Friday, December 15, 2017

Week in Review: December 15, 2017 North Atlantic Right Whales May Go Extinct, Palau Requires Signing Pledge Before Entering Country and More

1. North Atlantic Right Whales May Go Extinct

North Atlantic right whale, extinction

After a year of high mortality, the North Atlantic right whale is facing extinction. There are only an estimated 450 whales left, and 17 died in 2017. Many are killed by vessel strikes and entrapment in fishing gear. Low reproduction in 2017 has compounded the threat. NOAA has released a comprehensive plan to save these endangered mammals.
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2.  Palau Requires Signing Pledge Before Entering Country

palau

Palau is requiring visitors to their country to sign a pledge before entering. The pledge is a formal promise to the children of Palau to “preserve and protect your beautiful and unique island home” and to “tread lightly, act kindly and explore lightly.” It’s the first time such a pledge has been written into a country's immigration policy.
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3. Microscopic Ocean Creatures Shred Plastic into 1.75 Million Pieces

amphipods and plastic, amphipod

A study using crustaceans called amphipods found that the creatures quickly shred plastic bags into 1.75 million microscopic pieces. The findings, detailed this week in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, suggests that "marine organisms may be working to proliferate plastic pollution in the ocean.” Previous surveys have found that more than 700 organisms regularly ingest plastic.
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4.  Heart-Wrenching Video of Starving Polar Bear

polar bear, climate change, starving polar bear

Footage of a starving polar bear scrounging garbage for food has gone viral. Many think this polar bear was starving from the effects of climate change due to less seasonal ice.  Polar bears hunt seals from ice. The bear could have been starving due to old age, an injury, or disease. Regardless, scientists think that polar bears could become extinct within 100 years due to climate change.
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5.  Giant Ocean Fans to Cool Great Barrier Reef

great barrier reef mixing fans

The Australian government will spend $2.2 million to deploy eight huge "reef mixer" fans to help cool the waters of the the Great Barrier Reef. The fans draw cooler water from 30 meters below to the surface. “The pilot project will be combined with other interventions, including crown of thorns starfish control...to protect biodiversity" in parts of the reef.
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6. Impacts of Zinke Proposal to Open Marine Monuments to Commercial Fishing

deep water coralsSecretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke's proposal to allow commercial fishing at three U.S. marine monuments would "degrade the very objects the designation is intended to protect," according to Audubon Magazine. The deepwater corals of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, off the coast of New England, and the two Pacific monuments are important fish nurseries that protect "some of the rarest habitat within U.S. boundaries."
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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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