Andy Sharpless's blog

A sea of stats

Posted Fri, Feb 29, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

Perhaps because it was released the same week as Ben Halpern and colleagues' excellent human impacts map, the new U.N.


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The Oceana Scanner

Posted Thu, Feb 28, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

This week in ocean news,

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The Oceana Scanner

Posted Thu, Feb 21, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

This week in ocean news,

...scientists studying the sea floor near Antarctica discovered new species of fish, plankton and jellyfish. "We had some of the world's experts on Antarctic fish and they were completely, completely flabbergasted," said the leader of the expedition...

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A Pirate Ship No More

Posted Mon, Feb 4, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

Here's one for the dustbin of history: This week, Australian authorities confirmed that one of the world's most infamous pirate fishing vessels was scrapped in a shipyard in India in December.

The Viarsa 1 was first spied illegally catching Patagonian toothfish (better known in restaurants as Chilean sea bass) in Australian waters in 2003. The resulting pursuit (scroll down for daily updates) by patrol vessels lasted 21 days and crossed 3900 nautical miles, inspiring Wall Street Journal reporter G. Bruce Knecht's acclaimed book, "Hooked: Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish."

Many ships that participate in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Southern Ocean are owned by Spanish companies, including Viarsa 1, and fly under flags of convenience. The owner of Viarsa 1, Vidal Armadores S.A., still owns several pirate ships. Just last summer, the company's ship Magnus was apprehended while using illegal fishing gear in South Africa. The ship was sailing under the name Ina Maka with a North Korean flag.

It may go without saying that Vidal Armadores S.A. has received support in the form of subsidies from the Spanish government.

There is a way to clamp down on IUU fishing: stop allowing ships to fly flags of convenience. In addition, ships that have been caught pirating should not be allowed to obtain special fishing permits. Currently, the European Union is considering such a measure.


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The Oceana Scanner

Posted Fri, Feb 1, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

...scientists found that up to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen washes off swimmers annually, and that the sunscreen contains chemicals that lead to bleaching corals. They estimated that up to 10 percent of corals were threatened by sunscreen-related bleaching...

..the Central Valley, California chinook salmon run, which had historically been one of the West Coast's strongest, fell to record lows this year, prompting concerns about collapse...

...researchers in North Carolina studied how to raise fish for consumption in tanks....

...a seafood consumer center in Oregon prepped for a program that would attach bar codes to salmon, allowing consumers to learn who caught the fish, where it was caught, and how it traveled to market...

...a wetlands restoration project near San Diego passed a milestone when its newly dredged basin was opened to the Pacific. It is hoped the area will become habitat for halibut, grunion, and bass, among other species...

...a study commissioned by the New York Times found mercury levels in city sushi far about recommended limits. A report released by Oceana found similar results in tuna sampled around the country...

...Ecuadorian authorities investigated the clubbing deaths of more than 50 sea lions on the Galapagos Islands...

...several cosmetics companies, including Unilever and L'Oreal, agreed to end the use of an emollient, squalene, that is obtained from the livers of deep sea sharks...

...and fifteen years after a Japanese six-year-old girl released a letter inside a balloon, a fisherman discovered it among his flatfish catch.


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This week in ocean news

Posted Fri, Jan 25, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

....new protections that required longline tuna fishing fleets to use bird-scaring lines, or tori lines, went into effect.


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Mercury-laden Sushi Not Limited to New York

Posted Thu, Jan 24, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

In case you needed another reason not to consume the dangerously-overfished bluefin tuna: Yesterday, on the front page, the New York Times had a story about a study of mercury contamination conducted by the newspaper of leading sushi restaurants in New York. Guess which species showed the highest level of mercury?

Read on for more.


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This week in ocean news

Posted Thu, Jan 17, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

...the National Marine Fisheries Service said that the Atlantic white marlin did not meet requiremen


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More on Africa and subsidies

Posted Tue, Jan 15, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

Yesterday's front page New York Times story, "Europe Takes Africa's Fish, and Boatloads of Migrants Follow," chronic


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