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Old 02-12-2007, 12:50 AM   #1
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Default OT: Alarm sounded over US honey bee die-off

Alarm sounded over US honey bee die-off


Honey-bee decline has accelerated in North America beyond the steady attrition of the past 25 years according to scientists and farmers. A relatively new term - "Colony Collapse Disorder" is being used to describe this poorly understood phenomenon.

Colony Collapse Disorder (or CCD) is a syndrome evidenced by massive die-off affecting an entire insect population. The cause of the syndrome is not yet well understood. CCD may be caused by mites or associated diseases or unknown pathogens. CCD is possibly linked to pesticide use though several studies have found no common environmental factors between unrelated outbreaks studied. According to Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a bee specialist with the Pennsylvania State Department of Agriculture, "We are pretty sure, but not certain, that it is a contagious disease."

Honey-bees are responsible for approximately one third of the United States crop pollination including such species as: peaches, soybeans, apples, pears, pumpkins, cucumbers, cherries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.

From 1971 to 2006, approximately one half of the U.S. honey-bee colonies vanished. The rate of attrition reached new proportions in the year 2006, which were alarming to many farmers and honey-bee scientists.

At least eleven different states as well as portions of Canada are known to have been affected by colony collapse disorder. The disorder has been identified in a geographically diverse group of states including Georgia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and California. In some states the loss of honey-bee colonies is estimated as high as 75 percent of the population.

The phenomenon is particularly important for crops such as almond growing in California, where honey-bees are the predominant pollinator and the crop value is $US 1.5 billion. Total U.S. crops that are wholly dependent on the honey-bee are known to exceed $US 15 billion.

In a related development on January 17, 2007, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has drastically tightened use rules on some of the chief pesticides used on apples, blueberries, grapes, peaches, pears and other fruits pollenized by honey-bees. Citing general environmental protection and farmworker safety, the EPA recently announced the tightening of use or phaseout of the highly toxic pesticides phosmet and Azinphos methyl. Under these rule changes the use of these organophosphate pesticide would be allowed continued use for five years but have somewhat reduced dosage limits. Azinphos methyl is a dangerous neurotoxin derived from nerve agents used during World War II.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:00 AM   #2
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When I was in high school I worked as a beekeeper. Bees are one of the most important species on the planet for man's survival. What they do for pollination is a key process in plants reproduction. I know disease among hives can bee common, this kinda sucks.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:03 AM   #3
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This isn't ties to them trying to eradicate the africanized bees we were suppossed to be so scared of is it? I've never heard anything about this before but now that I think about I see way less bees then I used to. Also way less butterflies and spiders etc etc. I'm in california I figured it was all the malithion we sprayed for the fruit flies.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:46 AM   #4
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I hate bugs.
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Old 02-12-2007, 01:55 AM   #5
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I hate bugs.
p***Y
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:28 AM   #6
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When I was in high school I worked as a beekeeper. Bees are one of the most important species on the planet for man's survival. What they do for pollination is a key process in plants reproduction. I know disease among hives can bee common, this kinda sucks.
Yeah but they sting me for no reason. And it hurts. Therefore they should all die.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:45 AM   #7
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Yeah but they sting me for no reason. And it hurts. Therefore they should all die.
HAHA one time I was stung over 35 times in one beeyard. Once they smell the venom on you they become crazy. I was the only guy getting stung and my boss was laughing at me. I was pissed, tears were coming down my face.
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Old 02-12-2007, 02:57 AM   #8
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HAHA one time I was stung over 35 times in one beeyard. Once they smell the venom on you they become crazy. I was the only guy getting stung and my boss was laughing at me. I was pissed, tears were coming down my face.
I would immediately wipe the boss's smile off his face and go get a can of spray. Teach those damn bees a lesson.
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:01 AM   #9
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I would immediately wipe the boss's smile off his face and go get a can of spray. Teach those damn bees a lesson.
Don't think I didn't consider it.
It did cross my mind that I should just take the truck and leave their asses out in the middle of the Badlands!!!
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:26 AM   #10
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Honey-bees are responsible for approximately one third of the United States crop pollination including such species as: peaches, soybeans, apples, pears, pumpkins, cucumbers, cherries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.
I heard about this earlier during the summer... As a result they have had to import some bees to the regions affected by it to help the crops... Which explains a bit of why I always saw those boxes transported into california on a flatbed- covered w/ a big ass screen of course.
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:08 AM   #11
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As an agronomist, I can say that this truly terrifies me. This isn't about the price of honey, it's about famine. Maybe they don't like genetically engineered roundup ready soybeans...something is very bad and it's even more scary they don't know why it's happening. It's literally a birds and the bees metaphor in importance.

Here is another scary decline of critters that bite:

North Atlantic Sharks on Sharp Decline, Experts Say
By Cameron Walker
for National Geographic News

January 16, 2003
North Atlantic sharks are in serious trouble. Scientists searching through fifteen years of fishing logbooks have spotted a precipitous drop in shark populations.

Of the 17 shark species studied, all but two have seen their numbers slashed in half in less than two decades.

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"These species are declining, and they're declining really rapidly," said Julia Baum, a biologist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and lead author of the study, which appears January 17 in the journal Science.

Hammerhead sharks showed the most serious decline with an 89 percent decrease in population since 1986.

To Catch a Shark

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has been following the decline of sharks spotted in North Atlantic fishing areas. But the state of several individual species, such as the hammerhead, has remained unclear. And sharks that range across the open ocean, known as oceanic or pelagic sharks, have been an even bigger mystery.


The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) puts out a "red list" of threatened species. Of the 21 shark species it assessed in the North Atlantic, 20 received question marks when it comes to population trends, Baum said.

To piece together the status of sharks, the team pored through fishing logbooks from the National Marine Fisheries Service. The boats of U.S. pelagic longline fleets, or boats that head to the open ocean, record the number and type of caught fish. These longlines, which dangle hundreds of hooks into the deep, are set to catch swordfish and tuna.

But sharks can rise to the bait as well. Fishermen record this accidental hooking, called bycatch, in their logbooks along with their regular hauls.

The researchers also looked at shark counts from trained shark observers that sail out on some fishing boats. After poring over 15 years' records, the team ran their shark counts through the wringer, considering under-reported shark catches in log books and checking seasonal changes and fishing conditions that might skew the statistics.

Now, these fishing records have started filling in the blanks. "It's the first time anything has been recorded for thresher sharks and oceanic white tips," Baum said. The numbers of sharks in these two groups, both oceanic, dropped by more than two-thirds.
The two species of Mako shark, an oceanic group, were the only ones that declined by less than 50 percent.

All sharks falling into the category of large coastal species also dwindled by more than half. "Coastal species are going downhill because fisheries are covering their entire range," Baum said.

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The result: a gloomy forecast for sharks around the ocean. "We found they're declining at a phenomenal rate," said co-author Ransom Myers, a biologist at the University of Dalhousie, Nova Scotia.

Myers and other researchers are now comparing the current shark numbers to counts gathered from U.S. government fisheries surveys in the 1950s. This snapshot of the sharks' past provides an even bleaker view on their present state, Myers said. "When we go back, it's even worse."

The shark paper "packs quite a wallop and is very much to the point," said Mark Grace, a biologist at the National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Grace, who has conducted shark surveys in recent years for NMFS, said these findings are in line with many researchers' suspicions about sharks.

However, Grace said studies like these need to take into account how fishing gear is used and what environmental conditions might affect the catch, potentially swaying shark numbers.

Sharks Sensitive to Overfishing

Some people see sharks as the sea's scariest fish.

"We have this idea of sharks being really fierce predators—and they are. They're at the top of the food chain," Baum said. "But they're also really fragile."

These oft-feared sea creatures grow extremely slowly, taking years to reach maturity. A shark has only a few offspring during its lifetime, compared to other fish, making it difficult to jumpstart a dwindling population. While the sharks have survived as the kings of the ocean for millions of years, their slow-growing populations make them especially sensitive to a recently introduced predator—humans.

"Sharks are the most vulnerable species in the ocean," Myers said. "They're going to be the first thing you'll see eliminated."

Sharks get hooked as a byproduct of other fisheries. In addition, there are market for the sharks themselves. Commercial fisheries catch some species for dinner-plate appearances. Shark fins, used in delicacies like shark fin soup, rake in profits on the Asian market.

Both the United States and Canada have recently banned finning, but that doesn't mean the shark fin trade has stopped. "There's really high incentive to keep them, because they're one of the most highly valued products," Baum said.

Saving Sharks

Fisheries managers have turned to fishing regulations and marine reserves to aid other ailing species. In July 2001, concern about the endangered leatherback sea turtle sparked the closure of a large fishing area off the coast of Newfoundland. The researchers used simulations of the fisheries data to see if closing this spot might change shark catches.

While blue sharks and mako sharks—species of lower conservation concern—appeared to be protected by the closure, the researchers' models predicted catches of other shark species would shoot up in the remaining open areas.

If fishermen have to go to new areas to catch the same amount of fish, they're going to affect other species, Baum said.

Designing protected areas for a single species leaves out the complicated web of creatures swimming under the waves, and could shift pressure to other threatened species, she said. "Single-species conservation isn't going to work."

Protected places that shelter several highly threatened species might help shelter species in trouble. "Reserves could play an important role," said Baum. "But what's really needed here is a reduction in fishing effort."

You don't have to like sharks, but they are an excellent gauge of the health of our oceans.
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:13 AM   #12
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This decline is possibly the scariest of all...plankton gives us most of our oxygen. The Amazon is also being devestated to this hour.

Plankton Declining in Oceans, Study Finds
Mike Toner
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

August 20, 2002
Satellite surveys have detected a sharp decline in plankton in several of the world's oceans—a situation that could threaten the marine food chain and undercut one of the world's natural buffers to global warming.

The decline in free-floating, microscopic plants called phytoplankton varies from ocean to ocean, scientists reported. The greatest decline was in the Northern Pacific Ocean, where summer levels have dropped by more than 30 percent since the 1980s.

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"It's difficult to say what the implications are, but they could be pretty significant," said Watson Gregg, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "The whole marine food chain depends on the health and productivity of phytoplankton."

Plankton are as important to the long-term health of the atmosphere as the world's forests. The photosynthesis of the ocean's tiny green plants account for about half of the carbon dioxide that plants remove from the atmosphere each year.


Increases in carbon dioxide and other gases produced by cars, factories, and agriculture have been blamed for a gradual increase in global temperatures.

Scientists disagree over how much human-made sources contribute to the trend, but a long-term decline in the natural recycling of carbon dioxide by plankton and other green plants could exacerbate the problem.

"The less phytoplankton you have, the less carbon is taken up by the oceans," said Margarita Conkright of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In a study reported in the August 8 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, the researchers compared sets of satellite data from early 1980 to the late 1990s. The data showed that the sharpest decreases in plankton were in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic, where their abundance decreased by 14 percent.

In equatorial regions plankton levels increased, but there was an overall global decline of more than 8 percent.

The researchers say they can't be sure whether the decline is part of a natural cycle in the oceans, a reflection of regional changes, or a result of a gradual warming of the globe that has been occurring since about 1980.

They did, however, find a close correlation between the decline in plankton and increasing ocean surface temperatures, which suggests that climate change could be a cause as well as an effect of plankton declines.

Plankton need two things to prosper: sunlight and nutrients. The researchers say warmer sea surface temperatures tend to interfere with the upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water from the ocean depths, interrupting the "fertilizer" that plankton require.

Copyright 2002 The Atlanta Journal-Constituti
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:18 AM   #13
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http://www.mongabay.com/nasa_deforestation_imagery.html
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:42 AM   #14
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As an agronomist, I can say that this truly terrifies me. This isn't about the price of honey, it's about famine. Maybe they don't like genetically engineered roundup ready soybeans...something is very bad and it's even more scary they don't know why it's happening. It's literally a birds and the bees metaphor in importance.

Here is another scary decline of critters that bite:

North Atlantic Sharks on Sharp Decline, Experts Say
By Cameron Walker
for National Geographic News

January 16, 2003
North Atlantic sharks are in serious trouble. Scientists searching through fifteen years of fishing logbooks have spotted a precipitous drop in shark populations.

Of the 17 shark species studied, all but two have seen their numbers slashed in half in less than two decades.

Email to a Friend

"These species are declining, and they're declining really rapidly," said Julia Baum, a biologist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and lead author of the study, which appears January 17 in the journal Science.

Hammerhead sharks showed the most serious decline with an 89 percent decrease in population since 1986.

To Catch a Shark

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has been following the decline of sharks spotted in North Atlantic fishing areas. But the state of several individual species, such as the hammerhead, has remained unclear. And sharks that range across the open ocean, known as oceanic or pelagic sharks, have been an even bigger mystery.


The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) puts out a "red list" of threatened species. Of the 21 shark species it assessed in the North Atlantic, 20 received question marks when it comes to population trends, Baum said.

To piece together the status of sharks, the team pored through fishing logbooks from the National Marine Fisheries Service. The boats of U.S. pelagic longline fleets, or boats that head to the open ocean, record the number and type of caught fish. These longlines, which dangle hundreds of hooks into the deep, are set to catch swordfish and tuna.

But sharks can rise to the bait as well. Fishermen record this accidental hooking, called bycatch, in their logbooks along with their regular hauls.

The researchers also looked at shark counts from trained shark observers that sail out on some fishing boats. After poring over 15 years' records, the team ran their shark counts through the wringer, considering under-reported shark catches in log books and checking seasonal changes and fishing conditions that might skew the statistics.

Now, these fishing records have started filling in the blanks. "It's the first time anything has been recorded for thresher sharks and oceanic white tips," Baum said. The numbers of sharks in these two groups, both oceanic, dropped by more than two-thirds.
The two species of Mako shark, an oceanic group, were the only ones that declined by less than 50 percent.

All sharks falling into the category of large coastal species also dwindled by more than half. "Coastal species are going downhill because fisheries are covering their entire range," Baum said.

Email to a Friend

The result: a gloomy forecast for sharks around the ocean. "We found they're declining at a phenomenal rate," said co-author Ransom Myers, a biologist at the University of Dalhousie, Nova Scotia.

Myers and other researchers are now comparing the current shark numbers to counts gathered from U.S. government fisheries surveys in the 1950s. This snapshot of the sharks' past provides an even bleaker view on their present state, Myers said. "When we go back, it's even worse."

The shark paper "packs quite a wallop and is very much to the point," said Mark Grace, a biologist at the National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Grace, who has conducted shark surveys in recent years for NMFS, said these findings are in line with many researchers' suspicions about sharks.

However, Grace said studies like these need to take into account how fishing gear is used and what environmental conditions might affect the catch, potentially swaying shark numbers.

Sharks Sensitive to Overfishing

Some people see sharks as the sea's scariest fish.

"We have this idea of sharks being really fierce predators—and they are. They're at the top of the food chain," Baum said. "But they're also really fragile."

These oft-feared sea creatures grow extremely slowly, taking years to reach maturity. A shark has only a few offspring during its lifetime, compared to other fish, making it difficult to jumpstart a dwindling population. While the sharks have survived as the kings of the ocean for millions of years, their slow-growing populations make them especially sensitive to a recently introduced predator—humans.

"Sharks are the most vulnerable species in the ocean," Myers said. "They're going to be the first thing you'll see eliminated."

Sharks get hooked as a byproduct of other fisheries. In addition, there are market for the sharks themselves. Commercial fisheries catch some species for dinner-plate appearances. Shark fins, used in delicacies like shark fin soup, rake in profits on the Asian market.

Both the United States and Canada have recently banned finning, but that doesn't mean the shark fin trade has stopped. "There's really high incentive to keep them, because they're one of the most highly valued products," Baum said.

Saving Sharks

Fisheries managers have turned to fishing regulations and marine reserves to aid other ailing species. In July 2001, concern about the endangered leatherback sea turtle sparked the closure of a large fishing area off the coast of Newfoundland. The researchers used simulations of the fisheries data to see if closing this spot might change shark catches.

While blue sharks and mako sharks—species of lower conservation concern—appeared to be protected by the closure, the researchers' models predicted catches of other shark species would shoot up in the remaining open areas.

If fishermen have to go to new areas to catch the same amount of fish, they're going to affect other species, Baum said.

Designing protected areas for a single species leaves out the complicated web of creatures swimming under the waves, and could shift pressure to other threatened species, she said. "Single-species conservation isn't going to work."

Protected places that shelter several highly threatened species might help shelter species in trouble. "Reserves could play an important role," said Baum. "But what's really needed here is a reduction in fishing effort."

You don't have to like sharks, but they are an excellent gauge of the health of our oceans.
That is scarey but look at the bright side with the ice caps melting all the polar bears are going to drown at least they can feed the sharks
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Old 02-12-2007, 04:51 AM   #15
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Actually, Polar Bears are taking North Atlantic ice flows and migrating to Iceland to find food. It's been unusually cold in Greenland.
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:28 AM   #16
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Default Mystery Ailment Strikes Honeybees

Mystery Ailment Strikes Honeybees


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. Feb 11, 2007 (AP)— A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination.

Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment, called Colony Collapse Disorder.

Reports of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states. Some affected commercial beekeepers who often keep thousands of colonies have reported losing more than 50 percent of their bees. A colony can have roughly 20,000 bees in the winter, and up to 60,000 in the summer.
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:38 AM   #17
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Actually, Polar Bears are taking North Atlantic ice flows and migrating to Iceland to find food. It's been unusually cold in Greenland.

Where do you get this crap from?

There hasn't been a polar bear spotted in Iceland since the 80s (when global warming hadn't disrupted the ice flows yet).
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:29 AM   #18
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So this is different than the Veroa Mite? I know that was real bad in the late 90's.

As a former beekeeper 88-97 I wonder if this is not a problem with genetic diversity, as most Beekeepers buy packages and queens every year to replace lost ones. With a limited amount of companies producing these you could see a lack of genetic diversity causing much of these problems. Much like the corn blight in the 40's. Also so many of the beekeepers are moving their hives to pollination areas in the winter transmission of any disease is much faster.
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:09 PM   #19
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the state of world fisheries scares me we might not have any wild fish left from the oceans and that could really mess up the plankton levels leaving the ocean deoxygenated
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:19 PM   #20
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I think all this was mentioned in a book.....
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:24 PM   #21
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Where do you get this crap from?

There hasn't been a polar bear spotted in Iceland since the 80s (when global warming hadn't disrupted the ice flows yet).

They've learned to construct simple sails which they mount on icebergs, and they've mastered use of a sextant.
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:33 PM   #22
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If its a disease, and its killing 3 out of every 4 bees, eventually you will be left with bees that cant be killed by the disease. So, in essence, a good thing.


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Old 02-12-2007, 03:34 PM   #23
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Noone really knows why the plankton is dying either. It's all theoretical from Ozone layer to pollution to disease.

I really enjoy my Alaskan Walleye(Pollock)...it's so overfished it's absurd. It's a very nice clean tasting fish.
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:35 PM   #24
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Nature will balances itself out. No need to worry
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:36 PM   #25
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The fjords have frozen up around greenland and yes, Polar Bears have been floating to Iceland. Not an invasion, and not unheard of recently.
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