- The United Kingdom’s chief scientist is sounding the alarm on climate change, warning that the oceans can only absorb about one-third of what they’re emitting. His warning comes after new studies highlight how ocean acidification affects animals from sea urchins to lugworms. BBC News
Last month, President Obama finalized the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument — the largest marine reserve in the entire world. First created by President George W. Bush in 2009, the reserve is centered around several islands and atolls in the central Pacific Ocean. The newly expanded reserve will protect an area three times the size of California from commercial fishing, dumping, and mining.
On behalf of Oceana and the ocean conservation community, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate this extraordinary presidential action.
In a big move for the oceans, President Obama announced today that he’s creating the world’s largest marine protected area. The move expands the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument by more than six times its original size from nearly 87,000 square miles to more than 490,000. The area will protect Johnston Atoll, Wake Atoll, and Jarvis Island, and keep them off-limits to activities such as commercial fishing and energy exploration.
- Federal officials say the endangered Hawaiian monk seal population may be making a slow comeback. Pup numbers have slowly increased from previous years, from 103 individuals in 2013 to 121 this year. The Dodo
Earlier this month, Oceana in Europe completed a 10-day expedition to the Balearic seamounts, where a team of scientists mapped, documented, and collected data on the area to determine the need for protective measures.
The islands of Belize are surrounded by vibrant blue waters, beautiful and unusual marine creatures, and the largest barrier reef system in the Western Hemisphere. But even in Belize—one of the least densely populated Caribbean countries—these marine animals and ecosystems are not exempt from exploitative human activities like overfishing. A new report, however, from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) suggests a solution for Belize’s marine life—and particularly coral reefs—to recover: expand no-take zones.
- A new study found that blue whale “hot spots” off California intersect with some of California’s busiest shipping lanes, and that ship strikes are preventing blue whales from recovering. Blue whale numbers have increased since the International Whaling Commission’s 1966 protections, but they haven’t recovered at the rate scientists expected. National Geographic
- New maps of ocean plastics—the first of their kind—show plastic accumulation levels across the world’s oceans. The maps highlight data from a study released this month that found plastics floating in five subtropical gyres across the world. National Geographic
Last week, the Spanish Supreme Court ruled in favor of oil drilling in the Canary Islands. The ruling approves permits for Repsol, a Spanish multinational oil and gas company, to search for hydrocarbons on the eastern coastlines of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote islands. This project will harm up to 25 marine areas and 82 protected species that were documented by Oceana during its expedition in this zone.
Earlier this month, President Obama announced his intentions to expand protection for the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, as well as his commitment to fight seafood fraud and illegal fishing. Like Oceana in North America, Oceana in Europe campaigns for the establishment and expansion of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) throughout the Baltic and elsewhere in the EU.