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Sunday, January 13, 2013

On Pins And Needles In The Northern Gulf Of Mexico

"On pins and needles" means to be worried, anxious, excited or in suspense about something.

The ecosystem of the Padre Island National Seashore (shown here and here) is something to be worried about.

If an open water swimmer ever decided to swim around Padre Island National Seashore (PINS) in Texas along the northern Gulf of Mexico, they would face an island 2 miles wide and 70 miles (110 km) long of white-sand beaches and sand dunes. Scientists believe the island is a vast feeding and breeding ground for many types of giant sharks including bull sharks, tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks and mako sharks that follow the schools of fish that follow the currents of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Harte Research Institute is attempting to assess how many sharks remain in the area because Mexican gillnet fishermen are gutting out the area of sharks in an attempt to provide shark fins to the Chinese restaurant industry. In 2012, approximately 3,000 dead, finned and rotting sharks washed ashore in abandoned nets in Padre island National Seashore.

The scientists are worried that this over-fishing of sharks will disrupt the ecosystem and have enlisted the help of the local fishermen who help tag the shark to help the scientists understand the migration patterns of the giant sharks.

Environmentalists, scientists and the local community remain on pins and needles if this trend towards eliminating the shark population will continue.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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