrimpton was launching her boat off the Tweed River in New South Wales when what are described in reports as 'carnivorous micro-fish' attacked her legs.

She told the Tweed Daily News that she could feel herself being bitten and thought at first the culprits were sea lice. "Then I went "holy crap" — there was all this blood!" she said.

The bite wounds have healed into spotty scabs, but experts have so far been unable to identify what caused them.

Ms Shrimpton says she is worried about young children being bitten if they venture into the Tweed River.

"It's probably just some blood-sucking creature that's in the water, but people should know that it's there," she added.

Sea Life Sanctuary to re-open next week

Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary is to re-open to the public on October 16, 2014, ten months after it was wrecked by a tidal surge that swept the east coast of the UK.

Around 3,000 fish had to be evacuated from the Norfolk attraction after the sea breached defences on December 5 last year, flooding the building to a depth of more than a foot throughout, causing loss of power to vital life support systems, cracking windows and lifting tanks from their foundations.

Now the Sanctuary has been completely refurbished, at a cost of £3m, to include a new ray aquarium, re-themed displays in the Amazonia Area, an underwater seal viewing window, a new seal hospital and a new otter display complete with dive pool, running stream and waterfall.

The Fire Service came to the Sanctuary's rescue again and helped to fill the tanks last month, ready for the re-opening. Just as they were on hand on the night of the flood to pump the water out, they were able to do the opposite this visit!

The seafront attraction will be opened by BBC weather forecaster Michael Fish.

100 fish die at aquarium following parasite treatment

Around 100 marine fish died at a public aquarium in the US after a treatment for parasites was administered to a display tank.

One of the coral reef displays at the Albuquerque BioPark Aquarium in New Mexico had been suffering a problem with trematodes for several months, according to a report by krqe.com.

Staff had tried treating the tank with praziquantel with no result, so a product containing dylox was used. However, within minutes fish began to react badly to the treatment, struggling to swim and then dying before the eyes of visitors.

Losses included most of the display's Blue tangs — some of which were 18 years old — and French grunts. The product has been used at the aquarium before without problems, but staff wonder if the fish were already in a weakened state from the parasites and the treatment was too much for them or whether the dose administered may have been too strong.

You can watch the news report that accompanied the story below:


Study shows that brine shrimp can move oceans!

They may not look as though they can make waves, but new research has found that the collective swimming motion of brine shrimp (Artemia salina) and other zooplankton can generate enough swirling flow to potentially influence the circulation of water in oceans.

The study by researchers at Caltech found the effect could be as strong as those due to the wind and tides, the main factors that are known to drive the up-and-down mixing of oceans.

The behaviour of brine shrimp is cued by light: at night, they swim toward the surface to munch on photosynthesising algae while avoiding predators. During the day, they sink back into the dark depths of the water.

To study this behaviour in the laboratory, researchers used a combination of blue and green lasers to induce the shrimp to migrate upward inside a big tank of water. The green laser at the top of the tank provided a bright target for the shrimp to swim toward while a blue laser rising along the side of the tank lit up a path to guide them upward.

The tank water was filled with tiny, silver-coated hollow glass spheres 13 microns wide (about one-half of one-thousandth of an inch). By tracking the motion of those spheres with a high-speed camera and a red laser that was invisible to the organisms, the researchers measured how the shrimp's swimming caused the surrounding water to swirl.

Adding up the effect of all of the zooplankton in the ocean — assuming they have a similar influence — could inject as much as a trillion watts of power into the oceans to drive global circulation, says John Dabiri, professor of aeronautics and bioengineering at Caltech. In comparison, the winds and tides contribute a combined two trillion watts.

The researchers describe their findings in the journal Physics of Fluids.

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad/iPhone.


Fishkeeping benefits from National Aquarium Conference

This weekend (October 3, 4 and 5), professionals from public aquariums in the UK will descend on Liverpool for the National Aquarium Conference.

NAC is organised by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria (BIAZA), giving delegates the opportunity to exchange ideas on a range of topics. These include conservation, husbandry and life support, record-keeping, education and research.

Fishkeepers can directly benefit from the research, as new husbandry techniques and research data are bound to be of interest. Indirectly, some of the wider issues benefit us all. Take BIAZA’s Big Fish Campaign, which (thanks in no small part to the support of PFK readers), is helping to raise awareness of a thorny fishkeeping issue.

The BIAZA Aquarium Working Group (AQWG) meets twice a year, and there are several Focus Groups (FGs) that identify key areas for research to take place, policies to be drawn up or campaigns to be promoted.

FGs evolve and can be created when necessary; previous groups have involved cephalopod husbandry and welfare and touchpool management; whereas, current FGs cover topics such as jelly husbandry, nitrates in aquariums, native seahorse care and breeding and, from a welfare perspective, tankbusters, which has been given support by PFK, and will be familiar to many readers.

The NAC Research and Conservation Fund is also being launched this year, which will assist institutions to develop husbandry and conservation projects.

This year’s main NAC sponsor is Seneye and the event will be hosted by the World Museum.
NAC is currently only open to those working in public aquariums, but we’ll publish the highlights from this year’s conference in the future.

Highlights from last year's conference

Fish welfare: PFK readers will be aware of BIAZA’s Big Fish Campaign (BFC), which aims to raise awareness of the issue of tankbusters like Pacu and Red tail catfish in the hobby, and Rachel Jones of ZSL London Zoo Aquarium ran through the progress made. This included increased use of social media such as Facebook and development of the campaign website, which receives 18,000 hits per year; filming for the BBC 'One Show' gained high-profile national TV publicity with the filming of a fish rehoming to Bristol Zoo Aquarium and the BFC Roadshow was introduced, with the life-size cuddly Red tail catfish ‘Buster’ mascot helping to bring home just how large these fish get. Buster is visiting public aquariums around the UK and Europe, and may be coming to an aquarium near you…

Husbandry: Ever wondered how you could perform a caesarean section on a stingray? Well, possibly not, but James Wright of Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium explained how complications revealed in the pregnancy of a female ray following an ultrasound examination, meant a pup had to be removed using a novel dorsal (i.e. from the top) procedure by a vet. A fascinating outline of this pioneering operation highlighted the skill involved and documented the ray’s recovery.

How do you move 13 large sharks plus a host of fish to a temporary home while their half-million litre exhibit is refurbished? SEA LIFE Blackpool had to do just this, and at NAC 2013, staff described the capture of the sharks and transferral into an articulated transport lorry, equipped with on-board life support systems. They described the three-day journey to Dorset (with drop-off stops along the way) and how this challenging task was turned into an opportunity to enhance the aquarium’s collection and put breeding programmes in place when considering restocking.

Cyanide capture of reef fish should be of concern to anyone who keeps marines. With the deadly effects of cyanide widely known, this method of capture is bad news for any unfortunate ornamental fish caught using this potent toxin (incidentally, cyanide is also used for the much bigger live food fish market). So, how can we tell if fish are caught using cyanide, like those in the picture above were? Chris Brown of SEA LIFE Weymouth introduced a new project called Cyanide Free Sea, the aim of which is to develop a test that can be used on newly-imported specimens highlighting any that have been exposed to the deadly chemical, either directly or indirectly as a result of cyanide fishing in the local collection area. SEA LIFE has been sampling faeces from new fish arrivals and submitting the samples to a Portuguese university to help develop a reliable cyanide test, ultimately with the aim of creating a simple field detection kit. Once the test is validated, any new arrivals testing positive can be flagged, identifying which suppliers need to be investigated.

This project could bring benefits to all marine-keepers, as there should be knock-on effects throughout the supply chain if evidence of poor practice can be identified from suppliers and sanctions taken against them.

Graham Hill, The Deep’s Science Officer, outlined a fieldwork study undertaken with The Cousteau Society in the Red Sea, off the coast of Sudan examining reef health in general, as well as focussing on manta ray populations. The scale of threats to sharks and rays were outlined (including deliberate fishing as well as bycatch), and then the aims of the project were discussed. These include plankton sampling, reef surveys, and the tagging of manta rays — with information being sent to acoustic monitors positioned at selected locations, allowing for ray movements to be tracked, and the identification of aggregation sites. Coupled with DNA sampling, we’ll learn a lot more about these animals, and the information generated is vital for their conservation.

On a wider scale, the project is developing relationships with local fishermen and training for Wildlife Administrators. There’s still a lot of work to do, but the signs from this fieldwork are encouraging, with reefs in protected areas showing high diversity, and good relationships developed with local communities. Whilst it’s tempting to think that reef conservation is all ‘doom and gloom’, it’s good to be reminded that positive things can happen, and that real progress can be made.

Win a family ticket to a public aquarium!
We’re offering the chance to win a family ticket (two adults and two children) to one of the following UK public aquariums:

  • National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth *
  • The Deep, Hull *
  • Blue Planet Aquarium, Cheshire Oaks *
  • Bournemouth Oceanarium *
  • The Lakes Aquarium *
  • SEA LIFE: Birmingham (includes penguin or shark/turtle feed experience); Weymouth (includes tour of breeding and quarantine facilities); Brighton; Manchester; Blackpool; Hunstanton; Great Yarmouth; Lock Lomond; Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek
  • Liverpool World Museum *
  • Bristol Zoo Aquarium *
  • ZSL London Zoo Aquarium

(* includes behind the scenes tour)

To be in with a chance to win this and other great prizes, visit the PFK Winit page!

Why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? See our latest subscription offer.

Don't forget that PFK is now available to download on the iPad/iPhone.









Sunfish auction raises over £12,500 for marine conservation

The National Marine Aquarium hosted the Making Waves auction this week which saw Plymouth’s very own sculpture trail of sunfish statues go under the hammer.

Compered by BBC Radio Devon presenter, David Fitzgerald, the auction raised a whopping £12,890, which will be used to support marine conservation programmes.  

Fourteen of the sunfish statues — that have been on display at key sites around Plymouth since March — went under the hammer. The highest bid of the night was a very generous £2,750, while one keen bidder, Richard Larson snapped up four statues. The fifteenth statue, sponsored by the National Marine Aquarium, 'Beneath the Surface' was included in a raffle — and it proved to be Richard Larson’s lucky night as he was drawn as the proud new owner.

The funds raised from the Making Waves auction will now be used to support marine conservation programmes, including the Ocean Sunfish project being led by the National Marine Aquarium. Sunfish are susceptible to commercial fishing, plastic pollution and global warming; however it is currently unknown to what extent. The funds will allow the Aquarium to investigate changes to the world’s oceans and the consequential effects this will have on marine life.  

The Making Waves trail featured a series of sunfish statues, designed by Plymouth City Council Apprentices. Each statue features individual artwork created by the Making Waves Artists, who were selected by the statue sponsors, which include Brittany Ferries, Plymouth University, National Apprenticeship Service and Theatre Royal Plymouth.The picture below shows Richard Larson with the 'Plymouth Hoe' statue and the artist, Louise Rabey.