SCUBA Travel


SCUBA News 132

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SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 132 - April 2011

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SCUBA News is published by SCUBA Travel Ltd, the independent guide to diving around the world.

- What's new at SCUBA Travel?
- Letters
- Creature of the Month: Common Whelk
- Diving News from Around the World


What's New at SCUBA Travel?

Diving Bulgaria

Bulgaria is not the first destination you think of to go diving, but is emerging as a new dive destination. We thus have a new page on diving Bulgaria

Diving Thailand

Thailand is much better known for diving and more dive operators around the Gulf of Thailand now on the site: Koh Chang, Koh Mak, Phangan, etc. Discover which our readers give the "5 fish" rating.

Underwater Photos

The SCUBA Travel gallery of the seas around the British Isles now holds even more photographs

For regular announcements of what's new at the SCUBA Travel site see the Diving Board at



In Repy to: Diving Group in Jeddah

I do not know specifically of a Filipino Dive Group in Jeddah, but I remember that there were some Filipinos working some of the dive boats at the marina north of the city. Perhaps they know. Have you checked with the Jeddah dive shops?



Creature of the Month: Common Whelk, Buccinun undatum


Our picture shows a common whelk releasing a cluster of egg capsules. Each capsule holds around 1000 eggs. Of the 1000 eggs in a capsule, however, only about 10 fully develop. The rest are used as food by the growing embryos.

In Europe the whelks spawn in the autumn and winter months, with the eggs hatching three to five months later. The baby whelks emerge from the capsules fully developed.

There are male and female whelks: the female is internally fertilised by the male prior to releasing her egg capsules.

You find the Common Whelk in Northern Europe, Canada and the East coast of America. It is quite large, growing up to 6 inches. Its yellow shell has 7 or 8 whorls.

Harmless to humans, this bottom dwelling carnivore feeds on prey like mussels and cockles. It grips the bivalve with its foot then pulls apart the two valves with the edge of its shell.

The Common Whelk is edible, although to my mind not very palatable being very chewy.

Whelks live around 10 years. They are gastropods; related to snails.

Further Reading:
Carter, Z. 2000. "Buccinum undatum" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 28, 2011
Inverterbrate Zoology by Ruppert, Fox, Barnes
Collins Pocket Guide to the Seashore by Barrett and Yonge
A. E. Kideys, R. D. M. Nasha and R. G. Hartnoll. Reproductive cycle and energetic cost of reproduction of the neogastropod Buccinum undatum in the Irish Sea. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (1993), 73: 391-403


Diving News From Around the World

Two Studies Start to Map Pollutant Threats to Turtles

Two studies have found that persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are consistently showing up in the blood and eggs of loggerhead sea turtles, that that the turtles accumulate more of the contaminant chemicals the further they travel up the Atlantic coast, and that the pollutants may pose a threat to the survival of this endangered species.

Belize Bans Trawling

Agreements to buy out the last two remaining trawlers as part of a government-backed scheme to end all forms of trawling in Belize territorial waters have finally been signed.

Plenty more fish in the sea? Not for much longer

More than 40 species of marine fish currently found in the Mediterranean could disappear in the next few years. According to a study for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species on the status of marine fish in the Mediterranean Sea, almost half of the species of sharks and rays and at least 12 species of bony fish are threatened with extinction due to overfishing, marine habitat degradation and pollution.

Europeans want sustainably sourced fish

An overwhelming majority of EU citizens want the fish they buy to come from sources that are sustainable and not overfished, according to an independent poll commissioned by WWF and carried out in 14 EU countries.

Ocean Noise Harms Squid and Octopus

Scientists have found that noise in the oceans, such as that caused by ships, could cause massive acoustic trauma in squid, octopus and cuttlefish.

Propeller turbulence may affect marine food webs

A new study shows that turbulence from boat propellers can and does kill large numbers of copepods - tiny crustaceans that are an important part of marine food webs.

Ancient corals provide insight on the future of Caribbean reefs

Climate change is already widely recognized to be negatively affecting coral reef ecosystems around the world, yet the long-term effects are difficult to predict. University of Miami (UM) scientists are using the geologic record of Caribbean corals to understand how reef ecosystems might respond to climate change expected for this century.

World's reef fishes tussling with human overpopulation

In an unprecedented collaborative analysis published in the journal PLoS Biology, scientists from 49 nations demonstrated that the ability of reef fish systems to produce goods and services to humanity increases rapidly with the number of species. However, growing human populations hamper the ability of reefs to function normally, and counterintuitively, the most diverse reef fish systems suffer the greatest impairments from stressors triggered by human populations. The study documented that the extent of this distress is widespread and likely to worsen because 75% of the world's reefs are near human settlements and because around 82% of the tropical countries with coral reefs could double their human populations within the next 50 to 100 years.

Arctic sea ice ties for smallest ever

Even at its biggest, Arctic sea ice extent this winter was among the smallest ever seen, tying with 2006 for the least amount of ice covering the region around the North Pole, US researchers report.

Human impacts on the marine ecosystems of Antarctica

A team of scientists in the United Kingdom and the United States has warned that the native fauna and unique ecology of the Southern Ocean, the vast body of water that surrounds the Antarctic continent, is under threat from human activity.

Oxygenation at a depth of 120 meters can save the Baltic Sea

Oxygenation brings dead sea bottoms to life. This creates the necessary conditions for the establishment of new ecosystems that enable nature itself to deal with eutrophication. By conducting pilot studies in two fjords in Sweden, researchers at the University of Gothenburg have demonstrated that pumping oxygen-rich surface water down to sea bottoms is effective. A large wind-driven pump is now to be tested in open water in the Baltic.

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