Thursday, November 19, 2015

Week in Review: Can a Biotech Bid to Take Shark Off the Menu? and More!

1. Can a Biotech Bid to Take Shark Off the Menu?

Thousands of shark fins are laid out to dry on a street in Hong Kong.
A start up company in San Francisco has come up with a new way to try to combat the trade of shark fins. The company, named New Wave Food, developed a genetically modified yeast to produce collagen. This collagen can be duplicate the structure of a shark fin. Although there are many substitutes for the key ingredient in shark fin soup, nothing has been widely accepted. One expert in Chinese cuisine is hesitant on the new development and states that " a lot of the time eating shark's fin is about showing off and spending lots of money and eating something rare and exotic". New Wave Foods is also working on additional seafood substitutes. The overall goal of the company is to "create seafood that doesn't have to be harvested from this highly vulnerable ecosystem". Read more...


2. Scientists Discover How Ocean Fish Magically Disappear

Have you ever wondered how fish have the ability to just vanish in the ocean? As SCUBA divers, we wonder this quite a bit. A study performed by a team from The University of Texas reported that two ocean fish- the big-eyed scad and the lookdown- both have a method to avoid predators by hiding in light. The fish have a unique and microscopic element on the surface of their skin that reflects polarized light. The US Navy is now interested in studying these species to  see how it could be used to potentially hide deep open water vessels. Read more...


3. Sea Ice Loss Brings Polar Bears to Land

polar bearThis week, a team of scientists published an article in PLOS ONE revealing that polar bears have increasingly used land habitats as a response to their sea ice habitats. Polar bears will generally use land during the summer season and during the winter for maternal denning. the proportion of bears on land for more than 7 days has increased 18.9%. The implications of the increased land use is unclear but, the  polar bears are now spending more time in areas without access to their marine prey.   Read more...


4. Life's Good For the Little Guys of the Ocean

Mary Lee great white sharkMonths ago we reported on the famous great white shark named Mary Lee. Mary Lee was tagged by OCEARCH in 2012 and has been tracked up and down the east coast. This week Mary Lee was found off the coast of New Jersey. OCEARCH  has kept track of Mary Lee's movement in hopes to learn more about the evolution of shark habitats. Read more...


5. UK Reversing and Undoing Climate Change Policies

The UK government is ending subsidies for onshore windfarms in 2016 and cutting other renewable energy subsidies.This week, the UK government announced that it would end the use of unabated coal by 2023 to "improve air quality, protect the health of our population, and reclaim the UK's leadership position in tackling climate change". Although this statement was made, the government has cut energy efficiency policies, closed or cute subsidy schemes for wind and solar power, and put a carbon tax on carbon-free renewable energy. In two weeks, UK and the other nations meet in Paris to discuss the international action required to make and impact on climate change. Read more...


6. Australian Court Fines Japanese Firm for Whale Kills

A court in Sydney fined a Japanese firm $709,300 for killing Antarctic minke whales in an Australian Southern Ocean sanctuary. The firm harpooned these animals over four different seasons between 2008 and 2013. Japan has hunted whales in the Southern Ocean for years under an exemption in the global whaling moratorium that allows for lethal research. Unfortunately, these hunts are not used for research but processed into food.  Read more...


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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.