Thursday, October 12, 2017

Week in Review: October 13, 2017 US Withdraws From UNESCO, Largest Marine Protected Area in North America to Be Created off Mexico,Warming Oceans May Make Clownfish Harder to Find, and More!

1.  United States Withdraws From UNESCO, In World Heritage Site

cocos island, UNESCO, World Heritage Site
SSF Director, Ms. Bradley with UNESCO team at Cocos Island  (c) Jay Ireland
The United States has withdrawn from UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization). UNESCO promotes international cooperation in education, science, culture, and communication”. The member nations propose, review and select World Heritage Sites. These unique sites have cultural, historical, scientific or some other form of significance, and they are legally protected by international treaties. These spots are important to the collective interests of all humanity. The Sea Save Foundation leaders were instrumental in getting Cocos Island listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO tweeted "It is deeply regrettable for the US to withdraw from UNESCO, the UN agency promoting education for peace & protecting culture under attack"
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2.  Largest Marine Protected Area in North America to Be Created off Mexico


Mexico has announced that it is creating a 57,000 square mile marine protected area.  It is composed of the four Revillagigedo Islands, which are 240 miles southwest of Baja California.  The Revillagigedo Islands are already a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  All fishing will be banned, and no hotels will be built on the islands. Enric Sala says, “It’s one of the places where you can see the most giant manta rays and sharks on the planet."

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3.  Endangered Seahorses End Up as Poultry and Fish Feed




thorny seahorse, seahorseIn India, seahorses, small fish and sea cucumbers are caught as by-catch from bottom trawlers who don’t target any particular species.  They are then sold as poultry feed, fish oil and fish feed.  In the year 2000, India exported 10 tons of seahorses, which equates to 4 million seahorses.  This is clearly unsustainable, but there are not enough studies and there are no records of how much by-catch (including seahorses) is caught.
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4. Warming Oceans May Result in Clownfish Decline

clownfish, anemone, anemone bleaching
Anemones are much like coral, having symbionts living inside them that help them make food and give them their brilliant colors.  When seawater temperatures are warmer, anemones can bleach like corals when their symbionts are expelled.  This causes the clownfish, that depend on the anemones for shelter, to stop laying eggs. “Scientists suspect that pattern may hold for untold numbers of other fish nurtured by either corals or anemones.”
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5. The Most Valuable Wild Salmon Fishery in the World Could Become a Mine


sockeye salmon fishery, salmon, sockeye salmonBristol Bay in southwest Alaska is home to 56 million sockeye salmon.  Over half the world’s sockeye salmon catch comes from Alaska.  “The returning salmon and other ecological resources create some 14,000 full- and part-time jobs, generate about $480 million annually -- and support 4,000-year-old Alaska Native cultures.” A Canadian mine company wants to mine for gold and copper there, and the Trump administration is likely to remove the Obama-era protections for Bristol Bay. Public comments are being accepted until October 17th. Click here to register your opinion.
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6. Great White Sharks are Swimming Farther and Deeper

great white shark, white shark, sharkNew research in the Atlantic Ocean has found that great white sharks are swimming farther and deeper than previously thought. One shark traveled 2,300 miles from Cape Cod to the Azores Islands.  They often dove to 3,700 feet or more. Previous studies suggested that great white sharks stay near the continental shelf, but this study shows they patrol open ocean.  It is critical to know if the sharks are swimming outside the jurisdiction of countries' protected ocean boundaries.
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7. There's Enough Wind Energy Over The Atlantic Ocean To Power Human Civilization

ocean wind farm, wind farm

There is the potential for enough wind energy over the Atlantic Ocean to power the entire world.  Doing so wouldn’t be practical and could potentially alter the climate. This shows how important it is to investigate building open ocean turbines for its potential clean energy. “Wind speeds can be as much as 70 percent higher than on land,” and the wind can be replenished better than land through storms.
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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, October 6, 2017

Week in Review October 6, 2017: Federal Government Refuses to List Walrus as Threatened Species, Sharks Longer Lived Than Previously Thought and More

1.  Federal Government Refuses to List Walrus as Threatened Species


pacific walruses, walruses, sea ice, endangered species acteThe Trump Administration is denying walruses the status of threatened species.  They say that the walrus is adapting to the vanishing sea ice by foraging along coastlines instead. “Walruses in the last decade have been forced ashore in unprecedented numbers, resulting in deaths, especially of young animals, and long swims for nursing females and other walruses to find food.” This decision, which wildlife groups say imperil the species, will likely be challenged in court.
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2. Sharks Live Longer Than Previously Thought


reef shark, coral reef, sharkA scientist has found that sharks live longer, as much as twice as long, as previously thought. Dr Alastair Harry looked at 53 populations of sharks already being studied and found that a third of the species’ ages had been underestimated by as much as 34 years. This study is important for shark fishing management. Most sharks are not targeted but are caught as bycatch.
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3.  Protection Gained at CITES Take Effect for Silky and Thresher Sharks


silky shark, thresher shark, CITES, CITES Appendix IIA year ago, Sea Save Foundation was instrumental in getting silky and thresher sharks listed under CITES Appendix II. Implementation began October 4, which means that trade in those sharks is now regulated internationally to ensure their survival in the wild. CITES regulates the international trade of over 35,000 plants and animals.
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4.  EU to Commit $1 Billion to Protect Marine Life


The European Union and its private sector will announce a commitment of $1 billion to better protect marine life. The money will be used to further areas of action including climate change, sustainable fisheries and marine pollution.
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5. Non-Native Marine Species Floating Across the Pacific on Plastic Debris


sea slugs, japanese sea slugs“Between 2012 and 2017 nearly 300 species of marine animals arrived alive in North America from Japan, having traveled on crates and other objects released into the Pacific following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011.” Two-thirds of the animals--including mollusks, crustaceans, and worms--had never been found before on the West Coast of the United States. The discovery raises the alarm about the dangers of invasive species "hitchhiking" on plastic debris. Non-native species can wreak havoc on native ecosystems by outcompeting native wildlife.   
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6. River of Trash Flows Through Guatemala

Chimaltenango, Guatemala, river of trash

A river of trash flows through Chimaltenango, Guatemala, in a video taken in September. A city upstream “hides” its garbage, and during the rainy season, the trash flows downstream. Locals depend on this river for drinking water. A quarter of Guatemalans, and up to 50 percent in rural areas, don’t have access to clean drinking water.
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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.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Week in Review September 30 2017: Mass Extinction Within Decades, Species More Vulnerable to Climate Change, Plastic Found in Remote Arctic Ice and More.

1.  Mass Extinction Could Happen Within Decades


baby sea turtlePrevious mass extinction events the last of which occurred 252 million years agoare evidenced by carbon in marine sediments. Today marine carbon is accumulating faster than in the past. When carbon amounts in the environment meet a certain threshold, a mass extinction occurs. At the current rate, says scientist Daniel Rothman, this extinction could happen within decades, and certainly before the end of the century. By pumping enormous amounts of carbon into the environment, humanity is quite possibly setting the stage for a global sixth mass extinction event in the marine – and possibly terrestrial – environment.
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2. Certain Fish Species Most Vulnerable to Climate Change


five fish most at risk due to climate change, fish, spotted grouper, yellow bar angelfish, eastern Australian salmon, sohol surgeonfishA new study looked at the data for 1,074 marine species and concluded that 294 species are at risk (by 2050) due to climate change. The worst off are the “Eastern Australian salmon, yellowbar angelfish, toli shad, sohal surgeonfish and spotted grouper. The researchers created a database to highlight the fish most vulnerable, in the long-term, of those important to fisheries worldwide.
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3.  Plastic Chunks Found on Remote Arctic Ice


arctic ice, arctic, arctic pollution, arctic plastic, arctic plastic pollutionPlastic in the oceans is widespread, but now scientists how found a new source: melting ice. Polystyrene pieces were found in the remote Arctic (1,000 miles from the North Pole). This shows how widespread plastic pollution in the oceans is. Scientists estimate there are 5 trillion pieces of plastic on the surface of the oceans. Some 300 million tons of plastics are produced a year, and half is single-use plastics.
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4.  Nanoplastics Cause Brain Damage in Fish


A recent study has shown that nanoplastics accumulate in fishes’ brains, meaning that the nanoplastics can cross the blood-brain barrier. Fish affected by nanoplastic show behavioral disorders such as eating more slowly and exploring around them less. Animal plankton die when exposed to nanoplastics but are unaffected by larger pieces of plastic. "It is important to study how plastics affect ecosystems and that nanoplastic particles likely have a more dangerous impact on aquatic ecosystems than larger pieces of plastics," says researcher Tommy Cedervall.
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5. Dolphins As Sentinels of Ocean Health


dolphins, dolphins swimming, dolphins in the wildA long-term study off the southeastern United States found that two populations of dolphins had “extraordinarily high” instances of disease. Only 43 percent of the dolphins in the study were deemed healthy. The rest had diseases associated with bacteria, viruses and fungi. Antibiotic resistance was also high. Pesticides and industrial chemicals are thought to be the cause of the diseases. The researchers warn that humans who ingest seafood could also be vulnerable to pollution impacts.
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6.  Sea Turtle Populations Bouncing Back Worldwide

sea turtle, sea turtle populations, sea turtle silhouette
Most sea turtle populations around the world are on the rise. This is good news, because six of seven species are still listed by the IUCN as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered. Some populations are declining, like leatherback sea turtles in the Eastern and Western Pacific. Conservation efforts to protect beaches and regulate fishing, and the establishment of marine protected areas, have significantly helped sea turtle populations rebound.
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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, September 22, 2017

Week in Review September 22, 2017: Zinke Recommends Removing Protections From 10 National Monuments, No Longer Just Loners, Sea Lice Plague Salmon Around the World and More!

1.  Zinke Recommends Removing Protections from 10 National Monuments


Papahanaumokuakea, national marine reserve, tropical fishInterior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending shrinking the size of four western national monuments and opening up three marine monuments to fishing. Ten monuments would be managed differently in order to allow “traditional uses” such as “grazing, logging, coal mining and commercial fishing.” Congress can easily make changes to national monuments through legislation, but presidents rarely change monument boundaries. The fate of 11 monuments, including the Papahanaumokuakea reserve off of Hawaii, is unclear.
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2. Secret Social Lives of Octopuses


octlantis, gloomy octopus, gloomy octopuses, AustraliaOctopuses have always been seen as loners who only come together to mate, but that view has now changed thanks to some new observations. A place dubbed “Octlantis” has been found in Australia where 15 “gloomy” octopuses reside in close proximity. There residents have “been seen to congregate, communicate and even evict one another.” They have even constructed a series of dens out of clam and scallop shells leftover from meals.
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3.  Parasitic Sea Lice Plague Salmon Farms


salmon sea lice, sea louse, salmon farmingSalmon farms around the world are battling parasitic sea lice, which burrow into the salmon, killing some and making others unsuitable for sale. The lice have infested farms in the United States, Canada, Scotland, Norway and Chile. The problem costs the salmon farm industry $1 billion a year. Solutions being tried include bathing the salmon in warm water to remove lice, zapping lice with a laser, breeding for genetic resistance, and using "cleaner fish" to eat the lice.
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4.  Marine Plastics Found in Seabirds

gannet chick, plastic in seabird, plastic lined nest

Scientists who collected the results of studies of 34 species of seabirds found that 74 percent had ingested plastic. Species affected included albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters. The full impact of plastic on seabird populations around the world is unknown. Millions of tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans every year.
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5.  Rising Tide Against Drilling


deepwater horizon fireA swelling coalition of East Coast businesses, governors, and legislators from both parties hope to halt a Trump administration plan to open the Atlantic coast to oil and gas exploration. In a recent letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, they argued that $95 billion in economic activity and 1.4 million jobs depend on a healthy coastline, including hotels, restaurants and recreational and commercial fishing. They join the voices of environmentalists, who have long opposed seismic testing and drilling due to its negative impact on marine life.
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6.  Half of Sharks in Arabian Sea Threatened


shark, arabian sea
A recent assessment of sharks, rays, and chimaeras in the Arabian Sea has found that more than half are at risk of extinction. The 2107 IUCN Red List survey concluded that another 27 of the region’s 78 species could be threatened soon. “The results are a call to action and highlight the urgent need for regional cooperation in research and policy efforts,” says Shaikha Al Dhaheri of Abu Dhabi’s environmental agency.
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7.  Can Coral Researchers "Accelerate Evolution"?


coral reef Pacific, coral reefIn the face of massive die-offs of coral reefs due to heat stress, a few researchers are pursuing desperate measures. Efforts include genetic banking and breeding the most resilient corals in the lab for replanting. The scientists warn that more drastic solutions such as selective breeding or infusing coral with heat-resistant genes may be needed. Big questions remain about whether these approaches are feasible, ethical, or sufficient to keep up with the scale of changes in the ocean.
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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.