Friday, February 16, 2018

Week in Review February 16, 2018: California Declares War on Single Use Plastics, Costa Rica Intensifies Hammerhead Debates, Marine Mammal Commission to Be Eliminated and More

1. Malibu Declares War on Plastics

plastic straws, plastic colored straws, plastic straw banMalibu, California has banned the distribution and use of single-use plastic straws and plastic utensils starting June 1, 2018.  It is estimated that “an estimated 500 million plastic straws are used (in the United State) and discarded every day—enough to wrap around the earth 2.5 times per day.”  It costs approximately $0.01 cents more per paper straw, but the increased costs of eco-friendly cutlery is unknown.
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2. Straws, Only for Those Who Ask, Under Proposed California Bill

A California bill proposes that restaurants give out straws only to those that ask.  This is in order to curb the use of the single-use straws, many which end up the ocean and in waterways and endanger wildlife.  “AB 1884 is not a ban on plastic straws. It is a small step towards curbing our reliance on these convenience products, which will hopefully contribute to a change in consumer attitudes and usage,” says Assemblyman Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, who introduced the bill.
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3. Costa Rica Discussions about Hammerhead Fishing Intensify

A Costa Rican lawyer asked the Dispute Tribunal to ban the hammerhead shark fishing in the country. Walter Brenes, from the Energy Law Firm, resorted to the National System of Conservation to make his request.
“SINAC and the Costa Rican government have acted passively when it comes to addressing such an important issue like the protection of our biodiversity. It is necessary to take immediate action before the damage becomes irreversible” cited Brenes. Read More
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4. Marine Mammal Commission Proposed for Elimination


Marine Mammal CommissionFor about one penny per American per year, the Marine Mammal Commission has protected marine mammals for over 40 years.  Now it is being proposed for elimination by the Trump Administration for fiscal year 2019.  The Marine Mammal Protection Act has “firmly placed the United States at the forefront of marine mammal and marine ecosystem conservation. It has supported coastal economies that generate significant revenues and jobs from healthy populations of marine mammals. As mandated by the MMPA, the Marine Mammal Commission has, for nearly half a century, provided independent, science based oversight of federal activities and programs affecting marine mammals—a function performed by no other agency.”

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5. Decline in Krill Threatens Survival of Antarctica Wildlife

Antarctic krill, krill, krill decline“Researchers and environmental campaigners warn that a combination of climate change and industrial-scale fishing is threatening the krill population in Antarctic waters, with a potentially disastrous impact on larger predators (such as whales, penguins and seals).”  A new study warns that penguin populations could be down a third by the end of the century due to less krill availability.  It also warns that climate change could bring down the krill population by 40% in some areas of Antarctica’s Scotia Sea.  Krill populations are down 80% since the 1970’s.
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6.
California Bill to Cut Down Illegal Poaching in Marine Protected Areas

fishing boat equipment“California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher has introduced a bill that would crack down on illegal poaching by commercial fishing operations in protected marine areas, an important step in preserving the delicate ecosystem in these spots.”  The bill would increase the fines and penalties.  “Under this bill, a business that violates the law could be fined $5,000 to $40,000 and face up to a year in jail on a misdemeanor conviction. Penalties for a second violation would be a loss of fishing license, a fine of $10,000 to $50,000 and up to a year in jail on a misdemeanor conviction.”
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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.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Week in Review February 9, 2018: California Fights Offshore Drilling, Coral Tourism, a $36 Billion Industry Threatened and More

1. California Fights Offshore Drilling Plan


oil rig, offshore oil drilling

“California’s plan to deny pipeline permits for transporting oil from new leases off the Pacific Coast is the most forceful step yet by coastal states trying to halt the biggest proposed expansion in decades of federal oil and gas leasing.”  “I am resolved that not a single drop from Trump’s new oil plan ever makes landfall in California,” says Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, chair of the State Lands Commission and a Democratic candidate for governor of California.
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2. Coral Reef Tourism Threatened


coral reef tourism, coral reef, USFWS“Coral reef tourism has a global value of US $36 billion per year, according to a scientific study mapping the global value and distribution of coral reef tourism. This study, published in the Marine Policy journal in August 2017, concluded that 30 percent of the world’s reefs are valuable to tourism.”  Coral bleaching, ocean acidification, and sea level rise leading to coastal erosion and pollutants entering coral reefs are some of the threats to coral reefs (and their tourism value) today.
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3. States Choose Wind Energy Over Offshore Drilling

windmills, wind energy

Atlantic states that are protesting Trump’s plans for more offshore drilling are increasingly turning towards wind energy. “New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that his state will aim for 3,500 megawatts of installed offshore wind by 2030, enough to power 1 million homes. Massachusetts has a goal to build 1,600 MW of offshore wind power by 2027, and New York has committed to 2,400 MW by 2030.”
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4. Whales and Sharks at Risk From Microplastics
plastic whale, whale, Greenpeace

Filter feeding marine animals such as baleen whales and whale sharks are increasingly at risk from microplastic pollution a new study says.  “Taking in microplastic can block their ability to absorb nutrients, and may have toxic side-effects. Microplastic contamination has the potential to further reduce the population numbers of these species, many of which are long-lived and have few offspring throughout their lives.”
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5.
Giant Manta Ray Listed As Threatened Under Endangered Species Act

giant manta ray, endangered species act

The National Marine Fisheries announced that the giant manta ray is now listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The giant manta ray can have a wingspan of up to 29 feet and is a gentle giant that feeds only on plankton.  They are highly migratory and slow to grow and reproduce.  One of their main threats is fishing for their gill rakers, which are used in a controversial formula of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
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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, February 3, 2018

Week in Review February 2, 2018: Chile Creates Five New National Parks, Deep Sea Coral Protected Off New England and More

1. Private Donation Manifests In Creation of Five Chilean National Parks



national parks Chile, PatagoniaChile has created five new national parks as part of “a new 17-mile park route that stretches from the southern spine of Chile to Cape Horn.” This was made possibly by a generous private land donation made by the late Douglas Tompkins and his wife and partner-in crime Kris McDivitt Tompkins. After founding and building The North Face and Esprit, they cashed out and used their fortunate to purchase some of the most pristine wilderness left on Earth. Their donation consitutes much of the ocean border park land.
The new protected areas include miles of wild coastline. The move crowns the environmental legacy of Chilean president Michelle Bechelet, who last year signed into law established one of the world’s largest marine protected areas off the coast of Easter Island.
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2. New England - Deep Coral Protected from Trawlers


deep sea coral, NOAAThe New England Fishery Management Council voted to protect deep-sea coral in Georges Bank, a fishing ground off the U.S. Atlantic Coast. The move protects more than 25,000 square miles of seafloor from destructive fishing gear that trawls the ocean bottom. Conservation groups applaud the move but wanted stronger protections than those offered by this compromise bill. Georges Bank was a thriving cod fishery for centuries until overfishing and coral-killing bottom trawling led to its collapse in the 1980s.
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3. Microplastics in Antarctic Waters

Antarctica, microplasticMicroplastics have been discovered in one of the world’s most pristine places: Antarctica. Samples collected near the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone during the Turn the Tide on Plastic sailboat race was found to contain four particles per cubic meter of microplastics. Although that number is smaller than those found in waters elsewhere, the discovery is a shocking reminder that plastics have made their way to the most remote corners of our planet.
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4. Plastic Pollution Increases Coral Disease


plastic bag, coral reefA new study in the journal Science adds plastic garbage to the list of stressors besieging coral reefs. Researchers found that “where plastic was present on reefs around Southeast Asia—home to more than half the world’s coral reefs—the likelihood of seeing one of the key coral-killing diseases rose from 4 to 89 percent.” Fortunately, some nations are acting quickly to curb plastic pollution. “Indonesia, which just declared a ‘garbage emergency’ on the beaches of tourism-dependent Bali, has drawn up a National Action Plan on Marine Plastic Debris to curtail the amount of waste it sends into the ocean.”
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5.
Shaken, Not Stirred


plastic straws, colored plastic strawsDoes news about ocean plastics make you want to reach for a stiff drink? Now, at least, that drink may not come with a plastic stirrer. In one of the world’s first industry-wide moves, the Scotch Whisky Association has “urged its members to phase out plastic straws and stirrers.” The group joins a growing chorus—from the U.K. to Seattle—calling for an end to polluting single-use plastic straws. Need some comic relief with that cocktail? Watch Lonely Whale’s #stopsucking campaignvideo.
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6.  Fishing Bans Help Penguin Chicks


African penguins, fishing bans
Even modest fishing restrictions can bolster penguin chick survival, according to a new survey off the coast of South Africa. The study provides some of the first evidence that fishing bans can help other marine species, which isn’t surprising, since fish-catching species compete for food and drown in fishing nets. Although penguin chick survival rates rose only 11 percent, “computer simulations show that the fishery closures reduce the risk that these colonies would decline” to numbers that threaten their survival.
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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.