The Beacon

Blog Tags: Chesapeake Bay

Ocean Roundup: Humpback Whales Frequenting New York City Waters, Oceans House Over 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces, and More

There are 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the oceans

Marine litter on a beach. (Photo: Bo Eide / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A new study has but a number on the amount of plastic floating in the oceans: at least 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing nearly 269,000 tons, are floating around the oceans. The team found that tiny plastic pieces made up the majority of the plastic in the oceans. Smithsonian


Continue reading...

Ocean Roundup: Great Barrier Reef to Stay Clear of Dredge Spoil, Louisiana Rapidly Losing Coastline, and More

The Great Barrier Reef will stay clear of dredge spoil

A sea turtle in the Great Barrier Reef. (Photo: University of Denver / Flickr Creative Commons)

- The Chesapeake Bay experienced their eighth-largest dead zone this summer since record keeping began in the 1980s, according to Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources. Officials say this signals larger issues with Bay health, and that much more work is needed to reduce nutrient input and pollution. The Washington Post


Continue reading...

Ocean News: Great Barrier Reef Health at Greater Risk than Ever Before, Rare Deep Sea Amphipod Caught on Tape, and More

Great Barrier Reef health is compromised

The Eddy Reef in the Great Barrier Reef. (Photo: Paul Toogood / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Scientists caught the largest species of amphipod, Alicella gigantean, on camera for the first time. The nearly 1-foot-long creature was spotted four miles below the ocean’s surface. New Scientist  


Continue reading...

Oceans News: Massive Offshore Wind Farm Given the Green Light, Coral Reef Deaths Linked to Bacteria, and More

Migaloo, Australia's albino humpback whale. (Photo: Lisa Koivu / Flickr Creative Commons)

- White band disease has been killing off staghorn and elkhorn corals in the Caribbean since the 1970s, causing the outer layer of corals to turn white and peel off. Earlier this week, scientists linked three bacterial strains as causes for white band disease. New Scientist


Continue reading...

Rehabbed Sea Turtles Released in Chesapeake Bay

kemp's ridley sea turtle

Oceana the sea turtle, an endangered Kemp's ridley. © National Aquarium

Last Friday the National Aquarium and Oceana released three endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles into the Chesapeake Bay at Maryland's Point Lookout State Park. The turtles came to the National Aquarium this winter from the New England Aquarium, after they were found stranded along Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Kemp’s ridleys are the most endangered and smallest of all sea turtle species, making them particularly vulnerable to severe changes in water temperature. These turtles suffered from cold stunning - the sea turtle equivalent of hypothermia. After months of long-term rehabilitation by the National Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program (MARP), the turtles, named Oceana, Prancer and Vixen, were released back into the wild.

Sea turtles commonly feed on an assortment of jellies and invertebrates in the Chesapeake Bay during warm summer months, which is why Aquarium officials chose this date and location for the release. These turtles are expected to stay in the mid-Atlantic region or head north for the remainder of the summer, before eventually heading south again in the fall.

Oceana the sea turtle sported a small satellite transmitter that will track its location and speed for several months, helping researchers learn more about sea turtle migration and travel patterns. You can follow Oceana’s (and the other two turtles’) progress at the Aquarium’s website. Check out more photos from the release on Flickr!


Continue reading...

Chesapeake Watermen Struggle in 'The Last Boat Out'

blue crab

When John Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay in the early 1600s he reported that oysters "lay as thick as stones." Now they are at about 2 percent of their historic population, and in 2008 the federal government declared the blue crab fishery a commercial failure.

The Bay has seen much better days, and so have its watermen. Such is this premise of a new documentary by Laura Seltzer, “The Last Boat Out." Wednesday evening I attended an advanced screening of the documentary, which is narrated by Oceana board member Sam Waterston.

The 30-minute film portrays the Chesapeake Bay's watermen as an endangered species themselves, fighting to stay afloat amid shrinking populations of crabs, oysters and fish -- their historic bread and butter.

Filmmaker Laura Seltzer focuses on a pair of middle-aged brothers who are struggling to continue the family business on the water. They represent a few of the 2800 remaining watermen, who have seen a 70% decline in 30 years.

Nutrient pollution is a big part of the problem, as Seltzer demonstrates. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus from agriculture, wastewater and fertilizer deplete the bay’s oxygen, creating dead zones that can’t sustain life.


Continue reading...

Browse by Date