The Beacon

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

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 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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Ocean News: June 2014 Marked the Hottest on Record, Microplastics Worse for Crabs than Thought, and More

A shore crab (Carcinus maenas)

A shore crab (Carcinus maenas) captured during an Oceana expedition to the Baltic Sea. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

- In 1997, nearly 4.8 million pieces of Legos spilled into the Atlantic when a container ship was hit by a massive wave. These Lego pieces—many of them sea-themed like octopus—are still washing up on beaches in the United Kingdom nearly 20 years after the spill. BBC News


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Video: Oceana Exposes Illegal Drift Gillnet Use in Italy

drift gillnets in Italy

Containers filled with drift gillnets in Italy, photographed during a 2006 Oceana expedition. (Photo: Oceana / Eduardo de Ana)

Earlier this month, Oceana in Europe and Italian journalist Sabrina Giannini gathered evidence of Italian fishermen using illegal drift gillnets in the swordfish fishery at the Port of Bagnara Calabra in southern Italy. Despite a 2002 ban by the European Union on this destructive fishing gear—and even with the Italian government providing high subsidies for other fishing techniques—Italy continues to use this illegal gear.


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North Atlantic Great White Sharks are Rebounding, but that’s Not the Case for All Species

A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

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

Great white sharks are arguably the most widely-known shark species, but unfortunately, they’re not known for their roles as apex predators that are crucial to healthy ocean ecosystems. Instead, some have characterized them as vicious monsters of the deep, and the media over-sensationalizes rare attacks—which doesn’t  help conservation efforts.


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Ocean News: Green Sea Turtle Makes Longest Migration Ever Recorded, Small Oil Spill Found off of Italy, and More

A green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)

A green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). (Photo: Oceana / Eduardo Sorensen)

- In areas where overfishing is common and observers are few and far between, drones could be a significant resource in helping to tackle illegal fishing. This June, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Belize Drones, and Belize’s fisheries department launched a program that may soon have drones flying over Belize’s Glover Reef. National Geographic


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Obama Administration Approves Seismic Airgun Use off the Atlantic Coast In Spite of Local Opposition and Threats to Marine Life

A North Atlantic right whale

A North Atlantic right whale, a critically endangered species that will be impacted by this decision. (Photo: FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Flickr Creative Commons)

For more than 30 years, the Atlantic coast has been off limits to offshore drilling. Today, our government appears to be folding to the pressure of Big Oil and its big money.

This morning, the Obama administration approved the use of dynamite-like blasts to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor in the Atlantic Ocean. The decision opens Delaware through Florida—an area twice the size of California—to these blasts, in spite of the proven threats to marine, mounting local opposition, and risks to fisheries.


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