The Beacon

Steller Sea Lion Protections Weakened with New Fisheries Ruling

NMFS weakened protections for steller sea lions

A Steller sea lion bull on Agattu Island at the western end of the Aleutian Islands. (Photo: Anne Morkill, images.fws.gov via Wikimedia Commons)

Late last month, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a final rule that weakens protections for the endangered western population of Steller sea lions.


Continue reading...

Elusive, Haunting Black Sea Devil Caught on Camera for First Time

Scientists captured the elusive black sea devil anglerfish on film

A screenshot of the black sea devil caught on film by researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. (Photo: MBARI / YouTube)

The dark, cold deep sea is home to a vast amount of creatures that seem like something out of a horror film rather than ocean animals—and their names are often just as terrifying, like the spookfish or the fangtooth fish. While we speculate on just how scary many of the creatures are, many of these animals are poorly understood since they live in environments that are so difficult to access.


Continue reading...

Ocean Roundup: Mechanisms behind Pufferfish Inflation Discovered, Critical Habitat Proposed for Ringed Seals, and More

New research shows how pufferfish inflate

The black saddled pufferfish (Canthigaster valentini). (Photo: Cliff / WikiMedia Commons)

- New research shows that healthy coral reef systems are actually quite noisy, but are quieting down after damage from acidification, harmful fishing practices, pollution, and more. Researchers looked at coral reefs in the Philippines and found that noise stemming from unprotected reefs was about a third of that in healthy reef communities. Grist


Continue reading...

CEO Note: Simon Sidamon-Eristoff Becomes Chairman of Oceana’s Board

Oceana welcomes new leadership to the Board of Directors in 2015

The new chairman of Oceana’s board of directors, Simon Sidamon-Eristoff, and new vice chair, Valarie Van Cleave, are pictured at an Oceana event in 2012. (Photo: Carla Rhea)

I am writing to you to introduce our new chairman for Oceana’s board of directors, Simon Sidamon-Eristoff, and other new board leaders. 

Our board of directors develops all strategy, budgets, and direction for Oceana’s campaigns around the world. Comprised of 19 leaders in business, academia, philanthropy, and the arts, the board has overseen the organization’s international expansion from the Unites States to Central and South America, Europe, and Asia — including Oceana’s latest openings in Brazil and the Philippines earlier this year.


Continue reading...

Humpback Whales’ Scars Help Explain their Migratory Patterns, Study Finds

Scars on humpback whales help reveal migration routes

Scars on humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) flukes. (Photo: Jeff Li / Flickr Creative Commons)

In the Southern Hemisphere, humpback whales migrate between feeding grounds around Antarctica to breeding grounds in tropical waters, but an understanding of these stocks—divided into “Breeding Stocks A-G” for management purposes—has long been hazy because of a lack of data. But recently, researchers analyzed an unsuspecting feature of humpback whales to better understand their migration patterns: scars on their flukes.


Continue reading...

Ocean Roundup: Male Galápagos Sea Lions Take More Time to Raise, Cosmetic Contaminants Found in Antarctica, and More

Male Galapagos sea lions take more time to raise

A Galápagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki) pup. (Photo: Scott Ableman / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Scientists say that chemicals in soaps, lotions, sunscreen, and other fragrances have made it to Antarctic waters. The scientists also found traces of chemicals in clams, fish, and sea urchins, and say that some predators like seals could now possibly become exposed to the chemicals. The Guardian


Continue reading...

Shell’s Lawsuit against Environmental Groups Declared Unconstitutional by Appeals Court

Shell's lawsuit was ruled unconstitutional by a U.S. Appeals Court

Royal Dutch Shell’s Kulluk drilling rig is towed from Kiliuda Bay after running aground in December 2012. (Photo: U.S. Pacific Command / Flickr Creative Commons)

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court rejected a lawsuit filed by Royal Dutch Shell roughly two years ago against 13 environmental and Alaska Native entities, including Oceana. Shell sued the groups in a “preemptive” move to keep them from being able to sue Shell over its plans to drill in the Arctic. The court ruled that this was a “novel” move by Shell—and one that wasn’t permitted under the United States Constitution.


Continue reading...