Friday, October 26, 2018

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" October 26, 2018: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

Mumbai Plastic - They Mean Business, Saving Hammerheads in Galapagos, Walrus Tusk Poacher Indicted, Plastic in Starfish Diet, Mega Bridge Causes Dolphin Population Decline, Blue Fin Tunas Emerge in California And More...


1. Enforcing Mumbai's Plastic Ban

From Starbucks and McDonalds to tiny street food stall owners, no one is exempt from the ban on single-use plastic, introduced on 30 June by the authorities in the state of Maharashtra and in Mumbai, its capital. The ban was prompted by vast quantities of plastic rubbish clogging up the already blocked drains during this year’s monsoon. Most other Indian cities are scarred by mountains of plastic, but Mumbai, with its 20 million people concentrated in a tiny island, experiences near-catastrophic disruption during the monsoon when sewers and drains fail to cope with the rain. The ban prohibits the use of plastic bags, disposable cups and plates, and bottles under a certain size.

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2. New Find Could Help Save Galapagos Hammerhead Sharks


Hammerhead sharks, with their unique, wide-eyed appearance, are among the most iconic species in the Galapagos. But as the sharks become increasingly endangered, scientists are searching for ways to help their population rebound. One way they're doing it is by searching for where hammerhead sharks have their babies (called pups). Past studies have documented where and why some of the region's hammerhead populations migrate, but scientists have been struggling with one mystery—where the females that live around the Galapagos's Darwin and Wolf Islands go to have their pups.

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3. Ivory Dealer Indicted for Walrus Tusk International Trade 


Alaska ivory dealer has been indicted for illegally exporting, and then importing, walrus ivory, violating federal law. James Terrance Williams, 67, of Skagway, who operates the company Inside Passage Arts, is being charged for smuggling that took place back between 2014 and 2016. According to prosecutors, at that time, Williams sent raw, un-worked walrus ivory from Alaska to Indonesia to be carved there. He then allegedly would import that ivory back into the states, selling it as though it had been worked by Alaska Native artisans.

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4. Starfish Have Been Feeding on Plastic for 40 years off Scottish Coast

Local marine life living off the Outer Hebrides have been feeding on plastic for at least four decades, researchers have discovered. Scientists examined and archived specimens of animals collected at depths of 2,000 m (6,561.8 ft) down off the Western Isles. Traces of eight different plastics were found in the stomachs of the starfish, sea stars and brittle stars. The animals were collected between 1976 and 2015.

 Read more from The Telegraph
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5. A New Tuskless Walrus from the Miocene of Orange County, California


This paper describes Titanotaria orangenesis (gen. et. sp. nov.), a new species of walrus (odobenid) from the upper Miocene Oso Member of the Capistrano Formation of Orange County, California. This species is important because: (1) It is one of the best-known and latest-surviving tuskless walruses; (2) It raises the number of reported odobenid taxa from the Oso Member to four species making it one of the richest walrus assemblages known (along with the basal Purisima of Northern California.

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6. Hong Kong Activist Groups Decry Worker Deaths and Drop in Dolphin Population caused by Construction of Mega Bridge


Labour rights and conservation activists highlighted the deaths of workers and the destruction of dolphin habitats in construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge as the opening ceremony for the mega infrastructure link took place on Tuesday morning. Conservationists also called for a review of Hong Kong’s environmental assessment system, saying loopholes meant mitigation measures had been ineffective in halting the drop in the number of Chinese white dolphins in the area. Construction of the bridge, which cost Hong Kong about HK$120 billion (US$15.3 billion), began in 2009. Building on the Hong Kong end started in 2011.

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7. Fish Succumb to Coral Bleaching

Researchers found that when water temperatures heat up for corals, fish 'tempers' cool down, providing the first clear evidence of coral bleaching serving as a trigger for rapid change in reef fish behavior. Publishing in Nature Climate Change this week, researchers from Lancaster University and collaborating institutes including the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE), show how the iconic butterflyfish, considered to be sensitive indicators of reef health, can offer an early warning sign that reef fish populations are in trouble.
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8. Do Mussels Hold Clues About Ocean Futures?

More than 10 million tons of plastic debris enter the oceans every year and are found in nearly every oceanic layer. They start out as large floating items and eventually break down into much smaller pieces called microplastics. These particles are pervasive and have been found in the digestive tracts of more than 100 different species, posing physical, chemical and even potential biological harm to these animals. Mussels and other bivalves like oysters and clams are eaten whole without removal of the gastrointestinal tract and therefore represent a pathway for microplastics to enter the human food chain.

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9. Big Bluefin Tuna Make Comeback After 80-Year Hiatus Off California Coast
Large Pacific bluefin tuna not seen in California waters for decades have reappeared, to the delight of fishing enthusiasts and scientists, as global conservation efforts have proven effective for one of the ocean’s priciest and most sought-after fish. Overfishing of bluefin tuna spurred by a growing global appetite for sushi resulted in a critical decline in stocks over decades. But measures by the United States, Japan, Mexico and others to limit their take have led to population growth, though tuna populations are still below historic levels.

Read more Reuters
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10. National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards Releases Final Report 

the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards released its Final Report and recommendations to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Established in the Spring of 2018, the Panel's mandate was to gather perspectives and offer recommendations to the Minister on categories and associated protection standards for federal Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) using International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidance as a baseline. They were also invited to examine relevant recommendations of the Indigenous Circle of Experts and its recommendations on the concept of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas.
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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, October 19, 2018

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" October 19, 2018: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

Sea Save will Fight for More Shark Protection - CITES 2019, Climate Change Could Double Beer Prices, World's Longest Vessel to be a Fish Farm, Hurricane Michael Threatens Sea Turtle Populations And More...


1. More Shark, Ray Species Could Gain Protections CITES 2019

Currently, twenty commonly traded shark and ray species are listed on CITES Appendix II, but the Sea Save Foundation team is headed to Sri Lanka to fight to protect more. Giant guitarfish, blackchin guitarfish, sharpnose guitarfish and all members of that rest of the family Glaugostegidae as "look-alike" species. Also being considered are wedgefish (Rhynchobatus australiae and Rhynchobatus djiddensis) and the rest of the family, Rhinidae, as look-alike species on Appendix II. Mexico will submit a proposal to consider hortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), with the longfin mako (Isurus paucus) protected as a look-alike species  

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2. Trump Signs Save our Seas Act into Law

President Donald Trump recently signed into law a bill that lawmakers have called a point of unity among Republicans and Democrats. The Ketchikan Daily News reports the Save our Seas Act, which Trump signed Thursday, reauthorizes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program through 2022. The program works to reduce debris through research, prevention, and reduction. The Save our Seas legislation keeps the program going by continuing to authorize $10 million per year for the next five years. The bill also encourages the executive branch to reach out and engage the leaders of countries - located primarily in Asia - that are responsible for much of the sea pollution found around the planet’s oceans.

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3. Heat and Drought Could Threaten World Beer Supply


If horrific hurricanes and a new, scarier-than-ever United Nations report don’t change attitudes on climate change, perhaps a new report on barley will. A small international team of scientists considered what the effect of climate change would be for this crop in the next 80 years, and they are raising an alarm they hope will pierce the din of political posturing. They are predicting a beer shortage. In a report in Nature Plants, researchers in China, Britain and the United States say that by the end of the century, drought and heat could hurt barley crops enough to cause intense pain to beer drinkers.

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4. In 2020, the World's Longest Vessel Will Be a Fish Farm

Norwegian aquaculture company Nordlaks is building what may well become the world's largest vessel by length, a gigantic moored fish farm platform dubbed Havfarm1. In February, Nordlaks signed a contract with Chinese yard CIMC Raffles to build the semi-catamaran design at its yard in Shandong Province. Its hull measures 430 meters long, enough to make it the longest vessel in the world (though not the longest self-propelled vessel). According to Nordlaks spokesman Lars Fredrik Martinussen, the firm is on track to begin operations with Havfarm in the second quarter of 2020.

 Read more from The Marine Executive
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5. Atlantic Salmon Production Reaches Record High in Scotland

The production of Atlantic salmon in Scottish fish farms rose to a record high last year, according to new figures. The Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey 2017 was published by Marine Scotland Science.It said 189,707 tonnes of Atlantic salmon was produced last year, an increase of 16.5% on the previous year. The report also suggested the value of salmon produced across Scotland had risen above £1bn for the first time. The figure represented a 37% increase on the previous year.

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6. Aggressive, Territorial Fish can Help Boost Coral Reef Recovery

Coral reefs around the world have been experiencing mass bleaching events and are dying off at an unprecedented rate. Famously, the Great Barrier Reef experienced catastrophic back to back bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. Scientists are now working to predict how the world’s corals will respond to warming ocean temperatures caused by climate change. While the future doesn’t look promising, research has shown that corals can adapt to environmental changes and recover.  ear.

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7. Protecting Our Ocean Through the UN Convention on Biological Diversity


In 1993, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) entered into force, ushering in a new era of global conservation. Recognizing the critical links between natural resources and countries’ development, the agreement aims to maintain the diversity of the world’s species and ecosystems and ensure that commercial and other use of genetic resources is fair, equitable, and sustainable. Since 2011, parties to the agreement have worked toward a set of actions known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which provide a framework for international conservation efforts.

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8. With Right Whales at Risk of Extinction, Regulators Consider Drastic Action that Could Affect Lobstermen

With North Atlantic right whales increasingly at risk of extinction, federal regulators are considering drastic protection measures that could have sweeping consequences for the region’s lucrative lobster industry. The species is in dangerous decline, with a record 17 right whale deaths and no recorded births last year, and entanglements in fishing gear are believed to be the leading cause of premature deaths. Three have died in US waters this year, including one 35-foot-long whale found Sunday about 100 miles east of Nantucket, federal officials said.
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9. Plastic Pollution Found on Shipwrecks Pose Threat to Fish 

Plastic pollution has been found on historical shipwrecks in coastal waters. Divers from the Marine Archaeology Sea Trust found a "surprisingly large quantity" of rubbish on HMS Invincible's wreck site in Portsmouth Harbour. Kevin Stratford, from the trust, said such wrecks, proud of the seabed, act as "accumulation points" for rubbish. He said it could potentially affect the aquatic wildlife colonizing wrecks. This is especially dangerous because shipwrecks have become new gathering places for fish and the fact that plastic is accumulating there also could increase the concentration of plastics being incorporated into the tissue of these fish. 

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10. Rescuing Sea Turtles From Fishermen’s Nets
The young hawksbill turtle was accidentally caught in a net in the Indian Ocean off Kenya’s coast. The fisherman called Local Ocean Conservation, a nonprofit based in the town of Watamu that is the only turtle rescue and rehabilitation center on the East African seaboard. The hawksbill, critically endangered in this region, was a mere seven pounds; adults can weigh up to 160 pounds.

Read more from The New York Times
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11. After Hurricane, Fate of Sea Turtle Nests Uncertain on Florida Coast

When Hurricane Michael struck Florida’s Panhandle, it swept away nests of threatened baby loggerhead sea turtles hatching along its sandy beaches, already damaged by previous storms and erosion. Scalloped sand has replaced dunes that have been washed away in Alligator Point, one of the most prolific areas for sea turtle nests in Franklin County and the state. “Our dunes were about 8 feet (2.44 meters) high and they’re all gone,” said Allan Feifer, 61, a Franklin County emergency management official, who lives in Bald Point, which was battered by 11.5-foot (3.50-meter) storm surge.
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12. As Sea Ice Melts, some say Walruses Need Better Protection


Given a choice between giving birth on land or sea ice, Pacific walrus mothers most often choose ice. Likewise, they prefer sea ice for molting, mating, nursing and resting between dives for food. Trouble is, as the century progresses, there’s going to be far less ice around. How well walruses cope with less sea ice is at the heart of a legal fight over whether walruses should be listed as a threatened species, giving them an added protection against human encroachments. The federal government in 2008 listed polar bears as a threatened species because of diminished sea ice brought on by climate warming. That year the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to do the same for walruses.

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13.  Seals Listed Critically Endangered in Iceland

The spotted seal is critically endangered in Iceland, according to the Icelandic Institute of Natural History’s newest Red List. RÚV reported first. Spotted seals numbered 7,600 in 2016, down from around 33,000 when monitoring of their stocks began in 1980. The animals’ numbers thus decreased around 77% over the 35-year period. If seal numbers continue to decrease at the same rate, they will decrease by 84% over the next 45 years, a time period of three generations for the animals.

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14.  A Baby Orca's Death, a Mother's Grief and a State's Call to Action

The gut punches came in quick succession this summer in the Pacific Northwest, a place where it seems like everyone is, or knows, a killer whale fan. First, video crews captured an orca known as J35 carrying and coaxing her stillborn calf for 17 anguishing days, a mother seemingly unwilling to accept her child’s death. A few weeks later, a rambunctious young orca — known for her frequent breaching in Puget Sound — went missing. The whale nicknamed Scarlet was soon declared dead, at just 4 years old.

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15.  Tasmania Penguin Deaths: Dozens Killed in Suspected Dog Attack

Wildlife officials are investigating a suspected dog attack in Tasmania, after 58 penguins were found mauled to death. A member of the public alerted rangers to the dozens of penguin bodies strewn across a beach on the north coast of Australia's island state. This is the second dog attack in months on the little penguins - the smallest penguin species - according to reports. Authorities said dog owners must take responsibility for their pets and earlier warned of hefty fines.

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16.  World Heritage Sites Threatened by Sea Level Rise

From Venice and the tower of Pisa to the medieval city of Rhodes, dozens of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Mediterranean basin are deeply threatened by rising sea levels, researchers warned Tuesday. All but two of 49 UN-recognised icons of human civilization rimming the Mediterranean Sea risk being damaged by the rising watermark, soil erosion, or both, with few options for protecting most of them, they reported in the scientific journal Nature Communications. Venice and its lagoon, the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia, and Ferrera, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta, all hit the top of a risk scale devised for the study.

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17. Trump: My ‘Natural Instinct for Science’ Tells Me Climate Science Is Wrong

Earlier this month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which encompasses the consensus finding of climate scientists worldwide, issued a report warning that the effects of climate change may become irreversible by 2040. But since this conclusion implies the need for government action of some kind, and thus threatens a core tenet of conservative movement theology, Republicans ignore or dismiss the findings.

Critical Statement: “My uncle was a great professor at MIT for many years. Dr. John Trump,” he said. “And I didn’t talk to him about this particular subject, but I have a natural instinct for science, and I will say that you have scientists on both sides of the picture.”

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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