Friday, May 26, 2017

Week in Review: We Still Can Get Ahead of Climate Change, Plastic Clean-up Machine Solution or Red Herring? .. and More

1. Hollywood Weighs in About Climate Change. There Are Options.


“Al Gore believes that Donald Trump will not halt the momentum of the climate movement even if he withdraws the US from the Paris agreement,”  Gore says that states like New York and California are leading the way, as well as Atlanta, Georgia going 100 percent renewable. “The dangers we face from the climate crisis are more severe than what scientists predicted." The primary message of the movie is: We have solutions. We can solve this.
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2. Ocean Plastic Clean-up Machine. Is it Really Working?


Boyan Slat has created, with much fanfare, a machine to clean up the mainly plastic garbage patches in the world’s oceans within five years.  Scientists are skeptical because a working prototype has not been shown.  Also, most plastic is in the form of microplastics throughout the seawater column, and only 1 percent of marine plastic is found near or at the surface.  Plus he doesn’t address the problem of picking up plants and animals along with the plastics.  Most scientists promote the reduction of plastics into the ocean and better packaging designs.
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3. Great White Shark Nursery Newly Confirmed in Baja

juvenile great white shark tagging, white shark tagging
Scientists have confirmed with an eleven-year study that Sebastian Vizcaino Bay in Mexico is an important nursery for white sharks.  It is roughly 400 miles south of San Diego.  Baby great white sharks are found there May through September.  The study results led to Sebastian Vizcaino Bay to be included in a protected area and to a ban on white shark fishing in Mexico.
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4. New Smartphone App Traces Seafood From Ocean to Plate


pesca+sustentavelA new smartphone app traces seafood when it’s caught to when it gets to your plate.  This used in combination with Sea Save Foundation's strategic partner, Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch App, is the smart way to consume seafood.  It is estimated that 1 in 5 pieces of seafood is mislabeled. Pesca+Sustent├ível is a project based in Brazil and uses QR codes.  The consumer gets a QR code with their menu and can then open a website to find out where their seafood comes from.
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5. Breakthrough Study: Points to Reasons for Whale Gigantism



blue whale, blue whale engorgedScientists hypothesize why baleen whales (ie blue and humpback whales) evolved to such a large size.  They published in "The Proceedings of the Royal Society" that 4.5 million years ago, a climatic change necessitated binge-eating behavior. Using a phylogenetic macroevolutionary model, they incorporated data that lead them to speculate that size increase via Brownian movement and made this eating behavior more efficient.
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6. Damselfish: Superparents of the Ocean


damselfishA damselfish, Altrichthys alelia, exhibits an unusual spin on parenting. Unlike most fish that 'broadcast' spawn (release eggs and sperm into the seawater to fend for themselves, with a low 1% survival rate) These responsible fish oversee the care of their young until they are better able to fend for themselves.
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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.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Week in Review: New Offshore Drilling in Atlantic, Four Chinese Airlines Ban Fin Shipments, Deep Cuts to NOAA Budget and More...

1. Offshore Oil Drilling May Start Soon in the Atlantic Ocean


offshore oil drilling rigSeismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean are being moved forward by the Trump administration.  Seismic surveys use loud airguns to search for oil deposits under the ocean floor.  The sounds can injure or kill wildlife.  Six energy companies are seeking permits, all who had been rejected by the Obama administration.
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2. Four More Chinese Airlines Ban Shark Fin Shipments


shark fins in jars

Joining the 60 worldwide shipping companies that have banned shipments of shark fins are four airlines in China; China Eastern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines, China Cargo Airlines and China United Airlines.  Each year an estimated 73-100 million sharks are caught for their fins.  The only major airline in China not to ban shark fin shipments is Hainan Airlines.
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3. Costa Rican Market Open to Shark Fin Exports?


hammerhead shark with fins cut off, shark finning

Costa Rican conservationists say that an executive decree will open their markets to shark fin (particularly hammerhead) exports.  “The (conservation) groups decried the Costa Rican President’s decree that grants sole mandate to authorize exports to the Costa Rican Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute (Incopesca), saying the agency is controlled by commercial fisheries and fishermen interests.”
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4. 37 Million Pieces of Plastic Found on Remote South Pacific Island


plastic pollution on remote Pacific Island, Henderson IslandHenderson Island, in the South Pacific, is thousands of miles away from any human communities, yet thirty-seven million pieces of plastic were found along its shores.  “It's the highest density of debris reported anywhere in the world, scientists say.”  It is estimated that the plastic trash weighs seventeen tons.  Plastic pollution is a major issue facing our oceans today and finding so much of it on a remote island proves it.
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5. Yellow-eyed Penguins On Verge of Extinction Due to Climate Change

yellow-eyed penguin, penguins

New Zealand’s yellow-eyed penguins could become extinct on their mainland by 2060.  This is due to many factors, including rising sea temperatures which reduce spawning in the fish they eat.  They also get caught as bycatch in fishing nets, have habitat destruction due to humans, and die from unknown toxins.
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6. Steep Budget Cuts Proposed to NOAA



ocean and earth from space, ocean, earthBudget cuts of 17 percent are proposed to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), the leading agency of climate science.  “Research funding, satellite programs, coastal management, estuary reserves and “coastal resilience,” which seeks to bolster the ability of coastal areas to withstand major storms and rising seas” will all be on the chopping block.
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7. Attack the U.S. Shark Fin Trade, Not the Sharks


dried shark fins, shark finningDue to shark finning, many shark populations are down 90 percent worldwide.  Shark finning is banned in U.S. waters, but fins of legally caught sharks can be sold.  Fins can still be imported into certain states.  Congress has introduced the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act, which would ban the buying and selling of shark fins nationwide.
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8. Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexican President Team Up to Save the Vaquita


vaquita porpoise, vaquita, vaquita marinaThe most endangered marine mammal in the world, the vaquita porpoise, is estimated to have only 30 individuals left in the wild.  Fortunately actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto have teamed up to help this animal. In a series of tweets, DiCaprio brought the vaquita issue to his many fans, and in return the President tweeted facts about the vaquita’s plight.
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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, May 6, 2017

Week in Review: Current Administration Threatens World's Largest Marine Protected Area, China's Insatiable Appetite for Fish, Seamounts Marine National Monument On Course to Be Used for Oil Drilling, and More!!

1. Current Administration Threatens World’s Largest Marine Protected Area


Papahanaumokuakea Marine National MonumentThe Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument’s status as a national monument, as well as 24 others, is under review by the Trump administration.  Those that supported the expansion of the monument (created in 2006 by President George W. Bush) say that it is a sacred space.  “Our number one priority for us as people of Hawaii is taking care of that which feeds us, we take care of the environment and second we take care of the people that use it, and then thirdly we look at commercial development.”
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2. China’s Insatiable Appetite for Fish Causing Fisheries Collapse

African fish market
“Overfishing is depleting oceans across the globe, with 90 percent of the world’s fisheries fully exploited or facing collapse, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.”  China has an insatiable appetite for seafood and as fisheries collapse around China, they are seeking fish in waters all around the world.  “Increasingly, they are heading to the waters of West Africa, where corruption and weak enforcement by local governments have drawn China’s growing armada of distant-water fishing vessels.”
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3. Seamounts Marine National Monument - On Course to Be Used for Oil Drilling



The debate about opening up the Atlantic Ocean to offshore gas and oil drilling has been going on for decades.  Trump recently signed an executive order last week that “tells the secretary of the interior to consider including the Mid- and South Atlantic areas among those in the agency’s 2017-2022 plan to sell oil and gas leases on the outer continental shelf.”  Democrats have reintroduced a bill called “the Clean Ocean and Safe Tourism Anti-Drilling (COAST) Act.”  The Democrats will fight for what Obama did before leaving office including banning drilling from the Canadian border to Virginia.
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4. Trump Has Been “Wrecking Ball on the Environment”


ocean waveIn Trump’s first 100 days, “planned action on climate change has been shelved, national monuments are imperiled, clean air and water rules have been eroded.”  Fossil fuel and other related industries are at the forefront of Trump’s environmental policies. Environmental activists have been filing lawsuits in the suit, and record donations are pouring in.
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5. Toxic Amounts of Pollutant Found in Dead Killer Whale



Lulu the killer whaleLulu, a killer whale that was a member of the last pod off of the United Kingdom, was found post-mortem to have the highest ever found of toxic levels of PCB’s in her blubber.  PCB’s can cause infertility, and it was also found that she never had a calf.  This is a bad sign for the future of her pod.  The PCB’s found were one hundred times higher than deemed “safe” for marine mammals.  PCB’s were banned in the 1980’s after decades of use in the electrical industry, but they persist in the environment.
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6. Trump’s Order on Offshore Drilling Facing Resistance in California



oil drilling rig
Trump’s offshore drilling “efforts could splash harmlessly against the hardened barricades that California has been fortifying for decades with regulation and legislation to prevent additional drilling along its treasured coast.”  Fortunately, the oil industry doesn’t seem to be pushing for drilling off of California with oil cheap and offshore development expensive.
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7. Noisy Shipping Lanes Can Deafen Seals


gray seal

A new study by the University of St. Andrews suggests that gray and harbor seals are being temporarily deafened by underwater vessel noise in the noisy and busy shipping lanes off of the United Kingdom.  “The UK has some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, and underwater noise has been increasing over the last 30 years.”  The noise also affects other marine mammals in the area, which include dolphins and whales.  This study will help management plans in Marine Protected Areas.
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8. California Republicans Vow to Back Climate Change Legislation



California Democrats
Even though Trump doesn’t believe in climate change and has been rolling back environmental regulations, California Republicans are backing Governor Brown’s strict emissions policies designed to combat climate change.  Republicans want to work with the Democrats on the cap-and-trade program which requires companies to buy permits to release emissions.  These are important issues in California, as a survey of California voters says that four out of five believe that climate change is a “serious threat to the state.”
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9. Nevada Considers a Bill Banning the Sale of Shark Fins

dried shark fins

A proposed ban on shark fins and ivory, as well as products from 12 other animals is in the works in Nevada.  Senate Bill 194 creates penalties for the trading of endangered animal parts.  Strict regulations from the West Coast push sales of highly trafficked species into places like Nevada.

                                                                               

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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.