Posted on August 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Bloody whale killing on the beaches of the Faroe Islands, Photo via Sea Shepherd.
Activists say unnecessary whale killing must stop
FRISCO — Two big German tour operators have announced that they are cancelling cruise ship visits to the Faroe Islands in reaction to the country’s annual slaughter of hapless whales.
Wildlife advocacy groups have been stepping up the pressure on the Faroe Islands to try and stop the annual event, called the grindadráp. Islanders defend the practice as an important cultural tradition, but activists say the killing must stop. This year, more than 250 pilot whales where killed late July in a bloodbath on beaches near Bøur and Tórshavn. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Environment, Faroe Islands, grindadráp, marine mammals, oceans, Sea Shepherd, whale slaughter, whales | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Toxin-producing algae is threatening West Coast fisheries.
Grant funding to help pinpoint cause of outbreak
FRISCO — After sending extra scientists to help track the spread of toxin-producing algae along the West Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this month said it will help fund more monitoring and research. The agency is committing $88,000 in grant and event response funding for Washington state.
According to NOAA, the money will go to supporting researchers and state and tribal managers in collecting and analyzing additional samples to test for abundance and concentrations of toxins. The information, along with analysis of ocean and weather conditions, will help identify factors contributing to the outbreak and its severity. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, global warming, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Environment, oceans, seafood, Washington state, West Coast toxic algae | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Porpoises trail a fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida. @bberwyn photo.
‘Almost 20 percent of sexually mature females showed evidence of stillbirth, foetal death or recent abortion …’
FRISCO — Even though PCBs were banned in the UK more than 30 years ago, researchers are still finding moderately “moderately high” levels of the toxic chemicals in the tissue of harbor porpoises.
The marine mammals around parts of the British Isles are struggling to successfully reproduce as a result of chemical pollutants found in European waters, according to new research led by the Zoological Society of London. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: bottlenose dolphins, Environment, marine mammals, ocean conservation, ocean pollution, PCBs, UK | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 11, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
No evidence that culling sharks cuts risks
There are more great white sharks and more people in the ocean along the California coast, but the risk of shark attacks has decreased since the 1960s. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Researchers say shark attacks are more likely in the evening than during the day. @bbberwyn photo.
FRISCO — Even as many more people take to the water along the California Coast, the risk of being attacked by great white sharks has dropped considerably since the 1950s, according to Stanford University researchers who took a close look at shark attack statistics.
Their findings show that empowering people with information about how to avoid sharks is far more effective for public safety than trying to cull sharks. The scientists released their study results after a recent wave of shark attacks in North Carolina made headlines.
“You have a higher chance to win the lottery, a much higher chance to drown in the ocean, than to be attacked by a shark,” said Stanford researcher Francesco Ferretti. “At the same time, people need to approach the ocean with precaution and respect. We are entering the realm of predators and they are fulfilling their ecological role,” Ferretti said. Continue reading
Filed under: endangered species, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: California, great white sharks, oceans, Scuba diving, shark attacks, shark culling, surfing | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawlers.
Change in Louisiana law will benefit turtles and shrimpers
FRISCO — Gulf of Mexico sea turtles may soon be a little safer, following a vote by the Louisiana State Legislature to reverse a 1987 law that conflicted with federal rules requiring shrimp fishing boats to use Turtle Excluder Devices in fishing nets.
The TEDs are openings in the net that enable trapped sea turtles to escape before they drown.Louisiana was the only state that refused to enforce this federal law, even though the state’s vessels make up a significant portion of the Gulf Coast shrimp trawl fishery, which by some estimates kills up to 50,000 turtles per year. Continue reading
Filed under: endangered species, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Louisiana, sea turtles, shrimp trawling, TEDs | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Increasingly corrosive ocean waters pose a serious threat to shell-building species and other marine life.
‘Future generations will look back and wonder why we didn’t do everything we could to save the world’s oceans …’
FRISCO — Citing the growing threat to the world’s oceans, environmental advocates want the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
The regulations have been used to limit emissions of other harmful chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons, PCBs and asbestos.
“Time’s running out to avoid a mass extinction of wildlife in our oceans,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It may not look like a toxic chemical, but when there’s too much CO2 in the ocean, it turns seawater corrosive and dissolves the protective shells that marine animals need to survive,” Sakashita said. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, Marine biology, ocean acidification, ocean conservation | Tagged: carbon dioxide, CO2, Environment, greenhouse gases, ocean acidification, oceans, Toxic Substances Control Act. | 1 Comment »
Posted on June 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Naval training exercises off the coast of California could pose a threat to endangered marine mammals.
Blue whale numbers holding steady; fin whales increasing
FRISCO — A new acoustic survey in Southern California coastal waters is helping researchers track whale populations.
The data analyzed by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego suggests that blue whale numbers are holding steady, while the number of fin whales is increasing.
Both species are often seen in the Southern California Bight, the curved region of California coastline with offshore waters extending from San Diego to Point Conception (near Santa Barbara, Calif.), but little is known about their use of the area, where ever-increasing ship traffic has raised concerns about collisions between whales and boats. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: blue whales, endangered species, Environment, fin whales, marine mammals, Southern California, Southern California Bight | 1 Comment »