The Beacon

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

Staff Spotlight: Jackie Savitz

Jackie Savitz is Oceana's vice president for U.S. Oceans

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

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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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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Video: Spangled Emperor Fish Dazzle the Great Barrier Reef

A school of spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus)

A school of spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus). (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Bill & Mark Bell)

When you think of the Great Barrier Reef, you probably think of vibrant corals, glowing clams, and free-swimming sea turtles. But in this slow-motion video, one free diver catches the elegant beauty of spangled emperor—a fish you may have overlooked.


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Eleven Florida Lawmakers Urge President Obama to Reconsider Approval for Seismic Airgun Testing

Florida Lawmakers disapprove of Obama's decision to allow seismic airgun testing

A critically endangered North Atlantic right whale and a pod off bottlenose dolphins off the coast of Florida. (Photo: FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Flickr Creative Commons)

When the Obama Administration came out in support of oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic Coast last Friday, they caused quite the reaction among lawmakers, environmentalists, and citizens along the East Coast. Immediately after releasing their Record of Decision (ROD) approving seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic, all Democratic members of Florida’s congressional delegation, including Senator Bill Nelson, submitted a letter to President Obama expressing their disapproval of his decision and reiterating their opposition to any blasting for oil and gas off their coast. 


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Ocean News: Great Barrier Reef Will be “Pretty Ugly” by 2050, Sea Turtle Nests Down in South Carolina, and More

The Heart Reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

The Heart Reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. (Photo: Michael Sheil / Flickr Creative Commons)

- In an appearance before an Australian Senate this week, researchers said the Great Barrier Reef will be “pretty ugly” by 2050 and that "the reef is in the worse [sic] state it's ever been in since records began." The researchers linked the decline to coastal development and government action, specifically nothing their approval of a dredging and dumping project around the Reef. The Huffington Post   


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Chilean Salmon Industry Found to Use Highest Amount of Antibiotics Worldwide

Chilean salmon industry uses the highest amount of antibiotics

Salmon farming in Chile. (Photo: Oceana / Cristian Perez)

A new report found that the Chilean salmon farming industry used an astounding amount of antibiotics in 2013—the highest amount out of any country. The report by Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service revealed that the industry used over 993,000 pounds of antibiotics in 2013.


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Tackling Illegal Fishing in Italy: Behind the Scenes

Illegal driftnet fishing in Italy

(Photo: Oceana)

Earlier this month, Oceana in Europe and Corriere della Sera, an Italian newspaper, embarked on a behind-the-scenes mission to uncover illegal fishing in the Port of Bagnara in southwest Italy. During an overnight mission, the team documented illegally caught swordfish from drift gillnets entering the Port. This isn’t the first undercover mission from Oceanaearlier this summer we uncovered drift gillnets in Morocco. Read below for a behind-the-scenes look at this mission, and click here for more background information.


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