The Beacon

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

No-Take Zones in Belize Could Rebuild Conch, Lobster, and Grouper Populations

No-take zones could rebuild conch populations in Belize

Queen conch (Strombus gigas), a species that could rebuild with no-take zones in Belize. (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Dave C.)

The islands of Belize are surrounded by vibrant blue waters, beautiful and unusual marine creatures, and the largest barrier reef system in the Western Hemisphere. But even in Belize—one of the least densely populated Caribbean countries—these marine animals and ecosystems are not exempt from exploitative human activities like overfishing. A new report, however, from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) suggests a solution for Belize’s marine life—and particularly coral reefs—to recover: expand no-take zones. 


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Ocean News: Cape Cod Embraces Shark Spottings, Rare White Southern Right Whale Calf Spotted off Australia, and More

Great white sharks are celebrated on Cape Cod

A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). (Photo: Scubaben / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A rare white southern right whale calf was recently spotted off southern Australia with its mother. Only about two percent of southern right whales are born white, but remain that color for just a year. Adelaide Now


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Staff Spotlight: Jackie Savitz

Oceana’s Vice President for U.S. Oceans Jacqueline Savitz

Oceana’s Vice President for U.S. Oceans Jacqueline Savitz (Photo: Oceana / Melissa Forsyth)

Going forward, The Beacon will feature one Oceana staff member every month, highlighting their role at Oceana and personal history with the oceans. The first spotlight is on Oceana’s vice president for United States Oceans, Jackie Savitz. Take a look below to learn more.


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Baby Sea Turtles Found to Make Noise to Coordinate Hatching

Leatherback sea turtles make noises

Leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) hatching from their nest in the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo: Oceana / Tim Calver)

If you’ve ever witnessed a sea turtle nest hatch, you’ve probably noticed that it seems like these reptiles emerge from their nests in silence. Scientists have long assumed that too, but a new study adds to a growing body of literature that finds that baby sea turtles can in fact make noise—and this communication is key to a successful hatching  process.


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Ocean News: NC Fishermen Face Tighter Restrictions, Antarctic Fur Seals Hurt by Climate Change, and More

Antarctic fur seals are losing krill

Antarctic Fur Seals. (Photo: Liam Quinn / Flickr Creative Commons) 

- North Carolina fishermen that use large mesh gill nets are now facing tighter restrictions after the state's Division of Marine Fisheries failed to comply with federal requirements. Under the new requirements, the fishermen can only deploy their nets at limited times and to a certain depth in an effort to protect sea turtles. North Carolina Sportsman


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Loggerhead Sea Turtles Gain Protection with Swordfish Drift Gillnet Fishery Restriction

loggerhead sea turtles are protected by the swordfish drift gillnet closure

A loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Suárez) 

Yesterday, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the California swordfish drift gillnet fishery after facing mounting pressure from Oceana and our partner conservation groups. This closure, known as the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area, will occur from July 25 to August 31, 2014 in an area that stretches just north of Santa Barbara and runs south of San Diego, and will prevent endangered loggerhead sea turtles from entangling and drowning in these indiscriminant nets.


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Massachusetts Takes a Step Forward For Sharks

Blue sharks protected by the Massachusetts shark fin ban

Blue shark (Prionace glauca). (Photo: Oceana / Karin Leonard / Marine Photobank)

This week, Massachusetts became the ninth state to regulate the trade of shark fins within their state borders—an important step forward in the fight for global shark conservation. Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a bill that reduces the state’s participation in the international trade of shark fins, joining California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Washington, and the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas islands.


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Ocean News: Blue Whale “Hot Spots” Linked with Busy Shipping Lanes, Massachusetts Bans Shark Fin Trade, and More

Blue whales hot spots are in busy fishing lanes

A blue whale off of California. (Photo: millerm217 / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A new study found that blue whale “hot spots” off California intersect with some of California’s busiest shipping lanes, and that ship strikes are preventing blue whales from recovering. Blue whale numbers have increased since the International Whaling Commission’s 1966 protections, but they haven’t recovered at the rate scientists expected. National Geographic


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Photos: A Look at Some of the Ocean’s Most Beautiful Tentacles

Jellyfish tentacles close up

Muave stinger jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca) photographed off the Balearic Islands, Spain. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell) 

If you’ve spent some time at the coast this summer, the chances are you’ve had a close encounter with a jellyfish, as these invertebrates have earned quite the reputation in the media for “invading” coastal areas and causing a “jellyfish apocalypse” in recent years.


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Ocean News: Regulators Propose Whale Sanctuary in the Canary Islands, Harbor Seals Found to Forage around Wind Farms, and More

Harbor seals are finding food around wind farms

A harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). (Photo: Blake Matheson / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A new report warns that U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast states are not prepared for increased storms and flooding brought on by climate change. The report calls for better collaboration between state and federal lawmakers to create policy changes that reduce risk. National Geographic


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