Off the wire

Study: Fewer shark attacks reported in the U.S.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Good news for beachgoers: The number of shark attacks in the United States has declined, according to a University of Florida report released Monday. The number of attacks reported in the U.S. dropped from 41 in 2008 to 28 in 2009, said George Burgess, curator of the International Shark Attack File at the University of Florida. Worldwide, the number of attacks stayed the about same, with 61 events in 2009 compared with 60 the previous year.

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Japan says it won't comply with possible tuna ban

TOKYO — Japan will not comply if a ban is imposed on international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna, prized by Japanese for sushi, a senior official said after the United States threw its support behind the move ahead of a crucial vote. "If worse comes to worst, Japan will inevitably have to lodge its reservations," Vice Fishery Minister Masahiko Yamada told a news conference Thursday.
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Clashing with Japan, U.S. seeks to protect tuna

WASHINGTON — The United States has set the stage for a showdown with Japan by calling for a ban on the international trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna, hoping to save the species prized for sushi. The U.S. said Wednesday it would ask a March 13-25 meeting in Qatar to declare the commercial trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna a threat to the species' survival, an issue that has split the European Union.

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Salazar: No 'hidden agenda' on potential Utah monuments

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a Senate committee Wednesday that there is no "hidden federal agenda" to unilaterally designate national monuments around the West. Salaza downplayed a leaked Interior memo highlighting 14 potential new monuments, which some fear could be plans by the Obama administration to convert public lands to national monuments — a move that would block any development or oil and gas drilling in those areas.

Read the complete story in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Quake threatens important Chili fish, wine sectors

TALCAHUANO, Chile -- The tsunami that hit this coastal city sent 50-ton fishing boats crashing onto land and demolished its port - wiping out the $40 million in business that courses through the local economy from the annual anchovy and sardine catch.

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Mass. fishermen warn fisheries head of dire future

GLOUCESTER, Mass. -- Fisherman Al Cottone gestured to his fishing boat, tucked in a cold corner of Gloucester harbor Tuesday, and told the nation's fisheries chief he might not be in business much longer.

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Marine lobster hits record, value goes down

PORTLAND, Maine -- Maine lobstermen had a record harvest in 2009, but the value of the catch continued to plunge amid the sour global economy. Lobstermen caught 75.6 million pounds last year, up 8 percent from 2008, the Maine Department of Marine Resources announced Monday. But the value of the catch fell $23 million, to $221.7 million.

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Marine census grows near completion

SAN DIEGO -- From pole to pole, surface to frigid depths, researchers have discovered thousands of new ocean creatures in a decade-long effort now nearing completion, and there may still be several times more strange creatures to be found, leaders of the Census of Marine Life reported Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Trout fishing season opening day reels in crowd at Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon

Bennett Spring -- Four-year-old Randie Hearod reached into a bucket of freezing water and proudly pulled out his prize -- a gleaming 6-inch rainbow trout he caught all by himself.

"I caught it with my dad's fishing pole," Randie announced. "I'm going to eat him. I wanna fish some more, too."

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NZ jails German tourist for smuggling lizards

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- A German tourist was sentenced to jail time Wednesday after he admitted trying to smuggle native New Zealand lizards out of the country - the second such case in five weeks.

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New York bear kill second highest in history

New York hunters killed 1,487 bears last fall, a 15 percent increase from the 1,295 taken in 2008 and the second-highest total ever recorded. The 2009 increase is principally due to a strong surge in bear harvest in the Adirondack region, where the 814 bears taken in 2009 was a 40 percent increase over 2008. The record kill of 1,864 bears was recorded in 2003.

Read the complete story from ithacajournal.com.

Polar bears found to descend from brown bears

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to bears, the polar species seems to be the new kid on the block. A rare fossil jaw found in Norway's Svalbard archipelago is helping researchers confirm that polar bears evolved from brown bears only about 150,000 years ago. Polar bears live much of the year on the Arctic sea ice and have become something of a symbol of the threat of global warming, which is melting that ice.

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