Saturday, October 29, 2016

Week in Review - SSF Celebrates Success! Eighteen Marine Species Receive International Protection

1. SSF Celebrates Success! Eighteen Marine Species Receive International Protection

Sea Save Foundation, continues its ardent efforts to protect threatened marine life. Sea Save team members, Georgienne Bradley and Jay Ireland, attended the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) held in Johannesburg, South Africa this past September. Sea Save's mission at the CITES conference was to drive through international policy that would protect sharks, rays, and threatened invertebrates. A total of eighteen marine species will now be protected due to the CITES decisions.  Read more here


2. Wins 4 Fins Followup: Virgin Atlantic Refuses All Shipments of Shark Fins

Virgin Atlantic Airways has raised its voice on the practice of international shark finning by refusing to ship any shark fins. Its "Ethical Carriage of Cargo Policy" goes in depth regarding what types of live animals and commodities it will carry on its airlines based on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) regulations. Researchers estimate that 72 million sharks are harvested for their fins, and it is difficult to verify that all 10,000 tons of shark fins were obtained through legal and sustainable practices. Read more here


3. Shark Finning Leads to Increased Rate of Climate Change

Recent studies have focused on the effects that shark finning is having on marine ecological communities due to the alarming decrease in shark populations. An article titled "Potential Role of Predators on Carbon Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems as Assessed by a Bayesian Belief Network" will be published this November in Ecological Informatics. Researchers are predicting that by removing predator species, such as sharks from the ocean will greatly increase the rate of carbon dioxide production. Results of the study show that fishing and shark finning have a direct link to climate change due to increasing biomass of smaller fish and zooplankton that are not efficiently transferred through the food chain when ocean predators are not sustainably harvested. Read more here


4.  Sharks Are in Need of Increased Protection

Oceanographers are calling for increased protection for sharks, due to their dwindling numbers from unregulated fishing, commercial fishing practices and international trade of shark products. Because sharks are slow reproducers, it is difficult for low populations to rebound. This concept made sharks a hot topic at the recent Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Held in Johannesburg, CITES participants voted in favor of increased protection for silky and thresher shark species. These top ocean predators play a crucial role in the food chain, and without higher fishing regulations, ocean ecosystems are facing disruption. Read more here


5. Antarctica: Now Home to the World's Largest Marine Sanctuary

This past week saw the unveiling of the world's largest marine sanctuary, nearly double the size of Texas, created off the coast of Antarctica. 598,000 square miles of the Ross Sea Reserve was unanimously approved for protection by the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CAMLR). The orignial proposal that would have protected 875,000 square miles was rejected, most notably by Russia. The updated agreement protects72% of the reserve that prohibits all fishing, with exceptions for scientific research, which will be allowed in the other 28% of the area. Read more here


6. Colombia Expands Area of Protected Malpelo Hope Spot

The Malpelo Hope Spot has been such a huge ocean conservation success that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos recently pledged to increase the size of the Malpelo Flora and Fauna Sanctuary by more than two fold. The Malpelo Hope Spot is located 300 miles off the Pacific coast of Colombia. Part of the marine sanctuary's success can be attributed to the area's strong group of ocean advocates and citizen science activity. The largest no-fishing zone in the Eastern Tropical Pacific is infamous for its large aggregation of shark species, making it a top tourist diving destination. Read more here


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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.