The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Ocean News: Blue Whale “Hot Spots” Linked with Busy Shipping Lanes, Massachusetts Bans Shark Fin Trade, and More

Blue whales hot spots are in busy fishing lanes

A blue whale off of California. (Photo: millerm217 / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A new study found that blue whale “hot spots” off California intersect with some of California’s busiest shipping lanes, and that ship strikes are preventing blue whales from recovering. Blue whale numbers have increased since the International Whaling Commission’s 1966 protections, but they haven’t recovered at the rate scientists expected. National Geographic


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Photos: A Look at Some of the Ocean’s Most Beautiful Tentacles

Jellyfish tentacles close up

Muave stinger jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca) photographed off the Balearic Islands, Spain. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell) 

If you’ve spent some time at the coast this summer, the chances are you’ve had a close encounter with a jellyfish, as these invertebrates have earned quite the reputation in the media for “invading” coastal areas and causing a “jellyfish apocalypse” in recent years.


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Ocean News: Regulators Propose Whale Sanctuary in the Canary Islands, Harbor Seals Found to Forage around Wind Farms, and More

Harbor seals are finding food around wind farms

A harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). (Photo: Blake Matheson / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A new report warns that U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coast states are not prepared for increased storms and flooding brought on by climate change. The report calls for better collaboration between state and federal lawmakers to create policy changes that reduce risk. National Geographic


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Ocean News: Great Barrier Reef Will be “Pretty Ugly” by 2050, Sea Turtle Nests Down in South Carolina, and More

The Heart Reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

The Heart Reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. (Photo: Michael Sheil / Flickr Creative Commons)

- In an appearance before an Australian Senate this week, researchers said the Great Barrier Reef will be “pretty ugly” by 2050 and that "the reef is in the worse [sic] state it's ever been in since records began." The researchers linked the decline to coastal development and government action, specifically nothing their approval of a dredging and dumping project around the Reef. The Huffington Post   


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Ocean News: June 2014 Marked the Hottest on Record, Microplastics Worse for Crabs than Thought, and More

A shore crab (Carcinus maenas)

A shore crab (Carcinus maenas) captured during an Oceana expedition to the Baltic Sea. (Photo: Oceana / Carlos Minguell)

- In 1997, nearly 4.8 million pieces of Legos spilled into the Atlantic when a container ship was hit by a massive wave. These Lego pieces—many of them sea-themed like octopus—are still washing up on beaches in the United Kingdom nearly 20 years after the spill. BBC News


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Video: Oceana Exposes Illegal Drift Gillnet Use in Italy

drift gillnets in Italy

Containers filled with drift gillnets in Italy, photographed during a 2006 Oceana expedition. (Photo: Oceana / Eduardo de Ana)

Earlier this month, Oceana in Europe and Italian journalist Sabrina Giannini gathered evidence of Italian fishermen using illegal drift gillnets in the swordfish fishery at the Port of Bagnara Calabra in southern Italy. Despite a 2002 ban by the European Union on this destructive fishing gear—and even with the Italian government providing high subsidies for other fishing techniques—Italy continues to use this illegal gear.


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North Atlantic Great White Sharks are Rebounding, but that’s Not the Case for All Species

A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). (Photo: Ken Bondy / Flickr Creative Commons)

Great white sharks are arguably the most widely-known shark species, but unfortunately, they’re not known for their roles as apex predators that are crucial to healthy ocean ecosystems. Instead, some have characterized them as vicious monsters of the deep, and the media over-sensationalizes rare attacks—which doesn’t  help conservation efforts.


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Ocean News: Green Sea Turtle Makes Longest Migration Ever Recorded, Small Oil Spill Found off of Italy, and More

A green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)

A green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). (Photo: Oceana / Eduardo Sorensen)

- In areas where overfishing is common and observers are few and far between, drones could be a significant resource in helping to tackle illegal fishing. This June, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Belize Drones, and Belize’s fisheries department launched a program that may soon have drones flying over Belize’s Glover Reef. National Geographic


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Marine Mammal Unusual Mortality Events Get the Spotlight on Capitol Hill

Stranded sea lion pup

Stranded sea lion pup. (Photo: Kellan / Flickr Creative Commons)

Earlier this week, marine mammals like California sea lions, common dolphins, and bottlenose dolphins were the focus of one Congressional Briefing. Hosted by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Congressman Bill Keating of Massachusetts and Congressman Jared Huffman of California, the discussion centered on scientists from The Marine Mammal Center and the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center speaking about unusual levels of marine mammal stranding in 2013, and how funding cuts are deeply affecting their ability to respond.


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Ocean News: U.S. to Auction Off New Jersey Area for Offshore Wind, Baby Sea Turtles Found to Make Noises, and More

Offshore wind farm

An offshore wind farm. (Photo: Kim Hansen / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A New York-based seafood company and its executives pleaded guilty in federal court for fish fraud. The executives underreported the amount of summer flounder they caught between June 2009 and December 2011 by 56,000 pounds and used false documents to ship fish to customers. The Wall Street Journal


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