Ocean
Scientists Say Oceans Can Be Restored by 2050, With Big Commitments to Conservation

Scientists Say Oceans Can Be Restored by 2050, With Big Commitments to Conservation

A new study published in the journal Nature has revealed that oceans are remarkably resilient and could be restored to health by 2050 if “major pressures—including climate change—are mitigated.” As the BBC reported, the researchers identified nine components that are key to rebuilding the oceans: salt marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, kelp, oyster reefs, fisheries, […]

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Illegal Fishing In Chilean Waters Just Got Harder – And You Can Help Catch The Bad Guys

Illegal Fishing In Chilean Waters Just Got Harder – And You Can Help Catch The Bad Guys

Two weeks ago the government of Chile joined Panama, Peru, and Indonesia by making its vessel tracking data publicly available through Global Fishing Watch (GFW), which pinpoints on the above map (click on the map above) in real-time the movements of commercial fishing* vessels in Chile’s coastal ocean. 

Why This Matters:  Chile is a fishing powerhouse, and by joining the other nations that have made their similar data public, Chile is adding momentum to the movement towards greater transparency in fishing activity, which is the key to improving fisheries management and sustainability in the Pacific, and all eventually everywhere.

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Peru Moves to Greater Transparency and Accountability In Its All-Important Fisheries Sector

Peru Moves to Greater Transparency and Accountability In Its All-Important Fisheries Sector

Peru is the second-largest fishing nation in the world after China, and home to one of the world’s largest single stock fisheries – the anchoveta. In 2018, after a shift to rights-based management, its industrial fishery was one of the first in the world to make its vessel location (VMS) data available to the public in order to root out illegal fishing and improve management.

Why This Matters:  Peru may be a small country, but its fisheries are significant globally and the introduction of greater accountability for both large and small fishing vessels is a sign that better management is possible even as the national government struggles to overcome a series of corruption scandals.

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Florida Legislature Overrules Key West Sunscreen Ban Put In Place To Protect Coral Reef

Florida Legislature Overrules Key West Sunscreen Ban Put In Place To Protect Coral Reef

Last year the City of Key West Florida voted to become the first city on the U.S. mainland to ban the use of toxic chemicals in sunscreen in order to protect the coral reefs in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a major tourism draw for the region, which locals work very hard to keep pristine. But the ban may never go into effect (unless Governor Ron DeSantis vetos the bill) because on Tuesday the state legislature passed legislation that prevents local governments from regulating any over-the-counter drugs or cosmetics including sunscreen.

 

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Second Failing Right Whale Spotted Off Mass Coast Entangled In Fishing Gear

Second Failing Right Whale Spotted Off Mass Coast Entangled In Fishing Gear

USA Today reported late Friday that government scientists have spotted off 45 miles off the coast of Nantucket a 19-year-old female right whale named “Dragon” appears to be in poor health because of a fishing buoy lodged in one corner of her mouth. 

Why This Matters:  It’s not just one or two whales — the fate of the species hangs in the balance.  I

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One Pink Thing:  Rare Pink Manta Ray Photographed Near Great Barrier Reef

One Pink Thing: Rare Pink Manta Ray Photographed Near Great Barrier Reef

Photographer Kristian Laine was free diving near Lady Elliot Island when he spotted and snapped pics of what may be the world’s only pink manta ray — named Inspector Clouseau, after the beloved detective in “The Pink Panther” movies. Laine initially thought that his camera was broken, National Geographic reported, and was shocked to learn […]

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Hero of the Week: RADM Evelyn Fields, First African American and First Woman Admiral in NOAA Corps

Hero of the Week: RADM Evelyn Fields, First African American and First Woman Admiral in NOAA Corps

This week, in honor of Black History Month, are shining a spotlight on a trailblazing leader of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s uniformed service corps (the NOAA Corps) where she rose to the rank of Rear Admiral.  Admiral Fields was the first African-American woman to command a ship in the U.S. uniformed services (which includes the Navy and the Coast Guard) for an extended assignment when she took command of the NOAA research vessel McArthur in 1989.

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Hurricanes Benefit Mangroves in Florida’s Everglades

Hurricanes Benefit Mangroves in Florida’s Everglades

Hurricanes can bring sheer destruction to coastal communities like causing elevated sea level, known as storm surge, extensive shoreline erosion, destruction to reefs, and other geologic effects leading to the loss of property and life. However, a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has revealed that hurricanes may actually […]

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Gulf Oil Spill More Toxic Than First Thought, But Red Snapper in Gulf Rebounding

Gulf Oil Spill More Toxic Than First Thought, But Red Snapper in Gulf Rebounding

A new study that was published last week in Science Advances, says that satellites were not able to fully detect oil in large areas of the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, and posits that “invisible and toxic oil” made the spill as much as 30% larger than some experts have estimated.

Why This Matters:  Underestimating the amount of oil that escaped during the worst oil spill in US history and where it went is a big deal — it means perhaps BP should have paid even more in civil fines and penalties, and it means that all our best technology and brainpower did not see the error in real-time.
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Ballast Water Could Be The Culprit Behind Lethal Coral Disease

Ballast Water Could Be The Culprit Behind Lethal Coral Disease

Scientists investigating the highly destructive stony coral disease, which has infected reefs in South Florida and the Caribbean, have zeroed in on a culprit behind the unpredictable spread of the disease: ballast water from big ships.

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Efforts to Shrink Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico Must Come From Minnesota and Iowa

Efforts to Shrink Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico Must Come From Minnesota and Iowa

The “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico in 2019 extended nearly 6000 square miles across — it’s caused by fertilizers and other nutrients coming via the Mississippi River from as far as Minnesota and Iowa and it’s an even bigger threat to ocean biodiversity and Louisiana’s $2 billion seafood industry than oil and gas spills, and it’s even harder to fix.

Why This Matters:  Politicians are gathered in Iowa for this week’s caucuses and they are getting an earful about the devastating floods last year. Iowa farmers are not the only small “farmers” who took a beating from the floods — so did fishermen more than a thousand miles away in Louisiana, and they can scarcely afford the blow.

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Climate Change and Brexit Upsetting EU Fishers and Markets

Climate Change and Brexit Upsetting EU Fishers and Markets

The United Kingdom is threatening to close its waters to fishers from other countries in Europe once it leaves the European Union next week, and if it does, the impact would be immediate and severe on fishing communities in neighboring nations that are now seeing their local fish stocks decline due to climate change.

Why This Matters:  One of the key issues in the Brexit negotiations that will begin after the U.K. formally leaves the EU on Friday is bound to be fisheries – right now all EU nations have free access to the U.K.’s lucrative fishing grounds.

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