Andy Sharpless's blog

The Oceana Scanner: All-Salmon Edition

Posted Fri, Apr 11, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

This week in ocean news,

...fishery managers voted to cancel the chinook salmon fishing season off the coast of California and most of Oregon in light of the fish population's rapid collapse. The commercial fishery is worth an estimated $30 million....

...many fishermen considered supporting the ban on West Coast salmon fishing in light of this year's record low catch. "There's likely no fish, so what are you going to be fishing for?" said one....

...while some other fishermen went ahead with a pre-season barbeque, although it was less well attended than in past years...


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Fin-ally

Posted Fri, Apr 11, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the U.S. Court of Appeals’ decision to throw out penalties against a fishing vessel carrying 64,695 pounds of shark fins in U.S. waters. Shipping a cargo full of shark fins without sharks is illegal in the United States, but the King Diamond II sailed through a loophole that allowed it to carry fins it had gathered from other ships.

Something good has come out of this: The decision has galvanized pressure to end the brutal practice of shark finning, which kills tens of millions of sharks annually, including many species already threatened by extinction.

Late on Wednesday, Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) introduced the Shark Conservation Act of 2008, which will not only require all sharks to be landed with their fins, but allow the U.S. to require any other countries importing sharks to do the same. It’s an intermediate step in ensuring protection for sharks worldwide, but a vital step all the same.


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The Oceana Scanner: Sexy Invertebrate Edition

Posted Fri, Apr 4, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

This week in ocean news,

...two new studies may upend previously accepted understanding of photosynthesis. A widespread type of cyanobacteria may not use as much carbon dioxide in photosynthesis as presumed, meaning the oceans are capable of less carbon dioxide absorption than scientists had thought...

...in other cyanobacteria news, scientists discovered that viruses may play a key role in prompting the phytoplankton to consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen...

...the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dropped buoys into the water off the coast of Massachusettes that will record sound for the next 30 months in an attempt to understand the effect of ocean noise on marine wildlife...


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The Oceana Scanner, Tenacious Critter Edition

Posted Fri, Mar 21, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

This week in ocean news,

...a federal appeals court ruled that a Hong Kong company should not have been forced to give up the proceeds from 32 tons of shark fins seized by the U.S. Coast Guard in 2002 from the vessel King Diamond II. The 64,695 pounds of shark fins were valued at $618,956...

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When will sharks catch a break?

Posted Thu, Mar 20, 2008 by Andy Sharpless

The brutal practice of shark finning got a boost this week as the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that a Hong Kong company should not have lost the proceeds from 64,695 pounds of shark fins seized by the Coast Guard in 2002.

Let me repeat that figure: 64,695 pounds of shark fins alone were on that boat. That's the weight of more than eleven Cadillac Escalades. Or eight female African elephants. Or 470 Oxford dictionaries.

Without knowing what species of sharks were on the boat, the King Diamond II, or the size of the sharks, it's hard to know how many sharks were killed. Consider this, however: A shark fin comprises just one to five percent of the animal's body weight. After the fins are sliced off, the sharks are thrown overboard to die.

Shark finning is illegal in the United States, but a loophole allowed the King Diamond II to carry shark fins it had collected from other fishing ships. A loophole big enough to drive a bevy of Escalades through? Time to close that one up.

[Image courtesy Sharkwater]


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The Oceana Scanner: Friendly Cetacean Edition

Posted Fri, Mar 14, 2008 by Andy Sharpless to cetaceans, pygmy sperm whales, whales, white orca

This week in ocean news,

...a federal advisory panel weighed a ban on salmon fishing in California after a dramatic decline in the fishery. "The situation now is unprecedented and off the charts," said the executive director of the Pacific Fishery Management Council...

...a University of Tasmania scientist discovered two new types of toxic algae in the Southern Ocean, which he believes must be calculated into fishing quotas to prevent further overfishing...


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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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