Friday, April 19, 2019

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" April 19, 2019: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

German wind park, Seychelles president's underwater speech, Plastic pollution traced to 1960's, Bank of England open letter on climate-related financial risks, Are plastic bag bans effective, 16 Year-old delivers emotional message to EU, and much more... 

Huge wind park in Baltic Sea will provide electricity to 400,000 German households

BERLIN – Germany has officially switched on the biggest offshore wind park in the Baltic Sea, which will supply some 400,000 households with electricity. The Arkona facility about 22 miles northeast of Germany's Baltic island of Ruegen went online Tuesday. It is operated by German utility company Eon and Norwegian energy giant Equinor. More than 40% of Germany's electricity was generated using renewable sources such as wind and solar last year. The country aims to get 65% of its electricity from renewables by 2030 as part of its effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared with 1990 levels.


 Early ocean plastic litter traced to 1960s

Old-fashioned metal boxes that have been dragged around the ocean since 1931 have accidentally created a record of the history of ocean plastic. The devices - known as continuous plankton recorders (CPRs) - first ensnared a plastic bag off the coast of Ireland in 1965. This, researchers say, could be the first marine plastic litter found. The CPR record also revealed how much more plastic has been found in the ocean in recent decades. By fishing for plankton for all those decades - a key species that indicates the productivity of the ocean and so of particular interest for monitoring the health of fisheries - the machines also produced a history of plastic litter.

Read more from "BBC" 
Read more from original source at "Nature"


3. Baby fish have started eating plastic. We haven’t yet seen the consequences

Not long ago I went snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean, a half mile off the southwest coast of Oahu. The flanks of the Hawaiian island are steep there, and the bottom quickly disappeared beneath us as we motored out to the site. Looking back, I could see the green slopes of the Waianae Range rising to 4,000 feet behind the beach. Normally the mountains shield the water here from the trade winds. But on that day a breeze created a light chop that nearly obscured what I had come to see: a thin, oily slick of surface water, rich in organic particles, in which newborn fish were feeding and struggling to survive their first precarious weeks.


4Seychelles president makes underwater speech calling for protection for oceans

The Seychelles president has gone below the surface of the Indian Ocean to call for better protection for the world's seas. Danny Faure said that a healthy ocean was "crucial for the survival of humanity" in a broadcast made 124m (406ft) below sea level. He had joined a British-led expedition exploring the ocean's depths. Last year, the Seychelles created protected areas of the ocean that were "the size of Great Britain". 

Read more from "BBC" 


5.  Open letter on climate-related financial risks

The catastrophic effects of climate change are already visible around the world. From blistering heatwaves in North America to typhoons in south-east Asia and droughts in Africa and Australia, no country or community is immune. These events damage infrastructure and private property, negatively affect health, decrease productivity and destroy wealth. And they are extremely costly: insured losses have risen five-fold in the past three decades. The enormous human and financial costs of climate change are having a devastating effect on our collective wellbeing.


6. Plastic bag bans are spreading. But are they truly effective?

NAKURU, KENYA - In the open-air Wakulima Market thin plastic shopping bags have disappeared, banished by Kenya’s national bag ban. Produce sellers in this busy agricultural hub 95 miles northwest of Nairobi now pack perishables in thicker bags made of synthetic fabric. As James Wakibia, citizen activist, leads the way along narrow walkways that snake around vegetable stalls, he shrugs at the irony. Plastic bags replaced by plastic bags. He is the 36-year-old face of the social media campaign that prompted the ban in 2017 and says an imperfect ban is better than none.


7. Cracked ice is creating opportunity for Russia and concern for US

With Russia’s economy faltering under an onslaught of Western sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the 5th International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg this week to promote the resource-rich region's development. Presentations and panel discussions between more than 3,600 Russian and international lawmakers, scientists and businesspeople wrapped up on Wednesday. Delegates discussed topics including the Northern Sea Route, Arctic shelf development, OPEC, the production and use of liquified natural gas (LNG), the brain drain from Russia’s Arctic regions, the development of infrastructure in Arctic towns and ecotourism.


8. Indonesia’s fishermen turn to shark finning to satisfy demand for shark’s fin soup

Bloody chunks of shark meat are laid out for display at a seafood market in the Tanjung Luar regency of Lombok, the popular Indonesian tourist island next to Bali. A few men kneel down with sharp knives in their hands, adeptly slicing the carcasses on the floor. Nazuruddin, a local fisherman, has just offloaded his catch. The 53-year-old has fished for sharks from an early age, following in his father’s footsteps. Every day he catches between three and 10 sharks. “I only catch the fish that are not on the government’s list of prohibited species, such as grey reef sharks and tiger sharks,” he tells the Post, echoing the words of many other local fishermen. “I ask local officers about the latest regulations, and which types of sharks we can catch,” he adds.


9.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Funding is now available to combat illegal trade of Sea cucumbers and totoaba (demise of vaquita dolphin is tied to totoaba poaching.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The International Affairs Program delivers on this mission through its financial assistance programs by supporting strategic projects that deliver measurable conservation results for priority species and their habitats around the world. Latin America is the single most biologically diverse region of the world and of critical importance to wildlife conservation efforts in the Western Hemisphere and globally.This fiscal year, priority consideration will be given to projects that address wildlife trafficking of species for which the illegal trade is emerging as a primary threat to their survival including (but not limited to): (a) large felids, (b) parrots, (c) primates, (d) frogs, (e) lizards, (f) sea cucumbers, and
(g) totoaba. 


10. The Smurfs join the EU's fight against ocean waste

The Smurfs are partnering with the European Union to reduce ocean litter by taking part in the Global Beach Cleanup campaign. VĂ©ronique Culliford, daughter of the Smurfs creator Peyo and the CEO of the cartoon’s parent company IMPS, joined Joao Aguiar Machado, director-general for fisheries and maritime affairs for the European Commission, on Wednesday to sign the agreement. By teaming up with the iconic little blue cartoon characters, the EU hopes to educate children and engage them early in global efforts to reduce ocean waste.


Greta Thunberg's emotional speech to EU leaders – video

Editorial Commentary: Ms. Thunberg has been successful in raising awareness about global climate change, including ramification to oceans.

A sometimes tearful Greta Thunberg criticised EU leaders in Strasbourg for not taking the threat posed by climate change seriously enough. The 16-year-old activist said: 'If our house was falling apart our leaders wouldn’t go on like we do today...if our house was falling apart you wouldn’t hold three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and the environment.'

Read more from "The Guardian"


12. The Cataclysmic Break That (Maybe) Occurred in 1950

Editorial Commentary: For those who think changes in ocean is just a natural cycle, read this:

For Jan Zalasiewicz, a professor of geography at the University of Leicester, the answer is clear. Zalasiewicz chairs the Anthropocene Working Group, the committee that will soon vote on the existence of the epoch. “If you look at the main parameters of the Earth-system metabolism, then … things only began to change sharply and dramatically with industrialization,” he told me. He believes that the most significant event in humanity’s life on the planet is the Great Acceleration, the period of rapid global industrialization that followed the Second World War. As factories and cars spread across the planet, as the United States and U.S.S.R. prepared for the Cold War, carbon pollution soared. So too did methane pollution, the number of extinctions and invasive species, the degree of surface-level radiation, the quantity of plastic in the ocean, and the amount of rock and soil moved around the planet.


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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