Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Sea slugs have been part of New Zealand's marine life for millennia. Until recently few people knew of their existence. A few dead or near dead ones washed up along the Hauraki Gulf shoreline weren't noticed until several dogs died or became ill after eating them. Sea slugs were suddenly up there with the sea's major predators like sharks and jellyfish.
Sharks may be among the most feared sea creatures, although on average there are less than 10 fatalities recorded worldwide each year. Weigh this up against the number of sharks taken by humans. Around 73 million sharks are caught annually, more than half just for their fins which command up to $US600 per kilo in Asian markets.
Seahorses may seem like mythical creatures, something you hear about but never see. But they are real and more common than most people realise, being found right around New Zealand. They are not easily found as their coloration blends in with the seaweeds they live in and even for experienced searchers they are easy to miss.