The Beacon

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

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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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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