Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.
Whether you know them as starfish or sea stars, these five-arm invertebrates will always be recognized by their unique shape and vibrant colors that have been decorating the seafloor for millions of years. This month, we’re taking a look at the ochre sea star and what this keystone species can tell us about the health of our oceans.
One green sea turtle may soon become one of the most well-known sea turtles around the world, after he clued researchers into a possible migratory “superhighway” between Costa Rica and the Galapagos last month.
- New maps of ocean plastics—the first of their kind—show plastic accumulation levels across the world’s oceans. The maps highlight data from a study released this month that found plastics floating in five subtropical gyres across the world. National Geographic
Earlier this month, Oceana hosted an unprecedented international seminar in Chile to address problems with Chile’s fisheries and to suggest methods for recovery.
Last month, scientists, conservationists, and the ecotourism industry alike were all disappointed when the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) determined that the great hammerhead shark will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS also decided against listing scalloped hammerhead sharks in the U.S. last year, a motion that was finalized this month.
- Two leading scientists on microplastics have called for urgent action to reduce and eliminate them from the marine environment. The scientists stressed that little is known about these particulates, such as what effect they have on the seafloor and where they’re most commonly found. EurekAlert
From the time they hatch and bravely crawl towards the ocean, sea turtles face many obstacles like falling prey to crabs, gulls, and sharks—and only one in 1,000 to 10,000 are estimated to survive to adulthood. Even those sea turtles that beat the odds can find themselves wounded and threatened by fishing gear, plastics, and boat strikes.
In January, Kure Beach, North Carolina Mayor Dean Lambeth voiced his support for the American Energy Forum’s push to approve seismic airgun blasting off the Atlantic coast. Within days, his actions caused an outpouring of opposition—more than 300 residents protested his position towards seismic airguns at the next Town Hall meeting.
- A new analysis focusing on sea level rise found that coastal flooding has dramatically increased in frequency along the Eastern Seaboard in recent years. The analysis found that flood levels met or exceeded NOAA’s flood thresholds more than 20 days a year in six coastal cities. Reuters
Discarding fish is akin to throwing money into the ocean, yet the U.S. fishing industry wastes millions of pounds of seafood each year. Bycatch is not only wasteful, but kills countless numbers of marine creatures like dolphins, sea turtles, and sharks in the process.