KAUST scientist leads study on marine conservation

The report revealed that even the remotest parts of the ocean appear to offer highly migratory sharks little refuge from industrialized fishing fleets.
Updated 24 July 2019

KAUST scientist leads study on marine conservation

An international team of more than 150 scientists from 26 countries, including a King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) professor, has collated movement data from nearly 2,000 sharks tracked with satellite transmitter tags. 

The groundbreaking study, published in the journal Nature reports, revealed that even the remotest parts of the ocean appear to offer highly migratory sharks little refuge from industrialized fishing fleets.

The researchers, part of the marine megafauna movement, brought together by Carlos Duarte, professor of marine science at KAUST, mapped shark positions and revealed “hotspots” of space use in unprecedented detail. 

“This research highlights the need and power of collaboration to better understand global conservation challenges in the open ocean,” said Duarte, co-author of the paper.

Regional declines in abundance of some shark populations such as shortfin mako shark — the fastest shark in the sea — have led to widespread calls for catch limits in the high seas.  But precisely where in the vast expanse of the oceans’ sharks aggregate and how much fishing takes place in those chosen habitats remains poorly known globally, even though it will be crucial to selecting sites to conserve sharks. 

“By overlaying global maps of shark abundance and movement contributed by over 150 researchers worldwide and fishing vessel movement data retrieved from the automatic identification system vessels to report their position, we have produced a global map of risks to shark conservation from the fishing industry. This work will help to advance conservation of endangered marine life,” Duarte added.

Researchers found multi-species pelagic shark hotspots were mostly located in frontal zones, boundaries in the sea between different water masses that are highly productive and food-rich.

They then calculated how much the hotspots were overlapped by global fleets of large, longline fishing vessels — the type of fishing gear that catches most pelagic sharks.

Strikingly, they found 24 percent of the mean monthly space used by sharks globally falls under the footprint of pelagic longline fisheries. Commercially exploited sharks such as North Atlantic blue and shortfin mako sharks overlap was much higher, with an average of 76 percent and 62 percent of their space use, respectively, overlapping with longlines each month. Even internationally protected species such as great white and porbeagle sharks had overlap values exceeding 50 percent. 

“Our results show major high seas fishing activities are currently centered on ecologically important shark hotspots worldwide,” said Professor David Sims, co-author of the study as part of the Global Shark Movement Project based at the Marine Biological Association Laboratory in Plymouth, UK.

The team’s findings indicate large sharks — some of which are already endangered globally — face a future with limited spatial refuge from industrial longline fishing effort.


Hyundai launches new i30 N in South Africa

Updated 19 February 2020

Hyundai launches new i30 N in South Africa

Hyundai Motors has increased its presence in South Africa by launching its first mass-produced high-performance car — i30 N — last week in Cape Town. 

The first model of the N brand, the i30 N is Hyundai’s first high-performance car, which has been developed with a key focus on its race-track capability and its ability to be a fun-to-drive everyday sports car. 

“Advanced technology and a high level of driver customization has been built into the i30 N, which means it can play the role of a comfort-oriented commuter as well as a race-track ready performance car,” the automaker said.

The i30 N has a 1,998 cc, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, with its maximum power output of 202 kW reached at 6,000 r/minute, while maximum torque is achieved from 1,500 to 4 700 r/minute. 

The power is delivered to the front wheels of the i30 N through a six-speed manual gearbox and has five different drive modes: Eco, Normal, Sport, N and N Custom, which can be accessed through two dedicated buttons on the car’s steering wheel. 

The i30 N has a rev matching function built-in to adjust the engine revolutions when the driver shifts from a higher to a lower gear, thereby ensuring smooth gear shifting. The dual muffler exhaust sounds add to the pleasure of commanding a high-performance vehicle.

Speaking at the launch, Niall Lynch, CEO of Hyundai Automotive South, said: “The i30 N is one of the most exciting cars Hyundai has made in the recent years highlighting Hyundai’s talented designers and engineers who are always setting new standards.

“It is a high-performance car meant to deliver a fun driving experience and I have no doubt there’s a bright future in store for the Hyundai i30 N in South Africa. It has already been described as a ‘game changer’ with more than 20,000 units sold across Europe since we started trading in 2017.”

The i30 N has stylish 19-inch wheels with 235/35R19 Pirelli P-Zero high-performance tires and red brake callipers featuring the N-logo. Aggressive bumpers with larger air intakes and a red character line, an aerodynamic rear spoiler with a triangular brake light, and a dual muffler exhaust complete the sleek, sporty look.

The i30 N also features the electronically controlled suspension (ECS) and electronically controlled limited-slip differential, which ensures an exhilarating drive with cornering capabilities that befits the i30 N’s hot-hatch character.

Customers can choose from five color options — Polar White, Performance Blue, Micron Grey, Phantom Black and Engine Red.

Hyundai plans to launch the i30 N model in the Middle East toward the end of 2020.