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Friday Fishy News - Novermber 10


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Fish Bites Back

Cayman Islands

Caymanian Compass

Novermber 7

The Department of Environment has been busy answering some odd calls recently.

At 6pm Saturday, 28 October, Enforcer 1, Ladner Watler responded to a report through 911 of a vessel in distress because of engine trouble in the North Sound with two people on board. Mr. Watler towed the vessel back to its home dock near Lime Tree Bay.

At 6.30pm on Sunday, 29 October, Mr. Watler responded to a report of a vessel singing near Bobby Cay in the North Sound with five people on board. The boat was almost completely submerged when Mr. Watler found it. He transferred the five occupants to his own boat and took them to shore at the Cayman Islands Sailing Club. The sinking boat was towed to shore by a Fire service vessel, which had also responded to the 911 call.

At 4.20pm Tuesday, 31 October, Enforcers 1, 4, 7 and 11 responded aboard several vessels to a report of a man aboard a fishing vessel being bitten by a Wahoo who was bleeding profusely.

Enforcer 7 enlisted the help of a private vessel at Morgan’s Harbour and along with the owner, another volunteer and a family member of the bitten man, was first to come alongside the fishing vessel just outside the Stingray City Channel. The injured man was transferred from the slower fishing boat and taken to Morgan’s Harbour Dock where paramedics and an ambulance were waiting.

On Wednesday, 1 November, Enforcer 3, Ronnie Dougall and Enforcer 10, Carl Edwards confiscated two fish pots from the shore in George Town Harbour. The design and construction of the pots is prohibited in the Cayman Islands. Information packages containing the legal construction specifications for fish pots are available at the Department of Environment on North Sound Road.

High mercury levels found in Hinze Dam fish


ABC News Online

November 5

The Queensland Government is asking councils to test freshwater fish in their local dams, after high levels of mercury were found in fish on the Gold Coast in the state's south-east.

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young says several large bass taken from the Hinze Dam were found to contain Mercury.

The Hinze dam is located about 15 kilometres south-west from central Nerang and supplies most of the water for the Gold Coast City Council.

Dr Young says it is possible other fish in the dam would also be affected, and it could be a health risk if people consumed large quantities.

"Now that we are aware of this, it is very important that we get the information out to recreational fisherman so that they know and don't go and consume large amounts of fish from freshwater dams such as the Hinze Dam," she said.

"At this point it is only the Hinze Dam that we have this evidence for, but we suspect it may be true of other freshwater dams."

Businessman guilty of illegal possession of fish


The Australian

Nobvember 8

A BUSINESSMAN found guilty of receiving stolen abalone from Tasmania and fined more than $1 million lost his appeal against conviction and sentence today.

David Wei Meng Lee, 48, of the Gold Coast, was found guilty by a jury in the Supreme Court in Hobart earlier this year of five charges of illegal possession of fish.

The charges related to thousands of abalone meats taken from Tasmanian waters and secretly sent to Lee's seafood business between August 2001 and March 2002.

Lee was the last person to face court after being charged following a Tasmania Police operation that focused on the illegal abalone trade.

Operation Oakum saw 17 people charged and most either pleaded guilty or were found guilty.

Lee was sentenced to 15 months in jail with 12 months suspended and ordered to pay a mandatory special penalty of $1.2 million.

He appealed against his conviction on the grounds the trial judge erred in failing to rule Lee had no case to answer and in her directions to the jury.

He also appealed against his sentence on the grounds the special penalty was so crushing that any additional penalty was inappropriate.

Yesterday the Court of Criminal Appeal found the trial judge had not erred and dismissed Lee's appeal.

Justice Alan Blow also said Lee's crimes were so serious that the special penalty alone would have been inadequate.

"The scale and duration of the appellant's criminality are significant," he said.

"This was illegal commercial activity on a large scale.

"It is also significant that sophisticated steps were taken to disguise the packages of abalone and to send them by unusual means of transport to unusual destinations in order to avoid detection."

Justice Blow said a jail sentence was appropriate for Lee.

"Illegal trading in abalone on such a scale can be so profitable that sentences of imprisonment are the only effective way to achieve general and personal deterrence," he said.

Lee has been released from jail since being sentenced and was not in court to hear the outcome of his appeal.

Fatty fish consumption slashes risk of prostate cancer by 43 percent

News Target

By Jessica Fraser

November 7

Men who eat just one serving of salmon per week reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer by 43 percent, compared to men who do not consume fish, according to new research published in the online edition of the International Journal of Cancer.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm examined the dietary habits of nearly 1,500 men with prostate cancer and more than 1,100 men without the disease. They found that men who ate fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, at least once a week reduced their risk of prostate cancer by 43 percent, whereas men who did not eat fish of any kind experienced no risk reduction.

The researchers -- led by Maria Hedelin -- also believe that a certain gene may play an important role in the development of prostate cancer, as well as how fish oils benefit the body. A specific Cox-2 gene that is present in 60 percent of the population can influence the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acid consumption, the researchers reported.

Men who carry the gene have a 72 percent reduced risk of prostate cancer compared to those who do not carry it, but eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids can still benefit men who do not carry the gene, according to the researchers.

"Frequent consumption of fatty fish and marine fatty acids appears to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, and this association is modified by genetic variation in the Cox-2 gene," Hedelin said. "This study shows that there is an interaction between dietary factors and our genes, but it's always hard to say what role the genes play. Omega-3 fatty acids can still be good for men who don't carry this gene variant in completely different ways."

According to natural health advocate Mike Adams, author of "How to Prevent and Reverse Prostate Cancer," the omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and fish oils are "truly miraculous anticancer medicines" that can act as anti-inflammatories, help prevent cardiovascular disease and lower the risk of developing many types of cancer.

"Omega-3 fatty acids not only reduce the risk of prostate cancer, they also dramatically lower the risks of breast cancer, heart disease, depression and mood disorders, along with other common health problems," Adams said.

Contaminants change fish

By Launce Rake

Las Vegas Sun

November 5

LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, Nev. -- Something fishy has been confounding scientists for years: Male fish are developing female sexual characteristics in Lake Mead and other freshwater sources around the country.

The U.S. Geological Survey recently released a four-page summary of more than a decade of studies linking wastewater chemicals to those changes. But a scientist who has studied the issue for years complains the report understated the danger of toxins at Lake Mead and elsewhere.

Tim Gross first aired his concerns seven months ago -- shortly after he was fired by the Geological Survey. The federal agency says Gross was fired for failing to publish his data; Gross says the federal agency wouldn't let him publish.

Both sides, however, agree on one point: In Lake Mead and other freshwater sites, scientists have found traces of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, chemicals used in plastic manufacturing, artificial

fragrances and other substances linked to changes in fish and animals.

The USGS report noted that the primary source for chemicals in Lake Mead was the Las Vegas Wash, a man-made river made up almost entirely of treated wastewater from cities in the Las Vegas Valley.

Lake Mead is the source of 90 percent of Las Vegas' drinking water, and provides water for millions more people in California. It irrigates many of the winter vegetables produced in the United States. The lake and contamination have been the subject of intense scrutiny from federal and local scientists.

Gross, a researcher and teacher at the University of Florida, was the lead federal researcher on emerging contaminants at the lake until he was fired earlier this year by the USGS.

Gross said he was fired because the government didn't like his conclusions that hormone-disrupting chemicals are prevalent and are affecting the environment in Lake Mead to a greater degree than once suspected.

The agency's Oct. 19 report, which suggests more research is needed, was the product of a new team hired after Gross was dismissed. It included a summary of research by a number of scientists, but did not include Gross' findings.

"They (federal officials) refuse to let me be involved in the research. They still haven't published the data. They don't want us to publish," Gross said.

Kimball Goddard, state director of the Nevada-USGS water science center, rejected allegations that data were suppressed.

He said research data from Gross were not included in the Oct. 19 report because Gross' results were not published.

Gross said the problem is acute in Lake Mead and in other freshwater sites. One element left out of the report was evidence of sperm failure in fish, he said.

"On a national scale we see alterations in fish," said the scientist, who continues to research hormone-disrupting chemicals in Florida and other states. He said hormone disruption "is widespread across the United States and is widespread in Lake Mead."

Gross said his conclusions, shared by other researchers, were not popular.

"The (Southern Nevada) Water Authority doesn't want to hear it. My agency doesn't want to hear it," he said of the USGS. "The Department of Interior does not want to deal with it. They want to make the argument that there is nothing to worry about, but common sense just suggests it is not that simple."

Gross said he was concerned that human health could be affected by hormone-disrupting chemicals in Lake Mead.

"There are huge implications, and they're treating it like there's a little preliminary work and the significance of these effects are unknown," Gross said. "I would disagree with that. They don't discuss the possibility of human exposure. The potential for that is real, and they don't discuss that."

Goddard said the implications for human health were outside the realm of Geological Survey work.

"The studies that we have been involved in at the USGS are not designed to answer those kinds of questions," he said.

Gross and federal researchers have found sexual abnormalities in carp, bass and the endangered razorback sucker. The problems are higher in Las Vegas Bay, at the confluence with the wash, than elsewhere in Lake Mead.

Studies documenting sexual abnormalities in fish in the Potomac River -- source of drinking water for millions of people in the Washington, D.C., area -- raised similar concerns in September. Water officials there said the studies showed no evidence that drinking water was unsafe, but the studies did not answer the question of potential effects to human health.

Southern Nevada Water Authority officials maintain that while chemicals from the waste stream flowing through the sewers and Las Vegas Wash to the lake could affect fish and the environment, drinking water drawn from the lake is sufficiently treated to eliminate any significant threat to human health.

Shane Snyder, the authority's principal researcher on the issue, said at an Oct. 19 conference of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers that people are exposed to far higher levels of most hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment than from treated drinking water.

He asked rhetorically whether it was good policy to spend "trillions of dollars" removing hormone-disrupting chemicals from water when such chemicals are present in far larger amounts in the environment.

Snyder said the central question of the "toxicological relevance" of chemicals in tiny quantities -- amounts that were undetectable just a few years ago -- has yet to be answered.

J.C. Davis, Water Authority spokesman, noted that in Lake Mead the quantities are minuscule -- in the parts per trillion, a grain of salt in a swimming pool. Treatment processes further degrade, destroy and dilute these chemical compounds in drinking water.

"Eventually the analytical ability outpaces the health effects," Davis said. "The question is, at what concentration are these relevant and you have to do something about them?"

He said Snyder will join federal and local researchers in trying to find those answers.

"People in the water industry want to know the answers to the questions we are asking."


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