The Beacon

Artist On the Hook for Sharks

Warning: this post is not for the squeamish.

The Telegraph reports that a British artist has decided to pierce the skin of her back with shark hooks and hang herself from a shop ceiling to protest the practice of shark finning. (In case you're curious, the story link includes a cringe-worthy photo...)

The artist is quoted as saying: "I am doing this because the demand for shark fin soup and other shark products is wiping out the shark population."

Well, it's certainly an attention-getting stunt, that's for sure. But do you think this kind of stunt is a worthwhile way to get the word out about sharks?

Continue reading...

Bye Bye, Ice

I hate to do this to y'all, but...

BBC has more bad news about Arctic ice loss, just a few days after I wrote about it on Friday.

Seems as though there's about to be another broken record on this front... and I'm going to start sounding like one.

So here's a little something to momentarily cheer you up.

Continue reading...

Puffins in Decline


After years of successful conservation efforts, it appears puffins might be in trouble... at least according to this year's breeding numbers. A survey showed a 30 percent reduction in the number of nesting pairs on the Isle of May off the coast of Scotland.

The possible causes? The usual suspects: intensive fishing, agriculture, and global warming.

While the puffin is not in imminent danger of going extinct, some scientists say what's more worrisome is the recent decline in puffins as a larger symptom of greater ocean ills.

Puffins are adorable, no two ways about it -- they look almost fake in their cuteness. So what was British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay thinking when he hunted and feasted on a raw puffin heart on a recent episode of his TV show, "The F Word"? Bad form, Mr. Ramsay.

[Image: Terry Cavner via]

Continue reading...

An Unwelcome Milestone

arctic ice melting

Occasionally I write a "Friday Victories" blog -- if there's some particularly good news to report. Unfortunately, today's not one of those occasions.

Unless it's a victory for climate change, that is. With three weeks of the melting season to go, this year's Arctic ice pack is the second smallest ever recorded on satellite.

So chances are, in a few weeks, I'll be writing another blog reporting that the ice has shrunk even smaller than last year, claiming the record.

Learn more about climate change and the Arctic at and

[Image via]

Continue reading...

Junk Raft Makes Land

marcus eriksen

After three months of sailing across the Pacific ocean to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the sea, the Junk Raft has made land in Hawaii!

Here's an excerpt from their victorious post:

"2,600 miles of open ocean crossed in 87 days. From our first week of sinking hopes on a sinking raft, through four hurricanes that swept under us, to the unbelievable chance meeting with Roz Savage in the middle of nowhere, we have had quite an adventure. We’ve collected 10 ocean surface samples using our marine debris trawl, managed to snatch a few large pieces of plastic debris that floated under us, and caught fish with stomachs filled with particles of plastic. Plastic is forever, and it’s everywhere.

Continue reading...

Smithsonian's Ocean Issue

smithsonian magazine ocean issue sept 2008

Smithsonian Magazine's September cover story spotlights the still-pristine pockets of the sea.

The author lauds the success of the ocean's protected areas, beginning with the world's largest -- a marine reserve the size of California established by the remote nation of Kiribati this past January.

Then there's the United States' version, the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, established in 2006 around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. It's about 140,000 square miles -- larger (and harder to pronounce) than all the other U.S. national parks put together.

The question posed here seems to be, "Hey, look how well these protected areas of the ocean are doing. Could this be part of the answer to our problems?" (Hint: Our president seems to think so.) Read the piece and decide for yourself.

Continue reading...

A Too-Fancy Feast

fat cats eat forage fish in australia

As noted by our friend over at Shifting Baselines, apparently Aussie cats are consuming more seafood than their humans.

Excuse me?

That's correct. The country's cats consume on average 13.7 kg of fish and seafood, which is 2.7 kg more than the average human Aussie. And the worst part? They are eating cat food made of wild forage fish -- think sardines, herrings and anchovies -- which are important in the diet of larger fish like tuna and swordfish.

Continue reading...

Dirty Fishing, Documented

Earlier this month, the Norwegian coastguard captured dramatic footage of a ship called the Prolific discarding up to 80% of its catch of endangered fish in British waters by exploiting a loophole in EU law, which sets quotas for fish landed at ports, not what is actually caught at sea.

As the Guardian environment blogger observed, "The wasteful consequences of Europe's fisheries policies, though well-known, are rather abstract to most people - it all happens a long way out at sea. And that's the power of the video."

Couldn't have said it better myself -- this video is what our dirty fishing campaign is all about.

Continue reading...

It's Easy Being Green

sell old stuff on and give to oceana

I know you have an old computer monitor lying around, or an Ikea coffee table you're sick of, or an old VHS collection that's gathering dust and making you feel old. Instead of turning to your friend Craig and his fabulous list, try out the recently launched Remarkd -- It's like craigslist or e-bay... with warm fuzzies.

On Remarkd you post things for sale, and then you donate a portion to the cause of your choice -- more specifically, US!

What a bright idea!

Continue reading...

Tell Dr. Lark to Leave Sharks Alone!

When we told you that the Vermont Country Store was selling a cosmetic product known as "squalane" obtained from shark liver oil, thousands of you contacted the store. Thanks to you, they stopped selling the product. But Wavemakers didn't just flood the inbox of the Vermont Country Store, many of you also wrote to us -- furious about beauty care supplier Dr. Susan Lark and her enthusiastic promotion of products containing squalane from sharks. Well, you spoke up and we listened! We asked her nicely and made little progress. Now it's time to get Dr. Lark to change her ways.

Continue reading...

Browse by Date