Thursday, April 11, 2019

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" April 11, 2019: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

Rubio reintroduces sustainable shark fishing bill, Arctic drilling deemed unlawful, Nordic countries call for a global treaty for plastic pollution, Norwegian government refuses to drill for oil, More animals affected by climate change and plastic pollution and more...

1. Senator Marco Rubio Reintroduces Bipartisan Bill which Promotes Shark Conservation

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) reintroduced a bipartisan bill, the Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act (S. 1008), bicameral legislation that recognizes the sustainable and economically-valuable fishing practices of U.S. shark fishermen and promotes U.S. standards for shark conservation and humane harvest abroad. U.S. Representative Daniel Webster (R-FL) has introduced similar legislation (H.R. 788) in the House. 

Read more from Gov Track here


2. Executive Order to Open Arctic Waters to Oil Drilling Was Unlawful, Federal Judge Finds

In a major legal blow to President Trump’s push to expand offshore oil and gas development, a federal judge ruled that an executive order by Mr. Trump that lifted an Obama-era ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast was unlawful. The decision, by Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the United States District Court for the District of Alaska, concluded late Friday that President Barack Obama’s 2015 and 2016 withdrawal from drilling of about 120 million acres of Arctic Ocean and about 3.8 million acres in the Atlantic “will remain in full force and effect unless and until revoked by Congress.” 

Read more from "New York Times" 
Read more from "The Washington Post"


3. Nordic Nations Call for a Global Treaty to Reduce Marine Plastic Pollution

Since latest estimates show that 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans every year and cost the world up to $2.5 trillion (Rs 162 lakh crore), Nordic countries, in a declaration, called for a global treaty to tackle the crisis. The declaration was made on April 10, 2019, at a gathering of environment ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden at the Nordic Council in Reykjavik. According to the Nordic Cooperation, this demand has also been sent to the European Union, United Nations Environment Programme, the G7 and the G20 groups. The World Wildlife Fund had, just last month, warned that plastic pollution will double worldwide by 2030 unless major changes are made in how the waste is managed. The WWF has also called upon all nations to agree upon a global treaty on plastic waste, similar to the Montreal Protocol, to protect the ozone layer.


4. Octopus - Are They Too Smart to Farm?

The arrival of octopus farms is fast approaching. So far, the animals have escaped farming because they are extremely difficult to feed soon after being born, and have a low survival rate. But technological advances and experimentation are making it possible. A Japanese seafood company hatched octopus eggs in 2017 and expects to see farmed octopus for sale by next year; a Mexican farm has reportedly farmed octopus, and farms in Spain and China are also getting in on the business. This is not worth celebrating, according to four marine researchers who presented their argument in the Winter 2019 edition of Issues of Science and Technology. 

Read more from "Quartz" 

5. Norway Parliament Refuses Arctic Oil Drilling, Enranging National Oil Industry

The largest party in Norway’s parliament has delivered a significant blow to the country’s huge oil industry after withdrawing support for explorative drilling off the Lofoten islands in the Arctic, which are considered a natural wonder. The move, by the opposition Labour party, creates a large parliamentary majority against oil exploration in the sensitive offshore area, illustrating growing opposition to the polluting fossil fuel, which has made the country one of the world’s most affluent. The country currently pumps out over 1.6 million barrels of oil a day from its offshore operations.


6.  Polar Bears are Getting Trashed

Editor's Comment: Last week we shared a story about how a dead sperm whale was found with more than 48 pounds of plastic inside its stomach. This week we share with you a story about how polar bears are being affected.

Aluminum foil. Car keys. Candy wrappers. Half a towel. Scientists and some hunters in northern communities say they've seen these items — and more — in the stomachs of harvested polar bears — and it could be affecting bears' behavior. That's bad news for the majestic mammals and for the people who live near them. Researchers have also observed that the plastic contents found in bears' stomachs, in some instances, appeared to correlate with aggressive behavior. At the Alaska Marine Science Symposium this January, scientists from the state's North Slope region reported that stomach content analysis of 51 harvested polar bears from 1996 to 2018 showed over a quarter of the bears had eaten some kind of plastic.


7. The Philippines - Second Largest Population Of Whale Sharks in the World

The Philippines hosts the second largest known population of whale sharks in the world according to Wildbook for Whale Sharks, a photo-identification library of whale shark (Rhincodon typus). By individually cataloging the whale sharks, marine biologists are learning where these large sharks reside. Whale sharks are identified by the unique constellation-like patterns that adorn their bodies. Like our fingerprints, no two are the same. This morphological trait enables scientists and the public to distinguish individual whale sharks by comparing photographs. 


8.Ocean Plastic Summit Aboard a Cruise Ship

Editor's Comment:  Is this actually the "first" plastic pollution conference?  Is it ironic that this meeting is being held onboard a cruise ship, arguably one of the oceans' primary polluters?    
An attempt to galvanize the world's leading companies into taking immediate action on one of the planet's biggest crises — ocean plastic — has been announced by SoulBuffalo, in the form of the first ever Ocean Plastics Leadership Summit, taking place in the Sargasso Sea, home to the North Atlantic Gyre, one of the largest concentrations of marine pollution. Bringing together leading companies like Procter and Gamble, Dow Chemical, Clorox, HP and SAP for the first time, along with organizations like National Geographic, WWF, Ocean Conservancy, 5Gyres and Parley for the Oceans the participants who will also include global plastics supply chain executives, leading NGOs, scientists, and innovators, will experience the ocean plastics crisis firsthand.


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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