Posted on March 22, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Federal biologists proposal to revamp endangered species listing recognizes conservation progress and allows for more site-specific management
A green sea turtle swims near the seafloor of the Pacific. Photo courtesy Andy Bruckner/NOAA.
* More Summit Voice stories about sea turtles
FRISCO — Conservation and recovery efforts under the Endangered Species Act have helped green sea turtles around Florida and Mexico’s Pacific Coast recover to the point that federal biologists have proposed downlisting the species from endangered to threatened. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, green sea turtles | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New data will help shape conservation efforts in the waters around Antarctica
Australian and New Zealand researchers have tracked blue whales across thousands of miles in the Southern Ocean to help inform conservation efforts. Photo courtesy NOAA.
FRISCO — As a keystone species in marine ecosystems, blue whales have a significant impact in the ocean around Antarctica, but the population dynamics of the species in the region are still a mystery as the marine mammals recover from the decimation of the whaling era.
That may change following the recent six-week Australia-New Zealand Antarctic Ecosystem Voyage voyage, as researchers tracked the world’s largest creatures across thousands of miles of ocean, detecting their songs from as far as 750 kilometers away. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Antarctica, biodiversity, blue whales, marine mammals, Ross Sea, Southern Ocean | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘These animals require sea ice …’
A polar bear on Alaska’s North Slope. Photo via Eric Regehr, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
FRISCO — Enacting more endangered species regulations isn’t enough to reduce global warming threats to ice-dependent marine mammals in the Arctic, scientists say.
In a new report published in the journal Conservation Biology, a research team called for better monitoring, increased cooperation and more study of how increasing human activity in the Arctic will affect ecosystems.
The report assesses the status of all circumpolar species and sub-populations of Arctic marine mammals, including seals, whales and polar bears and underscores the precarious state of those mammals.
“These species are not only icons of climate change, but they are indicators of ecosystem health, and key resources for humans,” said lead author Kristin Laidre, a polar scientist with the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, biodiversity, climate change, global warming, marine mammals, polar bears | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘We know too much about the world now to keep managing the ocean in the same old way’
FRISCO — Dynamic, adaptive management is needed to manage ocean resources, including protected species and commercial fisheries, according to San Diego State University researchers, who say such a shift could benefit both commercial fishing fleets and conservation-focused stakeholders.
The need for a new paradigm is illustrated by the growing threats to ocean ecosystems, including overfishing, ever-busier shipping routes, energy exploration, pollution and other consequences of ocean-based industry, according to SDSU biologist Rebecca Lewison.
There’s plenty of data available to help managers make real-time decisions, but they often can’t react quickly enough to new information, Lewison said, after outlining a framework for “dynamic ocean management” in a paper published today in the journal BioScience. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: adaptive management, biodiversity, endangered species, Fisheries Management, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
An Atlantic cod at the Atlantic Sea-Park in Ålesund, Norway. PHOTO BY HANS-PETTER FJELD.
Petition would end targeted fishing, lower incidental take limit
FRISCO — After decades of short-sighted exploitation by commercial fishing outfits, Gulf of Maine cod are at the brink of “commercial extinction,” according to conservation advocates who this month petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service today to end targeted fishing of the species.
The petition also seeks to cap the incidental catch limit at 200 metric tons. The once-plentiful fish have declined 90 percent since 1982, when monitoring began, and 77 percent in the past five years. Currently Gulf of Maine cod are at 3 percent to 4 percent of what a well-managed stock should be, the petition asserts. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, Gulf of Maine cod, New England cod fishery, ocean conservation | 5 Comments »
Posted on March 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Bipartisan letter from House members supports push to reclassify entire gray wolf population as threatened
Wolves surrounding a bison in Yellowstone National Park. Courtesy Doug Smith/NPS.
FRISCO — A proposal to restructure the lawsuit-plagued recovery efforts for gray wolves may be gaining political traction, as 79 members of the U.S. House recently signed on to a letter supporting the plan to reclassify all wolves in the U.S. as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.
Conservation advocates see their request as a reasonable alternative to taking wolves completely off the endangered species list. A “threatened” status would enable the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue restoration efforts where needed, while giving states more flexibility in managing the predators. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, gray wolves, wolf conservation, wolves | 2 Comments »
Posted on March 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Critical habitat needed to protect marine mammals
FRISCO — Wildlife advocates say they will the sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to adequately protect Florida’s endangered manatees. The formal notice of the lawsuit filed this week specifically takes aim at commercial tours that bring hundreds of swimmers into small shallow warm-water lagoons to touch otherwise resting manatees.
Florida manatees are one of the most endangered marine mammals in U.S. coastal waters. Despite their large size, they have low levels of body fat and a very slow metabolism, making them extremely vulnerable to cold and unable to survive long in water colder than 68 degrees Fahrenheit. But the rare shallow warm-water springs manatees need in the winter are precisely those targeted by the increasingly popular swim-with tours. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Florida, manatee lawsuit, manatees, marine mammals | Leave a comment »