The Beacon

Your Tuna -- er, Tilapia -- is Served

new york sushi mislabeling

Now here's an eye-opener for you. Two sushi-loving high school girls in New York took on a freelance science project to check 60 samples of seafood using a simplified genetic fingerprinting (or "barcoding") technique to see whether their fish was correctly labeled.

The result? Two of the 4 restaurants and 6 of the 10 grocery stores sold mislabeled fish. Yes, it's a small sample size, but still, yikes!


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Is Sea Life Worth It?

new report by oceana about value of sea life to divers

The answer, according to our new report, is an overwhelming yes.

As you may have heard on NPR's Marketplace this morning, our report, Sea the Value: Quantifying the Value of Marine Life to Divers, asked scuba divers whether they would be willing to pay to help protect populations of ocean wildlife -- and a majority of divers surveyed said they would.


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A Sea Turtle Walks Into a Restaurant...

...it sounds like the start of a bad joke. Unfortunately, it's real.

Reuters reports that about 60 newly hatched sea turtles in southern Italy lost their way during their ritual passage to the sea and wound up under the tables at a beachfront restaurant.

The babies were most likely attracted to the establishment's bright lights, say conservation workers.

But maybe they were just craving gnocchi...


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Flipper Lives!

Dolphin walking on tail

A wild dolphin in south Australia has been teaching members of her group to walk on their tails, a behavior usually seen only after training in captivity. Scientists are scratching their heads -- why would the dolphins do this? Well, one of the female dolphins, Billie, could have learned the behavior by observation during her brief stint in a dolphinarium. Or they might be watching too much Olympic gymnastics. Plus, it just looks like fun.


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Pierre Terre's Trash Beach

hawaii trash beach pierre terre

I'm always talking about the problem of plastics in the ocean. Well, today I found a related humorous-slash-puzzling video brought to you by Pierre Terre Productions, an "independent media company producing webcast and broadcast video stories of wisdom, value, intelligence and good intent."

This particular piece is about a place on the Big island of Hawaii known as Trash Beach because of the garbage, mostly plastic, that washes ashore due to ocean currents in the Pacific.

Pierre and friend Krista explore the absurdly littered beach, and while the short piece lacks scientific detail or a suggested solution to the problem, you might be charmed by Pierre's French accent -- but don't be fooled, Pierre is merely a character played by Kevin Hansen...


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Amber's Safe Seafood Close-ups

Amber Valletta, model, actress, and official spokesperson for Oceana's Stop Seafood Contamination Campaign, is featured in the September issue of Shape magazine. After a close friend was told by her doctor to avoid getting pregnant because of the dangerous amount of mercury in her blood, Amber was inspired to get involved with us.


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Peirsol Takes Silver in 200 Backstroke Final

ryan lochte wins gold in 200 meter backstroke, aaron peirsol takes silver

Aaron Peirsol's teammate Ryan Lochte won his first individual gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke final in a world record of 1 minute, 53.94 seconds.

While many assumed Aaron would become the first man in 36 years to sweep the Olympic backstroke events at consecutive Games, the "greatest backstroker of all time" took second place in stride.

As he said to the Orange County Register, “It really doesn’t take anything away from my career, a race is a race. You can get beat, no one owns anything.”

The event brings Aaron's career medal count to 4 golds and two silvers -- not too shabby!

[Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images via www.nytimes.com]


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7 Tips for Choosing Seafood

seafood poster

Grist's Checkout Line with Lou Bendrick has a handy guide to the confusing world of sustainable seafood today -- here are the basics, check out the post for the full story:

1. Eat as locally as possible.

2. Ask questions when you shop for fish.

3. Read labels.

4. Choose wisely at restaurants.

5. Eat lower on the food chain.

6. Have your go-to sustainable favorites in mind.

7. Be careful with the Big Two -- shrimp and salmon -- which can, as Bendrick punnily points out, be a literally lousy option.


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Reunion in the Pacific

roz savage and junk raft

Today the Junk Raft blog notes that they've rendezvouz'd in the middle of the Pacific ocean with Roz Savage -- another courageous soul crossing the Pacific solo to advocate for marine conservation.

I've written about the Junk Raft before, but to review, they are sailing from California to Hawaii on a raft made of plastic to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the oceans.


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Saving the Whales...Via Their Poop?

humpback whale

Props to the folks over at the Science blog Zooillogix for a great post this week about scientists in New England who are studying the Atlantic's threatened population of right whales by collecting and analyzing their floating, um, poop. Joking aside, analyzing whale poop -- or any other method of determining the health of certain whale populations -- is apparently needed. This week, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species revealed that while there is some good news for whales and some bad, the bottom line was that more data is needed. The IUCN was unable to assess more than half of the world's cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) because of a lack of data.


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