Posted on August 4, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation advocates say annual hunt violates international treaties
Faroe Islanders defend their annual whale slaughter as important cultural tradition, but face a growing tide of public opposition, Photo courtesy Sea Shepherd.
FRISCO — Five international Sea Shepherd crew members who tried to disrupt a bloody whale slaughter in the Faroe Islands are in court this week, facing charges of violating Faroe Island’s Pilot Whaling Act. The penalties include fines of up to about $3,000 or up to two years in prison.
Several other Sea Shepherd crew members were found guilty of disrupting the hunt in 2012, and a captain of a small Sea Shepherd boat was charged with not reporting a sighting of dolphins.
The law authorizes the slaughter as part of Faroe Island’s cultural tradition, but conservation advocates say the annual hunt may violate a European wildlife treaty. In the hunt, entire pods of whales and dolphins are driven to shore when they approach the coast and then killed, turning the seawater bloody red. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Environment, Faroe Islands, grindadráp, ocean conservation, whale slaughter, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A humpback whale near Hawaii. Photo courtesy NOAA.
FRISCO — While many Australian animal species are being pushed toward extinction, humpback whales off both the country’s east and west coasts are making a strong comeback from the whaling era.
Recent research suggests humpback populations are growing at about 10 percent annually, and that populations have recovered to between 60 and 90 percent of pre-whaling numbers, according to a new study published in the journal Marine Policy. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: Australia, endangered species, humpback whales, marine mammals, ocean conservation | 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 14, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New research reveals biodiversity secrets deep beneath the surface of the Bering Sea.
Protection could benefit entire Bering Sea ecosystem
FRISCO — An undersea canyon in the Bering Sea is a biodiversity hotspot, scientists said in a new report that reinforces a push to establish protection for the area.
The study, conducted by the Marine Science Institute at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Greenpeace concluded that Pribilof canyon is the most significant location for deep sea corals and sponges along the entire eastern Bering Sea shelf.
With protections in place for coral and sponge habitat, Bering Sea fish and king crab populations could increase, according to conservation advocates. The study, published in Global Ecology and Conservation, also found that restricting bottom-contact fishing in Bering Sea canyons would not have significant negative impacts on the fishing industry. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment | Tagged: Bering Sea, biodiversity, coldwater corals, marine protected areas, ocean conservation, Pribilof Canyon | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Commercial shrimp boats at anchor in Appalichicola, Florida. @bberwyn photo.
Proposed House measure would threaten decades of progress on restoring fisheries
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — After years of attacking public land protections with little to show for their efforts, anti-environmental Republicans in Congress are now taking aim at the oceans.
House Resolution 1335, cooked up in the witch’s kitchen of the House Natural Resources Committee, would slash rules that, for decades, have helped rebuild fisheries and protected ocean species from extinction. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Don Young, Environment, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, MSA. politics, ocean conservation | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Study shows dramatic shift in marine species
FRISCO — Biologists looking at 40 years of fisheries data from Puget Sound have documented a dramatic shift in marine species. Key fish in the food chain, like herring and smelt, have declined, while the number of jellyfish has increased exponentially, to the detriment of the marine ecosystem.
“On land people see the changes that come with human population increases, but underwater the changes are much harder to discern,” said Correigh Greene, with NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center. “What this tells us is that when you look over time, you can see that the underwater landscape of Puget Sound is changing too,” said Greene, lead author of the new study published in Marine Ecology Progress Series. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: jellyfish, marine biology, ocean conservation, Puget Sound, Puget Sound fisheries | 2 Comments »
Posted on April 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A federal court ruling may help protect marine mammals from harmful military activities in the Pacific Ocean. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Environmental study for Pacific Ocean military exercises violates several federal laws
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — A federal court this week rejected a U.S. Navy plan for training activities off the coast of California and around the Hawaiian Islands after finding that the naval exercises would harm multiple species of marine mammals — in violation of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The plan, sanctioned by the National Marine Fisheries Service, fails to meet basic requirements of federal environmental laws, said Judge Susan Oki Mollway, of the U.S. District Court for Hawaii, calling the government’s documents so fundamentally flawed that they need to be totally rewritten. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: endangered species, Environment, marine mammals, ocean conservation, U.S. Navy, whales | Leave a comment »