Oceanographers have used a piece of equipment termed BRUV to explore the deep sea environment.
This is the way it functions. Research experts put cameras at the bottom of the sea with a bait cage attached. This apparatus is called BRUV and the acronym stands for “baited remote underwater video”.
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Sharks and Manta Rays will find their way to the bait lured on by the whiff of prey. Provided that they arrive on the scene within an hour and 20 minutes, the pictures will start to come on the video unit and later on when the oceanographers replay the video the scenes come on the screen in a crystal clear manner.
This way the number of marine life in a particular area can be counted. It is similar to the way in which experts track down lions and tigers on the African savannah using hidden cameras.
It is a far better method of keeping score of the creatures of the sea than capturing them and then tagging them. While the former is least intrusive, the latter is almost brutal in its treatment of animals.
Microsoft co-founder, Paul Allen’s way of celebrating Shark Week involved precisely the skilled use of this BRUV technology. Sharks are not scary creatures human beings are used to dreading like the plague from viewing too many reruns of Steven Spielberg’s film Jaws.
In fact, many of them don’t harm mankind unless provoked. In order to help conserve the sharks, Paul Allen has started a charity service and announced to support Global FinPrint project.
"A recent IUCN report indicated that we don't have the data we need to accurately assess the current population status for almost half of shark and ray species," said Dune Ives, senior director of philanthropy at Vulcan Inc. "Results from Global FinPrint will provide critical trend analyses and establish baselines in places that have never before been systematically assessed. This information will help inform more effective conservation efforts."
However, with shark attacks on the rise, maybe we need to get a better feel for this creature of the deep. If we learn about its habits and idiosyncrasies maybe we can avoid provoking it into attacking us.
With a hundred million sharks being slaughtered and butchered per year by poachers, it is indeed a shameful episode in mankind’s quest for humiliating and degrading other species caught in the same net as us.
"Global FinPrint will help us better understand one of the ocean's great mysteries: What is happening with fragile marine ecosystems when sharks are removed?" said Dr. Chapman. "Are coral reefs healthier or faster to recover from disturbances like coral bleaching or hurricanes because they have sharks? These are hugely important questions. Many countries rely on healthy coral reefs for food security, tourism and coastal protection."
More effective steps will have to be taken to ensure the preservation and conservation of the diversity of our planet’s ocean life. And the usage of BRUV technology is a crucial part of finding out more about the habits and antics of everything from Hammerheads to Mako sharks.
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This initiative will be spearheaded by the charity set up by Paul Allen and it will go a long way towards fulfilling the oceanographer’s dream of quality maritime diversity.