Posted on August 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Widespread threats lead to “threatened” listing for 20 coral species under the Endangered Species Act. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Conservation and recovery plans will be crafted in partnership with coastal communities
FRISCO — Twenty types of coral in the Pacific and Caribbean will be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, federal officials announced this week, citing declines of up to 90 percent in some species. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, global warming, biodiversity, endangered species, coral reefs | Tagged: coral reefs, endangered species, Environment, global warming, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 27, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Even the imminent decimation of tuna populations hasn’t stopped sport fishermen from harvesting the desirable fish in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. bberwyn photo.
Not enough adults left to replenish populations
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FRISCO — Pacific bluefin tuna won’t last long at any sustainable level without immediate and drastic intervention by fisheries managers, according to ocean advocates who are urging the federal government to adopt strict limits on bluefin tuna catch.
Overall, many tuna populations are on the brink of collapse. Five of eight tuna species have been assigned threatened or near-threatened status on the international Red List maintained by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
In the Gulf of Mexico, for example, the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster spewed millions of gallons of oil into the species’ prime breeding grounds, and a 2010 report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists showed how illegal fishing and inadequate enforcement are decimating tuna stocks all over the world. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, Bluefin tuna, Environment, fisheries, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
This image depicts polystyrene microspheres inside the gills of a shore crab. Image by Andrew Watts, University of Exeter, UK.
Is there a risk higher up the food chain?
By Bob Berwyn
* Read more Summit Voice stories on ocean plastic pollution here.
FRISCO — By some estimates, humankind now produces about 288 million tons of plastic per year, and about 10 percent of that likely ends up in the world’s oceans as a finely ground, totally human-produced source of pollution. Floating about in the seven seas, the microplastics can form rafts that harbor non-native bacteria and scientists know that the plastic is being eaten by marine critters. Continue reading
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Posted on July 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study findings to help inform coastal management
Dredging near coral reefs can lead to chronic disease and decline.
FRISCO — Along with the stress of global warming and the disappearance of reef-grazing fish, corals are also beset by the increasing pace of coastal development — specifically dredging — which can increase the frequency of diseases affecting corals.
Australian researchers with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies made their findings after studying a site near Barrow Island, off the West Australian coast, where an 18-month, 7-million cubic metre dredging project took place, developing a channel to accommodate ships transporting liquefied gas to a nearby processing plant. The site was in otherwise very good condition. Continue reading
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Posted on July 11, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Beach nesting areas, open ocean habitat protected
Room to roam for loggerheads. Photo by NOAA.
FRISCO — Loggerhead sea turtles may have a better chance of surviving — and even thriving — after federal agencies designated 685 miles of beaches along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines, as well as 300,000 square miles of ocean, as critical habitat. The decision came after more than five years of delays and court battles, as conservation groups sought protection for the turtles.
While the ocean habitat rule provides unprecedented habitat protection for loggerhead sea turtles, it only protects nearshore habitat for one mile off nesting beaches despite science showing the importance of habitat three miles from beaches for females and hatchlings. The rule also failed to identify critical habitat for the endangered North Pacific Ocean loggerhead, which is at risk due to Hawaii and California fisheries activities in areas overlapping with the loggerhead’s habitat. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, ocean conservation | Tagged: critical habitat, endangered species, Environment, loggerhead sea turtles, oceans | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Zoning coastal waters could help preserve marine resources for future generations. bberwyn photo.
Scientists call for ‘zoning’ of coastal waters
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Piecemeal planning and conservation efforts won’t be enough to preserve valuable ocean resources for future generations, a leading group of environmental and marine scientists said last week, calling on countries around the world to cooperate on zoning coastal waters in an approach that would mirror common land-use planning efforts.
Effective long-term conservation is crucial because about 20 percent of the world’s population — mostly in developing countries — lives within 60 miles of the coast. Growing populations and worsening climate change impacts ensure that pressures on tropical coastal waters will only grow, they warned. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: conservation, conservation planning, ocean conservation, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A North Atlantic right whale and calf. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
Healthy whale populations could buffer oceans from some global warming impacts
FRISCO — Whales may play a much bigger role in ocean ecosystems than previously thought, according to a University of Vermont researcher who studied how the great cetaceans recycle and move nutrients from one region to another.
“For a long time, whales have been considered too rare to make much of a difference in the oceans,” notes University of Vermont conservation biologist Joe Roman.
That was a mistake, he said, explaining how his research shows that whales have a powerful and positive influence on the function of oceans, global carbon storage, and the health of commercial fisheries. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: carbon cycle, climate change, endangered species, Environment, oceans, whales | 1 Comment »