Offshore wind farms are coming to California, but if the U.S. Navy has its way, all of Southern California—from Big Sur to the Mexican border—will be off limits. The Navy, which wants to protect its sprawling base and offshore activities north of San Diego, is in talks with proponents who say the wind turbines are an important part of a “multi-pronged strategy” to help the state meet its ambitious clean energy goals. “There’s a lot at stake here.” California’s offshore wind farms could eventually generate 13 times more energy than all land-based wind farms nationwide.
3. Marine Protected Areas Won’t Save Oceans from Climate Change
The creation of marine protected areas over the past decade is a rare bright spot in ocean news. These sanctuaries preserve pockets of resilience against over-fishing and other impacts. “The trouble is that, though MPAs will help in the short term, they aren’t going to save the oceans from the threat of climate change,” according to a new study in Nature Climate Change. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, with a rise of 4.5°C by 2100, “the oceans undergo radical changes that are likely to be too much for marine life to adapt.” Yes, we need more, and larger, marine protected areas, say researchers. But “those protections will be for naught if we don’t address the systemic problem of climate change.”
4. Great Pacific Garbage Patch Plastic Removal Invention Ready to Launch
Eighteen-year-old Boyan Slat captivated TEDx audiences—and investors—in 2012 with his idea for a floating device to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Now the young Dutch inventor is ready to turn his words into action. Later this year his company plans to deploy a 600-meter device between Hawaii and the U.S. Northwest, and by 2020 it hopes to launch 600 systems. But physical oceanographer Kim Martini is concerned that the device will inadvertently attract fish and marine life to “an area of the ocean with the biggest plastic problem on earth.” What’s more, she says, the device only targets the upper layer of water, even though plastics are mixed throughout the water column. The company still has its eyes on the prize: an ambitious goal to clean up 50 percent of the garbage patch within five years.
Marine scientists from Oxford University have found a new ocean zone with 100 new species in the waters off Bermuda. The new zone, which extends from 226 to 984 feet, harbors tiny crustaceans called tanaids, dozens of new algae species, and 6-foot-tall black wire coral. “The discovery of a whole new ocean zone, teeming with life, shows that there could be far more ocean species, and of greater variety than previously thought,” says Alex Rogers a professor of conservation biology at Oxford University. What’s next for this exploration team? The Seychelles, the Maldives, Mauritius, Andaman, and Sumatra, where no doubt untold ocean treasures await.
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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.