The Beacon

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

Photos: Christmas Island's Incredible Red Crab Migration is Underway

Red crabs migrating along Christmas Island, Australia

Red crabs migrating on Christmas Island. (Photo: frogtrail images / Flickr Creative Commons)

Australia’s Christmas Island—located south of Indonesia in the Indian Ocean—is named for the day of its discovery in 1643. But, if you’re familiar with the incredible natural phenomenon that occurs there around this time of year, you may have thought the island was aptly named for the sea of red that blankets the island each year around Christmas time.


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Ocean Roundup: Morbillivirus Strikes the Florida Keys, New Species of Snailfish Discovered in Mariana Trench, and More

Morbillivirus has spread to bottlenose dolphins in the Florida Keys

A bottlenose dolphin. The deadly morbillivirus has hit dolphins in the Florida Keys. (Photo: Oceana)

Editor’s Note: In light of the holidays, this is the last ocean news round-up to be published over the next week. In the meantime, please check our Twitter channel for ocean updates. Happy holidays!


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Holiday Creature Feature: Christmas Tree Worm and Candy Cane Shrimp

The Christmas tree worm is found along coral reefs

Christmas tree worms in the Great Barrier Reef. (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Commons)

Some marine animals don’t have to put any effort into celebrating the holiday season, and instead, celebrate this special time all year long. With the holiday season in full swing, we’re spotlighting two small marine animals that are aptly named for their resemblance to two different holiday symbols: the Christmas tree worm and candy cane shrimp.  


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Ocean Roundup: Chevron Withdraws Drilling Plans from the Arctic, Peru Issues Ban on Shrimp Fishing, and More

Chevron withdrew plans for drilling in the Beaufort Sea

Polar bears along the Beaufort Sea. Chevron pulled it plans for oil drilling in the region earlier this week. (Photo: Alaska Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Chevron has withdrawn its plans for oil drilling in the Beaufort Sea because of “economic uncertainty” and low oil prices. Chevron sent a letter to Canada’s National Energy Board earlier this week, saying it was cancelling plans to drill about 155 miles northwest of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. Reuters


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Video: Drone Captures Amazing Humpback Whale Feeding Event on Camera

Drone footage captured humpback whales feeding off Alaska

Humpback whales feeding in Alaska. (Photo: AkXpro / Vimeo)

Apart from their massive size, humpback whales are most known for their extensive, complex “songs” that male humpbacks use for communication. But, humpback whales also have some fascinating feeding behaviors that are also worthy of attention—particularly bubble-netting.


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Ocean Roundup: Deep Sea Sediments Act as Microplastic Sinks, Risso’s Dolphins Stranding in High Numbers, and More

Risso's dolphins are stranding in elevated numbers in Tasmania

A Risso’s dolphin. These dolphins have been stranding in high numbers along Tasmania. (Photo: Images by John 'K' / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A federal report released this week found that temperatures in the Arctic are warming at twice the rate of those in lower latitudes. The report also discussed how these temperature and sea ice changes are negatively impacting polar bear populations and fish migrations. The Washington Post


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Act: GrubHub, Take Shark Fin Off the Menu!

A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini), a species commonly harvested for the shark fin trade. (Photo: Oceana / © Rob Stewart) 

Shark and ocean lovers may want to think twice the next time they sit down with their computers or smartphones to order some takeout—shark fin could be on the menu.

Every day, thousands of people in more than 600 cities order food from tens of thousands of restaurants on GrubHub and its subsidiaries—Seamless, All Menus, and Menu Pages. Yet some of featured restaurants offer shark fin products on their menus.


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Ocean Roundup: Humpback Whales Communicate to Feed at Night, Bangladesh Oil Spill Threatening Sundarbans Mangroves, and More

Humpback whales feed with "tick-tock" noises at night

A humpback whale feeding. New research shows humpback whales make “tick-tock” noises to feed at night. (Photo: Garrett Coakley / Flickr Creative Commons)

- European Union fishery ministers reached agreements on commercial catch regulations for 2015, allowing for increased catches in cod, prawns, plaice, haddock, and more in certain areas. Many conservationists are criticizing the decision, saying it defied scientific advice to decrease many of these catches. The Guardian


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Presidential Task Force Releases Bold Recommendations for Tackling Seafood Fraud and Illegal Fishing

A presidential task force on seafood fraud released its recommendations today.

The Task Force on seafood fraud released its first recommendations for tackling the issue on December 16. (Photo: Jenn Hueting)

Today, President Obama’s Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud delivered its first recommendations for tackling this issue, which included domestic and international measures to help ensure that seafood sold in the United States is safe, legally caught, and honestly labeled.  Oceana commends the recommendations and says they are a real step forward for fighting illegal fishing and seafood fraud in the U.S. and around the world.


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Ocean Roundup: Task Force Releases Recommendations on Seafood Fraud, Sea Otters Critical to Healthy Marshes, and More

Sea otters are important to maintaining healthy marshes

A sea otter in California. Sea otters play important roles in maintaining healthy marsh ecosystems. (Photo: USFWS Pacific Southwest Region / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Today, President Obama’s designated Task Force on tackling seafood fraud released  their first set of recommendations for eliminating the issue. While many conservationists are hailing the recommendations—such as instilling better enforcement and encouraging collaboration among organizations—as a positive first step, they say there is still much work to be done. National Geographic


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