First, because everyone loves to hear about sharks and it’s getting to be that time of year: Word from the beach is a 10-foot great white “cleared the line-up” at Moonstone yesterday. For background on Humboldt County shark encounters, there’s “We’re #1!” from 2008 and last year’s tally. Keep up with all Pacific coast encounters over the decades with the Pacific Shark Research Committee. You can also reminisce with Scott Stephens about last year’s attack.

But, please, remember – visible to us or not, the sharks are always around and they, as a species, have a great deal more to fear from us than we do from them. Humans kill an estimated 100 million sharks every year, an average of about 11,000 per hour. Taking out apex predators messes up the food chain with potentially severe consequences for the entire marine ecosystem, which is why conservationists have been fighting to protect sharks with increasing passion over the past few years. 

Also because sharks are cool! Check out this vintage Coastal Currents with local shark researcher Adam Brown and follow your favorite sharks with the Shark Net app.

If you’re scared of sharks, avoiding them is easy: stay out of the ocean. And if you’re in the ocean, you’re probably still safer than on land, where every year obesity, texting and hot dogs kill more people than sharks do. 

Coastal Commission

The Coastal Commission meets in Eureka starting tomorrow and is expected to make a decision about Caltrans’ proposed 101 corridor project on Thursday. Coastal Commission staff currently recommends against the project in its planned form – a sentiment shared by Humboldt Baykeeper. Full commission agenda here.

Ocean Night – ‘The Last Ocean’

The monthly Ocean Night series continues at the Arcata Theatre Lounge this Saturday with The Last Ocean, sponsored by HT Harvey & Associates, whose ecologist David Ainley has been traveling to Antarctica’s Ross Sea to study its unique ecosystem for more than 30 years.

Largely untouched by humans, the Ross Sea is one of the last places where the delicate balance of nature prevails. But an international fishing fleet has recently found its way to the Ross Sea and is targeting Antarctic toothfish, sold as Chilean sea bass in up-market restaurants around the world.

The catch is so lucrative it is known as white gold. Ainley knows that unless fishing is stopped the natural balance of the Ross Sea will be lost forever. He rallies his fellow scientists and meets up with a Colorado nature photographer and New Zealand filmmaker who also share a deep passion for this remote corner of the world. Together they form “the Last Ocean” and begin a campaign taking on the commercial fishers and governments in a race to protect Earth’s last untouched ocean from our insatiable appetite for fish.

See the Lowdown for full details.