Friday, June 14, 2019

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" June 14, 2019: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

Indonesia blows up three poaching ships, Disappearing islands, CITES is rescheduled, Gender equality could be key to healthy oceans, Sea World dolphin shows protested, Seahorse overharvests for "Chinese Viagra", Additional plastic banning seen in California, Oregon and Canada and more:

1. Indonesia sinks three foreign vessels for illegal fishing

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry’s Illegal Fishing Task Force (Satgas 115) recently sunk three foreign vessels captured for fishing illegally in Indonesian waters off Belawan, Medan, North Sumatra. The Malaysian-flagged, Myanmar flagged and Thai-flagged vessels, were sunk on Saturday following three separate arrests by the ministry’s Marine and Fisheries Resources Surveillance Director General (PSDKP) and the North Sumatra Water Police between August and December last year. Satgas 115 deputy chief Yunus Husein said the vessels had been seized as evidence of illegal fishing practices in the country’s waters. In 2019 alone, courts ordered 51 vessels to be sunk for the crime.


2. Three islands disappeared in the past year. Is climate change to blame?

Anote Tong can remember when Tebunginako, on the central Pacific island nation of Kiribati, was a thriving village. But beginning in the 1970s, the tide started inching closer to the houses in the village. Over the years, as strong winds whipped up monster waves and climate change caused sea levels to rise, water inundated the island, overwhelming a seawall that had been built to protect the community. Barely anything remains of the village today. “It’s no longer there,” Tong said. “What we do have is a church sitting in the middle of the sea when the tide comes in.”

Read more from "NBC News"   


3. Twice as many fishing vessels are chasing fewer fish throughout the world’s oceans

In 1950, about 1.7 million fishing vessels of all shapes and sizes plied the world’s oceans, but just 20 percent of them had motors, limiting their range and the amount of fish they could collect. Now, 65 years later, the number of boats has jumped to 3.7 million fishing vessels, 68 percent of which are motorized in some form, an increase that is putting more and more pressure on the world’s oceans, according to a new study published in the journal PNAS. The boom in fishing vessels doesn’t mean there’s plenty of fish in the sea. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. 

Read more from "Smithsonian"



4. Palo Alto becomes first Bay Area city to ban plastic produce bags. But is it enough?

Although Palo Alto adopted one of the strictest plastic bans in the Bay Area Monday night, some residents and city leaders contend that the measure doesn’t go far enough. Palo Alto City Council unanimously voted Monday night to prohibit the distribution of plastic straws, utensils and stirrers in all food service establishments starting in January as well as ban produce and meat bags in grocery stores and farmers markets starting in July 2020.

Read more from "The Mercury News"


5. Oregon lawmakers send plastic bag ban to governor's desk

Oregon's state senate on Tuesday approved a ban on single-use plastic checkout bags, the Statesman Journal reported. House Bill 2509 will now go to Gov. Kate Brown (D) for final approval after being passed by a 17-12 vote. She is expected to sign the ban, according to the Journal. The Senate rejected House Bill 2883, which would have prohibited prepared food from being sold in polystyrene foam containers, during the same session. Those two bills were among three debated in Oregon's state legislature this year to reduce plastic pollution.


6. Used as a natural Viagra in Chinese medicine, seahorse numbers are declining

Hong Kong (CNN)In a row of shops in Sheung Wan, on the western side of Hong Kong Island, the seahorses are stored in plastic boxes and glass jars, their elongated, S-shaped bodies stacked like spoons. In Hong Kong, this district is the center of the trade in traditional Chinese medicine -- an ancient system that uses dried plants and animal parts to treat ailments. Its narrow streets are crammed with delivery trucks and men pushing trolleys loaded with crates of dried fungi, herbs, berries -- and seahorses. 


7. Species most likely to survive climate change - already have large populations

A "Noah's Ark" strategy will fail. In the roughest sense, that's the conclusion of a first-of-its-kind study that illuminates which marine species may have the ability to survive in a world where temperatures are rising and oceans are becoming acidic. Two-by-two, or even moderately sized, remnants may have little chance to persist on a climate-changed planet. Instead, for many species, "we'll need large populations," says Melissa Pespeni a biologist at the University of Vermont who led the new research examining how hundreds of thousands of sea urchin larvae responded to experiments where their seawater was made either moderately or extremely acidic.

Read more from "Science Daily"


8. CoP - (CITES) Conference for the International Trade of Endangered Species Moved from Sri Lanka to Geneva - August 2019

Following my messages and the updates of the Secretariat dated 21 April, 26 April, 3 May, 10 May and 17 May, where we expressed our compassion for the people of Sri Lanka for the impacts of the heinous acts committed in their country on 21 April 2019, announced the postponement of the meeting and the process in which the Secretariat engaged to address as soon as possible the delay in carrying out the 18th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, I wish to confirm the new dates and venue of the meeting to Parties and Observers:


9. Promoting gender equality critical to restoring and protecting our planet’s oceans

“We need to empower each and every citizen to take care of the ocean and enable all women to play transformative and ambitious roles in understanding, exploring, protecting and sustainably managing our ocean”, said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, pointing out that this year’s “special edition” of World Oceans Day links the themes of gender equality and ocean preservation. Women engage in all aspects of ocean interaction, yet in many parts of the world, women’s contribution, both towards ocean-based livelihoods like fishing, and conservation efforts, are invisible and, gender inequality persists “from the marine industry to the field of ocean science”.


10. Animal welfare activists urge end to Sea World dolphin shows

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Years after the documentary film “Blackfish” galvanized a movement to end SeaWorld’s killer whale performances, animal rights activists on Wednesday called for an end to “circus-style” dolphin shows at the theme parks. At a hotel news conference near SeaWorld’s San Diego park, the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) issued a report documenting physical and behavioral harm it says dolphins suffer from their use in live shows and confinement in captivity.

Read more from "Reuters"
Read more from "Dolphin Project"


11. Mediterranean plastic pollution hotspots highlighted

Nine coastlines have been identified as the places in the Mediterranean most polluted with plastic, a report says. They include top tourist spots such as Barcelona, Marseilles, Tel-Aviv and the Venice coast near the Po river. The report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said all Mediterranean countries had underperformed in managing plastic contamination. It said 570,000 tonnes of plastic went into the sea each year - the equivalent of 33,800 plastic bottles every minute.


12. Capitol Hill Ocean Week: the U.S. House passed four bills mandating study of changing ocean chemistry

Since the end of the 19th century, several billions of tons of carbon have been pumped into our planet's atmosphere, causing sea surface temperatures and sea levels to rise. Additionally, as the oceans have absorbed some of this carbon, their overall acidity has increased by 30 percent.  Changes in acidity and overall ocean chemistry - termed "ocean acidification" - can negatively affect an animal's sense of smell (which helps them avoid predators, find food, and identify good habitats) and ability to grow its shell. 


13. Should we fertilize oceans or seed clouds? No one knows.. and that should be our answer

The climate clock is ticking. To turn it back, the world is putting its faith in ‘negative-emissions technologies’. These would suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and lock it up for centuries on the land, in the sea or beneath the sea floor (see ‘Marine geoengineering’). Although such technologies are yet to be developed, they are nonetheless implicit in assessments by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). To limit warming to 1.5 °C compared to pre-industrial levels, as much as 20 billion tonnes (gigatonnes) of CO2 might need to be removed from the atmosphere each year until 21001.


14. The Gulf could see one of the largest dead zones in history this year

The Gulf of Mexico could see one of its largest dead zones on record this summer, according to researchers. A "dead zone" is known in scientific literature as hypoxia, which means low oxygen. This water, with its low concentration of dissolved oxygen, can no longer support the life that calls that part of the ocean home. For decades, researchers have tracked exactly how big the annually recurring dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will be. Dead zones were first noticed the area in the 1970s, and they've been growing in size ever since. Based on current conditions, some scientists think that the Gulf of Mexico will experience the second-largest dead zone on record in July.


15. Ghost Fleet Official Trailer

Poaching using men kidnapped from their homes, enslaved and forced to work in inhumane conditions for years.  This is a nightmare that few people believe is happening today.
Ghost Fleet follows a small group of activists who risk their lives on remote Indonesian islands to find justice and freedom for the enslaved fishermen who feed the world’s insatiable appetite for seafood.  
Bangkok-based Patima Tungpuchayakul, a Thai abolitionist, has committed her life to help these “lost” men return home. Facing illness, death threats, corruption, and complacency, Patima’s fearless determination for justice inspire her nation and the world. In theaters June 7, 2019. 


16. Plastic pollution and global heating: Cross-party MPs unveil new strategy for ocean conservation

Since January, more than 70 dead gray whales have washed up on the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Canada. That's the most in a single year since 2000, and scientists are concerned. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries designated these strandings as part of an Unusual Mortality Event (UME). Under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act, the designation of a UME means that more resources and scientific expertise will be dedicated to investigating what's causing so many whales to die.

Read more from "Edie"


17. Shark fins cover Lush headquarters for World Oceans Day

Lush Cosmetics covered its Vancouver headquarters with hundreds of cardboard shark fins on Saturday to mark World Oceans Day and call attention to the damage humans are doing to the planet’s oceans generally, and to sharks, in particular. “Healthy oceans are integral to combating climate change, and as a keystone species, sharks are really under attack,” said Carleen Pickard, an ethical campaigns specialist for Lush. “We hear so often about, you know, big media splashes around shark attacks, but really it’s humans that are attacking sharks.”

Read more from "CTV News"


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Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Ocean 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