The U.S. Challenges China’s Territorial Claims Over Parts of the South China Sea

The U.S. Challenges China’s Territorial Claims Over Parts of the South China Sea

Late yesterday, the Trump administration challenged China’s “ownership” claims of certain disputed portions of the South China Sea that are valuable fishing grounds and that also, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, contain huge reserves of oil and gas, much of which is yet undiscovered. 

Why This Matters:  This may ultimately about all that oil and gas, but the conflict today is overfishing.  China continues to use its military to prevent Vietnamese fishing boats from harvesting in the disputed areas.

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Climate Change Impacting Fish Spawning, While Not Enough Habitat Is Protected By Fisheries Managers

Climate Change Impacting Fish Spawning, While Not Enough Habitat Is Protected By Fisheries Managers

We know that rising ocean temperatures are causing fish stocks to migrate to cooler waters, and now we have new evidence as to why.  A study by German scientists found that juvenile fish and fish that are ready to mate are especially sensitive to changes in water temperature, and as a result, up to 60 percent of all species may be forced to leave their traditional spawning areas as waters warm.

Why This Matters:  Fish populations need functional habitat to survive and procreate.

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Louisiana Marshes May Be A Goner Due To Expected Sea Level Rise

Louisiana Marshes May Be A Goner Due To Expected Sea Level Rise

A new study in the Journal of Science Advances concludes that the “drowning” of the roughly 15,000 square kilometers of remaining marshland in the Mississippi River Delta of Louisiana is “past the tipping point” and now “probably inevitable,” according to The Washington Post

Why This Matters:  Louisiana has already lost one-fourth of the land in the Delta at the beginning of the last century.

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US Fishing Industry Hopes You Will #EatSeafoodAmerica

US Fishing Industry Hopes You Will #EatSeafoodAmerica

With supermarkets running low on meat, seafood is a healthy option, and sales of frozen seafood like shrimp and canned seafood (much of which is imported) are up over last year, according to some retailers.  Most of the domestic seafood landed and sold in the U.S. comes from small fishing businesses and goes to restaurants and those sales are down as much as 95% across the country.

Why This Matters:  Congress provided $300m for fishers in stimulus funding, but it is only a “drop in the bucket” of what is needed to keep fishers afloat said Alaskan commercial fisher Julie Decker on Tuesday at a forum convened by the Ocean Caucus Foundation.

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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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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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