The Beacon

Blog Tags: Overfishing

Infographic: Here’s Why Dusky Sharks Need to Get off the Hook

Dusky shark populations have declined by 99 percent

A dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus). (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Commons)

Dusky sharks, a bronze-blue colored species found in warm coastal and open ocean waters, are in trouble. Populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico have plummeted by 99 percent over the past 40 years as a result of overfishing and bycatch — the capture of non-target fish and ocean wildlife.


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No-Take Zones in Belize Could Rebuild Conch, Lobster, and Grouper Populations

No-take zones could rebuild conch populations in Belize

Queen conch (Strombus gigas), a species that could rebuild with no-take zones in Belize. (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Dave C.)

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. 


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Hammerhead Shark Management Should Reflect Unique Evolutionary Traits, Scientists Say

A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini)

A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini). (Photo: Oceana / Rob Stewart)

Known for their mallet-shaped heads, hammerhead sharks are one of the most easily recognized—and favored—shark species. Their “hammers” give them a widened-view to scan for food, and they have enhanced sensory organs that can detect electrical fields from their prey. If that doesn’t make hammerheads cool enough, they can grow to incredible sizes—reaching 20 feet in length and weighing up to 1,000 pounds.


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Ask Dr. Pauly: What are bycatch and discards?

(Photo: Oceana)

Ocean conservationists talk a lot about "bycatch" and "discards." But what exacty do these terms mean? In each issue of Oceana magazine, fisheries scientist and Oceana board member Dr. Daniel Pauly breaks down a commonly used fisheries term. In the recent issue, Dr. Pauly explains these technical terms and how they contribue to overfishing. 


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Ask Dr. Pauly: What are distant-water fishing fleets, and how do they affect overfishing?

(Photo: Oceana / Juan Cuetos) 

Maximum sustainable yield, bycatch and discards, exclusive economic zones, essential fish habitat. If you’ve ever read one of these terms and wondered what it meant, you’re in luck. In each issue of Oceana magazine, fisheries scientist and Oceana board member Dr. Daniel Pauly breaks down a commonly used fisheries term.


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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: EU Fishing Subsidies


Yesterday, Oceana released the results of a six-month study on European Union (EU) subsidies to the fishing sector since 2000, and the results were shocking. Our report showed that 4.9 billion euros in subsidies were granted in the form of “state aid” for the fishing sectors, with most of this €4.9 billion ($6.3 billion) fueling overfishing and environmentally harmful practices. Our estimates show that of this €4.9 billion, only 1% can be identified as beneficial to the marine environment. To add insult to grave environmental injury, despite the EU’s commitment to transparency, we found that information on how tax payer money is being spent and allocated to these fishing subsidies is both scarce and unclear.  


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Brunei Becomes First Asian Country to Ban Shark Finning!

Brunei's strong ban on shark finning sets an admirable step for the rest of Asia to follow! Photo: Wikimedia Commons

We have some big news for  you –Brunei has become the first Asian country to adopt a nationwide shark fin ban! With his June 7 announcement, Sultan Hossanal Bolkiah’s decree officially banned the catch and landing of all shark species from the waters of Brunei Darussalam, as well as shark fin sales in the domestic market, and the importation and trade of shark products.


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Oceana Explores the Baltic!

20130607 - Trip Madrid - Malmö from Oceana on Vimeo.

On World Oceans Day this past Saturday, Oceana launched its first ever Baltic Sea coastal expedition. We’ve dedicated this mission to studying the Baltic coastline, and particularly Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Finland, where a number of unique and incredible areas will be explored


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Sawfish Designated as Endangered Species

The unique and magnificent sawfish gained new protections this week. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Sawfish have a reason to breathe a little easier today: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has completed comprehensive status reviews under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and has determined that five foreign species of sawfish meet the definition of “endangered” under the Act. Of course, this “victory” is bittersweet: no one is celebrating the fact that sawfish species are endangered, but rather that they now will finally receive the protections they so desperately need to recover their numbers.


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Overfishing is Putting the Mediterranean at Great Risk

Morrocan fishing boat in the Mediterranean

© OCEANA | Carlos Minguell

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.


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