Saturday, June 16, 2018

Week in Review June 15, 2018: Bilbo Baggins Lends Name to Hairy-Footed Shrimp, Algae Bloom Obliterates Fish Farms, Additional Retailers Refuse Plastics and More

1. Algae Bloom Obliterates Two British Columbia Fish Farms

algae bloom, fish farms, British Columbia
Algae blooms killed around 250,000 salmon at two British Columbia fish farms last week. About half of the fish at Grieg Seafood’s farms in Jervis Inlet died from the harmful blooms of Heterosigma algae, according to a release by the company. Because the algae was in “extraordinarily high concentration” and spread throughout the water, protective measures could not prevent the extensive kill, it said.


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2. Ikea, Royal Caribbean and Sea World Are Getting Rid of Plastic Straws and Bags

plastic bottle recycling, ChinaLess than two weeks after a pilot whale died off Thailand with 80 plastic bags in its stomach, three major companies- SeaWorld, Ikea and Royal Caribbean - have vowed to remove plastic straws and bags from their properties.  The companies are now linked to a host of businesses, governments and others across the world that have joined an effort to dramatically reduce the 8 million metric tons of plastic that pollute oceans each year — “one garbage truck into the ocean every minute,” according to a 2016 report released by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
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3. Scientists Explore Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Discover Dramatic Mountain Range

ROV, Deep Sea SpongesA multi-national team of ocean exploration experts led by Dr. Aggie Georgiopoulou, University College Dublin, returned to Galway on World Ocean Day (8th June 2018) after spending three and half weeks exploring and mapping the tectonic spreading at the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge on the Marine Institute’s RV Celtic Explorer.  Using the remotely operated vehicle Holland I, “we collected spectacular film footage of sponge gardens and even a skate nursery at 2000m under the sea. A discovery of more than 70 skate eggs was found, which is a first for the deep-sea” explained Chief Scientist Dr. Aggie Georgiopoulou.
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4. Shrimp Species With 'Extremely Hairy Feet' Named For Bilbo Baggins


Indonesia, shrimp, Bilbo BagginsIf you’re a fan of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, then you’ll be excited to learn that a newly discovered shrimp species has been named after Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbit who started the entire fantastical quest when he accidentally obtained the One Ring of power from Smeagol. A new species of shrimp found in Indonesia has been named after Bilbo Baggins because of its small size and eight extremely hairy pereiopods -- feet -- and inspired its fanciful scientific name, Odontonia bagginsi.
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5. Antarctic Ice Loss Has Excellerated Three Fold During Past Decade

Antarctica, Antarctica Ice Loss
Antarctica is melting, and it’s happening at a much faster rate than scientists previously anticipated.  According to a study published in Nature on Wednesday, losses in Antarctica’s ice sheets—which hold 60 to 90 percent of Earth’s fresh water, The New York Times’ Kendra Pierre-Louis notes—have tripled since 2007.  The study presents the most comprehensive analysis of Antarctic ice loss to date, drawing on 24 surveys conducted by 84 scientists from 44 institutions. These researchers estimate that a decade ago, Antarctica lost ice at a rate of 73 billion metric tons per year. Now, that figure is up to 219 billion tons of ice lost per year, a staggering rate that scientists say, could raise sea levels six inches by 2100.

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6. Great Barrier Reef - Gets Fertility Treatment

Australia, Great Barrier Reef, Coral Reef Bleaching, Coral IVFA coral fertility treatment designed to help heal damaged parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef is showing signs of success and now needs to be scaled up to create a bigger impact, the lead scientist tells CNN.  Peter Harrison, a professor at Southern Cross University in Australia, said he is "excited by the results" which show the experimental process known as "coral IVF" is working on a small scale. Recently returned from a trip to the reef, Harrison said his team managed to "significantly increase" the numbers of baby coral on reefs at Heron Island and One Tree Island, where they laid millions of coral larvae 18 months ago.
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Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Week in Review June 8, 2018: Whale Eats 80 Plastic Bags - Dies, 50 Nations Vow to Reduce Plastic and More

1. Whale Dies By Eating 18 Pounds of Plastic Bags


A pilot whale died off the coast of Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags weighing nearly 18 lbs. Watchara Sakornwimon, the vet who carried out the necropsy, told the press that the case was one of the worst she'd seen. Nearly 300 marine animals including pilot whales, sea turtles and dolphins, are killed each year in Thailand from plastic consumption.

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2. 50 Nations Vowing to Reduce Plastic

plastic bags, plastic pollutionMore than 50 nations are taking action to reduce plastic pollution, says the UN in the biggest report so far. India, Ecuador, Sri Lanka and China are but a few of the 50 nations committed to taking immediate concrete actions that will result in less plastic usage.
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3. Dead Whale Washes Ashore New York Beach


beached humpback whale, humpback whale, Queens New YorkThe Atlantic Marine Conservation Society has responded to five calls about large whales in distress.  All five showed evidence of blunt force trauma consistent with being struck by a boat, according to the society.
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4. Chile Joins Worldwide Push to Ban Plastic Bags


plastic bag ban ChileThe fight to ban the use of plastic bags outright in commercial purchases has finally come to South America. Chile, consumes and disposes of an estimated 3.4 million plastic bags per year, has passed legislation giving large retailers and supermarkets six months to ban plastic bags from stores. 




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5. Big Food Service Outfit Banning Plastic Straws at 1,000 U.S. Eateries

plastic straw banA big food-service company with eateries at major U.S. college campuses, museums and other institutions is going to ban plastic straws and stirrers at all of its more than 1,000 locations in 33 states.
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6. Half of All Patents for Genes From Marine Species Held By One Company


fangtooth, deep sea animal gene patents
Researchers found that nearly every genetic sequence from ocean organisms on record, belonged to companies, universities and other entities located in just 10 countries. Genetic information from deep-sea creatures has immense potential value for medicine, food and even fuels, and the scientists behind the analysis expressed concern that this wealth is not being fairly distributed.

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7. Proposed California Law to Limit Plastic Straw Use Passes Assembly

plastic straws, beach clean-up, Huntington BeachEditorial Note: Sea Save Foundation is heavily invested in this effort and has hosted a petition to help promote this effort.
A measure that would prohibit restaurants from providing single-use plastic straws unless requested by a customer was approved by the Assembly on Wednesday and will now be considered by the state Senate. The proposed law, AB 1884, is intended to reduce the number of straws that end up on the beach and in the ocean, as well as in landfills.

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8. Drones Help Scientists Study and Protect Whales

drones and whalesScientists have begun using drones to perform a whole new kind of health checkup on whales. It’s awfully hard to dive into the ocean and draw a bit of blood or take a tissue sample from a passing whale. But it’s also unnecessary, because whales give away more than enough biological samples of themselves all the time. Every time they breach and spout, they’re spraying not just sea water into the air, but a generous helping of whale mucus. These drones help capture these samples.
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9. Invention Safely Transports Deep-dwelling Fishes to the Ocean's Surface


SubCAS, California Academy of Sciences, Monterey Bay AquariumUnusual fishes from the ocean's deep and lesser-known deep waters are hitching a ride to the surface thanks to the newly invented SubCAS (or Submersible Chamber for Ascending Specimens). This ingenious pressurized chamber was engineered by the scientists-turned-inventors at the California Academy of Sciences and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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Be sure to "LIKE" http://facebook.com/SeaSave to ensure our "Week in Review" is delivered to your newsfeed every Friday. 

Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Week in Review June 1, 2018: Sharks Commute RT Galapagos - Cocos, Poached Whale Shark Fins Confiscated, Europe Could Ban Some Plastics More

1. Scientists Prove Sharks Travel Between Galapagos and Cocos Island

shark highway, cocos island, galapagos islands, sharksScientists have long wondered if sharks that are seen near Cocos Island off of Costa Rica also travel south to the Galapagos Islands.  They have found their answer with the discovery of a a 500-mile-long “shark highway” between the two islands. Hammerheads, silky, and thresher sharks were videotaped along with 13 other species of sharks, fish, dolphins, and sea turtles. The scientists used baited video cameras known as BRUVS. Although fish are protected at Cocos Island and the Galapagos, in between they are fair game to fishermen. The discovery of this shark highway is an important step toward protecting species at risk.
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2. Whale Shark Fins Found in Illegal Shipment to Hong Kong

illegal shark fins, illegal shark fin shipment, Singapore Airlines, Hong KongWhale shark fins, as well as those from other endangered sharks, were found in an illegal shipment aboard Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines bans shark fin cargo, but the fins were labeled “dry seafood.” Although Hong Kong permits the import of shark fins, those shark species listed under the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II must be accompanied by a permit.
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3. Europe Proposes Ban of Single-Use Plastics

plastic pollution, single-use plastic banThe European Commission has proposed banning 10 of the most common single-use plastics, as well as abandoned fishing gear.  About 70 percent of the marine litter found along the EU’s coastlines is plastic. "Plastic waste is undeniably a big issue, and Europeans need to act together to tackle this problem, because plastic waste ends up in our air, our soil, our oceans, and in our food," said EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans. The rules vary for products with an alternative (like straws and plastic utensils) and those without a viable alternative (like cigarette butts and wet wipes). Producers of plastic fishing gear would be required to pay the cost of cleanup. “The European Commission has also set a target for its 28 member states to collect 90 percent of single-use plastic drink bottles by 2025.”
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4. Japan’s Whale Slaughter Included 122 Pregnant Minke Females

Japanese whaling, minke whales, dead minke whales
In the “name of research,” Japan has killed 333 minke whales, including 122 pregnant females. “Japan allows the whale meat to be sold as a food product, removing even more credibility from its claims about scientific research.” They claim they can only age a whale by killing it and removing its internal ear plugs, but other scientists disagree. “According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Japan intends to kill around 4,000 whales over the next 12 years, and eventually resume commercial whaling.”


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5. Straws, Bottle Caps, and Polyester Are the New Targets of California's Environmental Movement

shorebird, plastic pollutions, California

The California State Legislature is considering bills regarding plastic pollutants including straws, bottle caps, and polyester.  An assembly bill would “bar sit-down restaurants from providing plastic straws unless a customer requests one.” A proposed law would “would prohibit retailers from selling single-use plastic bottles with caps that do not remain tethered to the container after opening.” Another assembly bill would require “all new clothing made with more than 50% synthetic material have a label that warns of microfiber shedding during washing.” California often leads the way in environmental bills; its microbead ban from beauty products led to a national ban. It is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.
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6. New Jersey Leads the Resistance Against Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan


New Jersey, Offshore Oil Drilling
Despite the promises of jobs and wealth, the mayor of Asbury Park, New Jersey, John Moor, is fiercely opposed to Trump’s proposed offshore drilling plan. “I don’t think the risk is worth all the money in the world,” he said. “Across the Atlantic Coast strip, mayors in nearly every city teamed with council members, conservationists, business leaders and residents to craft resolutions that denounced the proposal to widen federal offshore leasing to 90 percent of the outer continental shelf, an effort that began just days after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the plan in January.” The governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, signed a bill passed by the state legislature that “prohibits oil exploration in state waters, which extend three miles from shore.”


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7. New Bill Could Ban Plastic Straws in All NYC Bars and Restaurants


The straw that stirs New York City’s drink will soon be made of paper, if a group of City Council members has anything to say about it. On Wednesday, Councilman Rafael Espinal announced that he is introducing a new bill to the chamber that would ban all food and drink establishments in the city from offering customers any straw or stirrer made of plastic or any other nonbiodegradable material.


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8. New Study - Whale Sharks Still Endangered


The IUCN Red List assessment found that growing human pressures were contributing to the threats putting whale sharks at an increasing risk of extinction, along with some few other newly assessed animals. “It is alarming to see such emblematic species slide towards extinction,” said Jane Smart, director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme, in a press release. The new assessments emphasise how urgent it is for the conservation community to act strategically to protect the diversity of life, she said in the release. Their numbers have been halved over the last 75 years, according to the assessment, as the giant continued to be both fished and accidentally killed by ship propellers
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9. Greenland Swims Upstream - Signs Salmon Agreement with Far-reaching, International Ramifications


The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) have signed new agreements with commercial fishermen in Greenland and the Faroe Islands that will protect thousands of adult wild Atlantic salmon from commercial nets and longlines, allowing them to return to North American and European rivers.



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10. United Nations / World Environment Day Inspired - Campaign Takes Off



The #BeatPlasticPollution movement is all about encouraging people to replace their single-use plastic products with reusable alternatives. Participants are encouraged to make their commitment on social media, then tag their friends and spread the message within 24 hours.







Be sure to "LIKE" http://facebook.com/SeaSave to ensure our "Week in Review" is delivered to your newsfeed every Friday. 

Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Week in Review May 25, 2018: Mariana Trench - Deep Plastic, Kiwi Blue Whales, and More

1. Plastic Bag Found at Bottom of Mariana Trench 

plastic bag, philippines
Using photos and videos from various dives over the past 30 years, scientists have identified a plastic bag 36,000 feet down at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The Deep Sea Debris Database has logged mostly plastic among other trash seen. Of that plastic, 89 percent was single use such as grocery store bags or plastic utensils. This discovery shows that even remote places in our oceans are not exempt from plastic pollution.


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2. New Blue Whale Population Found Off of New Zealand


blue whales, New Zealand, Oregon State University
A new blue whale population has been identified in New Zealand waters. The population of at least 700 blue whales is genetically distinct from those living in the Pacific and Antarctic Oceans. The whales had been listed as migrant, but scientists from Oregon State University used photographs, acoustics of whale songs, and genetic samples to conclude that they are permanent residents.
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3. Australian Shark Nets Catch Bycatch, Not Sharks


sea turtle caught in net, Australia, Sea ShepardControversial shark nets installed to protect beachgoers in New South Wales, Australia, have caught more bycatch than target shark species. Only two of the 145 animals caught were target species. Among the bycatch found dead in the nets were eight dolphins, nine turtles, 34 protected great hammerhead sharks, and more than 100 rays. SMART drumlines were more effective, catching 11 target species, which included three great whites, three tiger sharks, and five bull sharks. These drumlines notify tag-and-release teams in real time, improving the sharks' chance of survival.



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4. Illegal Fishing in Marine Protected Areas


gray whales, CaliforniaMarine protected areas, including the 1,600 MPAs in U.S. waters, are supposed to limit human activities such as fishing and boating. But often fishermen take catches illegally inside these protected areas. “Marine protected areas are not enough if there is no education and enforcement surrounding them. It is in everyone’s best interest that we let populations recover and allow for sustainable oceans for the future.”



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5. “Laze” from Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano


LazeHawaii's Kilauea volcano “has burned several homes, caused explosive eruptions and forced thousands of evacuations since it started erupting more than two weeks ago.” Its latest threat is a cloud of noxious gases, glass particles, and lava haze known as "laze," created as lava flows into the Pacific Ocean. Laze is dangerous, and “the laze steam plume rising from the Pacific Ocean contains a mixture of hydrochloric acid gas along with small volcanic gas particles.”
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6. Madagascar Emerges as Whale Shark Hotspot - Could Spark Enhanced Ecotourism
The first major scientific survey in Madagascar shows there are far more whale sharks than previously thought. Eighty-five individuals were identified in a single season. SSF Editorial Comment: This critical information could lead to renewed ecotourism which would lead to a decrease in the number of these animals killed off the Madagascar coast each year. Read more...


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Be sure to "LIKE" http://facebook.com/SeaSave to ensure our "Week in Review" is delivered to your newsfeed every Friday. 

Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Week in Review May 18, 2018: Bumble Bee Tuna Sting, Trawling Termination on Trial, and More

1. Bumble Bee Tuna CEO Charged with Fixing Prices



The CEO of Bumble Bee canned tuna, Christopher Lischewski, has been charged with fixing canned tuna prices from November 2010 to December 2013.  He allegedly “conspired with others in the industry to eliminate competition.” “Three other people, including a former StarKist tuna company executive, have previously been charged. Stephen Hodge, a former senior vice president for sales at StarKist, pleaded guilty last year to price-fixing.” Two other executives at Bumble Bee have pleaded guilty and paid a $25 million fine.

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2. Pacific Council Protects Critical Ocean Habitat


Red Gorgonian Whip Coral, Deep Sea TrawlingIn April, the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to close an area roughly twice the size of Washington State to bottom trawling. Some 140,000 square miles off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington will be protected, including the "sensitive corals, sponges, and rocky reefs in a region known as the Southern California Bight." For the first time in a fishery management plan, methane seeps are protected as important fish habitat.
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Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article210157954.html#storyli

3. Vanuatu First Country to Ban Plastic Straws

Vanuatu Cascade Waterfall, first country plastic straw ban
Vanuatu, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, is the first country in the world to ban plastic straws. They will also end the use of single-use plastic bags and polystyrene takeout boxes by July. “Each year at least 8 million tonnes of plastic makes its way into our ocean," and there are "at least 51 trillion pieces of microplastics already in our ocean with warnings that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our ocean.”
 

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4. Massive Wave Is Southern Hemisphere Record


New Zealand, Campbell Island, Massive Record WaveThe largest wave ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere was measured off of  New Zealand. The 78 foot (23.8 m) wave was measured by a buoy off New Zealand's Campbell Island in the Southern Ocean on Tuesday. “The ‘eight-storey high’ wave was generated by a deep low pressure system and 65-knot winds, said Meteorological Service of New Zealand senior oceanographer Dr. Tom Durrant. He said that "surfers in California can expect energy from this storm to arrive at their shores in about a week's time."
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5. New Zealand Woman Collects 10,000 Cigarette Butts, Pushes for Beach Smoking Ban

A New Zealand woman who collected 10,000  cigarette butts from Queenstown beaches is pushing for a smoking ban. Over 30 days Liz Smith collected 10,527 cigarette butts from Queenstown Bay and Frankton Beach and photographed the result to make a "visual statement". She posted her final photo on Facebook  and asked for "yes" responses to show support. More than 3,700 people have responded. Sea Save Editorial Addition: Documenting pollution makes a difference!  #GetTrashy
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6. Lawmakers want plastic-straw ban to fight litter


At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Katy Tang introduced new legislation that would ban the distribution of plastic straws and some other non-biodegradable odds and ends, in another City Hall drive to clean up San Francisco’s chronic trash problem.


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Be sure to "LIKE" http://facebook.com/SeaSave to ensure our "Week in Review" is delivered to your newsfeed every Friday. 

Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news.