The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Ocean Roundup: Fatter Elephant Seals Are Better Swimmers, Queen Conch Not to Receive Protection under ESA, and More

queen conch won't receive protection under the ESA

Queen conchs will not be protected under the Endangered Species Act. (Photo: Daniel Neal / Flickr Creative Commons)

- The National Marine Fisheries Service ruled not to list queen conch under the Endangered Species Act, which will allow groups to still import queen conch into the country (it’s been illegal to harvest in Florida waters for years). While conservation groups petitioned for its listing, saying it was overexploited, scientists reviewed its populations in Florida and the Caribbean over a 20-year period and found them to be sustainable. Miami Herald


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Ocean Roundup: California Sea Lions Eating Contaminated Mussels, Offshore Fracking Expanding in Gulf of Mexico, and More

California sea lions are eating contaminated freshwater mussels

California sea lions are said to be consuming contaminated shellfish. (Photo: phoca2004 / Flickr Creative Commons) 

- New research found that over half of vessels involved in the biggest oil spills over the past 30 years hail from nations that tend to not comply with international safety and environmental regulation standards. The researchers also found that about one-third of current oil tankers on the water are from these nations, too. ScienceDaily


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Oceana Kicks off Launch in the Philippines with Conference on Rebuilding Fisheries

Oceana Philippines has launched their operations in the Philippines

Oceana’s new vice president of Oceana Philippines Atty. Gloria “Golly” Estenzo Ramos speaks at “The Road to Sustainable Fisheries Governance” conference. (Photo: Oceana)

When you think of the Philippines, you likely think of its vibrant coral reefs, crystal-clear ocean water, and beautiful beaches. Culturally, it’s a nation built upon the ocean’s bounty, where it’s estimated that there are over 1.3 million small-scale fishers and 8 million people rely on the country’s fisheries for their livelihood. Despite that massive dependency, more than 75 percent of Philippine fishing grounds are depleted.


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Photos: What Kind of Shrimp Is Actually on Your Dinner Plate?

Oceana's new report on shrimp found widespread shrimp misrepresentation

(Photo: Oceana)

Who doesn’t love shrimp? Delicious on salads, sandwiches, and as a main dish, it’s no wonder that it’s the most commonly consumed seafood in the U.S., and the most traded seafood in the world. But, did you know that when you order a shrimp cocktail or shrimp scampi, your “shrimp” could actually be one of dozens of different species of shrimp, as well as domestic or imported, and wild caught or farmed? Most consumers don’t realize that “shrimp” is a highly ambiguous term that refers to different shrimp species of many possible different origins.


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Ocean Roundup: New Robot to Study Emperor Penguins, IPCC Sounds Alarm on Climate Change Inaction, and More

A new robot will help scientists study penguins in Antarctica

Emperor penguins in Antarctica. (Photo: Christopher Michel / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Scientists have invented a remote-controlled robotic emperor penguin, which resembles an emperor penguin chick, to help them better study emperor penguins in Antarctica. Because emperor penguins are extremely shy, they tend to back away and change their natural behavior whenever scientists try to study them. The Associated Press


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Happy Halloween! Meet the Ocean Animals in Costume All Year (Photos)

Ocean animals are in costume all year

Pygmy seahorses, which can change their skin color to blend in with their surroundings. (Photo: Tom Gruber / Flickr Creative Commons)

Happy Halloween, ocean lovers! Today, many people are delighting in the one day of the year where they can dress up to be any figure that these please. But in the vast ocean, many species are in costume all year—dazzling bright photophores to trick prey, or changing their skin tone to blend in with their environments. The deep-sea anglerfish, for example, flashes it lure covered in light-producing cells to attract and trick prey in the cold, dark waters, while species like the firefly squid emits bioluminescent ink to also confuse predators.


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Ocean Roundup: Nations Fail to Reach Agreement on Antarctic Marine Reserve, Norway Planning Large Whale Meat Shipment, and More

Killer whales swimming in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Nations failed to reach an agreement to protect the Ross Sea in the world’s largest marine reserve. (Photo by Donald LeRo / NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center National Science Foundation / Wikimedia Commons)

- For the fourth time, countries deciding upon the proposed largest marine reserve in the world around Antarctica failed to reach an agreement. The area would span 517,000 square miles, but all involved countries must first agree on a plan for the area to be recognized. The Associated Press


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Ocean Roundup: Seagrass Travels via Ocean Currents, Plump Leatherbacks Can Swim More Easily, and More

Seagrass is found to travel via ocean currents and ocean animals

Seagrass meadows off Spain. (Photo: Oceana / Sergio Gosálvez)

- New research shows that seagrass has an incredible ability to spread over vast distances of the ocean, which gives them an ability to migrate with climate change and be able to recover from habitat disturbance. The scientists found that seagrass fruit and flowers spread by hitching rides on ocean animals, in animal feces, and in ocean currents. Phys.org


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Graphics: New Oceana Study Finds Shrimp Misrepresented in the U.S.

A new Oceana study found shrimp to be misrepresented

(Photo: Oceana)

Today, Oceana released a new study that found shrimp, America’s favorite seafood, to be misrepresented in the United States. In the only known study of its kind in the U.S., DNA testing confirmed that 30 percent of 143 tested shrimp products—found in 111 restaurants and grocery stores—were misrepresented.


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Karmenu Vella Becomes New European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Karmenu Vella becomes new leader of the European Commissioner

Karmenu Vella being interviewed by European Parliament Committees. (Photo: European Parliament / Flickr Creative Commons)

Last week, the European Parliament voted to confirm Karmenu Vella as the new Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, which will be headed by President Jean-Claude Juncker.


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