Saturday, November 30, 2019

Sea Save Foundation "Ocean Week in Review" November 29, 2019: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

New Jersey shark fin bill goes to governor's desk, Climate change reshaping ocean communities, Underwater rover to be used in oceans of our solar system, Measuring a blue whale's heart rate and more.

1. New Jersey shark fin bill goes to governor's desk

The Assembly passed bill A4845 (Mukherji) \ S2905 (Singleton) today. The bill prohibits certain possession, sale, trade, distribution, or offering for sale of shark fins. The bill was passed with a vote of 53-18-1. S2905 (Singleton) will now go to the Governor’s desk to sign. “The shark population has been decimated. Shark finning has led to the overfishing and overexploitation of shark species. Since shark fin soup is a delicacy, the fins are sold at high prices resulting in tens of millions of sharks being killed every year. This has led to a dramatic decrease in the shark population with some species like the smooth hammerhead dropping a staggering 99% since 1972.

Edtorial Note: Sea Save has been advocating for this bill. If you would like to endorse this, use our tool to tell Governor Phil Murphy, to protect oceans by stopping the unsustainable shark fin trade:  click here.


2. Climate change is reshaping oceanic communities

Climate change is reshaping fish communities and other sea life, according to a pioneering study on how ocean warming is affecting the mix of species. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, covers species that are important for fisheries and that serve as food for fish, such as copepods and other zooplankton. “The changes we’re observing ripple throughout local and global economies all the way to our dinner plates,” said co-author Malin Pinsky, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.


3. Underwater rover could explore ocean worlds in our solar system

Astronomers have uncovered increasing evidence that some bodies in our solar system, like Jupiter's moon Europa and Saturn's moon Enceladus, are actually ocean worlds. And those oceans could potentially host life  To learn more, astronomers want to get up close and observe these worlds with robots, much like the way rovers have been used to explore the surface of Mars. But for that to happen, the robot would need to be equipped to handle the unknowns of an icy cold alien ocean.


4. United Nations says drastic action is only way to avoid devastating effects of climate change

The world has squandered so much time mustering the action necessary to combat climate change that rapid, unprecedented cuts in greenhouse gas emissions offer the only hope of averting an ever-intensifying cascade of consequences, according to new findings from the United Nations. Already, the past year has brought devastating hurricanes, relentless wildfires and crippling heat waves, prompting millions of protesters to take to the streets to demand more attention to a problem that seems increasingly urgent.


5. Armed with suction cups and a little luck, scientists measure blue whale's heart rate

Using a bright orange electrocardiogram machine attached with suction cups to the body of a blue whale, scientists for the first time have measured the heart rate of the world’s largest creature and came away with insight about the renowned behemoth’s physiology. The blue whale, which can reach up to 100 feet (30 meters) long and weigh 200 tons, lowers its heart rate to as little as two beats per minute as it lunges under the ocean surface for food, researchers said on Monday. The maximum heart rate they recorded was 37 beats per minute after the air-breathing marine mammal returned to the surface from a foraging dive.


6. Majority believe US government is doing 'too little' to fight climate change

A majority of Americans believe the government must do more to address pollution and climate concerns, according to a new study. The federal government must do more to protect clean water, air quality, animals, open lands and reduce the effects of climate change, according to a majority of respondents in the survey released Monday by the Pew Research Center. The survey broke down along party lines, with 90 percent of those who identified as Democrats saying they believe the federal government is doing “too little” to address climate change and just 39 percent of self-identifying Republicans saying the same.


7. United Nations agency finds greenhouse gases hit record levels in 2018

Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached record highs in 2018, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a report released Monday. The Guardian reports the findings from the United Nations agency show the increases in key climate-heating greenhouse gases measured in 2018 were all above the average for the last decade. “There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, despite all the commitments under the Paris agreement on climate change. We need to increase the level of ambition for the sake of the future welfare of mankind,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement accompanying the report.


8. A new study based in desert demonstrates ocean acidification is extremely underestimated

Ocean acidification is a clear and present danger to marine life, to the marine food chain and to animals that eat marine life (such as ourselves). Ocean acidity differs vastly on a local scale. But looking at the global average, the world’s oceans are about 25 percent more acidic than before the industrial revolution. To those of you who took chemistry once upon a time, the pH of the ocean is presently about 8.1. The pH of our blood averages about 7.4, by the way.


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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