- Florida is receiving $6 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for oyster recovery in Apalachicola Bay in northwest Florida—a fishery that crashed in 2012 and 2013. The money will go towards oyster recovery, oyster monitoring, community assistance, and other outlets. WCTV
- As sea turtle hatching season gets underway in Nicaragua, the nation’s military has been sent to the coast to protect baby sea turtles from poachers. Poaching has historically been an issue in Nicaragua, but has improved in recent years. The Dodo
If you’ve spent some time at the coast this summer, the chances are you’ve had a close encounter with a jellyfish, as these invertebrates have earned quite the reputation in the media for “invading” coastal areas and causing a “jellyfish apocalypse” in recent years.
- After two attempts at nesting this summer, volunteers helped a loggerhead sea turtle missing her right rear flipper successfully lay a nest on Masonboro Island, North Carolina. The sea turtle tried to nest 15 times this summer before the volunteers were able to help her. Star News Online
- Prince Charles and his International Sustainability Unit want to turn fisheries into an investment opportunity, according to a new report. The report said that approaching fisheries management sustainably could help achieve social, environmental, and economic goals. The Guardian
- Scientists found fossils indicating that animals have been building reefs for 548 million years, about 7 million years earlier than previously thought. This means animals starting depositing calcium carbonate shells around the Cambrian explosion. Nature
Over the past few years, jellyfish sunk a Japanese fishing vessel, forced a nuclear power plant to shut down in Sweden, and caused several other nuisances around the planet.
When you think of your favorite seafood dishes, we’re pretty sure that jellyfish is not on your list. But this often-overlooked sea creature can be the star of some very tasty dishes. In the recent issue of Oceana magazine, we featured Chef Mario Batali’s recipe for jellyfish salad.
Plastic debris has become as ubiquitous to U.S. beaches as sand, surf, and shells. Every year, cleanup crews through the country collect millions of pounds of plastic trash from beaches and coastal waterways, with the most coming from California’s 1,100-mile coastline.
Over the past week, the New England Aquarium pulled off the dramatic rescue, rehabilitation and release of a 655-pound, 7-foot leatherback sea turtle which had stranded on Cape Cod (as seen in the video above). The prehistoric-looking reptile was found suffering from dehydration and shock with a significant portion of its left-front flipper missing, an injury the Aquarium said was consistent with entanglement in fishing gear, a sadly common occurrence with these severely threatened animals.
Leatherbacks are long-distance swimmers, using their giant paddle-like flippers to propel them over vast distances. This turtle from the Western Atlantic population travels all the way from the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean to the jellyfish-rich waters of New England each year, and may even swim as far north as Newfoundland. After a weekend being nursed back to health by aquarium staff, this beleaguered leatherback, which veterinarians estimated to be around 25 to 30 years old, was released off of Cape Cod on Sunday.
If the turtle survives, it will be a cheerful chapter in an increasingly desperate story about a species that has survived for a hundred million years but faces extinction in the coming decades. As many as 2,300 leatherbacks may have died at the hands of commercial fishing activities each year throughout the 1990s. Aside from entanglement in fishing gear, many turtles also face threats from poaching and countless die from ingesting plastic. Leatherbacks, whose throats are lined with backward-pointing spines to prevent swallowed jellyfish from escaping, are especially vulnerable to choking on plastic bags, which they mistake for their favorite prey.
But there is hope for the leatherback sea turtle. In 2007, Oceana petitioned the federal government to designate critical habitat for off the U.S. West Coast, where Pacific populations have plummeted by as much as 80% in recent decades. In response, earlier this year, The National Marine Fisheries Service finalized protection of almost 42,000 square miles of protected ocean habitat off the shores of Washington, Oregon and California for the endangered turtle. Turtles arrive in these areas each year after swimming as far as 6,000 miles across the open ocean from nests in Indonesia. This is the first permanent safe haven designated for leatherbacks in U.S. waters. The National Marine Fisheries Service has yet to designate similar critical habitat for loggerhead turtles in the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans even though they are required by law to do so.
Help Oceana continue to fight for this incredible animal, the largest turtle and one of the largest living reptiles on Earth.