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Sea Save Foundation “Ocean Week in Review” January 25, 2019: We Gather News; You Stay Informed

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“Davos Economic Talks Showcase Oceans, U.S. Talks Shark Fin Ban … Again, Sea Cucumber Disappearing Act, Plastic in the Blue Hole, New Shark Species , Greenland Ice Melt and more… 

 
1. Al Gore, Benioff Discuss the Ocean Economy: Davos Panel

A panel discussion at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on tapping into the ocean economy while protecting it from environmental collapse. The speakers are Salesforce Co-Chief Executive Officer Marc Benioff, Generation Investment Management co-founder and former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore, National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala, Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg, and actress Michelle Yeoh. Bloomberg’s Francine Lacqua moderates.

 
 
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2. Lawmakers Propose Banning Shark Fin Trade

A bipartisan group of dozens of House lawmakers introduced legislation on Wednesday that would make it illegal to buy or sell shark fins. The bill, led by Del. Gregorio Sablan (D-Northern Mariana Islands) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), is meant to further crack down on shark finning, in which fishermen remove fins and release the rest of the animal into the ocean to die.

 
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3. Ocean Drilling Project Seeks Clues to Future Sea Level Rise

Scientists know the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Amundsen Sea could play a pivotal role in future sea level rise, but many questions remain unanswered. An international drilling expedition, led by researchers from the University of Houston and the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, will provide important clues through a detailed analysis of the ice sheet’s history. The International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 379 will leave Punta Arenas, Chile, for a two-month trip to Antarctica on Jan. 24. It is funded by the National Science Foundation and its international partners.

 
Read more from “EurekAlert!” 

Editorial Question: How much is all our research drilling contributing to the warming of Antarctica?

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4. The Sea Cucumber, An Apparently Sedentary Creature, Is Anything But
Sea Cucumbers, soft-bodied relatives of sea urchins and starfish, are a sought-after foodstuff. In China alone the market for their flesh is worth $3bn a year. Unfortunately for those who try to make a living catching them, their populations often seem to undergo a cycle of boom and bust. Annie Mercier of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, in Canada, was curious to know why this is. In particular, she wondered whether over-harvesting was to blame, or if the animals were simply migrating away. 
 
 
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5. Belize Great Blue Hole: World’s Biggest OCean Sinkhole Has Plastic At Bottom 

Editorial Note: Plastic is everywhere; this is not a surprise. However, by highlighting famous locations that are plagued by plastic pollution we can better reach the public and help them realize the extent of the problem.

Richard Branson has found plastic at the bottom of the world’s biggest ocean sinkhole. The billionaire dove into the abyss with Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of French explorer Jacques Cousteau, and National Geographic explorer Erika Bergman at the end of last year. In a blog post about the trip, he has said the discovery of bottles at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole shows the great need to “get rid of single-use plastic,” adding that it has become the “scourge of the ocean.”
 
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6. New Prehistoric Shark Species Discovered Alongside Sue the T. Rex
Dinosaurs tend to dominate our vision of the past. As large and imposing as they were in life, they loom even larger in our imaginations. But much more than just the “terrible lizards” lived and thrived during the Mesozoic era, and some of the creatures that lived alongside the dinosaurs actually bear a striking resemblance to the animals of today. The tiny teeth, petrified tidbits about the size of a pinhead, look straight out of an 1980s videogame. They took a circuitous route to discovery, which started with the excavation of the nearly complete Tyrannosaurus known as “Sue” back in 1990. 
 

 

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7. Singapore MP Urges Ban on Shark’s Fin from Public Service Events

Shark’s fin dishes should be banned from events organized by or for the public service, Singapore Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng said. Ng, who is MP for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency, submitted a parliamentary question on the issue earlier this week, asking whether shark’s fin — traditionally considered a delicacy and a staple at Chinese weddings and formal banquets — is still being served at public service events and if it will be on the menu at future events. In a written response, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said that government agencies decide on their respective menus based on what is “prudent and appropriate for the occasion.”

 

 

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8. Greenland’s Ice Is Melting Four Times Faster Than Thought—What It Means

A new study warns that Greenland’s ice is melting faster than scientists previously thought. But perhaps the biggest surprise is that most of this ice loss is from the land-fast ice sheet itself, not Greenland’s glaciers. The new study, published January 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the largest sustained ice loss from early 2003 to mid-2013 came from Greenland’s southwest region, which is mostly devoid of large glaciers. Greenland, the world’s biggest island, appears to have hit a tipping point around 2002-2003 when the ice loss rapidly accelerated, said lead author Michael Bevis, a geoscientist at Ohio State University.
 

 Read more from “National Geographic”

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Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Week in Review is a team effort produced by the Sea Save staff to provide a weekly summary of the latest in marine research, policy, and news