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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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.

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