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News articles on oceans

Mongabay.com news articles on oceans in blog format. Updated regularly.









Fish cultivate gardens of algae

(07/24/2007) Damselfish cultivate "gardens" of algae, according to a study published last October in the journal Biology Letters.


In Alaska, fishing industry drives marine conservation

(07/24/2007) Alaska's fisheries are some of the richest in the world, with fishermen harvesting hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of salmon, crab, herring, halibut, pollock, and groundfish every year. However, such bounty has not always been the case. Over-exploitation and poor fisheries management in the 1940s and 1950s took a heavy toll on the industry. Born of this difficult origin, today Alaska sets the bar in fisheries management. Unusually for natural resource management, industry is leading the way, relying on dialog with scientists to determine catch levels and where to designate "no-fishing zones", while pushing for certification standards for sustainable seafood products. These efforts are coordinated by the Marine conservation Alliance (MCA), an industry-backed nonprofit based in Juneau, Alaska. In July 2007, David Benton, executive director of the Marine conservation Alliance, spoke with mongabay.com about MCA's work in Alaska.


Melting glaciers and ice cap will drive sea level rise

(07/19/2007) Melting glaciers and ice caps will contribute more to global sea level rise this century than the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, reports a study published in the current issue of Science.


Fines on bycatch could help make conservation groups, industry accountable

(07/18/2007) Assessing fines on illegal bycatch could help clean up the fishing industry, reports a new study published in the August issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.


Foreign fishing fleets deplete African fish stocks

(07/18/2007) Heavily subsidized foreign fishing fleets are depleting coastal fish stocks of poor Africa countries, reports The Wall Street Journal.


Hurricanes can help coral reefs

(07/17/2007) A close call with a hurricane can be beneficial to a stressed coral reef, reports a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


How long does it take reef fish to recover from overfishing?

(07/11/2007) Recovery of fish populations from overfishing can take decades, reports a new study based on 37 years of observations.


Giant squid found in Australia

(07/11/2007) A giant squid has washed up on a beach on the western coast of the Australian island Tasmania, reports Reuters.


How to save the world's oceans from overfishing

(07/08/2007) Global fishing stocks are in trouble. After expanding from 18 millions tons in 1950 to around 94 million tons in 2000, annual world fish catch has leveled off and may even be declining. Scientists estimate that the number of large predatory fish in the oceans has fallen by 90 percent since the 1950s, while about one-quarter of the world's fisheries are overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion. Despite these dire trends, the situation is changing. Today some of the world's largest environmental groups are focused on addressing the health of marine life and oceans, while sustainable fisheries management is at the top of the agenda for intergovenmental bodies. At the forefront of these efforts is Mike Sutton, director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's conservation program: the Center for the Future of the Oceans. The aquarium, which has long been recognized as one of the world's most important marine research facilities, is pioneering new strategies for protecting the planet's oceans. Sutton says the approach has four parts: establishing new marine protected areas, pushing for ocean policy reform, promoting sustainable seafood, and protecting wildlife and marine ecosystems.


Sea anemone genome provides insight on evolution

(07/05/2007) The sea anemone genome is far more complex and vertebrate-like than the fruit fly or nematode genomes, reports a study published in the July 6th issue of the journal Science. The analysis provides insights into the common ancestor of nearly all multi-celled animals, including humans.


WWF condemns iron fertilization scheme to fight global warming

(06/28/2007) Environmental group WWF condemned a scheme by Planktos, Inc. (OTCBB: PLKT) to dump up to 100 tons of iron dust in the open ocean west of the Galapagos Islands. The firm claims the experiment will fertilize massive blooms of phytoplankton that will absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and help fight global warming.


Melting Antarctic icebergs help increase biodiversity, slow climate change

(06/21/2007) Icebergs breaking off Antarctica are unexpected hotspots of biological productivity and have a surprising role in climate change, reports a new study published in the journal Science.


Study: Global cooling of oceans did not occur from 2003-2005

(06/18/2007) The top 700-meters of global oceans did not cool from 2003-2005, reports a study published in the June 18 early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results challenge recent findings that suggest otherwise.


Ocean acidification monitoring system launched

(06/13/2007) The first buoy to monitor ocean acidification has been launched in the Gulf of Alaska reports the National Science Foundation (NSF). Scientists hope the instrument, which will transmit data via satellite, will help examine how ocean circulation and ecosystems interact to determine how much carbon dioxide the north Pacific Ocean absorbs each year.


Harpoon proves whale is 115-130 years old

(06/12/2007) A 19th-century weapon found in the neck of a 50-ton bowhead whale caught off Alaska shows that cetaceans can live more than 100 years, reports the Associated Press (AP).


Trade in sawfish banned

(06/11/2007) Trade restrictions for the endangered sawfish have been approved at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting the The Hague. All seven species of sawfish has been added to Appendix I of the convention, banning international commercial trade. One species, found in Australia, was added to Appendix II, restricting trade to live animals for conservation purposes.


Sharks do not win CITES protection

(06/08/2007) Two endangered species of sharks failed to win protection at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in The Hague.


Japan and Iceland defeated on pro-whaling initiative

(06/07/2007) Japan and Iceland failed in their latest attempts to lift regulations protecting whales, reports the Whale and Dolphin conservation Society. Measures introduced at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in the Hague were defeated 55 (against) to 28 (for) with 13 abstentions Thursday.


Jumbo squid invasion in California

(06/06/2007) Thousands of Jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) squid are appearing off the coast of Southern California, according to published reports.


Penguins in Alaska?

(06/05/2007) Penguins found in Alaskan waters likely reach the Northern Hemisphere by fishing boat rather than by swimming, report University of Washington researchers.


Shark fin does not cure cancer

(06/03/2007) Shark cartilage, long believed in traditional medicine to be an anti-cancer agent, confers no health benefits in lung cancer survival reports an extensive study presented at the 43rd annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The lead author said the findings cast major skepticism on shark cartilage products that are being sold for profit and have no data to support their efficacy as cancer-fighting agent.


Hurricanes may help cool climate

(05/31/2007) Tropical cyclones and hurricanes play an important role in the ocean circulation patterns that transport heat and maintain the climate of North America and Europe, report researchers from Purdue University.


Colorful marine creatures discovered off Panama

(05/31/2007) Researchers have discovered five new species of sea slug off the coast of Central America. Surveys have found that the region, known as the Tropical Eastern Pacific, is characterized by large numbers of endemic and previously unknown species. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) reports that recent expeditions have turned up 5 new species of nudibranchs--a group of mollusks lacking outer shells. The discoveries are important because nudibranchs have developed "sophisticated chemical defense mechanisms" which can help with the development of novel medicinal products.


Chinese support shark conservation, but still demand shark fin

(05/25/2007) There is growing public support in China for shark conservation measures, but little understanding of the role of shark finning in declining shark populations, reveals a survey by WildAid, an environmental group.


Shark has virgin birth

(05/23/2007) A captive hammerhead shark gave birth to a pup without mating, reported researchers on Wednesday. It is the first time that parthenogenesis, as virginal birth as called, has been observed in a shark.


Photo of rare Indonesian coelacanth

(05/22/2007) Reuters has published photos taken of the rare coelacanth captured off the northern coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on May 19, 2007. The coelacanth is fish species that dates back more than 400 million years in the fossil record.


Abalone poaching drives meth drug trade in South Africa

(05/20/2007) Abalone poaching helps drive the methamphetamine trade in South Africa, reports an article in The Wall Street Journal.


Rare coelacanth captured in Indonesia

(05/20/2007) An Indonesian fisherman caught a coelacanth, a species so ancient it is called a 'living fossil', off the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia, according to the Associated Press. The fisherman managed to keep the specimen alive for 17 hours in a pool before it expired.


Southern Ocean may not absorb more CO2 emissions

(05/17/2007) Climate change has weakened one the Earth's largest natural carbon 'sinks' raising the possibility that increased warming could reduce the capacity of some systems to absorb carbon dioxide, reports a study published this week in the journal Science.


Deep-sea mining threatens fragile marine ecosystems

(05/17/2007) Undersea habitats supporting rare and potentially valuable organisms are at risk from seafloor mining scheduled to begin within this decade, says a new study led by a University of Toronto Mississauga geologist.


Coral diseases largely result from human activities

(05/17/2007) The apparent increase in infectious disease among coral is likely the result of environmental change and, as such, researchers should focus on understanding the relationship between coral diseases and environmental changes, rather than the diseases themselves, argues a paper published in the August 2007 issue of the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.


Deep-sea creatures discovered near the Antarctic

(05/16/2007) Scientists have found hundreds of new marine creatures in the depths of the Weddell Sea near Antarctica, including Carnivorous sponges, free-swimming worms, crustaceans, and mollusks, reports research published in the current issue of the journal Nature.


Marine reserves help damaged coral reefs recover

(05/14/2007) Marine reserves can help coral reefs damaged by overfishing, disease, and bleaching caused by high temperatures, reports a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


South Korea fishermen cheat on whale killing

(05/09/2007) Fishermen in South Korea are killing far more whales than they claim, reports an article in New Scientist Magazine. DNA fingerprinting of whale meat purchased in local markets suggests that South Korea caught 827 minke whales between 1999 and 2003, well above the 458 they reported.


North Atlantic circulation may be more sensitive to Greenland melting than thought

(05/08/2007) According to two international-research studies on the last ice age, studies with the participation of Dr Rainer Zahn, research professor in the ICREA at the UAB Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), before the great ice sheets of the Arctic Ocean began to melt, early sporadic episodes of melting of the old ice sheet which covered the British Isles had already begun to affect the circulation of the ocean currents, which played a key role in the climatic stability of the planet. Based on this observation, scientists consider that the acceleration of the melting of the Greenland ice cap could play an important role in the future stability of ocean circulation and, hence, in the development of climate change.


Global warming is killing coral reefs

(05/07/2007) A new study provides further evidence that climate change is adversely affecting coral reefs. While previous studies have linked higher ocean temperatures to coral bleaching events, the new research, published in PLoS Biology, found that climate change may increasing the incidence of disease in Great Barrier Reef corals. Omniously, the research also shows that healthy reefs, with the highest density of corals, are hit the hardest by disease.


Deal to end destructive bottom trawling reached

(05/07/2007) Governments have reached a landmark agreement to end high seas bottom trawling in nearly a quarter of the world's oceans. Environmentalists say bottom trawling, which destroys reefs and depletes slow-growing fish species, is one of the world's most destructive fishing practices.


Coral reef fish return home after drifting the seas

(05/03/2007) Most coral reef fish larvae return to their 'home' reefs after spending weeks to months maturing in the open ocean, reports a new study published in the journal Science. The findings improve the understanding of coral reef ecosystems and have implications for marine conservation efforts.


Japan will kill 50 humpbacks

(04/26/2007) Humpback whale populations are rebounding but concerns are rising over Japan's plans to kill 50 humpback whales for "scientific" research, reports a paper published in the latest issue of Science.


Stephen Colbert's sea turtle second in race to Galapagos

(04/25/2007) Nearing the end of Great Turtle Race, Stephen Colbert's sea turtle Stephanie Colburtle was in second place, 18 miles behind Billie, a turtle sponsored by Offield Center for Billfish Studies. Billie is just 31 miles from the finish line of the 500-mile race.


Deep sea fish growing slower due to global warming

(04/23/2007) Changes in ocean temperature have altered the growth rates of commercially harvested fish over the past century, according to a new study published in this week's early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


Sudden sea level rise could put hundreds of millions at risk

(04/19/2007) A sudden surge in sea levels could put more than a billion people at risk reports new research presented by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).


Stephen Colbert's sea turtle currently third in race

(04/19/2007) On the fourth day of the Great Turtle Race, 3 of the leatherback turtles have completed Stage One, passing the 200-mile marker of the 500-mile race from Costa Rica to the Galapagos. The Great Turtle Race is a unique sea turtle conservation event that has engaged tens of thousands of adults and children around the world since it began on April 16.


Racing sea turtle named in honor of Stephen Colbert

(04/13/2007) An eleventh turtle named Stephanie Colburtle has joined competitors Yahoo!, Travelocity, Plantronics, West Marine, Dreyer's Ice Cream and other sponsors in The Great Turtle Race, a unique international sea turtle conservation event that will take place online from April 16 to April 29 in a global bid to raise awareness and funds for the critically endangered leatherback turtle.


Great Turtle Race set to launch from Costa Rica

(04/05/2007) The Great Turtle Race, a unique international sea turtle conservation event bringing corporate sponsors together with conservation organizations, will take place from April 16 to April 29 in a global bid to raise awareness and funds for the critically endangered leatherback turtle.


Overfishing of sharks causing shellfish decline

(03/29/2007) Overfishing of large sharks is reducing the abundance of shellfish reports a study published in the March 30 issue of the journal Science. A team of Canadian and American biologists has found that population declines in large predatory shark species -- including bull, great white, dusky, and hammerhead sharks -- due to overfishing has led to a boom in their ray, skate, and small shark prey species along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Now these smaller species are depleting commercially important shellfish.


Some corals may survive acidification caused by rising CO2 levels

(03/29/2007) Several studies have shown that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are acidifying the world's oceans. This is significant for coral reefs because acidification strips carbonate ions from seawater, making it more difficult for corals to build the calcium carbonate skeletons that serve as their structural basis. Research has shown that many species of coral, as well as other marine microorganisms, fare quite poorly under the increasingly acidic conditions forecast by some models. However, the news may not be bad for all types of corals. A study published in the March 30 issue of the journal Science, suggests that some corals may weather acidification better than others.


Littering with new plastic might not harm dolphins, sea turtles

(03/28/2007) A new environmentally friendly plastic that degrades in seawater may make it possible to toss plastic waste overboard without killing turtles, dolphins and other marine life, according to research presented at the 233rd national meeting of the American Chemical Society by scientists from the University of Southern Mississippi.


Sachs says biodiversity extinction crisis avoidable

(03/26/2007) In a Guardian editorial published Wednesday, Jeffrey Sachs called for action to stem mounting losses of global biodiversity. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, says humans are the primary cause for depletion of the world's biological richness.


Global warming may cause biodiversity extinction

(03/21/2007) Extinction is a hotly debated, but poorly understood topic in science. The same goes for climate change. When scientists try to forecast the impact of global change on future biodiversity levels, the results are contentious, to say the least. While some argue that species have managed to survive worse climate change in the past and that current threats to biodiversity are overstated, many biologists say the impacts of climate change and resulting shifts in rainfall, temperature, sea levels, ecosystem composition, and food availability will have significant effects on global species richness.



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