The Beacon

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

Photos: OSPAR Protects 16 Species and Habitat in the Northeast Atlantic

European cod (Gadus morhua)

European cod (Gadus morhua). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

Late last month, the OSPAR Commission, a group of 15 European governorning bodies and the European Union that works to protect marine life, adopted a landmark Regional Action Plan to combat litter and protect 16 vulnerable species and habitat. This article, which originally appeared on Oceana in Europe's blog, takes a close look at some of the species protected by the decision. 


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Ocean News: Diseased Fish Linked with BP Oil Spill, Rock Oysters Could Withstand Ocean Acidification, and More

Fish at a seafood market

Fish at a seafood market. (Photo: Oceana / Jenn Hueting)

- Prince Charles and his International Sustainability Unit want to turn fisheries into an investment opportunity, according to a new report. The report said that approaching fisheries management sustainably could help achieve social, environmental, and economic goals. The Guardian


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Whales Found to be Crucial for Healthy Ocean Ecosystems

Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus)

Sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus). (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons  / Scott Portelli)

In June, researchers found that whale poo is highly beneficial to marine ecosystems in the Southern Ocean since it is rich in iron. Now, new findings show that whales’ contribution to the sea goes far beyond just their excrements.


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Victory for Loggerhead Sea Turtles: Vast Area of Habitat Gains Protection

A loggerhead sea turtle hatchling (Caretta caretta)

A loggerhead sea turtle hatchling (Caretta caretta). (Photo: Oceana / Cory Wilson)

Today, the federal government designated thousands of miles of beaches and open ocean around the southeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States as critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles. The area, which covers 685 miles of nesting beach from North Carolina to Mississippi and more than 300,000 square miles of ocean habitat from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, is the largest designation to-date of critical habitat—making this ruling a victory and a historic step for loggerhead sea turtle recovery.


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Ocean News: Loggerheads Receive Miles of Protected Shoreline, Philippine Airline Bans Shark Fin Shipments, and More

A Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

A Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Suárez)

- This week, scientists officially named the largest flying creature ever discovered. Pelagornis sandersi, a type of early bird, relied on the oceans to keep it airborne when it lived 25 million years ago. To be able to fly with its massive 20- to 24-foot wingspan, scientists say this bird relied on air currents from the oceans to boost it into the area, where it scooped up prey from waves with a toothed beak.


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Fish Could Lose Their Friends Thanks to Ocean Acidification

Tropical damselfish (Chromis viridis)

Tropical damselfish (Chromis viridis) (Photo:  Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble / Flickr Creative Commons)

Climate change is going to leave some fish feeling very lonely in the coming years, as new research shows that increasing carbon dioxide levels prevent them from recognizing their friends.

 


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Chilean Devil Ray Found to be One of Oceans' Deepest Divers

A devil ray from the Mobula genus, which include Chilean devil rays.

A devil ray from the Mobula genus, which include Chilean devil rays. (Photo: Matthew Paulson / Flickr Creative Commons)

Last week, a new study revealed Chilean devil rays to be some of the oceans' deepest-divers, often taking dives deeper than a mile under the water's surface. The rays' physiology hinted at this discovery, since they do have a retia mirabiliaan organ found in other deep-divers like great white sharks. Following the study's findings, Oceana in Europe's Angela Pauly took a close look at the Chilean devil ray. This blog first appeared on Oceana in Europe's blog.


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Ocean News: Japan Confirms Plans for 2015 Whale Hunt, Judge Says Seismic Research off New Jersey Can Continue, and More

A minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)

A minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), one of the species caught during Japan’s whale hunt. (Photo: Tom Benson / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Despite a ruling by the UN’s International Court of Justice to halt whaling practices, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed this week that its annual whale hunt will continue in 2015. Japan continues to claim that the Southern Ocean annual whale hunt is for research purposes. The Dodo


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Number of Slain Environmental Activists Grew Over Past Decade, Report Finds

Protestors rally to protect the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Protestors rally to protect the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. (Photo: Stephen Hass / Flickr Creative Commons)

More people are standing up for their land, water, and other natural resources as they become increasingly exploited, but not without consequences. A recent report found that murders of environmental activists have surged over the past decade—totaling 908 documented deaths in 35 countries.  


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Video: Disco Clam Lights up the Sea Floor

Disco clams reflect light from their lips

Disco Clam (Ctenoides ales). (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Jayvee Fernandez) 

The vast ocean can appear foreboding and intimidating, but one little bivalve is lighting things up on the seafloor. The appropriately-named “disco clam” is a small mollusk that’s able to flash an array of neon lights from its lips.


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