The Beacon

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

Photos: Introducing Deep-Sea Sharks, Some of the Wildest Looking Fish in the Oceans

Deep sea sharks have special adaptations

Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus). (Photo: © Citron / CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Did you know that over 350 shark species exist? Despite that massive number, most of the cartilaginous fish that get our attention are often the ones that frequent coastlines or are the most charismatic, like great white sharks and whale sharks.


Continue reading...

Arctic Oil and Gas Lease Sale Moves Forward Despite Waning Interest from Industry Groups

Polar bears would be affected by Arctic drilling

Polar bears and other majestic marine mammals could be greatly affected by an oil spill in the Arctic Ocean. Click here to join Oceana in asking the Obama Administration to take the Arctic Ocean off the table for the 2017-2022 OCS Lease Sale program. (Photo: Alan D. Wilson [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

There’s no question that drilling for oil in Arctic waters is risky business. Twenty five years after the Exxon Valdez tanker hit a reef in 1989, causing the second largest oil spill in U.S. history, wildlife and economies in Alaska’s Prince William Sound are still recovering. And in 2012, as part of an attempt at offshore oil exploration activity in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas, Shell’s Kulluk oil drilling rig ran aground near Kodiak Island.


Continue reading...

Poll: What’s Your Favorite Shark Species?

Favorite shark species

Caribbean Reef Shark (Carcharhinus perezi). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Suárez)

In honor of Discovery’s Shark Week, The Beacon will be celebrating the wonders of sharks through Friday. With over 350 shark species, the class Chondrichthyes is full of biodiversity, from sawfish to manta rays and famous great white sharks.

This week, we’re asking our readers to weigh in your favorite shark species. You have until Thursday, August 14 at 11:59 p.m. to pick one of the shark species below (take a look beneath the poll for a glimpse of each species), and whichever shark gets the most votes will be featured on The Beacon on Friday with a full species bio.


Continue reading...

Photos: Dusky the Shark Makes His First Appearance at Shark Week’s FinFest

Dusky the Shark appears at Discovery's FinFest

Dusky dancing at the FinFest concert. (Photo: Chris Panagakis)

This weekend, Dusky the Shark made his first-ever appearance at Discovery Channel’s FinFest in Hermosa Beach, California, a two-day event that kicked off Shark Week. Dusky made quite the splash at FinFest and stayed busy educating the public about his species.


Continue reading...

Dusky’s Big Adventure, Day 2: Dusky Learns Why His Population is Declining

Oceana helps dusky the shark

Dusky the Shark learns why his population is declining. (Photo: Oceana)

This is the second in a five-part blog series that features Dusky the Shark. Over the next few days, Dusky will appear in a comic strip that explains why dusky sharks in the northwestern Atlantic are at risk, and what actions he and Oceana are taking to protect his species. Check The Beacon again tomorrow for the next installment of Dusky’s Big Adventure, and click here to see Monday’s installment of Dusky’s Big Adventure.


Continue reading...

Hammerheads under Siege: Human Pressure Threatening an Iconic Species

Scalloped hammerheads received protected under the ESA

A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini). (Photo: Oceana / Rob Stewart)

Sharks have existed for roughly 450 million years—even before the dinosaurs. But, the very adaptations that have allowed sharks to survive for so many millions of years may now be working against them in the face of a relatively new threat: fishing. Under modern fishing pressure, are certain sharks “evolved for extinction”?


Continue reading...

Photos: The 10 Coolest Facts You Never Knew about Sharks

Top ten cool shark facts

A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini). (Photo: Oceana / Rob Stewart)

From our obsession with shark-themed movies like “Jaws,” to our desire to collect shark teeth at the beach, there's no denying that humans have a fascination with these cartilaginous fish.

But, just how well do you know these creatures? Even if you consider yourself pretty knowledgeable about these species, there’s always something new to learn. Take a look below at ten cool shark facts that may make you look at these ancient creatures in a different light.


Continue reading...

Dusky’s Big Adventure, Day 1: Dusky Turns to Oceana for Help

Dusky shark populations have declined by 99 percent

Dusky the Shark comes ashore to ask Oceana for help in rebuilding his population. (Photo: Oceana)

This is the first in a five-part blog series that features Dusky the Shark. Over the next few days, Dusky will appear in a comic strip that explains why dusky sharks in the northwestern Atlantic are at risk, and what actions he and Oceana are taking to protect his species. Check The Beacon again tomorrow for the next installment of Dusky’s Big Adventure.


Continue reading...

Meet the Dusky Shark: A Species that Needs Your Help to Literally Get Off the Hook (Photos)

A dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus). (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Co

A dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus). (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Commons)

You may not have heard of the dusky shark, a bronze-blue colored species found in warm coastal and pelagic waters around the world. While they may not be as famous as the favored great white or tiger sharks, dusky sharks are just as fascinating: These apex predators can live to be 40 years old, grow to be 12 feet long, and return to their natal regional waters to give birth. Unfortunately, dusky sharks off the Atlantic coast are in trouble.


Continue reading...

Outcry of Opposition Grows towards Seismic Airgun Approval along the East Coast

Seismic airgun blasting could lead to offshore drilling in the Atlantic

Oil rig off the coast of southeastern Louisiana. (Photo: Oceana / Eduardo Sorensen)

The public outcry of opposition towards seismic airgun testing has only continued to grow since the Obama administration approved seismic airgun testing along the East Coast earlier this month.


Continue reading...

Browse by Date