The Beacon: Madeleine Simon's blog

No-Take Zones in Belize Could Rebuild Conch, Lobster, and Grouper Populations

No-take zones could rebuild conch populations in Belize

Queen conch (Strombus gigas), a species that could rebuild with no-take zones in Belize. (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Dave C.)

The islands of Belize are surrounded by vibrant blue waters, beautiful and unusual marine creatures, and the largest barrier reef system in the Western Hemisphere. But even in Belize—one of the least densely populated Caribbean countries—these marine animals and ecosystems are not exempt from exploitative human activities like overfishing. A new report, however, from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) suggests a solution for Belize’s marine life—and particularly coral reefs—to recover: expand no-take zones. 


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Video: Spangled Emperor Fish Dazzle the Great Barrier Reef

A school of spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus)

A school of spangled emperor (Lethrinus nebulosus). (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Bill & Mark Bell)

When you think of the Great Barrier Reef, you probably think of vibrant corals, glowing clams, and free-swimming sea turtles. But in this slow-motion video, one free diver catches the elegant beauty of spangled emperor—a fish you may have overlooked.


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Chilean Salmon Industry Found to Use Highest Amount of Antibiotics Worldwide

Chilean salmon industry uses the highest amount of antibiotics

Salmon farming in Chile. (Photo: Oceana / Cristian Perez)

A new report found that the Chilean salmon farming industry used an astounding amount of antibiotics in 2013—the highest amount out of any country. The report by Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service revealed that the industry used over 993,000 pounds of antibiotics in 2013.


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Video: Huge School of Anchovies Swarms San Diego Shoreline

A massive school of anchovies amassed along the Pacific coast shoreline.

A massive school of anchovies amassed along the Pacific coast shoreline. (Photo: Scripps Oceanography / YouTube)

When a massive school of anchovies swam uncharacteristically close to the California shoreline last week, they couldn’t have picked a better location: right outside the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography.


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Creature Feature: Ochre Sea Star

Ochre Sea Star (Pisaster ochraceus)

Ochre Sea Star (Pisaster ochraceus). (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / canopic)

Whether you know them as starfish or sea stars, these five-arm invertebrates will always be recognized by their unique shape and vibrant colors that have been decorating the seafloor for millions of years. This month, we’re taking a look at the ochre sea star and what this keystone species can tell us about the health of our oceans.


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Video: National Geographic Features Ocean Hero Jean Beasley’s Sea Turtle Hospital

A sea turtle being rehabilitated at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue Center

A sea turtle being rehabilitated at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. (Photo: Oceana / Cory Wilson)

From the time they hatch and bravely crawl towards the ocean, sea turtles face many obstacles like falling prey to crabs, gulls, and sharks—and only one in 1,000 to 10,000 are estimated to survive to adulthood. Even those sea turtles that beat the odds can find themselves wounded and threatened by fishing gear, plastics, and boat strikes.


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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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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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Global Issue of Marine Plastics is Gathering Significant Media Attention

Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) nearing a plastic bag

Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) nearing a plastic bag. (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Bag Monster) 

From the straws in your fountain drink to the soles of our shoes, plastics are a part of our daily lives, and we’re surrounded by them without often realizing it. Unfortunately, as plastic waste makes its way from our households to our oceans, fish and other marine organisms are not only surrounded by plastics too, but ingesting it.


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Oceana Launches Underwater ReefCam in the Caribbean

A coral reef community

Reef community (Photo: Oceana / Eduardo Sorensen) 

Want to stay connected to the underwater world even when you’re not out diving or at the beach? Now you can catch a glimpse of coral reef communities all day long with Oceana’s new ReefCam. Through a partnership with the University of the Virgin Islands Center for Marine and Environmental Studies, Oceana has launched live-feed video footage that captures marine animals as they swim and forage around near-shore reefs off of St. Thomas.


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