Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.
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.
- A rare white southern right whale calf was recently spotted off southern Australia with its mother. Only about two percent of southern right whales are born white, but remain that color for just a year. Adelaide Now
Going forward, The Beacon will feature one Oceana staff member every month, highlighting their role at Oceana and personal history with the oceans. The first spotlight is on Oceana’s vice president for United States Oceans, Jackie Savitz. Take a look below to learn more.
If you’ve ever witnessed a sea turtle nest hatch, you’ve probably noticed that it seems like these reptiles emerge from their nests in silence. Scientists have long assumed that too, but a new study adds to a growing body of literature that finds that baby sea turtles can in fact make noise—and this communication is key to a successful hatching process.
- 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
Yesterday, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced an area closure for the California swordfish drift gillnet fishery after facing mounting pressure from Oceana and our partner conservation groups. This closure, known as the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area, will occur from July 25 to August 31, 2014 in an area that stretches just north of Santa Barbara and runs south of San Diego, and will prevent endangered loggerhead sea turtles from entangling and drowning in these indiscriminant nets.
This week, Massachusetts became the ninth state to regulate the trade of shark fins within their state borders—an important step forward in the fight for global shark conservation. Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a bill that reduces the state’s participation in the international trade of shark fins, joining California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Washington, and the U.S. territories of Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas islands.
- 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
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.
- 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