Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.
- The Government Accountability Office has called out federal agencies for not implementing key parts of a 2009 law on ocean acidification, like estimating research costs. Some say that the news is troubling, especially since the federal government plays a key role in addressing ocean acidification. The Hill
Update: October 15, 2014
As the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) gears up to meet this November to discuss the future of highly migratory species like bluefin tuna, swordfish, and sharks, Oceana in Europe is sounding the alarm on the European Union for not taking measurable action to help recover Mediterranean swordfish. Mediterranean swordfish are highly overfished and have declined steeply by 70 percent from 1980s levels, according to assessments taken this year.
You may have heard of nudibranchs before, a group of soft-bodied mollusks that are just as quirky looking as their name suggests. More than 3,000 nudibranch species exist—commonly known as sea slugs—and dot shallow water habitat around the world with their vibrant colors, shapes, and sizes.
- New research shows that tiny microbes found along seamounts and the seafloor play a big role in sequestering methane. The scientists are still unsure as to how much methane these microbes take in, but say that they play a significant role in keeping methane from entering the water column. Grist
Oceana has celebrated Ocean Hero Awards since 2009—a way to recognize and honor leaders in ocean conservation, education, and advocacy. Past recipients range from Jean Beasley, founder and director of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and winner of the Animal Planet Hero of the Year, as well as Don Voss, an avid scuba diver who founded a marine debris organization.
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), a network of over 4,000 scientists, warn that sharks in deep waters in the Northeast Atlantic continue to face a bleak future. ICES provided recommendations for three deep-sea shark species—kite fin sharks, leafscale gulper sharks, and Portguese dogfish sharks—and advise that these sharks should not be involved in fishery activities.
- New research suggests that icebergs from the North American ice sheet once drifted past Florida when it began to melt 20,000 years ago. This research is supported by “massive scars” found along the continental shelf off Florida. Discovery News
Green sea turtles are an endangered species, at risk from poaching, incidental take in fishing gear, and coastal development. But they also suffer from fibropapillomatosis—the leading cause of death in this endangered species—which causes tumors to grow along sea turtles’ faces, flippers, and internal organs.
The vivacious blue lips of giant clams dot shallow bays and reef communities throughout the Indo-Pacific region, adding vibrant patterns to the seafloor. Like many other creatures with elaborate hues—say, the poison dart frog, whose bright colors helps ward off predators—the bright blue lips of the giant clam aren’t just there to impress onlookers.
- Scientists warn that otters off of Scotland are only living for about a third of the time than those off mainland Europe, largely due to more polluted waters and prey sources. The scientists warn that the short lifespans are troublesome because it keeps the otter population from being able to breed. The Scotsman