Ocean of Hope

The Fastest, Heaviest, Largest, Longest, & Oldest Ocean Animals

oarfish Smithsonian
The longest fish in the ocean: Oarfish photo of oarfish model taken at Smithsonian Institution

Now that the Winter Olympics are over, I thought I’d list some record-breaking ocean animals:

1. The fastest fish in the ocean is a sailfish clocked at 68.18 mph (miles per hour)or 109.73 kph (kilometers per hour).

2. The fastest shark is a mako shark measured at 60 mph (96.56 kph).

3. The heaviest bony fish is a Mola mola (ocean sunfish) that was 10 feet long and weighed 4,928 pounds.

4. The largest fish is a whale shark that was 41.5 feet long (12.6 meters) and weighed 66,000 pounds (21.5 metric tons).

5. The largest, heaviest, and longest ocean animal is a blue whale female measured at 109 feet 3.5 inches(33.27 meters) and 190 tons.

6. The longest fish is an oarfish that was 56 feet long (17 meters)

7. The longest colony (of more than one animal) of animals is a siphonophore (similar to a jellyfish) named Praya dubia that is 100-160 feet long (30-50 meters)

8. The oldest ocean animal was an ocean quahog clam named Ming who was 507 years old.

9. The oldest mammal is a bowhead whale estimated to be at least 211 years old.

10. The deepest swimming air-breathing animal is a sperm whale, which can dive to depths of 9800 feet (3 kilometers)

Some facts based on Biggest, Smallest, Fastest, and Deepest marine animals

What is CITES, and how does it affect sharks and rays worldwide?

CITES Appendix II listing
Good news for Manta Rays!

March madness came early for ocean conservationists yesterday (9am March 11,2013 local time in Thailand) as the twitterverse was abuzz with the hashtags #CITES #CITES4sharks

So what is CITES, and how does it affect sharks and rays worldwide?

In short, CITES is a treaty between 178 countries to help regulate the worldwide trade in wildlife, much of it endangered. It is especially important for ocean animals, as many of the larger species (like sharks) are migratory and move from various countries’ waters to international waters (the high seas) which are not under the jurisdiction of any country.

The (slightly) longer explanation is that CITES stands for Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (of Wild Fauna and Flora). CITES started in 1975 from a proposal at a 1963 meeting of the International Union (for) Conservation (of) Nature (IUCN). CITES helps to regulate the worldwide trade of over 34,000 plant and animal species.

Right now the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties is meeting in Bangkok, Thailand from March 3rd to March 14, 2013.

What interests the ocean conservationist community is the shark and ray proposals. There are different appendix listings depending on how endangered a species is.

Appendix I lists 1200 species that are threatened with extinction and are affected by worldwide trade, like Asian elephants, tigers, and rhinoceros.

Appendix II lists 21,000 species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but could become so if worldwide trade is not monitored or regulated. Great White Sharks are listed here.

Appendix III lists 170 species that specific countries have asked for CITES’ assistance with (and is not mentioned much as Appendix I and II).

Oceanic whitetip sharks, hammerhead sharks, porbeagle sharks, and manta rays are up for Appendix II listing. It is important because currently trade in those animals is up to individual countries to regulate. An Appendix II listing would show the world that those species (and hopefully sharks in general) are in danger of becoming extinct. Sharks are in danger of becoming extinct almost solely because of the shark fin soup trade. Manta rays are becoming endangered because their gill rakers are used in a controversial new formula used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

What happened was that the proposals for Appendix II listing (oceanic whitetips, hammerheads, porbeagle and manta rays) and Appendix I (sawfish) were voted in! Those animals are not out of hot water yet, as the proposals still need to be ratified on Thursday March 14, 2013. But it is good news overall for those sharks and manta rays!

UPDATE: As of March 14, 2013 all the proposals were ratified so all the shark and manta ray species mentioned are (potentially) regulated worldwide!

Why does Shark Stanley and his friends need your help?

SharkStanley Shark Defenders
Find out why Shark Stanley and his friends need your help!

Hi, my name is Shark Stanley and I am a Hammerhead Shark. My friends, Reina the Manta Ray, Pierre the Porbeagle Shark, and Waqi the Oceanic Whitetip Shark, and I live on a coral reef. We are not only featured in a new (free!) children’s book called The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends, but we have been traveling all around the terrestrial world. People all around the world want to help keep all sorts of sharks safe from shark finning.

Shark finning is a brutal fishing practice that is very wasteful. Only the shark’s fin is hacked off, and most often the rest of the shark is thrown back into the ocean to die a slow and agonizing death. Shark meat needs to be treated and frozen right away, and most fishing boats don’t have that capability or are targeting other higher priced catches like tuna instead.

Humans around the world also would like to keep manta rays from being killed almost solely for their gill rakers. A specific part of a manta ray’s gill is used in a controversial new Traditional Chinese Medicine formula. Again, like finned sharks, most of the manta ray is not used after their gill rakers are cut off.

If you would like to help, print out a picture of me here (scroll down page) and take a picture with me anywhere in the world.

Shark Defenders would like to collect 5000 photos from all 177 CITES countries, and partner with at least 50 organizations or celebrities. CITES is the abbreviation for the “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora” and is an international treaty that regulates the trade of endangered wildlife around the world. There is a meeting of CITES scheduled for March of 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Top 5 Tweet Links for February 18-24, 2013

Rare Octopus Breeding in Alameda (California) Bedroom via @SFGate

Kenya Whale shark Safari Swims in Controversy via Yahoo! News

May the Force Be With Them: Glowing Shark Scares off Predators with “Lightsabers” via @Oceanleadership

Dolphins Call Each Other by Name via @Discovery_News

California Winery Ages Wine on Ocean Floor via @ABC

The Endangered Animals of Finding Nemo: Great White Sharks

endangered species in Finding Nemo
Bruce the Great White Shark from Finding Nemo

G’day mate, my name’s Bruce. I’m a Great White Shark. While I am great, heh heh, I am white only on my belly! The rest of me is gray. In Finding Nemo, my and chums and I had the motto, “Fish are friends, not food.” In real life I eat only meat. It gets messy sometimes since there are no barbies (BBQ’s) out in the ocean, mate!

Dory once sang, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” That applies to most of us sharks as we have to swim all the time in order to breathe. Some great white sharks swim great distances, like from Baja California to the Hawaiian islands. Some great white sharks join me off of Oz (Australia) from South Africa, mate! There are so few of us in all of the oceans that us males gotta swim that far to find any Sheilas (females)!

I am 20 feet long and weigh 5,000 pounds. I am as long as a small RV (recreational vehicle), and weigh as much as much as a car!

Since I can’t brush my teeth, mate, I continuously grow new teeth. That way my teeth do not get cavities or get blunt.

I can detect electricity in the seawater around me. This helps me find my food, as your heart gives off electricity, mate.

Though I am widely feared, more sharks are killed a year by humans (73-100 million) than humans killed by sharks (average of 5/year). My fins are very valuable to me as they help me steer, but lately it seems that humans want them more than us sharks! We are close to becoming an endangered species because of shark finning. For more on shark finning, check out previous post by Domino the Whale Shark
You can help by not consuming shark fin soup, visiting Sea Stewards, and watching the documentary Sharkwater.

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