Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.
Out on the water, fishermen are notorious for both catching non-target fish and for entangling or killing many other marine animals, including dolphins, seals, whales, and sea turtles. Known as “bycatch,” these victims usually end up dead and thrown back overboard. The severity of the bycatch problem around the world has been uncertain, until now, because it can be difficult to gather data about just how many animals are caught as bycatch
The Gulf coast of Florida is renowned for its soft white beaches, balmy weather and calm, clear waters. It’s also infamous for being a mecca of debris from oil-rig related tragedies, which, until recently, were thought to have mostly finished their attack on Gulf coast beaches. But even after four years, trash from the BP oil disaster is still washing ashore and devastating coastal environments and communities.
Yesterday, sharks received a huge victory when a federal district court upheld a California law that prohibits the possession and sale of shark fins throughout the state. California’s 2011 law was originally challenged by a group of shark fin dealers and retailers who claimed the ban was discriminatory and in violation of federal law. The court ruled against all claims in the suit, specifically ruling that the law did not violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection and Commerce Clauses, and that the law was not preempted by federal fisheries law.
A disturbing finding on the effects of oil spill was announced on Monday, as the 4-year commemoration of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill approaches. A recent study found that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)—known to be associated with cancers—generated from the oil spill caused heart defects in commercially important tuna and amberjack.
Authored by Nicolas Fournier and Hanna Paulomäki, this post ran on Oceana Europe's blog earlier this month.
In 2008, EU Member States took an ambitious decision to safeguard and restore the state of European seas by 2020. After years of negotiations, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive was adopted, which aimed at making sure all human activities that impact the quality of our marine environment are addressed. Today, five years since implementation, and with six more years to go, the goal seems more of a challenge to reach.
In February 2013, Oceana and National Geographic launched a joint expedition to the Desventuradas, two remote, rocky islands off the coast of Chile. A team of all-star scientists explored one of the last potentially pristine marine environments left in South America. Outfitted with a three-person submarine, the team completed over 280 dives, shooting more than 80 hours of video and 12,000 photos – all completely new to science
To see some of the expedition footage, check out this new video posted by National Geographic:
This story appeared as an editorial on the Huffington Post, authored by Susan Murray, Oceana VP for the Pacific, and Dr. Jeffrey Short.
25 Years Later: Why Alaska Can’t Afford another Exxon Valdez
By Jeffrey Short and Susan Murray
The oceans are a massive place, and scientists are still discovering some of the very basic facts of life for many marine creatures. Take the loggerhead sea turtle — until this month, scientists weren’t sure where young loggerheads went during the first few years of their life. But with the help of tiny transmitters, researchers recently discovered where young loggerhead sea turtles journey during these mysterious “lost years.”
Here’s a very simple way to protect marine life—keep drift gillnets out of California waters. Fishermen use this fishing gear to target swordfish and thresher sharks, but they also catch and kill dozens of other important marine species. In 2011, for every five swordfish the fishery landed, one marine mammal was killed and six fish—including sharks and tunas—were tossed overboard dead or dying.
We can all agree that wasting food is unacceptable. So why are U.S. fisheries allowed to throw away perfectly edible seafood? Many fisheries toss fish and other species overboard, usually dead or dying, simply because it’s not the type of seafood they are trying to catch. And the government allows this wasteful practice. A new Oceana report published this week reveals nine of our country’s most wasteful fisheries.