Fishers and Whales, a Tale of Caution - January 27, 2012
(Virginia Beach, VA) – Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center whale experts would like to remind fishers to be aware of whales in Virginia ocean waters and to remove fishing gear from the water so that it will not harm them.
On Thursday, January 26, the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team received a report from the Rudee Flipper vessel (during a Virginia Aquarium Winter Wildlife Boat Trip) of a humpback whale that had been entangled in recreational fishing gear. The whale had been sighted several times in the area without gear, the latest date being January 21. The gear has been identified as a striped bass lure called a 'mojo' parachute lure which has a heavy lead head surrounded by a 'skirt' of fringe. At least one hook appears to be embedded in the whale's skin.
“The major concern with this type of entanglement is not the hook, but the trailing monofilament which, depending on how much line is attached, may wrap around an animal's flippers or jaw and cause lacerations, loss of circulation and/or infection,” said Susan Barco, Virginia Aquarium research coordinator and senior scientist. “Entanglements in monofilament are extremely difficult to mitigate, and disentanglement is not possible in this case. As always, the best way to protect these animals is to prevent entanglements and vessel collisions. Since so many fishers are operating vessels and deploying gear in the vicinity of whales, the Virginia Aquarium asks for their cooperation in helping prevent further injury to any animals.”
NOAA Fisheries whale watching guidelines state that no intentional approaches should be made within 500 yards (1500 feet) of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, and within 100 yards (300 feet) of other whale species. For more information, visit http://www.nero.noaa.gov/prot_res/mmv/approach.html.
If boaters encounter an entangled whale, please maintain a safe distance while attempting to keep the animal in sight and call the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team immediately at 757-385-7575.
Returning Soldier Proposes Marriage at Virginia Aquarium - January 26, 2012
(Virginia Beach, VA) –This morning Infantryman Jake Schultheis, US Army, “captured his only fish in the sea” with a pre-staged romantic marriage proposal for girlfriend Cassidi Humphries at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. Schultheis proposal was displayed on a board held by a volunteer diver in the Chesapeake Bay Aquarium during the usual morning education dive program.
It took a moment for Humphries to realize that the board message was intended just for her as it read, “There are many fish in the sea. You are the only one for me. Will you marry me, Cassidi? Love, Jake.”
Humphries looked in awe as Schultheis got down on his knee, popped open a lighted ring box and presented her with a sparkling diamond ring. Humphries breathlessly replied “Yes!,” and kisses followed. Equally surprised to be a part of the romantic occasion were nearby guests and staff who gave a collective “awww” and applauded.
Schultheis, who recently returned from nearly a year of duty in the combat zone of Afghanistan, is stationed at Fort Knox, KY. He contacted the Virginia Aquarium last November to explore the possibility of a special proposal. “Cassidi and I had met through a friend last New Year’s Eve less than a week before I left and we just instantly hit it off, “said Schultheis. They continued their romance via phone, email, skype and a mid-deployment reunion in August. Humphries is from Roanoke, Va. where the couple hopes to eventually reside.
Wedding ceremonies, rehearsal dinners and other special occasions are frequently celebrated at the Virginia Aquarium located at 717 General Booth Blvd., Virginia Beach, VA. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums whose mission is to inspire conservation of the marine environment through education, research and sustainable practices.
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VIRGINIA AQUARIUM WINTER HAPPENINGS - January 12, 2012
Click to see the entire news release which describes events and educational programs that are occurring at the Virginia Aquarium this winter!
Winter Virginia Aquarium E-cycling Event - January 10, 2012
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in partnership with TFC Recycling and Goodwill Industries will offer its semi-annual E-cycling event Saturday, January 21, 2012, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Virginia Aquarium East Parking Lot.
Acceptable personal electronic recyclable items include:
• Personal computers and laptops
• Telephones, cell phones and PDA’s
• Televisions smaller than 32”
• Circuit boards and components
• Monitors and flat screens
• Fax machines
• Stereo equipment and game systems
• Regular recycling materials such as newspapers, bottles and cans will also be accepted.
Winter Wildlife Boat Season Begins with Whale Sightings! - January 05, 2012
(Virginia Beach, VA) – On Tuesday, December 27, the first guests of the Virginia Aquarium Winter Wildlife Boat Season were lucky enough to see a juvenile humpback whale show off its tail. Additional whale sightings for first week followed. Other wildlife also got into the act.
New Year's Day Walk Results in Green Sea Turtle Rescue - January 03, 2012
New Year’s Day found Sandbridge residents, Bill and Anne Gasset on their first beach walk of the year when they discovered a small green sea turtle in obvious despair. They knew exactly what to do since they had worked with the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center to rescue a Kemp’s ridley turtle they found on the beach two years ago on December 23, 2010.