Friday, August 2, 2019

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" August 2, 2019: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

UNESCO World Heritage Site now a plastic desert, Dolphin adopts orphan whale, Guam's coral reefs deteriorate, Indonesia turns away plastics,  Shark tournaments target endangered sharks,  and more...


1. UNESCO World Heritage site now a 'Plastic Desert'

In 1988, Henderson Island became a designated UNESCO world heritage site because of its remarkable biodiversity and long stretches of untouched sandy beaches. Yet, Henderson has some of the highest levels of man-made pollution found anywhere in the world. An estimated 18 tons of plastic rubbish has washed up on Henderson Island, the uninhabited coral atoll that sits between New Zealand and Peru in the Pacific Ocean. The remote island should be an unblemished and perfect paradise because of its isolation, with 3,400 miles (5,500 km) of pure ocean in either direction but unfortunately, that isn't the case.

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2. Scientists document first known case of dolphin adopting an orphan from another species 

Until recently, the only scientifically documented case of interspecies adoption among wild mammals dated to 2006, when primatologist Patrícia Izar spotted a group of capuchin monkeys raising a baby marmoset as one of their own. Now, a new study published in the journal Ethology offers a second example of the rare phenomenon. This apparent adoption, unusual in and of itself, was made all the more striking by the fact that the bottlenose already had a biological baby; typically, dolphin mothers only care for one calf at a time.

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3. Rising ocean temperatures have killed one-third of Guam's coral reefs


Rising ocean temperatures have killed one-third of coral reefs near Guam, University of Guam researchers said Monday. Their study found that between 2013 and 2017, Guam experienced warm water that killed off 34 percent of coral. "Never in our history of looking at reefs, have we seen something this severe," Laurie Raymundo, UOG marine lab director, and marine biology professor, said during a press conference, according to the Pacific Daily News. "The highest temperatures we've ever recorded in Guam happened in 2017," she added. "Right now, the best way to stop bleaching is to lower our carbon footprint."


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4. Indonesia joins a growing list of countries planning on turning away First World refuse

Indonesia plans tighter rules to combat a surge in imports of plastic waste, such as a registry of trash exporters and tougher border checks, officials said on Friday. Data from the statistics agency showed imports of plastic waste rose 141% last year to 283,000 tonnes after a ban by China disrupted the annual global flow of millions of tonnes of waste. Trade official Oke Nurwan said Indonesia had notified 15 countries, home to key exporters, of the new checks. “If not from a registered exporter, we will not issue a permit (for imports),” Nurwan, the director-general of foreign trade at the trade ministry, told reporters.

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5. A global assessment of marine heatwaves and their drivers

Marine heatwaves (MHWs) can cause devastating impacts to marine life. Despite the serious consequences of MHWs, our understanding of their drivers is largely based on isolated case studies rather than any systematic unifying assessment. Here we provide the first global assessment under a consistent framework by combining a confidence assessment of the historical refereed literature from 1950 to February 2016, together with the analysis of MHWs determined from daily satellite sea surface temperatures from 1982–2016, to identify the important local processes, large-scale climate modes and teleconnections that are associated with MHWs regionally.

Read more from "Nature"

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6. CITES protected sharks caught during fishing tournament


This is an example of one of many shark tournaments that exist despite regulations to protect these animals. A 328-pound thresher shark was caught in a Rhode Island fishing tournament that took place in July. Richard Napolitano recounts the battle saying "we fought the shark for an hour and 45 minutes.” The CITES protected shark won first place in the 38th annual Snug Harbor Shark Tournament. Napolitano was quick to point out that his sportfishing vessel, “Knot Reel Teeth,” successfully caught, tagged and released five other mako and blue sharks during the tournament, as they normally do.  

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7. Scottish conservationists seek backing to create the world's first protected area for basking sharks


Scotland could be the location of the world's first protected area for basking sharks, say conservationists. Large groups of the fish gather in the Sea of the Hebrides from May to October to feed on plankton. The Scottish Wildlife Trust and Marine Conservation Society want part of the sea to be designated a marine protected area (MPA). The Scottish government is consulting on the plan and the groups have urged the public to show support. Three other proposed MPAs - North-east Lewis, Shiant East Bank, and Southern Trench - are also the subject of government consultation.

Read more from "BBC"

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8. Irish teen may have found a new clue - plastic-free ocean

A young Irish scientist may have found a way to rescue our oceans from the growing plastic pollution problem. A walk on the beach led Fionn Ferreira to develop his project on microplastic extraction from water for the annual Google Science Fair. The project won the grand prize of $50,000 in educational funding at this year's event. The 18-year-old said that while he was out on that walk in his coastal hometown of Ballydehob, he ran across a stone with oil and plastic stuck to it -- something he says he's become more aware of in recent years.

Read more from "CNN"
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9. Beverage giants plan to sell water in recyclable plastic bottles made from lumber scraps

A technology startup near Ontario’s leafy border with Michigan says it has the answer to the world’s plastic pollution problem: sawdust. Origin Materials is getting ready to pay sawmills in the area $20 a ton for the scraps leftover in the process of turning logs into lumber, which it will use to make recyclable plastic bottles that remove carbon dioxide from the sky because they’re made from sustainably sourced wood waste. Nestle SA, Danone SA, and PepsiCo Inc. plan to sell water in Origin’s recyclable plant-based bottles in early 2022.

Editorial Note: This is still a plastic bottle. It may be less plastic, but it is not a perfect solution.

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10. Climate activist Greta Thunberg delivers speech before French Parliament

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, 16, spoke before France's lower house of parliament Tuesday as she continues her campaign for action on climate change. French conservative parties denounced her appearance as an emotional ploy. Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg hit back at critics as she visited the French parliament on Tuesday following outraged comments from some right-wing MPs who have slammed her presence. "Some people have chosen not to come here today, some have chosen not to listen to us. And that is fine. We are, after all, just children," said Thunberg.

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11. Indonesia’s PT Pertamina intensifies efforts to clean up Java Sea after oil spill 

Indonesia’s state energy firm Pertamina said on Thursday it will take weeks to plug an oil spill at its Offshore North West Java (ONWJ) facility, which has reached the northern coast of Java island. The incident started on July 12, when natural gas was released during drilling at one of its wells in the ONWJ platform on the Java sea, Pertamina’s upstream director Dharmawan Samsu told a news conference. Three days later the company declared an emergency and on July 16, a layer of oil began to rise to the surface of the sea in addition to the gas bubbles, he said. 


Read more from "Reuters"
and
Read more from "Bloomberg"
                   

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12. Singapore's ocean tankers to cut down on sulfur emissions

Off the coast of Singapore, the world’s largest ship refueling center, a bunker barge sidled next to the supertanker Pu Tuo San to fill the giant vessel with a new type of fuel that will meet global standards that start up in January. With a little over five months left until stricter marine fuel rules come into effect, shippers such as Singapore’s Ocean Tankers that own the very large crude carrier (VLCC) Pu Tuo San have started testing out lower sulfur fuel to prepare their fleet for the transition. Moving forward sulfur emissions will be cut down from 3.5% to .5%.

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13. First big U.S. offshore wind project in deadlock due to fishing-industry concerns 

Trump administration infighting is holding up approval of the first major U.S. offshore wind energy project, with agencies sparring over whether the proposal does enough to protect the fishing industry, according to interviews and agency documents. The delays are a setback to President Donald Trump’s efforts to fast-track big energy infrastructure projects and could threaten the administration’s plans to launch a promising new domestic industry.

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Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Ocean 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

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" July 29, 2019: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

Sharks threatened by global fisheries, How climate change created a drug-resistant fungus, Bi-partisan carbon tax introduced in US, Glow-in-the-dark sharks, China's waste crisis,  New York's commitment to renewable energy and more...


1. New study finds commercial fishing threatens sharks worldwide

An international team of more than 150 scientists from 26 countries have 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.

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2. Drug-resistant fungus may be on the rise due to global warming

Climate change may be causing a wide-spread, drug-resistant fungus, according to a study published recently in the American Society for Microbiology. Researchers found that the new fungal disease could be the first to emerge as a result of climate change. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 587 cases of the fungus, Candida auris, in March. The CDC had said it was resistant to antifungal drugs. 

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3. Carbon tax shows progress for environmental policy


Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are introducing competing bills that aim to put a tax on carbon. The push to regulate greenhouse gas emissions come as both Democrats and Republicans face pressure from their constituents, and in some cases, the fossil fuel industry itself, to regulate carbon emissions that lead to climate change.

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4. Scientists discover a new species of tiny sharks that glow in the dark

Scientists have identified a new species of tiny shark that secretes a glow-in-the-dark liquid. The 5.5-inch specimen — dubbed the American Pocket Shark, or Mollisquama mississippiensis — was first discovered in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico during a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mission to study sperm whale feeding. In a recent study, researchers identified its species by using a dissecting microscope and studying radiographic (x-ray) images and high-resolution CT scans.

Read more from "Big Think"

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5. Trump campaign is selling "Trump" branded plastic straws to raise funds and conservation ire.


The Trump campaign has sold out of "Trump" branded plastic straws. When asked about this Trump stated, "We have bigger problems than plastic straws." Trump was asked as he departed the White House if he is in favor of banning plastic straws. The question came as his campaign began selling plastic straws in response to growing bans on the items among local governments and businesses for environmental reasons.

Read more from "The Hill"
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6. China - new hands-on approach to enforce recycling


The Chinese government is trying to get a nationwide waste crisis under control. The separated refuse will now be monitored by a paid government employee.  He or she will check the separated refuse.  Black bins are for “dry” stuff, brown for “wet,” blue for “recyclable” and red for “hazardous.” Sorting waste into these categories became mandatory in the city on July 1. There’s a penalty of 200 yuan ($30) for anyone who does not comply. 

Read more from "Huff Post"

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7. Shell shocked: the effects of ocean acidification


Marine ecosystems could be thrown off balance.
The world’s oceans are acidifying rapidly as they soak up massive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) released from burning fossil fuels. Scientists studying sea urchins have discovered an unexpected side effect of this acid brew—it can help some of them build thicker, stronger exoskeletons. These urchins could potentially overrun habitats.


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8. Ocean snail is first animal officially endangered by deep-sea mining



A snail that lives near hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor east of Madagascar has become the first deep-sea animal to be declared endangered because of the threat of mining. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added the scaly-foot snail (Chrysomallon squamiferum) to its Red List of endangered species on 18 July — amid a rush of companies applying for exploratory mining licenses.

Read more from "Nature"

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9. Leading by example - How a hotel in the Maldives is fighting plastic pollution 

The Maldives, known for their picturesque white, sandy beaches are confronting a large problem. According to UNICEF, the archipelago consumes huge amounts of plastic. According to the report, 280,000 plastic bottles are used and discarded daily in the capital city of Malé alone, and 104 million plastic bags were imported to the Maldives in 2018. National leadership has committed to reducing single-use plastic to zero by 2025
Read more from "Forbes"
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10. Energy companies brace for historic heatwave 

Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. and Europe are expected to be hit by a massive weekend heatwave, forcing energy companies to brace for maxed out grids and potential blackouts. It will also create a spike in carbon emissions, as the use of fossil fuels by people seeking to cool down expands. These areas are facing historic heat advisories, with temperatures expected to reach into the 100s in some places.

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11. Tuna are spawning in marine protected areas


Marine protected areas are large swaths of coastal seas or open ocean that are protected by governments from activities such as commercial fishing and mining. Such marine sanctuaries have had rehabilitating effects on at-risk species living within their borders. But it’s been less clear how they benefit highly migratory species such as tuna. Now researchers at MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have found evidence that tuna are spawning in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, covering an area of the central Pacific as large as Argentina.

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12. Shark Week 2019 - Still committed to shark conservation

Sea Save Foundation director, Georgienne Bradley was one of the first "Shark Week Finbassadors". The concept was that the successful week of programming draws so many shark aficionados, that it is an ideal time to talk about shark conservation. Sharks play an important role in the ecosystem by keeping the oceans in balance. Those involved with Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week aim to dispel the fear associated with sharks. Shark Week, which airs July 28 through August 4, is not just entertainment, it’s also a tool to educate people on the importance of these majestic animals.

Watch Discovery Video - Shark Finbassador Launch
Read more from "Forbes"
                   

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13. New York ups commitment to renewable energy by awarding largest wind energy contracts

New York officials said Thursday that the state would award the largest offshore wind energy contracts in the country as the state ups its commitment to renewable energy. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed an agreement for two offshore wind projects that, when completed, will provide a record nearly 1,700 megawatts to the city, officials announced. The New York government estimates that the project will create enough energy to power more than 1 million homes and result in 1,600 new jobs and $3.2 billion in economic activity.  

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14. The Philippines target completion of three marine protected area networks


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is inching closer to establishing networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) in a bid to boost the protection and conservation of some of the country’s coastal and marine ecosystems. So far, three areas have been identified with huge potential for the establishment of an MPA network. Establishing an MPA network will expand the MPA coverage in terms of area and strengthen protection and conservation by pooling together the limited resources of community-based organizations that manage the MPAs.

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15. Filmmaker James Cameron urges for exploration of our planet's last frontier


The Space Race of the 1960s brought huge investment in space exploration. Today, we must explore and protect Earth's final frontier, its oceans. While we navigate to distant worlds, we've neglected our own planet and our greatest shared resource — our ocean. While life on Earth depends on the ocean, we still know far too little about it. Federal funding for space exploration comes to about $20 billion annually, compared to an estimated $2 billion for ocean science — a factor of 10 to 1. We have better maps of the surface of the moon and Mars than we have of our own seafloor, and more people have walked on the surface of the moon than have visited the deepest depths of the ocean.


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Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Ocean 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