SHARK WEEK: 4 Times Energy Production Intersected With Sharks

Basking Shark

Photo of a Basking Shark. An offshore wind farm off the coast of Scotland was cancelled partly due to the discovery of hundreds of these protected sharks in the area.

In the spirit of shark week, here are 4 (and a half) times sharks and energy production have converged.

1. SHARKS KILL OFF AN OFFSHORE WIND FARM: In 2013, ScottishPower cancelled an offshore wind farm off the west coast of Scotland because of hard rocks, giant waves, and the presence of hundreds of protected basking sharks in the area.  Article here. The largest basking shark ever caught was found in the Bay of Fundy, Canada – in 1851 at 12.3 m long (about the length of a school bus) weighing 19 tons (source).

2. TIGER SHARKS GET A FREE LUNCH: Researchers are unexpectedly finding land-faring migratory birds in the stomachs of tiger sharks in the gulf of mexico. The hypothesis?  The bright lights of offshore oil platforms are disorientating night-flying birds causing them to crash into the rigs or drop into the water, where they become shark food.  Article here.

3. BASKING SHARKS AS INSPIRATION FOR INNOVATION:  Industrial design student Anthony Reale has created a 40% more efficient hydroelectric turbine inspired by the design of the basking shark where a pressure differential allows the shark to filter zooplankton and small fish solely with passive water flow. Article Here

4. OFFSHORE OIL OFFERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO WATCH A GATHERING OF GIANTS: 80 km off the coast of Qatar there is a huge aggregation of whale sharks observed in the Al Shaheen offshore oil field.  The 9 offshore platforms have been covered with corals and sponges forming an artificial reef attracting lots of fish to spawn in the area. The whale sharks have figured this out, and the enormous aggregation of whale sharks here is matched by only a handful of other places in the world.  The phenomenon was first photographed by an oil worker in 2007 who took a shot of more than 100 whale sharks.  Now, this is an opportunity to learn more about the oceans biggest creatures – a research team is involved in tracking the whale sharks and estimating their population size.  Photos and research description here.

4½. SWORDFISH ATTACKS: (Only counts as ½ a point because a swordfish isn’t a shark…)  Although a swordfish isn’t a shark, the numerous swordfish attacks on offshore oil facilities off the coast of Angola begs to be included in this post.  In 2014 a swordfish attacked an BP offshore oil facility puncturing a hose preventing the crude oil from being loaded to an oil tanker.  This exact site was also hit by a sword fish in 2009.   Also, in 2010 a whole school of swordfish punctured oil hoses used to load tankers owned by French oil company Total.  Article here.

Any other examples you can think of where sharks and energy production converged?

Shark Week Basking Shark Comic

Couldn’t resist adding this illustration of basking shark – © 2013-2014 wachey.  See original & more from artist at http://wachey.deviantart.com/art/Shark-Week-Thursday-Basking-Shark-393803779

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