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.
- 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
As we wrote about last week, the EU has taken some major steps toward a strong Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). That could mean less overfishing, better protection for endangered species, and an overall healthier ocean. Just a day after that agreement was reached, it seems that the CFP principles are set up for their first test.
This year’s expedition in the Mediterranean and Portuguese Atlantic has come to a close, and we’re proud to report that it was a resounding success.
The highlight of the Ranger's journey was Portugal’s Gorringe seamount, which is recognized as a hotspot in the region but has not been extensively explored.
The base of the Gorringe seamount is more than 15,000 feet deep, while its peaks are just about 100 feet deep. Need a visualization? Take one of the United States’ tallest peaks, such as Washington’s Mount Rainier, submerge it under water, and add a bunch of spectacular marine life. There you have it.
The expedition team found kelp forests, deep-sea sponge fields, black coral forests, extensive oyster beds and over 100 different species including spotted dolphins, minke whales, sea pens, slipper lobsters and fish such as orange roughies, longspine snipefish, morays and conger eels.
During the expedition, a team of scientists and divers collected photos and video footage and an underwater robot (ROV) recorded high-resolution images on the sea beds down to nearly 2,000 feet deep.
Oceana could win 30.000€ (more than $40,000) to protect threatened seamounts in the Mediterranean, but only if you vote!
The decision follows intense campaigning by our European colleagues, who estimate that more than 500 vessels have been operating illegally in the Mediterranean, some with nets up to 12 miles long. It’s estimated that thousands of creatures, including whales, dolphins, sharks and sea turtles, are trapped by the indiscriminate fishing gear each year.