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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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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