The Beacon

Blog Tags: Climate Change

Impacts of Climate Change on Highly Migratory Species Prioritized in NMFS Management Plan

Bluefin tuna are a highly migratory species affected by climate change

A bluefin tuna, a migratory species affected by climate change. (Photo: Oceana / Keith Ellenbogen)

Many marine species face endless obstacles: Overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction are large threats, as well as climate change and its associated negative impacts. Factors ranging from their habitat, food source, predator defense, migration routes, and breeding grounds are already changing from warming seas, and these impacts are so widespread that it’s caught fisheries managers’ attention.


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Ocean News: NC Fishermen Face Tighter Restrictions, Antarctic Fur Seals Hurt by Climate Change, and More

Antarctic fur seals are losing krill

Antarctic Fur Seals. (Photo: Liam Quinn / Flickr Creative Commons)

- North Carolina fishermen that use large mesh gill nets are now facing tighter restrictions after the state's Division of Marine Fisheries failed to comply with federal requirements. Under the new requirements, the fishermen can only deploy their nets at limited times and to a certain depth in an effort to protect sea turtles. North Carolina Sportsman


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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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Ocean News: New Maps Reveal Extent of Ocean Plastic, Florida Keys Launches Turtle Cam, and More

A loggerhead (Caretta caretta) sea turtle hatchling

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

- New maps of ocean plastics—the first of their kind—show plastic accumulation levels across the world’s oceans. The maps highlight data from a study released this month that found plastics floating in five subtropical gyres across the world. National Geographic


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Ignoring Climate Change Puts Our Way of Life in Jeopardy

(Photo: Oceana / Ana de la Torriente)

The United Nations recently released a report on the impacts of global climate change, which describes the effects as “severe, pervasive and irreversible.”


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Cat Pathogens Found in Arctic Belugas

(Photo: Claude Robillard)

The occurrence of human diseases in marine mammals is rapidly on the rise and an alarming development for our oceans. The latest species to succumb is the canary of the sea: the beluga whale.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia recently discovered Toxoplasma gondii, a devastating parasite, in a western Arctic population of beluga whales.


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Marine Life Responding Faster than Land Animals to Climate Change

Look out, Santa: Study shows that warming ocean temperatures are driving marine species to migrate closer and closer to the poles. l Photo: Chief Yeoman Alphonso Braggs, US-Navy

Marine life is on the move. A groundbreaking study shows that over the last several decades as a result of warming ocean temperatures, many marine species are shifting closer and closer to the poles. Some types of fish and plankton are moving at a rate of 45 miles per decade. This is 12 times faster than terrestrial animals. As the base of the marine food web shifts toward the poles, larger animals are following as well, including people.


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Obama's Climate Plan Will Reduce CO2, Increase Clean Energy

President Obama speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, about the future of our environment, and his climate plan for the years to come. 

In a speech today at Georgetown University, President Barack Obama laid out his climate plan for the United States moving forward in the months, years, and decades ahead. Oceana was pleased to hear President Obama promoting clean energy like wind and solar energy, but wishes that he had also mentioned offshore wind – a form of energy that is safe for our oceans and its creatures, and forever sustainable.


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Puffins Are Struggling with Warming Waters

Puffins like this one have become the "canary in the coal mine," showing us the real threat that climate change poses to the oceans and to the creatures that call it home. Photo: Andreas Trepte

Puffins are rightfully dubbed the “clowns of the ocean” from their animated appearance, but sadly, they might instead serve as the “canary in a coal mine” warning us about climate change threats to the ocean. 

The ocean is warming up in the Gulf of Maine from Massachusetts to Nova Scotia where ocean temperatures have hit a 150-year high, and these abnormally warm waters are altering marine food webs. Many fish species are moving into deeper and colder waters, and some are being replaced by fish from the south.


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What Do Historic CO2 Levels Mean for the Oceans?

“Keeling Curve” shows CO2 levels increase from 1958-2013. (Source: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD)


For the first time in human history, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels passed 400 parts per million
(ppm) of carbon dioxide at the historic Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. This is the same location where Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher Charles David Keeling first established the “Keeling Curve,” a famous graph showing that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are increasing rapidly in the atmosphere. CO2 was around 280 ppm before the Industrial Revolution, when humans first began releasing large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. On May 9, the reading was a startling 400.08 ppm for a 24-hour period. But without the help of the oceans, this number would already be much higher.


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