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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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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