The Beacon

Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.

Video: Drone Captures Amazing Humpback Whale Feeding Event on Camera

Drone footage captured humpback whales feeding off Alaska

Humpback whales feeding in Alaska. (Photo: AkXpro / Vimeo)

Apart from their massive size, humpback whales are most known for their extensive, complex “songs” that male humpbacks use for communication. But, humpback whales also have some fascinating feeding behaviors that are also worthy of attention—particularly bubble-netting.


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Ocean Roundup: Deep Sea Sediments Act as Microplastic Sinks, Risso’s Dolphins Stranding in High Numbers, and More

Risso's dolphins are stranding in elevated numbers in Tasmania

A Risso’s dolphin. These dolphins have been stranding in high numbers along Tasmania. (Photo: Images by John 'K' / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A federal report released this week found that temperatures in the Arctic are warming at twice the rate of those in lower latitudes. The report also discussed how these temperature and sea ice changes are negatively impacting polar bear populations and fish migrations. The Washington Post


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Act: GrubHub, Take Shark Fin Off the Menu!

A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini), a species commonly harvested for the shark fin trade. (Photo: Oceana / © Rob Stewart) 

Shark and ocean lovers may want to think twice the next time they sit down with their computers or smartphones to order some takeout—shark fin could be on the menu.

Every day, thousands of people in more than 600 cities order food from tens of thousands of restaurants on GrubHub and its subsidiaries—Seamless, All Menus, and Menu Pages. Yet some of featured restaurants offer shark fin products on their menus.


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Ocean Roundup: Humpback Whales Communicate to Feed at Night, Bangladesh Oil Spill Threatening Sundarbans Mangroves, and More

Humpback whales feed with "tick-tock" noises at night

A humpback whale feeding. New research shows humpback whales make “tick-tock” noises to feed at night. (Photo: Garrett Coakley / Flickr Creative Commons)

- European Union fishery ministers reached agreements on commercial catch regulations for 2015, allowing for increased catches in cod, prawns, plaice, haddock, and more in certain areas. Many conservationists are criticizing the decision, saying it defied scientific advice to decrease many of these catches. The Guardian


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Presidential Task Force Releases Bold Recommendations for Tackling Seafood Fraud and Illegal Fishing

A presidential task force on seafood fraud released its recommendations today.

The Task Force on seafood fraud released its first recommendations for tackling the issue on December 16. (Photo: Jenn Hueting)

Today, President Obama’s Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud delivered its first recommendations for tackling this issue, which included domestic and international measures to help ensure that seafood sold in the United States is safe, legally caught, and honestly labeled.  Oceana commends the recommendations and says they are a real step forward for fighting illegal fishing and seafood fraud in the U.S. and around the world.


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Ocean Roundup: Task Force Releases Recommendations on Seafood Fraud, Sea Otters Critical to Healthy Marshes, and More

Sea otters are important to maintaining healthy marshes

A sea otter in California. Sea otters play important roles in maintaining healthy marsh ecosystems. (Photo: USFWS Pacific Southwest Region / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Today, President Obama’s designated Task Force on tackling seafood fraud released  their first set of recommendations for eliminating the issue. While many conservationists are hailing the recommendations—such as instilling better enforcement and encouraging collaboration among organizations—as a positive first step, they say there is still much work to be done. National Geographic


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Western Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Gain New Protections

NMFS created protections for western Atlantic bluefin tuna

Bluefin tuna (Thynnus thynnus). (Photo:  Oceana / Keith Ellenbogen)

Western Atlantic bluefin tuna are sleek, torpedo-like fish that can power through the ocean’s depths at over 40 miles per hour. They’re top ocean predators, preying on mackerel, herring, squid, eels, and crustaceans, but they’re also some of the most coveted fish in the world.


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Ocean Roundup: Filefish Use Chemical Scent to Camouflage, Bangladesh Oil Spill Threatening Endangered Dolphins, and More

The orange-spotted filefish uses chemical scents for camouflage

An orange-spotted filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris). These fish both look and smell like coral reef habitat to hide from predators. (Photo: jaredzimmerman [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

- Nicaragua's Pearl Cays region has seen a large increase in hawksbill sea turtle nests since 2000, from about 154 nests in 2000 to 468 in 2014. Poaching has also significantly decreased in the area by about 80 percent. ScienceDaily


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Recent Baltimore Sun Articles Highlight Issues with Federal Seafood Fraud Enforcement

The Baltimore Sun wrote articles on the decline of seafood fraud enforcement

(Photo: Oceana / Jenn Hueting)

The chances are that you’ve eaten seafood sometime recently—whether that be a fish fillet burger, a shrimp cocktail, sushi, or more. But, the seafood you consumed may not be what you think it is—and could be another species, or farmed when it was labeled as wild.


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Ocean Roundup: UN Urges Mangrove Protection, Warming Pacific Waters Could Unlock Layer of Methane, and More

The UN has emphasized the importance of protecting mangroves

Mangroves in Florida. Protecting mangroves has been an emphasis at UN climate talks this week. (Photo: Phil's 1stPix / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Authorities are concerned that oil from a two-mile long oil slick in New Jersey’s Sandy Hook Bay could threaten an endangered population of seals that migrate through the area each winter. Officials are still investigating the cause of the spill. NBC


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