The Beacon

Blog Tags: Bluefin Tuna

The Scanner: Moving Forward Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

It's been a rough few weeks for the oceans at CITES, but now it's time to pick up the pieces. If CITES taught us anything, it's that the work of the ocean conservation community is more important than ever.

This week in ocean news,

....Rick at Malaria, Bed bugs, Sea Lice and Sunsets discussed one of the more shady aspects of CITES: the secret ballots, which were invoked for votes on bluefin tuna, sharks, polar bears, and deep water corals.

…The Washington Post reported that Maryland is cracking down on watermen who catch oysters in protected sanctuaries or with banned equipment. Once a principal source of oysters, the Chesapeake now provides less than 5 percent of the annual U.S. harvest.

…For the first time, scientists were able to use videos to observe octupuses’ behavioral responses. The result? The octupuses had no consistent reaction to one film -- in other words, they had no “personality.” Curiously, other cephalopods display consistent personalities for most of their lives.

…The New York Times wondered if the 700,000 saltwater home aquariums in the United States and the associated trade in reef invertebrates are threatening real reef ecosystems.


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Sights on CITES: The Bitter End

This is the ninth in a series of dispatches from the CITES meeting in Doha, Qatar.

As Oceana marine scientist Elizabeth Griffin put it: “This meeting was a flop.”

CITES has been a complete failure for the oceans. The one success -- the listing of the porbeagle shark under Appendix II -- was overturned yesterday in the plenary session.

The future of bluefin tuna, the eight proposed species of sharks and red and pink corals now hangs in the balance.

“It appears that money can buy you anything, just ask Japan,” said Dave Allison, senior campaign director. “Under the crushing weight of the vast sums of money gained by unmanaged trade and exploitation of endangered marine species by Japan, China, other major trading countries and the fishing industry, the very foundation of CITES is threatened with collapse.”

Maybe next time -- if these species are still around to be protected.

The failure of CITES means that Oceana’s work – and your support and activism – is more important than ever. You can start by supporting our campaign work to protect these creatures.

Here's Oceana's Gaia Angelini on the conclusion of CITES:

 


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The Scanner: On the Bright Side Edition

surfing alpaca

© REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

Happy Friday, ocean fans. It's almost spring, and a surfing alpaca exists in the world. Things are looking up.

Before we get to the week's best marine tidbits, an important announcement: Oceana board member Ted Danson will be answering questions live on CNN.com on April 1, so send your ocean queries in, stat!

Also, don't forget that today is the last day to take the Ocean IQ quiz for a chance to win prizes, including a trip with SEE Turtles.

This week in ocean news,

…Yes, CITES failed to deliver on bluefin tuna yesterday, but as Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Julie Packard pointed out, at least the conversation is changing. Bluefin is now in the same rhetorical realm as endangered land creatures such as tigers and elephants.

…Deep Sea News wrote a requiem for a robot -- the Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE) that was lost at sea last week during a research expedition to the Chilean Subduction Zone. On a recent dive, ABE had detected evidence of hydrothermal vents. At the time of its loss, ABE had just begun a second dive to home into a vent site and photograph it.


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Adrian Grenier Wants to Save Bluefin

adrian grenier

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

While delegates from around the world voted against bluefin's future today, "Entourage" star Adrian Grenier was working to get the message out to protect them.

Grenier is traveling with Oceana to swim with the massive fish and record a PSA, and today GQ got a few images prior to the dive. Via GQ's twitter feed, here's a sneak peek photo.

Stay tuned for more in the days and weeks to come.


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Sights on CITES: Bad News for Bluefin

This is the fifth in a series of dispatches from CITES. You can read the other dispatches here.

Breaking news out of Doha: a trade ban on bluefin tuna (Appendix I listing) has been defeated, 20 votes to 68.

Although there were repeated calls from delegates from the E.U., U.S. and Monaco to allow time for parties to meet and arrive at a compromise position, a Libya delegate forced a preemptory vote on the E.U. proposal, which resulted in a 43 to 72 vote, with 14 abstaining.

Campaign director Dave Allison called the defeat "a clear win by short-term economic interest over the long-term health of the ocean and the rebuilding of Atlantic bluefin tuna populations."

The decision could spell the beginning of the end for the tigers of the sea.

Here's Oceana's Maria Jose Cornax on the decision: 

 

 

 


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Sights on CITES: An Insider's Tour

This is the third in a series of posts from CITES. Check out the rest of our dispatches here,

In today's dispatch from Doha, Oceana shark scientist Rebecca Greenberg gives us an insider's tour of CITES, from the main conference hall to one of the most important strategic lobbying areas: the coffee station.

You can also read updates from author Charles Clover on MarViva's Doha Diary blog.

 


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Sights on CITES: Getting Started

Here's a second CITES video dispatch from today, this time from Max Bello, a campaigner from our Chile office. (Read the rest of the dispatches here.)

 


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Sights on CITES: En Route

This is the first in a series of posts from CITES. Read the rest of the dispatches here.

CITES is now in session in Doha, Qatar. Our team will be there for the next 10 days pushing for further trade restrictions on corals, sharks and the Atlantic bluefin tuna. They sent us this video dispatch of campaign director Dave Allison from the airport en route. Stay tuned for more!


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The Scanner: Sights on CITES Edition

bluefin tuna

© Oceana/Keith Ellenbogen

Happy Friday!

As we speak, an Oceana team is headed to the CITES conference in Doha, Qatar, which begins tomorrow. We will be bringing you updates from the conference as we push for trade restrictions for bluefin tuna, corals and sharks.

CITES wasn't the only thing on the ocean radar this week, though. Check out the rest of this week's stories:

…Scientists have found that oxygen-starved pockets of the ocean, known as dead zones, can contribute to climate change. The increased amount of nitrous oxide produced in low-oxygen waters can elevate concentrations in the atmosphere, exacerbating the impacts of global warming and contributing to holes in the ozone layer.

… OK, this one’s a little gross -- but also really cool. Forensic researchers recently dropped several dead pigs into an ocean dead zone off Vancouver Island to gain insight into how fast cadavers in an ocean can disappear thanks to scavengers. Marine researchers took advantage of the study to do their own by using an underwater camera to see what kinds of animals fed on the disintegrating dead pigs -- and how long they could tolerate low-oxygen zones. While crabs, shrimp and starfish normally stay at shallower depths (where there’s more oxygen), the scavengers pushed their limits for the pig pickin’. Who knew swine could be such a boon for ocean science?


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Whale Wednesday: Sushi Sting

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

On this hump day, a few cetaceous stories for your perusal:

As you've probably heard, the team behind Sunday’s Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove” exposed Santa Monica sushi restaurant The Hump for serving illegal whale meat. The possession or sale of marine mammals -- in this case, the endangered sei whale -- is a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and can lead to a year in prison and a fine of $20,000.

And on the brighter side, the BBC has a remarkable slideshow of images showing a sperm whale surface feeding off the coast of New Zealand. Surface feeding is uncommon for sperm whales, who usually hunt many meters below the sea’s surface -- this individual must have been pretty hungry.


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