Bahamas will Release Definitive Stamps on Marine Life

\"\"Bahamas will issue new definitive stamps on various aspects of sea life on 3rd Jan 2012. Common sea fan, Gorgonia ventalina   (5c) :Sea fans are fan-shaped soft corals which are made up of tiny colonial animals called polyps. Sea fans attach themselves to reef surface so that they lie across the current. This allows them to filter the microscopic organisms on which they feed from fast flowing water. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

Christmas tree worm, Spirobranchus giganteus (10c):The Christmas tree worm is a marine tube-dwelling worm named for it characteristic, brightly coloured, spiral shaped \’christmas tree-like\’ tentacles which can be seen on the reef protruding from corals. This animal is a popular photographic subject for underwater enthusiasts. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

Elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata (15c)  :Coral reefs are primarily constructed by living animals called coral polyps which build the largest biological structures on earth.  Reefs are home to 600,000-9 million species and are considered the \”Rainforests of the Sea\”.  Coral reefs are ecologically significant; they protect coastal areas from storms, supply potentially ground-breaking resources for medical cures, and support our local fishing and tourism industries. The harvest of coral is prohibited in The Bahamas. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

Cushion sea star, Oreaster reticulatus (20c) :Sea Stars are commonly called starfish due to their characteristic shape. They belong to a group of invertebrates called echinoderms which also include sea urchins, sea cucumbers and sand dollars. They have an amazing ability to regenerate their limbs when damaged. Populations have declined due to harvesting for the souvenir trade. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

Queen conch, Strombus gigas  (25c)   :The Queen conch is important economically, socially and culturally to The Bahamas, and is a main ingredient in many of the popular dishes. The Queen conch is commercially extinct throughout much of its historical range, and it is listed as an endangered species. In The Bahamas the fishery is managed by legislation which prohibits the harvest of juveniles with shells that do not bear a well-formed (thick, flared) lip. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

 Hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata  (30c):The Hawksbill turtle is a gentle marine reptile and a key member of the coral reef community.  Marine turtles spend most of their lives at sea. Females come to shore for brief periods during the nesting season to lay their eggs on sandy beaches. Males are only found on land as hatchlings; upon hatching they make a quick dash for the ocean, never to return again. Hawksbill turtles are critically endangered due to centuries of exploitation for their shells, eggs and meat. In The Bahamas, all species of marine turtles, their nests and eggs are fully protected by law. (Photo credit: Sandy Voegeli)

Green moray eel, Gymnothorax funebris  (40c)  :The moray eel is a type of fish. Eels are a top predator on the reef, helping to keep fish populations healthy.  Moray eels are a potential predator of the lionfish, an invasive species in Bahamian waters. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

 Bonefish, Albula vulpes (50c) :Bonefish populations in The Bahamas are healthy and The Bahamas is regarded as one of the most popular bonefishing destinations in the world.  It is against the law to net or sell bonefish in The Bahamas. Fly-fishermen who target bonefish practice catch and release fishing. This type of angling is crucial to conserving the bonefish. (Photo credit: Erich Schadinger)

 Spider crab, Mithrax spinosissimus   (60c) :Spider crabs are a family of long-legged marine crabs of which there are 700 species. Many species have long legs which give them their spider-like appearance. The largest known is the Japanese spider crab which may have a 12ft leg span. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

Caribbean spiny lobster, Panulirus argus (65c):The spiny lobster inhabits coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds, and the open oceans during different phases of its life history.  The harvest of spiny lobster, referred to locally as \’crawfish\’ is a multimillion dollar industry in The Bahamas.  A healthy lobster fishery can be maintained by utilizing responsible fishing methods and by respecting minimum size limits and closed seasons. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus (70c) :The Nassau grouper is found in the Western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.  It is a top reef predator that contributes greatly to the health of the coral reefs.  The Nassau grouper is the most important finfish resource in The Bahamas.  Populations in other parts of the Caribbean have declined significantly or have become commercially extinct, and the Nassau grouper is considered an endangered species.  To prevent further declines in their stocks, The Bahamas has implemented seasonal closed seasons during the winter spawning months. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

 Yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus (80c)  :The Yellowtail snapper is one of many species of snapper found in Bahamian waters. As a popular food fish, it is an important commercial fish species in The Bahamas. This brightly coloured fish is commonly seen by divers and snorkelers. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

 Great Barracuda, Sphyraena barracuda  ($1)  :The Barracuda is a top predator in the ocean. It is a curious fish and is commonly seen by divers and snorkelers hovering over shallow areas and reefs. Its silvery body is torpedo-shaped, making it capable of sudden bursts of speed to catch its prey. (Photo credit: Sandy Voegeli)

 Spotted eagle ray, Aetobatus narinari   ($2)  :Spotted eagle rays are common in shallow water and on coral reefs, and can often be observed swimming in small groups. They can sometimes be seen leaping from the water, which is a tactic used to evade predators when they are being pursued. Rays are a type of fish, and are close relatives of sharks. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

 Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus  perezi  ($5):Sharks are a valuable asset to the Bahamas, contributing approximately 78 million dollars to the economy annually through dive tourism. As top predators, they are crucial for the maintenance of healthy oceans and fish populations.  In 2011 The Bahamas passed legislation to prohibit the commercial exploitation of all sharks. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

 Bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus   ($10) :The bottlenose dolphin is a marine mammal commonly found in Bahamian waters. Dolphins are highly intelligent and communicate with each other with a variety of sounds. They hunt and travel in groups called pods. In The Bahamas, all marine mammals are fully protected by law. (Photo credit: Stuart Cove\’s)

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