The Beacon

Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.

Ignoring Climate Change Puts Our Way of Life in Jeopardy

(Photo: Oceana / Ana de la Torriente)

The United Nations recently released a report on the impacts of global climate change, which describes the effects as “severe, pervasive and irreversible.”


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Galveston Still Hurting Weeks after Spill

(Photo: Coast Guard News)

The aftermath of the March 22, 2014 oil spill in Galveston, Texas has revealed some shocking truths about the oil and gas industry and how it can devastate communities. For starters, Galveston averages nearly one spill each day. Additionally, the bay has lost more than 35,000 acres of coastal marshes from groundwater pumping. It is a wonder that coastal citizens allow such destruction to take place, especially when considering that Galveston is in the heart of Texas’s fishing industry.


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Coast Guard Calls Out Shell for Ignoring Risks During 2012 Rig Grounding

(Photo: U.S. Department of Defense)

In December of 2012, Shell’s Arctic drilling rig, the Kulluk, ran aground during a winter storm. Yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard released the results of their investigation into the incident, criticizing Shell for poor management and decision-making. In a press release, the Coast Guard states that the “most significant factor” in the grounding was “the inadequate assessment and management of risks.”


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Senate Finance Committee Votes to Extend the ITC for Offshore Wind

(Photo: Oceana)

The Senate Finance committee gave a strong bipartisan show of support for domestic offshore wind energy yesterday by voting to extend the critical investment tax credit. This vote resurrects a crucial incentive for this nascent clean energy industry and offers a great chance to catapult the industry into the mainstream and allow companies to plan successful projects that take advantage of the nation’s vast offshore wind potential.


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New Research Reveals Bycatch Hotspots

(Photo: Oceana \ CarlosPerez)

Out on the water, fishermen are notorious for both catching non-target fish and for entangling or killing many other marine animals, including dolphins, seals, whales, and sea turtles. Known as “bycatch,” these victims usually end up dead and thrown back overboard. The severity of the bycatch problem around the world has been uncertain, until now, because it can be difficult to gather data about just how many animals are caught as bycatch


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Four Years Later, BP Oil Spill Still Rearing its Oily Head in Florida

(Photo: NOAA)

The Gulf coast of Florida is renowned for its soft white beaches, balmy weather and calm, clear waters. It’s also infamous for being a mecca of debris from oil-rig related tragedies, which, until recently, were thought to have mostly finished their attack on Gulf coast beaches. But even after four years, trash from the BP oil disaster is still washing ashore and devastating coastal environments and communities.


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Victory for Sharks: California Fin Ban Upheld in Court!

(Photo: Oceana / Tim Calver)

Yesterday, sharks received a huge victory when a federal district court upheld a California law that prohibits the possession and sale of shark fins throughout the state. California’s 2011 law was originally challenged by a group of shark fin dealers and retailers who claimed the ban was discriminatory and in violation of federal law. The court ruled against all claims in the suit, specifically ruling that the law did not violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection and Commerce Clauses, and that the law was not preempted by federal fisheries law.


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BP Deepwater Horizon Spill Damages Heart Development in Fish

(Photo: Oceana / Tim Calver)

A disturbing finding on the effects of oil spill was announced on Monday, as the 4-year commemoration of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill approaches. A recent study found that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)—known to be associated with cancers—generated from the oil spill caused heart defects in commercially important tuna and amberjack.


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EU Seas Are In Bad Shape

(Photo: OCEANA / Juan Cuetos)

Authored by Nicolas Fournier and Hanna Paulomäki, this post ran on Oceana Europe's blog earlier this month. 

In 2008, EU Member States took an ambitious decision to safeguard and restore the state of European seas by 2020. After years of negotiations, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive was adopted, which aimed at making sure all human activities that impact the quality of our marine environment are addressed. Today, five years since implementation, and with six more years to go, the goal seems more of a challenge to reach.


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New Footage from the Desventuradas Expedition

(Photo Oceana | Eduardo Sorensen)

In February 2013, Oceana and National Geographic launched a joint expedition to the Desventuradas, two remote, rocky islands off the coast of Chile. A team of all-star scientists explored one of the last potentially pristine marine environments left in South America. Outfitted with a three-person submarine, the team completed over 280 dives, shooting more than 80 hours of video and 12,000 photos – all completely new to science

To see some of the expedition footage, check out this new video posted by National Geographic:

 


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