One Cool Thing: Florida Divers Set World Record for Ocean Clean Up

It’s an official Guinness Record        Photo: Mike Stocker, Sun-Sentinel

A group of 633 scuba divers near Boca Raton, Florida set a new Guinness Book of World Records world record for the largest underwater cleanup in the world.  Ahmed Gabr, a former Egyptian Army scuba diver, with a team of 614 divers in the Red Sea in Egypt in 2015, held the record previously.  While they don’t know how much trash was recovered, they were able to give the area surrounding a popular pier a thorough clean up. Diver and environmentalist RJ Harper, who helped recruit divers for the event, reported that the divers recovered 1,600 pounds of lead fishing weights alone, the result of years of anglers cutting bait, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  Harper says he hopes this event will inspire other communities to do the same.  We hope so too!

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A New Playbook For Addressing Ocean Plastics

A New Playbook For Addressing Ocean Plastics

In advance of the sixth Our Ocean Conference later this week, the Ocean Conservancy released its latest report on ocean plastics recommending content standards for recycled products to increase the demand for them and that they impose fees on producers depending on the amount of packaging material they put on the market or their plastic recycling/recovery targets in order to increase single-use plastic collection.

Why This Matters:  It is significant that a group of companies that are responsible for much of the plastic that is sold — companies like Dow, Starbucks, and Coca-Cola — were part of this effort and stand behind these recommendations.  They know they have a problem.  But it will take their action — urging Congress and state and local legislatures to enact the necessary laws and ordinances — to make their recommendations a reality.

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Two Blobs – Both Scary – One Dying and One Now On Display

Two Blobs – Both Scary – One Dying and One Now On Display

In September, when ocean temperatures were five degrees above normal, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) feared the re-emergence of a large ocean heatwave in the Pacific, which was known as “The Blob” when it formed before in 2014-15 and wreaked havoc with ocean ecosystems and wildlife at the time.  But due to a major shift in the weather pattern in the Gulf of Alaska, this year’s warm ocean water “blob” has begun to weaken and is expected to continue to lose strength as storms in the Pacific churn up colder water. 

Meanwhile, a blob of another variety went on display over the weekend at the Paris Zoo — and according to Popular Mechanics, it isn’t an animal, plant, or fungus, it has 720 sexes but no brain, loves oatmeal and is a billion years old. 

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Moving Toward Electronic Monitoring in U.S. Fisheries – Step by Step

Moving Toward Electronic Monitoring in U.S. Fisheries – Step by Step

Fishers around the world are increasingly using electronic monitoring (EM) technologies such as cameras, gear sensors, and electronic reporting (ER) to improve the timeliness, quality, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility of fisheries data collection in commercial fishing operations, and the U.S. is working to keep pace.   A strong coalition of industry, managers and other stakeholders called the Net Gains Alliance recently funded four projects to find solutions to overcome specific barriers to greater EM/ER adoption.

Why This Matters:  Its time to bring fisheries management into the 21st century using the best available technology. 

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