Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week In Review - World's Largest Marine Reserve Created, U.N. Ignores Oceans, and More

World's Largest Marine Reserve Created

Some of the most pristine ocean ecosystems can be found thousands of miles into the Pacific Ocean. These remote island paradises, which have mostly escaped the effects of overfishing and pollution, are collectively known as the Pacific Remote Islands Marine Monument. The area serves as a habitat to an array of critically endangered species and includes several key hotspots brimming with biodiversity. Former president George W. Bush, in a move right before he left office, used his legal authority to establish a 50-mile radius of protection for this region. Now President Obama is extending the area under protection to a 200-mile radius. This executive action creates the largest protected marine reserve in the world. Read more here...


U.N. Climate Summit Overlooks Oceans

The oceans play a critical role in our climate change conversations. With melting ice caps and rising ocean acidity, the health of our oceans must be addressed. But to the disappointment of many ocean advocates, this week's United Nations Climate Summit has no focus on oceans. Climate activists are rallying to make the ocean's health a priority and have delivered a petition to the United Nations. Read more here…

Never-Before-Seen Seahorse Sighted in Philippines

For the first time in history, two rare species of seahorse have been spotted in Philippine waters. The weedy pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus pontohi) and Severn's pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus severnsi) were photographed by divers and verified by the Zoological Society of London's Project Seahorse. These new sightings now mean that 11 species of seahorse living in Philippine waters. Read more here...


Australia's Plan for Great Barrier Reef Includes Numbers, Not Action

Last Monday, Australia released its 35-year management plan for the Great Barrier Reef. The plan included a framework to monitor the turtle, coral trout, and dugong populations, improve water quality, and limit the leaching of farm chemicals into the water. But marine advocates are already saying the proposal isn't bold enough, considering the many threats the Great Barrier Reef faces. The management plan is currently taking public submissions before being finalized. Read more here...
770,000 Square Miles of Ocean Could Be Protected in Five Years 
"Preserving our oceans is essential to protecting biodiversity," former President Bill Clinton declared on Monday at the launch of National Geographic Society's Pristine Seas, a project to convince the world's governments to protect its oceans. The campaign's goal is to establish more than 20 new marine reserves in species-rich areas in the coming five years. This program, with a goal to cover 770,000 square miles, builds on top of current successes that have already led government leaders to protect over 150,000 square miles. Read more here...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Week In Review - Whale App Surfaces, Tuna Fishing Kills Sharks, Chinook Return and More

Whale App Surfaces, Tuna Fishing Kills Sharks, Chinook Return and More

1. Milestone CITES Decision Takes Effect
2. Western Australia Stops Devastating Cull
3. Whale of an App
4. Healthy Reefs Make Good Shark Habitats
5. Buying Tuna, Killing Sharks
6. The Return of the Chinook Salmon

1. Milestone CITES Decision Takes Effect 

On September 14, groundbreaking protections took effect for five endangered shark species and all manta rays. The protections, established at the 2013 CITES conference in Bangkok, require that these species be sustainably and legally harvested for international trade. This is the first time that commercially valuable and widely traded shark species have been included under these protections.

CITES is the acronym for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This treaty, signed by 180 countries, is intended to ensure that international trade does not threaten the survival of any plant or animal. Sea Save Foundation attended the 2013 Bangkok conference as part of a scientific, activist, and government effort to protect the world's endangered species.

While this is a major victory for sharks, there is still more to do. Six countries -- Denmark, Canada, Guyana, Japan, Iceland, and Yemen -- filed reservations, meaning that their trade in these species will not be bound by the new regulations. Read more here...

2. Western Australia Stops Devastating Cull

This week, the Australian government has announced it has halted its extremely controversial plan to cull sharks in an effort to make the country's beaches safer. The misguided plan was highly criticized by marine scientists, who warned against its devastating impacts on marine ecosystems. Under the plan, 170 sharks were caught and killed using baited hooks. 

"From the start it was obvious that this cull was a visceral, ill-thought-out, knee-jerk mandate," said Georgienne Bradley, director of Sea Save Foundation. "It's hard to believe that any reputable biologists were included in the decision-making process. The cull at best was detrimental to a fragile balance and threatened not only the shark populations but coastal fisheries as well." Read more here...

3. Whale of an App

Ship strikes are one of the top causes of mortality in whales. Whale migration paths and feeding territories often overlap with shipping lanes--and have resulted in numerous injuries and deaths in the past several years. The app Whale Alert seeks to address the problem by providing mariners with GPS-based information on whale movement and locations. The development of this novel app was spearheaded by marine researchers and relies on crowd-sourced data. Read more here…

4. Healthy Reefs Make Good Shark Habitats

When the coral is healthy, so is the shark population. A 10-year research study from the Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University has confirmed that sharks are more abundant in areas where coral reefs are protected under no-fishing zones. The research study was conducted at Australia's Great Barrier Reef and employed thousands of remote underwater video stations. Read more here...

5. Buying Tuna, Killing Sharks

The tuna we eat comes from around the world, including Indonesia, the world's largest tuna producer. However, the same tuna fishermen who operate in Indonesia are also fishing for sharks and contributing to Indonesia's booming shark industry. The sharks they catch are technically bycatch, and in this case extremely valuable bycatch sold for their prized fins and meat. To address this problem, consumers should ensure they are purchasing pole-and-line-caught tuna that has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. Read more here...

6. The Return of the Chinook Salmon

For the first time since the removal of the Elwha Dam, Chinook salmon have been spotted swimming the upper Elwha River. The sighting of three adult Chinook salmon were confirmed by Olympic National Park biologists who conducted a snorkel survey of the river's biology. The Elwha River Restoration project involves the restoration of the Elwha River watershed after the largest dam removal in history, and the return of the Chinook salmon is a major success for the project! Read more here...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shopaholics and Sharkaholics Unite - For a Good Cause

It's late at night. You're sipping wine and basking in the glow of your laptop screen. You've just added another guilty pleasure to your Amazon cart: a new SCUBA mask, a pair of stiletto boots, all six seasons of that TV show you'll never admit to watching. Your cursor is hovering over the “Place Your Order” button.

Do it!

But before you do, make sure you’re ordering through the Amazon-Sea Save portal.

It’s easy. Just follow this link to make your purchase: Every time you use this link to buy, Amazon will automatically donate 0.5% of the price for each eligible purchase to Sea Save Foundation. It costs you nothing extra to help ocean conservation.

Shopping at Amazon and using the link is a simple and automatic way to support Sea Save Foundation. You’ll have access to the same products, shopping features, and shipping options as at, but with the bonus of contributing much-needed funds to Sea Save and our efforts. 

After your first Amazon-Sea Save shopping spree, you can make sure your browser always finds the Amazon-Sea Save portal (rather than plain old by replacing your current Amazon bookmark with

So enjoy a clear conscience when you fill your virtual cart by shopping at the Amazon Sea Save portal - and thanks for your support!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Week In Review - Blue Whale Recovery, Dirtiest Fisheries, Seafood Labeling Bill and More - Sea Save Foundation

1. California's Blue Whales Show Signs of Recovery

The biggest animal on the planet is making a comeback. Research from the University of Washington shows that the West Coast blue whale population currently stands around 2,200 individuals--a number approaching its pre-slaughter population. As the first and only population of blue whales to recover from the effects of whaling thus far, California's blue whales demonstrate the feasibility of making a comeback with effective conservation and management practices. Monitoring the population and actions taken to stop catches have made the California blue whales a conservation success story.  Read more here...

2. Exposed: The Dirtiest Fisheries of America

In a typical year, billions of pounds of sea life are caught in fishing nets around the world. While the hauls mainly yield commercially viable products that can be taken back to port, an estimated 40% of the global catch is thrown back overboard--dead or alive. The sea life that is thrown back into the ocean is known as bycatch, and can include whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, sharks, and sea turtles. Some fisheries are dirtier than others, and a recent research study has found that some fisheries in the U.S. yield more than 50% bycatch. This means they are harming and killing more marine life than they are catching to sell. According to marine researchers, addressing the bycatch problem will take extensive effort in collecting bycatch data and enforcing limits on the amount of bycatch allowed.  Read more here…

3. California Seafood Labeling Bill Passes with Bipartisan Support

In order for consumers to make informed decisions about purchasing sustainable seafood, they need the right information. Seafood, which is often traded across international borders, is often intentionally and unintentionally labeled with inadequate, confusing, or misleading labels. In regions of California, as much 52% of seafood is improperly labeled. Fortunately, the California Senate has passed SB 1138, which helps to address seafood fraud. The bill calls for clear labeling of the species by its common name and to provide information if the species was farm-raised or wild-caught, in addition to whether the species was caught domestically or imported internationally.  Read more here...

4. Estimated 650 Species of North American Land and Sea Birds To Be Impacted by Climate Change

Sea Save Foundation board of directors member Michael Sutton serves as the executive director of Audubon California and vice president of Pacific Flyway. He has been actively circulating a recent report released by the National Audubon Society. 

The future of birds depends on how and if they are able to adapt to climate change. The National Audubon Society report finds that an estimated 650 species of birds in North America will be impacted by climate change. These birds will be forced to live, feed, and breed in limited habitat ranges, or go extinct if they are unable to adapt to climatic changes. According to the report, 21.4 percent of existing bird species will lose at least half of their current habitat range by 2050 and will be unable to move to new locations. Some birds like the puffin, once a reintroduction success story, are already showing sings of decline.  Read more here...

5. 2100: A Shark Odyssey

Habitat degradation and overfishing are two major challenges that face the shark population today. Now research released by the University of Lisbon's Center for Oceanography has found that the effects of climate change and ocean acidification will be key factors in the survival of sharks in 2100. In lab studies, shark embryos that were exposed to the projected higher temperatures and acidic ocean conditions of 2100 had low survival rates. This leads scientists to predict that shark populations could decline by up to 44% in 2100. A second study has found that the changing marine conditions will significantly impact the hunting success of sharks.  Read more here...

6. Tracking Great Whites Reveals Deep Mystery

Some sharks travel the world. Some are homebodies. Today, both scientists and the interested public can follow the lives of sharks in real time via satellite-enabled trackers. When the tagged dorsal fin of a shark breaks the surface of the water, the wet-dry switch of the GPS trackers becomes activated, allowing these sharks to be tracked wherever they go. Currently, five sharks are being tracked by the marine-focused research and educational nonprofit Ocearch. These sharks have each traveled thousands of miles and gained thousands of online fans who can follow their actions with Ocearch's interactive online map.  Read more here…

Friday, September 5, 2014

Week In Review - September 4, 2014 - Sea Save Foundation

It's in the Bag! Victories for Tuna, Sharks, the Great Barrier Reef, and More

1. Ban on Disposable Plastic Bags Passes California Legislature, Awaits Governor's Signature

2. Amendment Issued By NOAA Will Protect Atlantic Tuna and Almost 100 Other Species from Falling Victim to Surface Long Lines

3. Hotels Join Fight Against Shark Fin Trade

4. Palau to Enhance Shark Sanctuary with Commercial Fishing Ban By 2018

5. Australia Opts Not to Dump Next to Great Barrier Reef 

1. Ban on Disposable Plastic Bags Passes California Legislature,  
Awaits Governor's Signature

The California State Legislature passed a bill banning the use of plastic bags at grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores and other businesses. If Governor Jerry Brown signs this bill, it will be the first statewide ban on plastic bags in the United States.

Several California cities have already banned single-use plastic bags at checkout stands, but if successful, this statewide ban could set a valuable precedent.

Only a small percentage of plastic bags are recycled, and many end up in the ocean. These orphaned bags cause marine life deaths and eventually add mass to the plastic ocean gyres.

Read More


2. Amendment Issued by NOAA Will Protect Atlantic Tuna and Almost 100 Other Species from Falling Victim to Surface Long Lines

NOAA Fisheries just issued a final amendment to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (HMS). This amendment will extend some protection to the declining populations of Atlantic Tuna.

"Tuna and other pelagics are being fished to extinction," said Georgienne Bradley, director of Sea Save Foundation. "Eliminating techniques that result in wasteful by-catch is an essential next step."

The banned longlines average 30 miles in length and use hundreds of baited hooks. They often remain in the water untended for up to 18 hours, catching and killing bluefin, hammerhead sharks, blue marlin, leatherback sea turtles, and many other species.

Read More


3.  Hotels Join Fight Against Shark Fin Trade

When the buying stops, the killing stops too! This week, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group became the latest major hospitality company to announce that it has now stopped serving shark fin. They are joining other environmentally conscious hotel groups, such as Starwood, Hilton, Peninsula and Shangri-La, to say "no" to shark fin soup.

Read More


4. Palau to Enhance Shark Sanctuary with Commercial Fishing Ban By 2018

In 2009, Palau's then president Johnson Toribiong created the world's first shark sanctuary. Now the new government is following his lead with a plan to ban all commercial fishing in the nation's ocean territory by 2018.

"Johnson Toribiong is a true visionary," commented Georgienne Bradley, director of Sea Save Foundation. "As part of the Shark Research Institute board of directors, I met with President Toribiong in New York City when Marie Levine presented him with the Ocean Heritage Award." 

Toribiong's decision to create a national shark sanctuary was immensely controversial. Many fishermen in his constituency accused him of "selling out." Now the marine ecosystems throughout the archipelago are thriving.

Read More


5. Australia Opts Not To Dump Next to Great Barrier Reef 

Earlier this year, the Australian government announced that it would facilitate the  dumping of more than three million cubic meters of dredged sand near the  Great Barrier Reef. The devastating effect this would have had on the World Heritage Site sparked international outrage.

The Australian government has decided to disallow this action, which would have been part of a larger project to create the world's largest coal port.

Read More

Palau created the world's first shark sanctuary in 2009 and the move has been so successful that plans are now underway to completely ban in the island nation's vast ocean territory by 2018.

Read more at:
Palau created the world's first shark sanctuary in 2009 and the move has been so successful that plans are now underway to completely ban in the island nation's vast ocean territory by 2018.

Read more at:
Palau created the world's first shark sanctuary in 2009 and the move has been so successful that plans are now underway to completely ban in the island nation's vast ocean territory by 2018.

Read more at: