The Beacon

Ocean Roundup: Seafood Watch Upgrades 21 Fish Species, Dolphin Slaughter Begins in Japan, and More

A thornyhead rockfish. Rockfish were recently upgraded to a more sustainable seafood option on The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program Seafood Watch list. (Photo: NOAA Photo Library / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Japan’s annual dolphin hunt began earlier this week, despite objection from many environmental groups that call the hunt “inhumane.” The catch involves driving dolphins into a secluded bay and then killing them, and will continue through February. The Guardian

- The endangered population of killer whales in the Puget Sound, known as Southern Residents, is at its lowest level since 1985, according to the Center for Whale Research. Scientists attribute a lack of prey source, mainly chinook salmon, for their decline. CBS News

- The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program has upgraded the status of 21 species of commercially important fish to either “best choice” or “good alternative.” Overfishing and ecological damage, mainly from bottom trawling, caused the decline of many of the groundfish, like rockfish, that have now been upgraded. Los Angeles Times

- In the first study of its kind, scientists looked at the effects of red tide—a bloom in the Karenia brevis algae species—on kemps ridley sea turtles. The scientists found that the toxin in Karenia brevis stays with turtles long after red tides have subsided, and that sea turtles had higher concentration of the toxin in their blood than dolphins. Tallahassee Democrat

- Halliburton, the company that cemented BP’s oil well that exploded in 2010, will have to pay $1.1 billion in settlement damages to thousands of businesses, individuals, and local governments. BP and Halliburton are still disputing responsibilities and damages since the spill. The New York Times

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