Indonesia blows up three poaching ships, Disappearing islands, CITES is rescheduled, Gender equality could be key to healthy oceans, Sea World dolphin shows protested, Seahorse overharvests for “Chinese Viagra”, Additional plastic banning seen in California, Oregon and Canada and more:
2. Three islands disappeared in the past year. Is climate change to blame?
Anote Tong can remember when Tebunginako, on the central Pacific island nation of Kiribati, was a thriving village. But beginning in the 1970s, the tide started inching closer to the houses in the village. Over the years, as strong winds whipped up monster waves and climate change caused sea levels to rise, water inundated the island, overwhelming a seawall that had been built to protect the community. Barely anything remains of the village today. “It’s no longer there,” Tong said. “What we do have is a church sitting in the middle of the sea when the tide comes in.”
3. Twice as many fishing vessels are chasing fewer fish throughout the world’s oceans
In 1950, about 1.7 million fishing vessels of all shapes and sizes plied the world’s oceans, but just 20 percent of them had motors, limiting their range and the amount of fish they could collect. Now, 65 years later, the number of boats has jumped to 3.7 million fishing vessels, 68 percent of which are motorized in some form, an increase that is putting more and more pressure on the world’s oceans, according to a new study published in the journal PNAS. The boom in fishing vessels doesn’t mean there’s plenty of fish in the sea. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Although Palo Alto adopted one of the strictest plastic bans in the Bay Area Monday night, some residents and city leaders contend that the measure doesn’t go far enough. Palo Alto City Council unanimously voted Monday night to prohibit the distribution of plastic straws, utensils and stirrers in all food service establishments starting in January as well as ban produce and meat bags in grocery stores and farmers markets starting in July 2020.
Oregon’s state senate on Tuesday approved a ban on single-use plastic checkout bags, the Statesman Journal reported. House Bill 2509 will now go to Gov. Kate Brown (D) for final approval after being passed by a 17-12 vote. She is expected to sign the ban, according to the Journal. The Senate rejected House Bill 2883, which would have prohibited prepared food from being sold in polystyrene foam containers, during the same session. Those two bills were among three debated in Oregon’s state legislature this year to reduce plastic pollution.
6. Used as a natural Viagra in Chinese medicine, seahorse numbers are declining
Hong Kong (CNN)In a row of shops in Sheung Wan, on the western side of Hong Kong Island, the seahorses are stored in plastic boxes and glass jars, their elongated, S-shaped bodies stacked like spoons. In Hong Kong, this district is the center of the trade in traditional Chinese medicine — an ancient system that uses dried plants and animal parts to treat ailments. Its narrow streets are crammed with delivery trucks and men pushing trolleys loaded with crates of dried fungi, herbs, berries — and seahorses.
A “Noah’s Ark” strategy will fail. In the roughest sense, that’s the conclusion of a first-of-its-kind study that illuminates which marine species may have the ability to survive in a world where temperatures are rising and oceans are becoming acidic. Two-by-two, or even moderately sized, remnants may have little chance to persist on a climate-changed planet. Instead, for many species, “we’ll need large populations,” says Melissa Pespeni a biologist at the University of Vermont who led the new research examining how hundreds of thousands of sea urchin larvae responded to experiments where their seawater was made either moderately or extremely acidic.
8. CoP – (CITES) Conference for the International Trade of Endangered Species Moved from Sri Lanka to Geneva – August 2019
Following my messages and the updates of the Secretariat dated 21 April, 26 April, 3 May, 10 May and 17 May, where we expressed our compassion for the people of Sri Lanka for the impacts of the heinous acts committed in their country on 21 April 2019, announced the postponement of the meeting and the process in which the Secretariat engaged to address as soon as possible the delay in carrying out the 18th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, I wish to confirm the new dates and venue of the meeting to Parties and Observers:
9. Promoting gender equality critical to restoring and protecting our planet’s oceans
“We need to empower each and every citizen to take care of the ocean and enable all women to play transformative and ambitious roles in understanding, exploring, protecting and sustainably managing our ocean”, said Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, pointing out that this year’s “special edition” of World Oceans Day links the themes of gender equality and ocean preservation. Women engage in all aspects of ocean interaction, yet in many parts of the world, women’s contribution, both towards ocean-based livelihoods like fishing, and conservation efforts, are invisible and, gender inequality persists “from the marine industry to the field of ocean science”.
11. Mediterranean plastic pollution hotspots highlighted
Nine coastlines have been identified as the places in the Mediterranean most polluted with plastic, a report says. They include top tourist spots such as Barcelona, Marseilles, Tel-Aviv and the Venice coast near the Po river. The report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said all Mediterranean countries had underperformed in managing plastic contamination. It said 570,000 tonnes of plastic went into the sea each year – the equivalent of 33,800 plastic bottles every minute.
The Gulf of Mexico could see one of its largest dead zones on record this summer, according to researchers. A “dead zone” is known in scientific literature as hypoxia, which means low oxygen. This water, with its low concentration of dissolved oxygen, can no longer support the life that calls that part of the ocean home. For decades, researchers have tracked exactly how big the annually recurring dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will be. Dead zones were first noticed the area in the 1970s, and they’ve been growing in size ever since. Based on current conditions, some scientists think that the Gulf of Mexico will experience the second-largest dead zone on record in July.
Poaching using men kidnapped from their homes, enslaved and forced to work in inhumane conditions for years. This is a nightmare that few people believe is happening today.
Ghost Fleet follows a small group of activists who risk their lives on remote Indonesian islands to find justice and freedom for the enslaved fishermen who feed the world’s insatiable appetite for seafood. Bangkok-based Patima Tungpuchayakul, a Thai abolitionist, has committed her life to help these “lost” men return home. Facing illness, death threats, corruption, and complacency, Patima’s fearless determination for justice inspire her nation and the world. In theaters June 7, 2019.
Since January, more than 70 dead gray whales have washed up on the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Canada. That’s the most in a single year since 2000, and scientists are concerned. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries designated these strandings as part of an Unusual Mortality Event (UME). Under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act, the designation of a UME means that more resources and scientific expertise will be dedicated to investigating what’s causing so many whales to die.
17. Shark fins cover Lush headquarters for World Oceans Day
Lush Cosmetics covered its Vancouver headquarters with hundreds of cardboard shark fins on Saturday to mark World Oceans Day and call attention to the damage humans are doing to the planet’s oceans generally, and to sharks, in particular. “Healthy oceans are integral to combating climate change, and as a keystone species, sharks are really under attack,” said Carleen Pickard, an ethical campaigns specialist for Lush. “We hear so often about, you know, big media splashes around shark attacks, but really it’s humans that are attacking sharks.”
Sea Save Foundation is committed to raising awareness of marine conservation. The Ocean 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