“Walls of death.” Gillnets have often been described in this haunting way due to their devastating ability to catch all kinds of fish, as well as sea turtles, seals, dolphins, and even whales. Marine creatures of all sizes and species are indiscriminately snared and drowned in these death traps, and a recent report reveals that even birds are being killed by these sea nets. A study in the journal Biological Conservation reported that fishing vessels that deploy gillnets snare and drown at least 400,000 sea birds around the world every year. The actual figure could be even higher.
On World Oceans Day this past Saturday, Oceana launched its first ever Baltic Sea coastal expedition. We’ve dedicated this mission to studying the Baltic coastline, and particularly Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Finland, where a number of unique and incredible areas will be explored
We’ve got some great news to share with you – The European Union (EU) agreed on Thursday to tighten their existing ban on shark finning, and to effectively close a final loophole in the ban on finning. With the change, shark finning will be forbidden by all vessels in EU waters and by all EU-registered vessels around the world. “Shark finning is one of the main threats to the shark population,” Sandrine Polti, policy adviser to the Shark Alliance, explained to the Huffington Post. “We’re now in a much better position to push for a global shark-finning ban.”
Sara Bayles was a 2010 Ocean Hero Awards Finalist.
In May 2009, Sara Bayles started her Daily Ocean Project, in which she pledged to do 365 (non-consecutive) 20-minute beach cleanups and blog about it the whole way through. Two and a half years later, on December 8, 2012, she completed her last clean up, tallying 1,333.1 pounds of trash removed from her local beach in Santa Monica!
Although she’s completed her original goal, Sara is not turning her back on the littered beaches.
Do you know an individual (maybe yourself?) with a devotion to protecting and preserving our world’s oceans? Do you know someone who is working to save the oceans in new and unique ways? If so, you can nominate them for Oceana’s 5th Annual Ocean Hero Awards between June 8th – June 28th! www.oceana.org/heroes
Sawfish have a reason to breathe a little easier today: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has completed comprehensive status reviews under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and has determined that five foreign species of sawfish meet the definition of “endangered” under the Act. Of course, this “victory” is bittersweet: no one is celebrating the fact that sawfish species are endangered, but rather that they now will finally receive the protections they so desperately need to recover their numbers.
Last month, in the Coquimbo region of northern Chile, more than 600 guanay cormorants and penguins were found dead on the beaches. The citizen control that monitors the area reported that on May 10, ten fishing boats were seen approaching the beach opposite the Los Choros ravine. Two days later, the Movement in Defense of the Environment (MODEMA) reports, the first dead beached birds were discovered – boobies, Yeco ducks, pelicans, and Humboldt penguins among them. The National Fisheries Service has confirmed the death of these species on-site, and the Chilean Navy is inspecting vessels there.
The question then becomes – what caused this mass death of birds, and are these fishing boats responsible?
An environmentalist fighting for endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica has been found dead, suspected killed by sea turtle poachers. Jairo Mora Sandoval, a noted Costa Rican environmentalist, was a biology student who worked for the state-sponsored Paradero Eco-Tour, an animal rescue group and turtle sanctuary. Mora Sandoval also worked as a volunteer with the nonprofit environmental group Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), which works to protect sea turtles and their eggs across Central America. Mora Sandoval worked particularly to protect leatherback turtle nests from poachers and smugglers in Moin beach in Limon province. He was reported found badly beaten and shot in the head, face down with his hands tied on Moin beach, which lies 105 miles east of Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. Sandoval was 26.
Plastic debris has become as ubiquitous to U.S. beaches as sand, surf, and shells. Every year, cleanup crews through the country collect millions of pounds of plastic trash from beaches and coastal waterways, with the most coming from California’s 1,100-mile coastline.
We're thrilled to announce that today is the launch of Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless's new book, The Perfect Protein! As the CEO of Oceana, Andy is dedicated to the protection of our world’s oceans. Over the years, however, he realized that the work Oceana does to save the world’s oceans was not just helping to preserve the oceans’ biodiversity; it was also resulting in more food for people. In other words, it’s a win-win: When we adopt practices that conserve and protect our oceans and the creatures in it, we also create stocks of healthy, nutritious protein for the people of our world.