Biologists Conclude that Fish feel Pain

It is a long held traditional belief that fish do not feel pain the way that humans do, largely due to the fact that they have unsophisticated nervous systems, and lack brains complex enough to generate a conscious awareness of pain. However, after extensive research, fish biologists around the world have put together considerable evidence to indicate that fish do, in fact, feel pain.

The jury is still out when it comes to determining whether fish actually do consciously experience pain, however studies demonstrate that fish can change behavior and physiology in response to high temperatures, intense pressure, and corrosive chemicals. In one study, where rainbow trout were injected with acetic acid into their lips, scientists reported unusual changes in behaviour – including faster breathing, rocking back and forth on the bottom of the tank, rubbing their lips against the gravel and the side of the tank, and taking twice as long to get back to feeding. This is in contrast to fish that were just injected with saline, which did not demonstrate any odd behaviour at all. Fish that were injected with both acetic acid and morphine also exhibited some of these unusual behaviors, but to a lesser degree.

While these studies demonstrate a behavioural, hormonal or physiological reaction to a seemingly painful impulse, it is impossible to know whether this is a conscious awareness of pain or an unconscious processing of impulses and reflexes in response to external stimuli.

Despite some evidence that fish react to pain, it is highly unlikely that they will be afforded the type of legal protection that is commonly given to farm animals, laboratory animals, and domesticated pets throughout the world.

On a global scale, The United Kingdom has some of the most advanced animal welfare laws in place. In countries such as Canada and Australia, animal welfare legislation varies from one state to the next, and in Japan, relevant legislation places little importance on the rights of fish. In the United States, animal welfare regulations do not include fish, amphibians and reptiles.

In some of the more progressive countries, such as the United Kingdom and Norway, human slaughter methods, including knocking fish unconscious with either a quick blow to the head or direct electrical currents, then piercing their brains or bleeding them out, are now being used in fish farms. In Norway, these practices have even been trialed in commercial fishing vessels, to determine whether these methods are viable out at sea.

In the United States, a new and unique type of humane fishing is being trialed by two fishermen, aboard their customised vessel named Blue North. The boat, at 58-meters in length and which can carry a crew of 26, and 750 tonnes in weight, harvests Pacific cod from the Bering Sea. In a temperature-controlled room located in the middle of the boat, away from the elements, the crew retrieve fish one at a time through a hole in a moon pool – allowing them more control over fishing than they would normally achieve in an ordinary fishing vessel. Immediately after the fish is brought to the surface, it is stunned with 10 volts of electricity, and then bled out. This method is believed to greatly reduce stress, panic and injury.

While these studies are insightful, there is still no concrete proof to indicate that fish experience conscious pain. A discovery like this would no doubt have wide-ranging consequences for the fishing industry, recreational fishers and human-kind.

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1.5 Billion Dollars Invested into Oceans Protection Plan to Transform Canada’s Marine Safety

As part of an initiative to improve marine safety, enhance emergency response capacity, and protect Canada’s coastline, the Canadian Government is investing $1.5 billion dollars into its Oceans Protection Plan. Funding will be distributed over a five year period, commencing in 2017-18.

The core priorities for this plan, aside from restoring and protecting Canada’s waters and ecosystems, is to improve responsible shipping – through new preventative and response measures, invest in oil spill clean-up research – to aid decision making in emergency situations, remove abandoned boats that pose a hazard in Canadian waters, and strengthen partnerships with indigenous communities.

The plan is also focused on improving marine traffic congestion in Canada, and improving the identification and management of anchorages, which are necessary for efficient shipping and navigation in Canada’s busy ports.

In association with the marine industry, Indigenous peoples, community organisations and stakeholders, the Government is working hard to ensure that marine shipping practises in Canada are safe and consider the protection of the environment and coastal ecosystems. As part of this initiative, they will be investigating and responding to environmental, economic, cultural, safety and security concerns, and developing a manual outlining best practices for ships at anchor.

The Canadian government is also creating a new maritime awareness information system so that Canada’s Indigenous communities have increased access to local data on marine traffic and other maritime information. By incorporating both existing and new sources of information, Indigenous people and those living in coastal communities, in association with safety authorities, will be able to work together to better safeguard the coastal environment and improve responses to marine emergencies.  

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What you need to Know about Dripless Shaft Seals

There are several types of seals, which are divided into two key groups – face seals and lip seals.
Both use an articulated rubber sleeve to keep the water out, and are similar in appearance, but lip seals seal via a lip, or sometimes two, whereas a face seal uses a collar that attaches to a surface on the end of the articulated hose.

Considered the most efficient way to seal a shaft, the PSS (Packless Sealing System) shaft seal is a mechanical face seal, which uses the seal created between the flat surfaces of the rotating stainless steel rotor and the stationary carbon flange. The carbon flange is attached to the stern tube via an articulated rubber bellows. The carbon flange contacts a stainless steel rotor that fits securely around the shaft, and is fastened on with grub screws and seals via two O-rings sunken into its bore. The bellows is installed on the stern tube and is then compressed a set distance by the stainless collar, creating a solid and even seal between the carbon flange and the stainless rotor.


Volvo Rubber Stuffing Box

Volvo Penta’s solution is commonly called a ‘rubber stuffing box’, and is quick and easy to install, and takes up minimal space, as it combines the rubber hose with a lip seal in one assembly, with no moving parts. It has an internal, water-lubricated bearing and lip seals which must be greased annually. It comes with a single, wide hose clip, secured with machine screws, to clamp on to the stern tube. As it does not have a pressurised water feed, after launch, it must be ‘burped’ to remove air.

Tides marine Sure Seal and seriesOne

This is a propeller shaft sealing, which is suitable for a wide range of shaft speeds and ambient operating temperatures, and commonly fitted to power boats, yachts and commercial crafts. Created from fiber-reinforced composite material that is non-corrosive, it is strong, durable and practical, as there are no moving parts. A pressurised cooling water supply is required to lubricate the lip seal and alignment bearing in the seal head. The seriesOne model is produced in the same way as the Sure Seal, yet is designed for smaller, single-engine vessels with stainless steel propeller shafts.

Biofouling and its Implications on Marine Health, Boat Safety and Australia’s Biosecurity

Biological invasions are widespread throughout the world’s oceans, with many of these invasions occurring as a result of human-mediated mechanisms.

Marine vessels are largely responsible for facilitating the movement of aquatic pest species across bioregions, as small marine animals and plants easily attach to the submerged surfaces of a vessel, as it moves through the water.

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Women at Sea: Why society needs to encourage and support more women working in the maritime industry

The maritime industry is dominated by men, with only a small portion (~2%) of the marine workforce held by women.

A majority of women who do work in the industry tend to do so in the cruise and ferries sector – primarily taking on service roles, such as hotel staff, catering, kitchen duties, cleaning etc.

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Tragedy aboard the fishing vessel, Louisa (SY30), should be a reminder that fatigue can kill

Back in April 2016, the fishing vessel, Louisa (SY30), encountered a tragedy, with the unfortunate drowning of its skipper and two of his crew.

Having worked a long day, the skipper and his crew retired for bed for the night, anchoring the vessel close to the shore in Mingulay Bay in the Outer Hebrides. In the early hours of the following morning, they were awoken to the vessel sinking. While able to escape to the aft deck, put on lifejackets and activate an EPIRB, they were unable to inflate the life raft in time in order to disembark the vessel and reach safety.  While one member of the crew was able to survive, two crewmen and the skipper were found unresponsive and later declared deceased.

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Be Prepared and Stay Safe During an Electrical Storm While out at Sea


If you spent enough time in a boat, chances are that you have been caught out in a severe thunderstorm…

Lightning can be powerful, dangerous and highly unpredictable – according to NASA, a single lightning strike can release power to the value of a trillion watts. This is the equivalent of the power generated by one million yachts (assuming the average large superyacht produces 1000 kW of electricity).

Even though the odds of being struck by lightning are in your favour (about one out of every 1,000 boats), lightning deaths and injuries are on the rise, primarily because there are more boaters, and bigger boats, out at sea. With more people working out at sea, and boating becoming a fast-growing recreational activity, the need for boating safety and preparedness is more important than ever.

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Regulated Australian Vessels (RAV) and Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV)

Regulated Australian Vessels (RAV) and Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV)

 Whether purchasing or selling your Superyacht, considering a new build, through to the running of your Superyacht Maritime Survey Australia can provide highly specialised advice in all maritime and superyacht matters.

Maritime Survey Australia provide the following services:

  • Superyacht build and refit management
  • Superyacht build and refit contracts
  • Superyacht LY3 and build compliance
  • Superyacht Survey
  • “Gap Analysis” for DCV to RAV

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