Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.
- In a high-tech experiment off of South Africa, researchers have started testing an electronic cable attached to the seafloor as a shark repellent. Because of sharks’ acute sense of electroreception, the researchers expect sharks to be able to detect the low-frequency field emitted from the cable. Reuters
Though it’s easy to see that our domesticated four-legged friends have quirky personalities, new studies show that some ocean animals may just have their own, too. And not only do some animals have unique personalities, but their disposition may just play unique evolutionary roles.
Each year, thousands of people embark on whale watching tours in hope of spotting the majestic humpback whale in the wild. These baleen whales—who engage in lively leaps and flips, enhanced by their thin flippers and blue-back coloration—can put on quite the show for onlookers, but there is something extra special about encountering these marine mammals when it’s unexpected.
- This past weekend, more than 45 endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles became stranded on Cape Cod beaches after suffering from hypothermia. Animal strandings are typically a bad thing, but in this case, say scientists, strandings mean that the sea turtles can be rescued before dying from hypothermia. The Boston Globe
Each November marks Manatee Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and educate others on these gentle giants. This celebratory month falls right around the start of manatee’s winter season—November 15—when manatees start to move into warmer waters as temperatures drop below 68° Fahrenheit, according to Defenders of Wildlife.
Monitoring global fishing activity is a monumental task. I’d like to introduce you to a groundbreaking new tool, created by Google, SkyTruth, and Oceana, called Global Fishing Watch. Using satellite data emitted by fishing vessels, the program gives people around the world a simple online platform to visualize, track, and share information about ocean fishing activity.
- In a new study, researchers say that identifying scars on humpback whales from killer whales and cookiecutter sharks is helping scientists better understand their migration patterns. Because cookiecutter sharks are typically found in warmer waters, whereas killer whales are widely distributed, scars from cookiecutters show that humpbacks recently passed through warmer waters. Independent Online
Illegal and unsustainable fishing activity is taking a tremendous toll on the world’s oceans, stripping them of healthy fish populations and damaging precious ecosystems. Not only does the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimate that nearly one-third of assessed marine fish stocks have been overfished, but they also estimate that 90 percent were either fully fished or overfished in 2011.
After Dusky the Shark came ashore for the first time this summer at Discovery Channel’s Shark Week kick-off party in California, Oceana’s Dusky the Shark made his second public appearance in Washington, D.C. last week to help raise awareness for his species.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced that it was adding Pacific bluefin tuna to their "red list" of threatened species during the 2014 World Parks Congress in Sydney. The group cited its massive demand in Asian sushi and sashimi markets as reasons for population declines over the past 22 years. Business Insider