Friday, August 31, 2018

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" August 31, 2018: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" August 31, 2018: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

1. Hundreds of Endangered Sea Turtles Found Dead Off Mexico

On Tuesday, Mexico's federal agency for environmental protection announced that more than 300 olive ridley sea turtles had died after apparently becoming entangled in a fishing net. The animals were found floating together off the coast of the southern state of Oaxaca, their shells cracked from more than a week of drying in the sun. The news comes just days after another 113 sea turtles, most of which were also olive ridleys, washed ashore in Mexico’s Chiapas state approximately 100 miles to the east. It’s unclear in this latter case what killed the turtles, but some bore injuries consistent with those caused by hooks and nets.


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2. New Way to Save Endangered Sharks – and Our Seafood

By using a genetic tool called DNA barcoding, Brazilian researchers could help prevent illegal fishing of threatened shark species and hence help prevent the collapse of some fisheries. This is important because sharks are top predators that keep the marine ecosystem in check, helping to sustain the food web that supports millions of people worldwide who rely on seafood sustenance. Although shark fishing is banned in Brazil, the clandestine market continues, driven partly by the high prices shark fins bring: up to US $1,000 per kilogram on the international market.


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3. Dried Seahorses Seized—All Eight Million

Four years ago Peruvian authorities seized 16,000 dried seahorses abandoned on a street near an airport in Lima, the nation’s capital. If you think that sounds like a whole lot of fish, think again. This time they confiscated eight million of the little creatures at the Port of Callao in Lima—the nation’s largest seahorse haul. Discovered on June 7, the seahorses were on a Chinese-flagged ship bound for Asia, according to China NewsAsia, which cited a government statement. Authorities arrested the captain in connection with smuggling the goods, worth nearly $4 million on the black market.

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4. Florida’s ‘Red Tide’ Linked to 2,000 Tons of Dead Marine Life; State of Emergency Issued

Five counties in Florida remain at the mercy of the weather and water currents as a “red tide” algae bloom continues to choke their waters, marine life and economies. Red tide has spread to roughly 130 miles of coastline in Florida’s Manatee, Collier, Lee, Charlotte and Sarasota counties. When algae blooms and then dies, it releases toxins that can kill marine life. Red tides are amorphous and can be steered by wind and water currents. One day, with the winds blowing off-shore, only a few dead fish may wash onto beaches. The next could be a bad day with red tide staining the crashing waves, littering white sands with dead fish and other marine life.


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5. Solitary Dolphin Clicks with Porpoise Companions in the Clyde

A dolphin which has lived alone in the Firth of Clyde for at least 17 years appears to have found company in local harbor porpoises. The short-beaked common dolphin, nicknamed Kylie by local people, has made his home around a navigational buoy between Fairlie and Cumbrae, likely after getting lost from his group.  The Firth of Clyde is not commonly visited by dolphins of this species and so the solitary cetacean has mostly been exposed to sounds produced by other species, especially the harbor porpoise.

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6. Scientists Discover Giant Deep-Sea Coral Reef Off Atlantic Coast


As the research vessel Atlantis made its way out to sea from Woods Hole, Massachusetts, last week, expedition chief scientist Erik Cordes predicted the team would discover something no one has ever seen before. It didn’t take long. Some 160 miles off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, a half mile below the ocean surface, is a dense forest of cold water corals. And based on their observations and recent sonar mapping of the ocean floor, researchers estimate that the reef runs for at least 85 linear miles. 

Read more...       
and 
Read more from CNN...                  

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7. Invasive Species Are Riding on Plastic Across the Oceans

We know plastics are as plentiful in parts of the open ocean as they are in our everyday lives. But, until recently, scientists didn’t consider that such debris could also be carrying a new wave of invasive species to the shores of the United States. Now they're finding that not only is that happening, but they suspect that some of the species will thrive. Not long after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the east coast of Japan, a surge of floating trash—shellfish cages, portions of piers, entire fishing vessels—started washing onto the West Coast of North America and Hawaii

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8. What Happens to Plastic in the Oceans?

The concentrations of microplastics in the surface layer of the oceans are lower than expected. Researchers at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the Kiel Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean" and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht experimentally demonstrated that microplastics interact with natural particles and form aggregates in seawater. This aggregate formation could explain how microplastics sink into deeper water layers. The oceans contain large numbers of particles of biological origin, including, for example, living and dead plankton organisms and their fecal material.

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9. Ocean Heatwaves Have Doubled In Frequency Over The Past 35 Years

The past three years rank among the five hottest years on record and California just experienced its warmest July on record. However, if it wasn't for the oceans, our planet would be warmer than the extra 1°C that it is today. In fact, the world's oceans serve as a sponge for heat, having already absorbed over 90% of the planet's excess heat (generated by greenhouse gases) and this global service has taken its toll on the world's oceans. A new study shows that marine heatwaves have increased in frequency, now occurring twice as often as they did 35 years ago.

Read more...    
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10. Could Biodegradable Plastic Blends Offer New Options for Disposal?

Imagine throwing your empty plastic water bottle into a household composting bin that breaks down the plastic and produces biogas to help power your home. Now, researchers have taken an early step toward this futuristic scenario by showing that certain blends of bioplastics can decompose under diverse conditions. They report their results in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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11. Group to Sue Trump Administration for Failing to Address Ocean Acidification
PORTLAND, Ore. — The Trump administration is facing a new lawsuit. The Center for Biological Diversity says the White House isn't doing enough to protect Oregon's waterways. The center on Monday filed a notice of intent to sue the administration. At issue is the acidification of the ocean from fossil fuel pollution. An acidic ocean can negatively impact marine life, such as oysters. Plaintiffs say the administration hasn't identified or protected "impaired waterways" as required by federal law. According to the group, Oregon's coastal waters have already reached levels of acidity scientists thought they wouldn't hit until the end of the 21st century.

Read more...  
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12. Algae Bloom in Lake Superior Raises Worries on Climate Change and Tourism

In 19 years of piloting his boat around Lake Superior, Jody Estain had never observed the water change as it has this summer. The lake has been unusually balmy and cloudy, with thick mats of algae blanketing the shoreline. “I have never seen it that warm,” said Mr. Estain, a former Coast Guard member who guides fishing, cave and kayak tours year-round. “Everybody was talking about it.”

Editors Note: Freshwater systems are of considerable concern to Sea Save Foundation because the directly affect downstream marine systems.
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13. Scientists in Fiji Examine How Forest Conservation Helps Coral Reefs


Researchers from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa (UH Mānoa), WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), and other groups are discovering how forest conservation in Fiji can minimize the impact of human activities on coral reefs and their fish populations. Specifically, authors of a newly published study in the journal Scientific Reports have used innovative modeling tools to identify specific locations on the land where conservation actions would yield the highest benefits for downstream reefs in terms of mitigating harm to coral communities and associated reef fish populations. The study is titled "Scenario Planning with Linked Land-Sea Models Inform Where Forest Conservation Actions Will Promote Coral Reef Resilience."
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14. Changes Coming to Maryland Shark Fishing Regulations

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is considering some changes to state recreational shark fishing regulations. Included will be a regulation prohibiting anglers from removing "Catch and Release" sharks from the water.

Another change will be that anglers will be required to use non-offset, non-stainless steel, circle hooks. Studies show that the use of circle hooks greatly decreases the chances of a shark being hooked anywhere but in the jaw ensuring that fewer sharks will die from internal injuries caused from being hooked in the gut.



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15. New Large Shark Species Heading for the UK. 


The climate is changing – and so are our seas. Warming sea temperatures have resulted in British cod moving north, benefiting Iceland. The English Channel has warmed during the last half century and the grey Atlantic triggerfish is now a year-round, rather than just a summer, resident in the waters off Cornwall and Dorset. Along the south coast of England, there has also been an eastward shift in the distribution of “warm” Atlantic barnacles, which are now displacing the “cold” North Sea species. But bigger fish, including sharks, are changing their range, too. An excellent recent paper revealed how temperature changes the occurrence and activity of roaming apex predators. 
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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.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" August 24, 2018: We Gather News; You Stay Informed


1. Why a New Fisheries Bill Is Being Dubbed the “Empty Oceans Act”


What the farm bill is to terrestrial food production, the fish bill, a.k.a. the Magnuson-Stevens Act is to the ocean — the law that governs America’s marine fisheries. First passed in 1976 to kick foreign fishing fleets out of American waters, the MSA has evolved into one of the nation’s most effective conservation laws. A reauthorization in 1996 required managers to place all overfished stocks on strict rebuilding timelines and another in 2006 mandated hard limits on total catches.

Read more...                         
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2. Red Tide’s Continuing Toll: The 554 Dead Manatees in 2018 Already Surpasses Last Year’s Total.

ST. PETERSBURG — The number of manatee deaths in Florida this year has already exceeded the total for all of 2017. Blame Red Tide, which is suspected of killing more than 100 of them. So far, 554 manatees have died in 2018, with four months left to go. Last year’s total was 538. As of Aug. 18, the most recent date for the running total, the Red Tide bloom had been verified as the cause of death for 29 manatees and was suspected of killing another 74. 

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3. Removing a Few More Straws from the Ocean Slurpee


Americans throw away 500 million straws per day, enough to circle the Earth twice. These cylindrical pieces of plastic are significantly contributing to the growing slurry of plastic pollution in our oceans. Plastic does not degrade, and according to a study funded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish unless we drastically change our habits and laws.

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4. What Lives in the Ocean’s Twilight Zone? New Technologies Might Finally Tell Us

The sea's murky depths might host more life than we thought. That's the preliminary conclusion of scientists who this week completed the inaugural cruise of the Ocean Twilight Zone (OTZ) initiative, a 6-year, $35 million effort that is using innovative technologies—and an unusual funding model—to document the ocean's mysterious midwater layer. The weeklong North Atlantic Ocean expedition was aimed primarily at testing the OTZ initiative's new workhorse: a 5-meter-long towed sled, dubbed Deep-See, that bristles with cameras, acoustic sensors, and samplers. 

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5. Here's How Your Contact Lenses May Be Polluting the Ocean

New research suggests that millions of contact lenses may be ending up in U.S. water supplies each year, potentially contributing to ocean pollution. “If you think of plastic pollution, contact lenses are not the first thing that comes to mind,” says Rolf Halden, director of the Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering at Arizona State University. But given the estimated 45 million wearers of contact lenses in the U.S. alone, Halden and postdoctoral student Charlie Rolsky got to thinking: how many millions of people are disposing of these plastics improperly?

Read more...    
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6. To Better Protect Sharks and Rays, Countries Gather for CITES Workshop


More than 40 participants, including representatives from Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, and Tanzania, gathered in Johannesburg Aug. 6-7 for a workshop on how best to implement international trade regulations to protect 20 species of sharks and rays. The workshop focused on those listed in 2013 and 2016 on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix II: oceanic whitetip sharks; porbeagle sharks; silky sharks; scalloped, smooth, and great hammerhead sharks; bigeye, common, and pelagic thresher sharks; and all manta and mobula rays.

Editor's Note: Sea Save Foundation was on-site and critical for the inclusion of these species in the CITES 2013 and 2016 votes. At CITES 2013, we broke the news of a delegate payoff that was going to affect the shark species votes and turned the tide. We will remain on top of all CITES news in order to keep you informed.
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7. Global Warming May Be Good News For Some


Maersk, the world's largest container line, is about to test the frigid waters of the Arctic in a trial of shorter shipping lanes that could become viable as warmer temperatures open up the Northern Sea Route. On or around Sept. 1, Denmark-based Maersk plans to send its first container ship through the Arctic to explore whether the once inhospitable route could become feasible in the future. Many analysts see the test as a turning point for both the shipping industry and the Arctic.
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8. Droughts and Floods Will Become More Common Due to Global Warming

Scorching summer heatwaves and floods are set to become more extreme in the northern hemisphere as global warming makes weather patterns linger longer in the same place. According to a study published by Nature Communications, growing temperatures in the Arctic have slowed the circulation of the jet stream and other giant winds, affecting pressure fronts across continents. This summer, parts of Europe were hit by heatwaves and wildfires including Sweden, Greece, and Spain.

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9. Bills Preventing Offshore Drilling Advance in California Legislature
While President Trump’s Interior Department was mapping out oil and gas leases off California’s coast, the Legislature debated what to do. The sanctified cause of a drilling ban turned into a fight over a pair of bills that aimed to put hard restrictions on the White House idea. Last week, lawmakers followed through on protecting the coast. The nearly identical bills won approval on the final day of committee work, a cliffhanger win for efforts to safeguard fishing, tourism, and recreation along the 1,000-mile coast.

Read more...  
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10. Florida’s Red Tide Crisis is Preview of the Global Future


All the water birds—pelicans, egrets, cormorants—are gone. Flies swarm the coast of the seaside city of Sarasota, Florida. Crows caw. The air stinks of death. Carpets of fish, belly-up, mouths gaping, line the shore. This is the putrid new world created by toxic red algae bloom spanning 130 miles of the state’s west coast, which has so far killed masses of fish, 12 dolphins, more than 500 manatees, 300 sea turtles, countless horseshoe crabs, a whale shark, and the local economy.
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11. Hurricane Maria’s Wrath Leaves Clues to Coral Reefs’ Future

For decades, ecologists had thought that La Parguera and other reefs in the dimly lit ‘mesophotic zone’, 30-150 meters below the ocean surface, were sheltered from storms and temperature fluctuations — unlike corals in shallow water. But several recent studies suggest that deep-water reefs are susceptible to the increasingly powerful hurricanes and ocean warming caused by climate change.  
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12. Cause of Death Sought for 55-Foot-Long Whale Washed Ashore on Massachusetts Beach


A dead, 55-foot-long whale has washed ashore on a Massachusetts beach. The giant fin whale likely died at sea, officials told local news outlets, noting that it had been spotted floating in the water about eight miles offshore before it arrived. It is thought the creature may have been dead for two to three days, although the cause of death was unclear. It showed no outward signs of trauma, Tony LaCasse, the New England Aquarium’s media relations director, told reporters, adding that facility's marine mammal team and experts from the International Fund for Animal Welfare were still investigating why it died.

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13. Tracking Sargassum's Ocean Path Could Help Predict Coastal Inundation Events


In recent years, large amounts of Sargassum have been washing up on beaches from the Caribbean to west Africa. This floating seaweed drifts on the oceans currents. New research explores how the Sargassum might grow while it is meandering along the currents, not just where it floats, combining both ocean physics and seaweed biology for the first time to understand the distribution patterns. Knowing could eventually help predict its arrival and impact on beaches around the world.

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14. Metal in the Air Really Messes With Ocean Life

Trace metals in the atmosphere have a hefty impact on marine life, according to a new paper. The sources of these aerosol particles include volcanoes, wildfires, and desert dust, and the burning of fossil fuels. After being spewed up and undergoing chemical reactions in the atmosphere, they often make their way to remote ocean regions via precipitation or dry deposition.

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15. Stricter Federal Quotas Set For Atlantic Herring Catch Out of Concern Of Overfishing


New limits are taking effect on how many Atlantic herring can be caught by New England fishermen. Federal regulators say reducing the quota by millions of pounds is necessary due to low numbers of younger fish. Herring fishermen entered this year with a catch limit around 240 million pounds, but the regulatory New England Fishery Management Council recommended earlier this year that the number be cut back to about 118 million pounds. 
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16. Seattle chef Renee Erickson takes Chinook Salmon Off Menus to Help Ailing Puget Sound Orcas

To save more chinook salmon for starving orcas, Seattle chef Renee Erickson has taken it off the menu. Erickson, chef, and co-owner of Sea Creatures, which includes Seattle restaurants The Walrus and the Carpenter and The Whale Wins, announced her decision recently to her newsletter subscribers and chefs. It’s something she has been thinking about for a while. But it was the sight of Tahlequah, the mother orca whale carrying her dead calf for 17 days for more than 1,000 miles that pushed Erickson to no longer serve chinook to her customers.
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17. Hong Kong Restaurant Hemingway's Went Vegan and 'Nobody Noticed'


Hong Kong restaurant Hemingway’s Bar & Grill, a long-standing staple of Discovery Bay, has switched to a completely vegan menu. According to owner Gary Stokes, customers didn’t even notice the initial changes. South China Morning Post reports that Stokes, a vegan and a volunteer with international ocean conservation nonprofit Sea Shepherd, was facing an ethical dilemma. While the organization serves exclusively plant-based food on its ships in the name of environmentalism and animal rights, Stokes’s restaurant, which specialized in Caribbean cuisine, served both meat and fish.
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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.