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Florida anglers land dog-paddling pooch

A man and a woman fishing on Florida Bay in October hauled in more than they had bargained for. The couple was motoring their 23-footer when they hit something in the water and, according to an Associated Press report, turned back to check what it was. They pulled a 5-year-old Cairn terrier from the water.

“As we came back upon it, I realized it was a little, fat dog,” the man says in the report. The dog, named Tigger, apparently had fallen from his owners’ boat somewhere between Key Largo and Marathon. The couple inspected the tag on Tigger’s collar and called his owner. After leaving a message, the couple dropped the dog off at an animal shelter, where he was picked up later by his owners.

An 81-year-old Florida man was seriously wounded in October after a stingray jumped into his boat and stabbed him in the heart with its toxic barb. The man was aboard his 16-foot jetboat on the Intracoastal Waterway when the spotted eagle ray leapt from the water and struck him, the Miami Herald newspaper reported. The stingray apparently landed in the man’s lap and, before he could swat it away, stuck its barb into his chest. The man drove the boat back to his home, where he called 911 and was taken to an area hospital. He underwent a number of surgeries to remove the barb and repair puncture wounds to his chest and heart. On Sept. 4 “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin died when a stingray pierced his heart while he was snorkeling off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Nearly all seafood populations face collapse by 2050 if trends in overfishing and pollution continue, a team of ecologists and economists warns. Recent information shows that 29 percent of fish and seafood species already have collapsed, according to a report published in the journal Science. Over a period of four years, the international team of researchers examined a broad range of data, including studies done in 48 marine protected areas and information from archives, fishery records, sediment cores and archaeological records from 12 coastal regions over a 1,000-year time series. The researchers are calling for a change from single-species management to ecosystem management, and say the oceans need new marine reserves, better management to prevent overfishing and tighter controls on pollution.

A documentary about a troubled sailor who cheated during the race in which Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person to sail solo and non-stop around the world is to be released in December. “Deep Water” is based on the life of Donald Crowhurst and his experiences during the 1968-’69 Sunday Times Gold Globe Race, according to information on the film distributor’s Web site (www.pathe.co.uk ). Apparently not skilled enough to complete the demanding race, Crowhurst, a British electronics inventor and amateur sailor, decided to hide off South America for several months and rejoin the race later. To give the impression he was still competing Crowhurst falsified position reports and even claimed to have been making record time. Crowhurst’s trimaran, Teignmouth Electron, was later found drifting with no one on board. Authorities reportedly believed Crowhurst went insane and jumped overboard.

A Florida man was ordered to pay $347,000 in restitution and sentenced to 30 months in prison for making a hoax distress call to the Coast Guard this summer. Robert J. Moran, who is 45, was sentenced in November for the June 11 call that spurred a two-day search-and-rescue operation, according to an Associated Press story. Authorities say Moran called the Coast Guard from a hand-held VHF radio and reported that his 33-foot Grady-White, Blue Sheep, was sinking near Boynton Beach (Fla.) Inlet with five adults and four children on board. The Coast Guard launched a search using a C-130 airplane, HH-60 helicopters and various vessels from a number of agencies. The search cost taxpayers more than $347,000.