Friday, May 25, 2018

Week in Review May 25, 2018: Mariana Trench - Deep Plastic, Kiwi Blue Whales, and More

1. Plastic Bag Found at Bottom of Mariana Trench 

plastic bag, philippines
Using photos and videos from various dives over the past 30 years, scientists have identified a plastic bag 36,000 feet down at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. The Deep Sea Debris Database has logged mostly plastic among other trash seen. Of that plastic, 89 percent was single use such as grocery store bags or plastic utensils. This discovery shows that even remote places in our oceans are not exempt from plastic pollution.


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2. New Blue Whale Population Found Off of New Zealand


blue whales, New Zealand, Oregon State University
A new blue whale population has been identified in New Zealand waters. The population of at least 700 blue whales is genetically distinct from those living in the Pacific and Antarctic Oceans. The whales had been listed as migrant, but scientists from Oregon State University used photographs, acoustics of whale songs, and genetic samples to conclude that they are permanent residents.
 Read more...


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3. Australian Shark Nets Catch Bycatch, Not Sharks


sea turtle caught in net, Australia, Sea ShepardControversial shark nets installed to protect beachgoers in New South Wales, Australia, have caught more bycatch than target shark species. Only two of the 145 animals caught were target species. Among the bycatch found dead in the nets were eight dolphins, nine turtles, 34 protected great hammerhead sharks, and more than 100 rays. SMART drumlines were more effective, catching 11 target species, which included three great whites, three tiger sharks, and five bull sharks. These drumlines notify tag-and-release teams in real time, improving the sharks' chance of survival.



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4. Illegal Fishing in Marine Protected Areas


gray whales, CaliforniaMarine protected areas, including the 1,600 MPAs in U.S. waters, are supposed to limit human activities such as fishing and boating. But often fishermen take catches illegally inside these protected areas. “Marine protected areas are not enough if there is no education and enforcement surrounding them. It is in everyone’s best interest that we let populations recover and allow for sustainable oceans for the future.”



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5. “Laze” from Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano


LazeHawaii's Kilauea volcano “has burned several homes, caused explosive eruptions and forced thousands of evacuations since it started erupting more than two weeks ago.” Its latest threat is a cloud of noxious gases, glass particles, and lava haze known as "laze," created as lava flows into the Pacific Ocean. Laze is dangerous, and “the laze steam plume rising from the Pacific Ocean contains a mixture of hydrochloric acid gas along with small volcanic gas particles.”
Read more...

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6. Madagascar Emerges as Whale Shark Hotspot - Could Spark Enhanced Ecotourism
The first major scientific survey in Madagascar shows there are far more whale sharks than previously thought. Eighty-five individuals were identified in a single season. SSF Editorial Comment: This critical information could lead to renewed ecotourism which would lead to a decrease in the number of these animals killed off the Madagascar coast each year. Read more...


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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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