The Beacon

Ocean Roundup: 20 Coral Species to Gain Federal Protection, Shell Files New Plan for Arctic Drilling, and More

Rough cactus coral, one of the new coral species to be listed as threatened. (Photo: FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute / Flickr Creative Commons)

- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced it will list 20 new species of coral as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, largely because of climate change. Found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean, these corals are also threatened by overfishing, runoff, and coastal construction. The Associated Press 

- Long thought to be a form of eco-tourism, new research shows that whale watching may have a serious negative impact on whales. Apart from vessel collisions, researchers are also concerned about whale’s abilities to feed or energy they may waste swimming away from ships. Nature

- After years of setbacks, Royal Dutch Shell is attempting to proceed with Arctic oil exploration. Yesterday, Shell submitted a plan to the federal government with their intent two drill with two rigs in the Chukchi Sea. The New York Times

- A new NOAA study found that derelict traps—or lost and abandoned fishing gear—result in major loses to marine habitat, wildlife, and fisherman, and that these losses are also preventable. The authors recommended that derelict traps become considered in fishery management decisions, and that further research be completed. Nature World News


- Sharks provide countless benefits to ocean ecosystems and to humans themselves. Even though scientists, conservationists, and fishery managers have made great progress for shark conservation, Conservation International’s chief scientist for the oceans argues that “we can do better.” The Huffington Post

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