tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/xml/oceans1 oceans news from mongabay.com 2015-06-19T17:58:20Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/15004 2015-06-19T17:57:00Z 2015-06-19T17:58:20Z UN resolves to negotiate treaty governing the high seas The high seas are often called the Wild West of the ocean. These vast oceanic tracts begin 200 miles from shore and fall under no nation's jurisdiction. And while there are various agreements governing human activities there, there is no comprehensive management framework coordinating them all. That is now likely to change. The United Nations General Assembly today resolved to begin negotiating an international treaty specifically focused on the conservation and sustainable use of marine life on the high seas. Rebecca Kessler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14989 2015-06-17T19:52:00Z 2015-06-17T20:07:19Z Top canned tuna brands rank worst in destructive fishing practices <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/marine_0194-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Starkist, Bumblebee, and the kitchily named Chicken of the Sea are among the most familiar brands of canned tuna on grocery store shelves. They also rank the worst in terms of the sustainability and transparency of their fishing and labor practices, according to the environmental non-profit Greenpeace USA. The group's recently released Tuna Shopping Guide ranks 14 of the most popular tuna brands in the U.S., giving 8 failing grades. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14979 2015-06-16T22:58:00Z 2015-06-16T22:59:03Z Scientists find surprising climate change refuge for reef-building corals: beneath mangroves <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0616-mowbray-mangrove-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Coral reefs are the gardens of the ocean. Covering just a tiny fraction of the vast sea floor, they are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. However, global warming and ocean acidification increasingly threaten them. Now scientists have discovered that corals could potentially survive global warming by numbering among the Earth’s first climate change refugees. They could flee warming oceans to find a new home in the shade beneath coastal mangroves, says a recent study published in the journal Biogeosciences. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14878 2015-05-29T15:06:00Z 2015-06-17T16:07:13Z Vaquita porpoises down to 'way less than 100,' Mexican agents shoot fisherman while enforcing new protected area <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0529_RKessler_Vaquita_Boat_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>With fewer than 100 individuals alive and dropping fast, the vaquita porpoise is just a swish of the tail away from extinction. In April, alerted by scientists that the vaquita population had recently suffered its biggest decline ever, the Mexican government announced an emergency two-year ban on gillnet fishing across the porpoise's main habitat in the upper Gulf of California. A frenzied race to fish for another critically endangered species, the totoaba, is behind the plummeting porpoise numbers. Rebecca Kessler 31.055433 -114.835650 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14714 2015-04-30T08:52:00Z 2015-06-23T00:25:10Z Indonesia to zone its seas in bid to become 'global maritime axis' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="//lh4.googleusercontent.com/-kLWyQGaiDp0/VUHub93wReI/AAAAAAAABhE/_AOH1JBulj8/w150-h101-no/Pemuteran-Bali-Laut.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Indonesian government is preparing a spatial plan for its marine territory, the beginning of a blueprint to transform the archipelagic country into a “global maritime axis” in line with new President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s platform. Mapping the nation’s seas will support the alignment different programs and the integration of various marine sources of economic growth. Philip Jacobson tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14685 2015-04-24T19:54:00Z 2015-06-17T16:02:17Z Fracas over Costa Rican shark-fin exports leads American Airlines to stop shipping fins <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-imgs.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0424_MWatsa_HammerheadSchool_Thumbnail.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On December 24, an American Airlines plane carried 411 kilos of dried hammerhead shark fins from Alajuela, Costa Rica, to Hong Kong, touching down partway through the journey in Miami. The shipment, valued at nearly $53,000, contained fins from around 411 animals, more than seven times the number on its export permit from the Costa Rican government. Rebecca Kessler 10.055211 -84.213172 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14684 2015-04-24T18:48:00Z 2015-04-27T01:00:39Z Ocean contributes $2.5 trillion to economy annually A new study attempts to place a value of goods and services afforded by the ocean, estimating that if the planet's seas were classified as a country, it would rank as the world's seventh largest economy. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14640 2015-04-15T14:27:00Z 2015-04-20T21:58:49Z Expert panel rebukes Japan's new whaling proposal <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0415.thumb.800px-AustralianCustoms-WhalingInTheSouthernOcean_3.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last year, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Japan must halt its whaling activities in the Southern Ocean as it found no evidence that the killing of hundreds of Antarctic minke whales was scientifically justified. The ruling sent Japan scrambling for a new plan to continue its 'scientific' whale hunt. But, now an expert panel has rebuked Japan's latest plan as well. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14632 2015-04-13T23:30:00Z 2015-04-18T21:51:34Z Innovative community fisheries initiative wins top social entrepreneurship prize <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0414bs_octopus150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A program that helps restore overfished areas through community-based marine conservation has won the Skoll Foundation's top prize for social entrepreneurship. Today the Skoll announced Blue Ventures, which piloted its approach in Madagascar a decade ago before expanding to other regions, was one of four organizations to be honored with the $1.25 million Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Rhett Butler -22.078898 43.237865 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14578 2015-04-02T16:14:00Z 2015-04-03T18:24:12Z Could inland aquaculture help save the oceans and feed the world? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0323_grouper_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Mark Kwok has always loved the ocean. An avid diver and spear fisherman, he has travelled the planet in search of exotic fish and undersea adventure. Born into a wealthy Hong Kong family, he had the freedom to explore the world’s oceans. But in the last decade or so, he hasn’t been content just looking at fish. He’s been growing them. In a squat, unassuming cluster of buildings in an industrial suburb north of Hong Kong, Kwok is experimenting with a potentially revolutionary technology. Morgan Erickson-Davis 22.260480 114.132678 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14513 2015-03-19T19:16:00Z 2015-04-10T21:18:21Z Bottom trawling reduces size of commercially important flatfish <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0319_fish_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Oceans not only provide important ecosystem services, including climate regulation and nutrient cycling, but they also serve as a major contributor to food and jobs. Yet human actions in the oceans are having a major impact on species, sometimes in unexpected ways. Indeed, a recent study finds that bottom trawling may be making some fish skinner. Tiffany Roufs 54.389958 -3.678756 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14467 2015-03-09T15:06:00Z 2015-03-09T15:09:24Z Human impacts are 'decoupling' coral reef ecosystems <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/IMG_9120.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There is a growing consensus among scientists that we have entered the age of the Anthropocene, or the epoch of humans. In other words, at some point between the 12,000 years separating the beginning of agriculture and the Industrial Revolution, humans became the dominant source of change on the planet, shaping everything from the land to the atmosphere to even the geologic record where we etch our reign. Jeremy Hance 5.878344 -162.077018 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14451 2015-03-04T16:32:00Z 2015-03-04T16:46:11Z Last ditch: Mexico finally gets serious about saving the vaquita <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0919-vaquita1-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There are likely less than 100 vaquita on the planet. Found only in the northern pocket of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, the vaquita is a tiny, shy porpoise that has been brought to the very edge of extinction due to drowning in gillnets used for shrimping. But after years of stalling, Mexico now appears to be making a final effort to save the world's most endangered cetacean. Jeremy Hance 31.107045 -114.150787 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14448 2015-03-03T15:58:00Z 2015-03-05T19:44:48Z Employing shame for environmental change <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0303.shame.bookcover.thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Anyone who has ever felt the sting of shame, knows its power. Shame has long been used by societal institutions&#8212;families, communities, governments, religions&#8212;for making individuals tow the line of the majority. But a new book explores another&#8212;arguably more positive&#8212;side of shame: its potential to challenge rule-breaking and ethically-defunct corporations. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14436 2015-02-26T19:25:00Z 2015-02-27T05:37:03Z Jokowi's environmental commitments in Indonesia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0456.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last fall Indonesia elected its first president with no ties to the established political order or the military. Joko Widodo's election was widely heralded by reformers who hoped the politician's capable management in his stints as mayor of the town of Solo and metropolis of Jakarta could transform Indonesia's chronically underperforming bureaucracy, potentially ushering in a new era of improved human rights, better environmental stewardship, reduced corruption, and healthier economic growth. Rhett Butler -6.659257 106.131028 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14420 2015-02-24T22:47:00Z 2015-02-24T23:14:33Z Could big data turn us into ocean protectors instead of abusers? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0223_oceandata_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The devastating tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 washed away millions of tons of plastic debris into the Pacific Ocean. It even swept away a Harley Davidson motorcycle that subsequently ended up on Canada's coast. As production and consumption of plastic increases across the world, more of it gets discarded as waste. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14395 2015-02-18T22:52:00Z 2015-02-20T16:22:32Z Scientists uncover new seadragon <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/rubyseadragon.thumb.16376292497_040e68a10a_z.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For 150 years, scientists have known of just two so-called seadragons: the leafy seadragon and the weedy seadragon. But a new paper in the Royal Society Open Science has announced the discovery of a third, dubbed the ruby seadragon for its incredible bright-red coloring. Found only off the southern Australian coastline, seadragons belong to the same family as the more familiar seahorses: the Syngnathidae. Jeremy Hance -32.030312 115.702296 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14388 2015-02-17T19:19:00Z 2015-06-18T16:44:47Z Indonesian forestry and fishery ministries move to eradicate corruption <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia/150/sulawesi-tangkoko_0663.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Today Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) signed a memorandum of understanding with the national forestry and fishery ministries as well as a number of provincial governors to better integrate management and monitoring of the country’s oceans and forests. Rhett Butler -6.212259 106.830984 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14383 2015-02-16T17:22:00Z 2015-02-26T19:41:53Z Arctic upheaval: new book outlines challenges at the top of the world <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0215.arctic.9781610914406_FutureArctic-Struzik.thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For most of us, the Arctic is not at the front of our minds. We view it as cold, stark, and, most importantly, distant. Yet, even in an age of vast ecological upheaval, one could argue that no biome in the world is changing so rapidly or so irrevocably. Two hundred plus years of burning fossil fuels has warmed up the top of our planet more quickly than anywhere else. Jeremy Hance 81.303675 -82.900239 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14360 2015-02-06T17:54:00Z 2015-02-06T17:57:39Z Madagascar establishes a sanctuary for sharks <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0206ZebraShark-(JurgBrand)150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The government of Madagascar has established the Indian Ocean island's first shark sanctuary in an area famous for its marine biodiversity, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Rhett Butler -15.719525 49.829292 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14358 2015-02-06T16:53:00Z 2015-02-12T13:43:25Z Giant clam = giant impact: study compiles how mega-clams impact seas <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0120_clams_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world’s biggest bivalves are the aptly named giant clams. Inhabiting the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific, the largest of these species, the eponymous giant clam (<i>Tridacna squamosal</i>), can reach up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) in length and weigh over 230 kilograms (500 pounds). Historically known as the killer clam for its supposed ability to trap careless divers, these harmless and colorful bivalves are favorite animals for divers and snorkelers to spot, but they may also be big players in the ecosystem. Rhett Butler -15.231648 -148.238576 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14343 2015-02-04T19:37:00Z 2015-02-04T19:42:11Z Chemical clues in fossil shells may help us understand today's ocean acidification <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0204_brendan_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As atmospheric CO2 levels rise, so too do those in the sea, leading to ocean acidification that outpaces that of any other time in tens of millions of years. Some effects of ocean acidification are imminent, like the fact that calcified organisms such as corals and shellfish will have access to less and less of the chemical components they need to build their shells and skeletons. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14338 2015-02-03T20:06:00Z 2015-06-18T14:41:21Z In unprecedented move, Indonesia punishes illegal manta ray trader For the first time, Indonesia has sentenced an illegal manta ray trafficker to jail time and a fine, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14315 2015-01-28T14:42:00Z 2015-01-28T15:43:01Z With local help, hawksbill sea turtles make a comeback in Nicaragua <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0114_turtle_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Hawksbill sea turtles, a reptile listed as the highest threat level by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species, are making a momentous local comeback in Nicaragua’s Pearl Cays. This Critically Endangered turtle, although reduced to 85 percent of their historical numbers, has shown a nesting increase of over 200 percent from just 154 nests to 468 nests in the last 14 years. Tiffany Roufs 12.463080 -83.380587 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14313 2015-01-27T23:12:00Z 2015-02-01T16:03:43Z Suspects acquitted in shocking murder of sea turtle conservationist Yesterday, the seven men accused of brutally murdering Jairo Mora Sandoval on a beach in Costa Rica two years ago were acquitted of the crime. Sandoval's murder shocked the Central American country&#8212;long known for the progressive protection of its lush rainforests and sweeping beaches&#8212;but the judge who acquitted the accused cited reasonable doubt and a investigation marred by mistakes. Jeremy Hance 10.062416 -83.149893 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14269 2015-01-16T15:56:00Z 2015-01-16T16:52:10Z Fishing industry could lose up to $41 billion due to climate change <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/malaysia/150/sabah_mabul_semporna_0034.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Climate change is already having a severe impact on the atmosphere and oceans around the world. These changes are also impacting specific economic sectors including the fishing and aquaculture industries. According to a recent report by the European Climate Foundation, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and the University of Cambridge, the fishing industry is projected to lose tens-of-billions as the world continues to heat up. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14267 2015-01-15T22:32:00Z 2015-01-16T18:33:46Z Ocean's 15: meet the species that have vanished forever from our seas <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/15/0115.Steller's-sea-cow-Labeled-Peter-Schouten.600.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In the last 500 years, the oceans have suffered far fewer extinctions than on land&#8212;at least that we know of. According to a recent study in Science, 15 animals are known to have vanished forever from the oceans while terrestrial ecosystems have seen 514 extinctions. The researchers, however, warn that the number of marine extinctions could rise rapidly as the oceans are industrialized. Jeremy Hance 34.889942 -154.673320 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14265 2015-01-15T19:01:00Z 2015-01-16T18:35:14Z Empty seas? Scientists warn of an industrialized ocean <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/15/pink-skunk-anemonefish-(Amphiprion-perideraion)---Malin-Pinsky-300.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>This is obvious, but still important: humans are not a marine species. Even as we have colonized most of our planet's terrestrial landscapes, we have not yet colonized the oceans. And for most of our history, we have impacted them only on the periphery. A new review in Science finds that this has saved marine species and ecosystems from large-scale damage&#8212;that is, until the last couple centuries. Jeremy Hance 32.139061 -78.793072 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14253 2015-01-12T19:20:00Z 2015-01-12T19:40:26Z Casting for another job: will fishers take up a new livelihood? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0111_fisheries150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Can alternative income programs save Fiji's reef fish? Many implicate the failure of Fiji's government to prioritize sustainable management over fisheries development projects, or suggest that Fijians' mindsets must dramatically shift first. Tiffany Roufs -17.865520 177.885014 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14202 2014-12-29T14:32:00Z 2014-12-29T14:35:08Z Top 10 HAPPY environmental stories of 2014 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/jlh/okavango/150/okavango_452.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In what was widely seen as a possible breakthrough in the battle to coordinate some kind of response to global warming, China and the U.S. announced joint actions this year. On November 12th, the world's two most powerful countries surprised pretty much everyone by announcing that they would work together to tackle the crisis. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14137 2014-12-15T15:17:00Z 2014-12-29T22:15:34Z Reefs reduce 97 percent of wave energy, could be better than artificial barriers <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1028-b-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>We have a lot of stake in the coast. Coastal waters are where we host fisheries, build homes and turn to for tourism and recreation. So how should coastal communities, which comprise nearly 40 percent of the world's population, safeguard against flooding, erosion and violent weather? Marine scientist Michael Beck suggests the solution is growing right beneath some waves and, in many cases, it has been waiting there for thousands of years. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14079 2014-12-01T20:10:00Z 2014-12-01T20:22:00Z Shark pups may not survive climate change <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1201_sharks_climate_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Fierce predatory sharks rule the oceans from the apex of the food pyramid. But climate change may be tougher than these marine hunters, a new study suggests. As oceans warm and their waters become more acidic, fewer sharks may survive their infancies. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14069 2014-11-25T18:30:00Z 2014-12-01T21:12:51Z Reeling in religious messages: how faith impacts fisheries in Fiji <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1118_west_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Marrying religion and conservation could be key to making Fiji's fisheries sustainable. Fijians have strong religious beliefs, which were primarily introduced by Christian missionaries in the 1835, and today profoundly guide their daily lives. Fijians primarily depend on fisheries close to shore for their survival, which is the case for most small Pacific island countries. Tiffany Roufs -17.750460 178.137699 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14065 2014-11-24T18:58:00Z 2014-11-26T04:09:49Z What happened to the oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1124Urton_Irion_a6d2_i150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Images from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster endure, from the collapsing platform to oil-fouled coastline. But beneath the surface is a story photographers cannot as easily capture. Two days after the April 20, 2010 explosion that killed 11 and injured 16, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank. During the five months it took to seal the Macondo well 1,500 meters below the surface, nearly 5 million barrels of oil gushed into the ocean. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14064 2014-11-24T18:31:00Z 2014-11-24T18:36:10Z New marine protected areas key to fighting illegal fishing <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1124seahorse150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Do you know how that tuna sashimi got to your dinner plate? Probably not—and chances are, the restaurant that served it to you doesn’t know, either. A new policy paper argues that illicit fishing practices are flying under the radar all around the world, and global society must combat them in order to keep seafood on the menu. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14030 2014-11-17T18:20:00Z 2014-11-17T19:54:34Z Of bluefin and pufferfish: 310 species added to IUCN Red List <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1117.iucnredlist.1067645559.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Today, 22,413 species are threatened with extinction, according to the most recent update of the IUCN Red List. This is a rise of 310 species from the last update in the summer. The update includes the Pacific bluefin tuna, the Chinese pufferfish, and Chapman's pygmy chameleon, among others. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14024 2014-11-15T02:05:00Z 2014-11-17T20:06:47Z Gabon protects 23% of its coastal waters Gabon has once again made headlines for a bold conservation initiative. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14022 2014-11-14T21:21:00Z 2014-11-14T21:29:15Z Black market manta ray bust in Indonesia In the largest confiscation in Indonesia to-date, authorities seized 103kg of manta gills in Bali, and arrested one suspect. The dried gill plates were harvested from as many as 85 individuals and are worth about 175 million rupiah on the local market. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13986 2014-11-06T17:02:00Z 2014-11-10T16:56:15Z Indonesia's new president, ministers have big plans for fish <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0379.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Indonesia’s new president, Joko Widodo (or Jokowi, as he’s popularly called) spent half his 11-minute inaugural address thanking God, his partisans and the citizenry at large. For the rest of the speech he talked about oceans. Was this just rhetorical flourish, or does it portend a new seriousness about maritime management? Morgan Erickson-Davis -6.236231 106.805485 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13980 2014-11-05T17:18:00Z 2014-11-05T19:46:13Z Genetic sleuthing reveals grisly details of historic whale hunting <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1105.800px-Whaling_and_Sealing_Ships_at_Grytviken,_South_Georgia_(5686062332).150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1904, Carl Anton Larsen, a Norwegian Antarctic explorer, arrived at Grytviken on the British island of South Georgia with three ships and 60 men, to establish its first commercial whaling station. The number of whaling stations soon increased, and by 1965 these had caught and processed an estimated 175,250 whales. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13971 2014-11-03T15:05:00Z 2014-11-03T15:33:13Z Russia and China blamed for blocking Antarctic marine reserve <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1102.Dmawsoni_Head_shot.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Another year, another failed attempt to protect a significant chunk of the Ross Sea, which sits off the coast of Antarctica. According to observers, efforts to create the world's biggest marine protected area to date were shot down by Russia and China during a meeting in Hobart, Tasmania of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13956 2014-10-29T19:22:00Z 2014-10-30T20:15:57Z By killing off older fish, overfishing may lead to lost migratory patterns <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1028_tuna_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Catching older fish may impact a school's ability to migrate from spawning grounds to feeding areas, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The study’s scientists believe that fish schools may retain a collective memory, a communal mind map of sorts, which help these groups reach their destinations, some of which are thousands of miles away. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13921 2014-10-17T23:18:00Z 2014-10-17T23:22:55Z Behind on biodiversity targets, govts pledge to increase funding for conservation On the heels of a report showing that the world is far behind on targets to halve habitat loss, cut pollution, and reduce overfishing, delegates meeting at a United Nations conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea have agreed to increase step up efforts to conserve biodiversity in developing nations. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13898 2014-10-09T23:46:00Z 2014-10-10T00:00:57Z Greenpeace sinks Lego's $116 million deal with Shell Oil over Arctic drilling <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/lego.shell.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Lego has announced it will be severing its partnership with the oil giant, Shell, when the current contract expires after a clever campaign by environmental activist group, Greenpeace. Since 2011, Lego has been selling exclusive sets at Shell stations, but the companies' relationship actually goes back decades. In 1966, the Danish toy company first began selling Lego sets with Shell's brand stamped on them. Jeremy Hance 69.683832 -167.361441 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13882 2014-10-07T14:37:00Z 2014-10-08T14:08:22Z Saving Peru's sea turtles and marine birds: conservationists and fishermen partner to tackle bycatch <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1006.prodelphinus.release.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Marine conservationists often view fisheries as an enemy of sorts, vacuuming up fish with little thought to the long-term consequences and using equipment that also ends up killing other species, i.e. bycatch like sea turtles and marine birds. However, Joanna Alfaro Shigueto, the President of the Peruvian NGOProDelphinus and winner of a 2012 Whitley Award, has chosen a different tact. Jeremy Hance -13.982917 -76.336242 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13858 2014-10-01T22:57:00Z 2014-10-01T23:06:07Z Throng of 35,000 walruses is largest ever recorded on land, sign of warming arctic <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1001-walrus1-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A mass of thousands of walruses were spotted hauled up on land in northwest Alaska during NOAA aerial surveys earlier this week. An estimated 35,000 occupied a single beach – a record number illustrating a trend in an unnatural behavior scientists say is due to global warming. Morgan Erickson-Davis 69.746180 -162.973563 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13854 2014-10-01T18:47:00Z 2014-10-01T18:53:44Z Officials bust one of the biggest players in illegal Indonesian manta ray trade <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1001-bust-gillclose-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Writing this from a hotel room in Indonesia’s second-largest city, Surabaya, I realize that I am filled with trepidation as I wait for the phone next to me to ring. When it does, the voice on the other end will tell me it’s go time; the culmination of many years of work towards ending the global trade in manta ray gills. Morgan Erickson-Davis -7.275069 112.734365 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13807 2014-09-19T17:39:00Z 2014-09-19T21:50:59Z Is there hope for the vaquita? IUCN calls for action to save world's smallest, rarest porpoise <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0919-vaquita1-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Since the baiji was declared extinct in the early aughts, the vaquita has taken its unenviable position as the world’s most threatened cetacean. The tiny porpoise currently numbers around 100, with accidental entanglement in gillnets primarily responsible for its decline. In response, the IUCN recently issued a statement calling for immediate action to curb vaquita bycatch and head off its extinction – which otherwise may lie just around the corner. Morgan Erickson-Davis 31.095548 -114.586877 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13768 2014-09-10T22:22:00Z 2014-12-30T22:33:21Z 'We are running out of time': CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere surprise scientists The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere made the biggest jump last year since 1984, according to the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, raising alarm bells about society's inaction on curbing global warming. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13753 2014-09-08T20:34:00Z 2014-09-08T20:41:22Z Norway slaughters over 700 whales this season As of late August, Norway has killed 729 northern minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) during its annual whaling season, the highest number taken since 1993. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13749 2014-09-05T21:13:00Z 2014-09-05T21:14:45Z California blue whales recover to historical levels The population of blue whales in the Eastern Pacific has recovered to 97 percent of historic levels decades after Earth's largest animal was nearly driven to extinction in some places due to the whaling industry, reports a new study published in the journal, Marine Mammal Science. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13735 2014-09-02T21:02:00Z 2014-09-02T21:11:52Z Australia cancels plan to dump dredge in Great Barrier Reef A consortium of companies&#8212;North Queensland Bulk Ports, GVK Hancock and Adani Group&#8212;have announced they are giving up on a hugely-controversial plan to dump five million tonnes of dredged sediment in the Great Barrier Reef. The plans ran into considerable opposition from environment, conservation, and tourism groups who feared harm to the world's largest coral reef system. Jeremy Hance -19.891980 148.077845 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13720 2014-08-27T18:57:00Z 2014-12-18T19:11:47Z Invasion of the lionfish: new research finds the situation may be worse than we thought <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0827-lionfish-wittenrich-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>You may have recently read the controversial story on invasive lionfish research involving Dr. Zack Jud of Florida International University and a young girl named Lauren Arrington. While the issue of attribution in scientific research is crucial to the discipline, much of the media focus so far has sidestepped the real issue: what lionfish tolerance for brackish water really means for the environment. Morgan Erickson-Davis 32.240509 -80.489845 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13713 2014-08-25T14:56:00Z 2015-02-20T16:01:36Z Featured video: new Netflix documentary highlights the work of Sylvia Earle to save the oceans Sylvia Earle is one of the ocean's staunchest defenders. A National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence and former chief scientist with NOAA, Earle has spent a lifetime documenting the rapid decline of the world's oceans and calling for more action to defend the body of water that cradles the world's continents. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13655 2014-08-12T20:35:00Z 2014-08-12T20:42:11Z Demand for shark fin plunging <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0812.WildAid-Hilton4.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Shark fin demand has dropped precipitously in China in just a few years, according to a new report by WildAid. Shark fin traders in Guangzhou&#8212;the current informal capital of the shark fin trade&#8212;say their sales have fallen by 82 percent in just two years, according to WildAid. Jeremy Hance 23.121809 113.325348 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13646 2014-08-11T17:14:00Z 2014-11-25T22:13:19Z Planting meadows in the ocean: technique may help restore disappearing seagrass beds <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0811-pearl-net-with-spathes-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Eelgrass is an important part of many ocean ecosystems, but is disappearing due to human impacts. However, a study published recently in found eelgrass beds could benefit from a restoration technique using seed-filled pearl nets. Morgan Erickson-Davis 37.785788 -122.368420 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13636 2014-08-06T16:40:00Z 2014-11-25T23:22:19Z Blue-footed boobies on the decline, plummeting sardine stocks may be to blame <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0806-bfbooby-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The iconic blue-footed booby of the Galapagos Islands has suffered a population decline of 50 percent in less than 20 years, according to research conducted by biologists from Wake Forest University. Morgan Erickson-Davis -0.535014 -90.822109 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13635 2014-08-06T14:08:00Z 2014-08-06T14:14:22Z Elephants under the sea: awkward-looking fish modify the coral-reef ecosystem in mixed ways <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0805.bumphead_Photo-credit-Kurt-Gross.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Bumphead parrotfish are noisy feeders. They break off large branches of corals using their powerful beaks, grind them up in their bodies to extract nutrients, and expel the undigested material in large cloudy plumes of feces. Their voracious feeding is, however, not just a loud, messy affair. During the course of their feeding, they also change the coral reef ecosystem in numerous ways. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13609 2014-07-30T18:00:00Z 2014-12-30T22:37:19Z The world's best mother: meet the octopus that guards its eggs for over four years <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/07290.deepseaoctopus.76619.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The ultimate goal of all species on the planet is procreation, the act of making anew. But few mothers could contend with a deep-sea octopus, known as Graneledone boreopacifica, which researchers have recently observed guarding its eggs for four-and-a-half years (53 months), before likely succumbing to starvation soon after. Jeremy Hance 36.782289 -121.833888 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13589 2014-07-25T20:43:00Z 2014-08-04T00:27:24Z No longer 'deaf as a stump': researchers find turtles chirp, click, meow, cluck <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0725-leatherbackthumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Turtles comprise one of the oldest living groups of reptiles, with hundreds of species found throughout the world. Many have been well-researched, and scientists know very specific things about their various evolutionary histories, metabolic rates, and the ways in which their sexes are determined. But there was one very obvious thing that has been largely left unknown by science until very recently. Turtles can make sounds. Morgan Erickson-Davis -2.175781 -54.056661 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13580 2014-07-24T08:10:00Z 2014-07-24T08:11:30Z Scientists ask Australia to strengthen, not weaken, protection for Great Barrier Reef A convening of nearly 600 tropical biologists and conservation scientists has called upon the Australian government to strengthen protection of the Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The declaration, issued at the annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), comes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott pushes to allow industrial dumping in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as well as port development in a nearby coastal area. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13541 2014-07-15T17:38:00Z 2014-07-15T21:34:44Z Coastal wildlife paradise declared biosphere reserve in Argentina (PHOTOS) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/DSC_0216-elephant-seal-fight-corr-red-by-G-Harris-WCS.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Conservationists are celebrating the announcement that UNESCO has dubbed Argentina's Península Valdés a biosphere reserve under the Man and Biosphere Program (MBA). A hatchet-shaped peninsula that juts out into the Southern Atlantic Ocean, the world's newest biosphere reserve is home to a hugely-diverse collection of both terrestrial and marine wildlife. Jeremy Hance -42.617791 -63.944092 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13502 2014-07-08T15:34:00Z 2014-07-25T20:24:22Z A tale of two fish: cyanide fishing and foreign bosses off Sulawesi's coast (Part I) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0703_grouper_4_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In spring and summer, after the monsoon storms have passed, the fishing boats set out again from tiny Kodingareng Island in the Spermonde Archipelago off the coast of South Sulawesi. In the afternoon heat, Abdul Wahid joins his fellow fishermen in the narrow shade of the beachfront village houses to check out the daily fish prices. Tiffany Roufs -5.105219 119.285172 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13500 2014-07-07T19:50:00Z 2014-12-30T22:39:34Z Booming populations, rising economies, threatened biodiversity: the tropics will never be the same <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_1059.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For those living either north or south of the tropics, images of this green ring around the Earth's equator often include verdant rainforests, exotic animals, and unchanging weather; but they may also be of entrenched poverty, unstable governments, and appalling environmental destruction. A massive new report, The State of the Tropics, however, finds that the truth is far more complicated. Jeremy Hance 1.231376 14.923358 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13455 2014-06-26T12:21:00Z 2014-06-26T12:59:15Z Super warm oceans make May the hottest on record Last month was the warmest May on record, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). While global land surface temperatures were the fourth warmest, it was the ocean surface where things really heated up. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13425 2014-06-23T18:49:00Z 2014-06-24T15:31:06Z Dying for Fiji's Sea Cucumbers <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0620-west-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Redfish, Greenfish, Blackfish. Pinkfish, Curryfish, Lollyfish. They sound like Dr. Seuss characters and certainly look like they should be. Yet these sausage-shaped, rubbery animals stippled in fleshy bumps are not fish at all, but an invertebrate in the group that includes sea stars, sea urchins and sand dollars. Sea cucumbers, referred to as 'bêche-de-mer' or 'trepang' when sold as dried food have a high value - an individual in Fiji can fetch about $80 US. Tiffany Roufs -17.855063 178.027836 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13413 2014-06-19T15:05:00Z 2014-06-19T15:27:25Z U.S. raises $800 million for oceans, including $7 million from Leonardo DiCaprio A U.S. State Department conference on the oceans raised an impressive $800 million for marine conservation this week. The conference was also notable for the announcement by President Obama of an intent to significantly expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Jeremy Hance 24.355395 -33.014298 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13407 2014-06-18T17:34:00Z 2014-11-05T22:37:39Z Bigger than Mexico? Obama announces major expansion of Pacific protected area <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0618.800px-Coral_at_Jarvis_Island_National_Wildlife_Refuge.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>President Obama announced yesterday he intends to drastically expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument making what will likely be the largest marine protected area on the planet. While the full extent of the ocean park has yet to be determined, it could potentially protect over two million square kilometers, an area larger than Mexico. Jeremy Hance 5.892872 -162.061203 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13363 2014-06-09T16:09:00Z 2014-11-25T23:18:00Z By the bones: herring populations were superabundant before commercial fisheries <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0609-herring-bones-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Scientists analyzed almost half a million fish bones to shed light on the population history of Pacific herring (<i>Clupea pallasii</i>) in the North Pacific Ocean. Their paper reveals a decline of unprecedented scale, and suggests that while the abundance of Pacific herring does fluctuate naturally, their numbers have fallen precipitously since commercial fishing started targeting the species in the 19th century. Morgan Erickson-Davis 52.932276 -147.435997 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13353 2014-06-06T15:21:00Z 2014-06-06T19:03:09Z New study finds environmental damage globally may cost more than U.S. GDP <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0606-rainforest-rhett-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new study added up all the world’s ecosystem services – from carbon storage and crop pollination, to recreation and flood mitigation – and found, every year, nature provides $145 trillion in benefits. It also indicates that land use changes, most of which has been caused by humans, may be reducing these benefits by trillions of dollars every year. Morgan Erickson-Davis 42.065607 -70.598143 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13305 2014-05-28T20:52:00Z 2014-05-28T21:33:11Z Trawling: destructive fishing method is turning seafloors to 'deserts' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0528-nematode-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Previous research has linked trawling to significant environmental impacts, such as the harvest of large numbers of non-target species, collectively termed “bycatch,” as well as destruction of shallow seabeds. Now, a new study finds this method is also resulting in long-term, far-reaching consequences in the deeper ocean and beyond. Morgan Erickson-Davis -0.010986 -20.714111 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13276 2014-05-23T12:57:00Z 2014-05-23T13:04:59Z Extreme cold and drought in U.S. linked to climate change <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0522-drought2-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The U.S. Midwest and Northeast experienced one of the coldest, snowiest winters on record this past season. This might seem contrary to warming trends forecast by climate scientists, but a new analysis released today in <i>Science</i> points out that climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions may actually have contributed to the well-below average temperatures seen in parts of the U.S. Morgan Erickson-Davis 6.966817 163.493459 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13265 2014-05-22T06:55:00Z 2014-05-22T12:42:11Z Olinguito, tinkerbell, and a dragon: meet the top 10 new species of 2013 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0522.Saltuarius_front.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Out of around 18,000 new species described and named last year, scientists have highlighted ten in an effort to raise awareness about the imperiled biodiversity around us. Each species&#8212;from a teddy-bear-like carnivore in the Andes to a microbe that survives clean rooms where spaceships are built&#8212;stands out from the crowd for one reason or another. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13230 2014-05-15T17:34:00Z 2014-05-16T16:32:56Z Former Miss South Pacific steps into new conservation role <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0512_Amy150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Alisi Rabukawaqa, an articulate, vibrant, 26-year-old Fijian known in Oceania as Miss South Pacific 2011, has set her sights on a novel conservation program in Fiji. The Conservation Officer program, created in 2013, supports natural resource management within villages in Fiji and links them with the government arm overseeing the needs of indigenous Fijians. Mongabay.org Special Reporting Initiative Fellow Amy West sits down for an interview. Tiffany Roufs -17.865520 177.709233 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13225 2014-05-14T13:04:00Z 2014-12-30T22:46:03Z Scientists uncover new marine mammal genus, represented by single endangered species <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0514.hawaiianmonkseal.sullivan_-(48).150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>This is the story of three seals: the Caribbean, the Hawaiian, and the Mediterranean monk seals. Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the Caribbean monk seal was a hugely abundant marine mammal found across the Caribbean, and even recorded by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage, whose men killed several for food. Jeremy Hance 21.725869 -160.086787 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13224 2014-05-14T00:45:00Z 2014-05-14T01:13:27Z NASA data: 1997 all over again for Indonesia? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0513-nasa-el-nino-1997-2014_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The latest data from NASA shows that conditions developing in the tropical Pacific are eerily similar to those in 1997, when El Ni&ntilde;o wreaked havoc across Indonesia, spurring a severe drought that exacerbated massive peatland and forest fires which spread choking haze across much of South and Southeast Asia. Rhett Butler -1.142502 -97.396545 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13202 2014-05-09T18:49:00Z 2014-05-09T18:57:15Z Coral could prevent HIV: newly discovered protein blocks infection <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0509-soft-coral-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In the waters off the coast of northern Australia lives a species of feathery coral. Years ago, bits of it were collected by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and stored at the National Cancer Institute’s extract repository, along with 200,000 other samples. Researchers retrieved and tested this coral sample, and recently reported that it was very effective at blocking HIV infection of host cells. Morgan Erickson-Davis -19.695892 146.552806 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13195 2014-05-08T13:45:00Z 2014-12-30T22:46:41Z Underwater horrors: shells of marine life melting off the coast of the U.S. <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0508.LimacinaHelicinaNOAA.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>It could be the plot of a horror movie: humans wake up one day to discover that chemical changes in the atmosphere are dissolving away parts of their bodies. But for small marine life known as sea butterflies, or pteropods, this is what's happening off the West Cost of the U.S. Increased carbon in the ocean is melting away shells of sea butterflies. Jeremy Hance 34.549557 -120.797515 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13173 2014-05-02T23:29:00Z 2014-05-03T04:02:17Z New Caledonia officially creates world's largest protected area (photos) The government of New Caledonia last week officially created the world's largest protected area, establishing a multi-use zone that at 1.3 million square kilometers is three times the size of Germany, reports Conservation International (CI). Rhett Butler -22.375476 166.463985 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13137 2014-04-25T18:46:00Z 2014-04-25T18:48:44Z Japan changes its mind about Antarctic whaling ban, plans to continue hunts in 2015 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0425-japan-whaling-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Conservation groups were jubilant in response to last month's ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) banning Japan's long-standing "research" whaling practices in the Antarctic. However, the celebrations proved short-lived after news last week that Japan has rescinded its agreement to abide by the ruling and stop whaling altogether, opting instead to redesign its program and continue whale hunts in the Southern Ocean. Morgan Erickson-Davis -67.960420 -161.872572 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13092 2014-04-16T20:25:00Z 2014-11-25T22:19:40Z Weird and mysterious: scientists find new shark species <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0416-sawshark-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A long snout with teeth jutting from the sides? Check. Catfish-like barbels dangling from its chin? Got them. Gills on the side of its body? It has those, too. These are characteristics of a bizarre group of sharks known as sawsharks. And until recently, only seven species were recognized. However, a new discovery raises that number by one more. Morgan Erickson-Davis 16.594763 124.488124 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13064 2014-04-09T21:18:00Z 2014-11-25T23:18:15Z Collateral damage: new findings shed light on the full impact of commercial fishing <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0409-bycatch-thresher-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Aside from reducing the populations of the species sought for capture, commercial fisheries are also killing thousands of nontarget creatures such as sharks, albatross, and sea turtles, collectively referred to as “bycatch.” However, the full extent of the problem is only beginning to be grasped. Morgan Erickson-Davis -32.828046 86.901155 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13058 2014-04-08T17:44:00Z 2014-11-25T22:18:29Z Extinction crisis: rising sea levels will submerge thousands of islands <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0408-morgan-rmi-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Sea levels are rising at the highest rate in thousands of years, putting at risk low-lying islands around the world. In a new study published in Nature Conservation, researchers found that projected rises in sea level stand to swamp more than 10,000 islands, displacing human communities and wiping many unique species off the face of the earth. Morgan Erickson-Davis -21.233771 165.338091 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13020 2014-04-02T16:00:00Z 2014-11-25T22:19:55Z Is 20 millions tons enough? Scientists recommend plastic crackdown as oceans choke <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0402-plastic-albatross-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Every year, 20 million tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans. In 2012, the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development dubbed marine plastic litter “a major environmental issue that the world must address,” and asked for management action by 2025. Morgan Erickson-Davis 25.769885 -171.736801 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13012 2014-03-31T17:37:00Z 2014-12-30T22:50:34Z Apocalypse now? Climate change already damaging agriculture, acidifying seas, and worsening extreme weather <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0331.Tacloban_Typhoon_Haiyan_2013-11-14.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>It's not just melting glaciers and bizarrely-early Springs anymore; climate change is impacting every facet of human civilization from our ability to grow enough crops to our ability to get along with each other, according to a new 2,300-page report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The massive report states definitively that climate change is already affecting human societies on every continent. Jeremy Hance 35.463838 139.619164 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13009 2014-03-28T22:21:00Z 2014-03-28T22:29:40Z Revealed for the first time: the surprising biodiversity of algae 'reefs' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0328-rhodolith-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Most people are familiar with coral reefs, but very few have ever heard of their algal equivalent – rhodolith beds. Yet, these structures provide crucial habitat for many marine species. In the first study of its kind, published in mongabay.com’s Tropical Conservation Science, researchers unveil just how important these beds are for bottom-dwelling organisms, and the species that depend on them. Morgan Erickson-Davis -18.122016 -38.766440 -38.766440 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12951 2014-03-19T19:43:00Z 2014-04-29T22:02:08Z 3 environmental reporting prize winners to explore drivers of deforestation, community forestry, and sustainable seafood in China <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0667.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Mongabay.org, the non-profit arm of environmental science web site Mongabay.com, has selected winners of three environmental reporting prizes under its Special Reporting Initiatives (SRI) program. The three prizes, which were launched in January, explore the impacts of rising human consumption on forest and marine ecosystems. The winners, selected from more than 150 applicants by a panel of issue-area experts, include Robert S. Eshelman, Ruxandra Guidi and Bear Guerra, and Dominic Bracco II and Erik Vance. Tiffany Roufs 9.244400 -78.196967 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12925 2014-03-14T14:04:00Z 2014-03-21T13:35:23Z A Turtle's Tale: researchers discover baby turtles' kindergarten (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0314turtle150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Kate Mansfield, at her lab in the University of Central Florida, is holding a baby loggerhead turtle, smaller than her palm, painting manicure acrylic on its shell. When the base coat dries out, she glues on top a neoprene patch from an old wetsuit with hair extensions adhesive. Finally, she attaches a satellite tracker on top, the size of a two "party cheese" cubes, with flexible aquarium silicone, powered by a tiny solar battery. Now the little turtle is ready to be released back into the ocean. Jeremy Hance 27.785146 -65.912109 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12915 2014-03-11T16:28:00Z 2014-12-30T22:52:16Z Scientists spy on whales from space Although whales are the biggest animals on the planet, scientists have found in difficult to count them. But a new study in PLOS ONE may change this: researchers tested the idea of counting whales using high resolution satellite imagery. Employing a single image from the WorldView2 satellite, scientists went about counting a pod of southern right whales in the Golfo Nuevo off the coast of Argentina. Jeremy Hance -42.685240 -64.562625 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12899 2014-03-10T14:38:00Z 2014-03-10T14:58:29Z Does haze from burning forests affect marine life? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0449.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Two scientists are calling on researchers, NGOs, and governments to begin studying the impact of burning forests and peatlands in Indonesia on the already-threatened marine ecosystems of Southeast Asia. Every year, Indonesian farmers set forests, vegetation, and peatlands alight to clear them for agriculture, often palm oil, and pulp and paper plantations. Not only do these practices destroy hugely-diverse tropical forests, but the resulting haze spreads to many parts of Southeast Asia, threatening regional health and impacting economies. Now, a new paper argues that the sinister impacts of Indonesia's burning may extend as far as the oceans. Jeremy Hance 0.597093 131.501257 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12857 2014-02-28T21:41:00Z 2014-03-01T16:19:32Z Offshore wind farms could blunt hurricane damage <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0228hurriane150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Massive offshore wind turbine arrays would reduce hurricane wind speeds and storm surge, reports a study published this week in <i>Nature Climate Change</i>. And while the size (tens of thousands of turbines) and cost (hundreds of billions of dollars) is difficult to imagine, the reduction in storm damage and value of electricity produced would effectively bring the price tag to zero according to the study authors. Rhett Butler 28.603814 -91.813602 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12848 2014-02-28T16:37:00Z 2014-02-28T20:02:22Z Wonderful Creatures: the tiny, predatory penis-worm that lies in wait in the sand <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0228.1.-Maccabeus-sp._Phil-Miller.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The seabed is really where it’s at in terms of animal diversity. Of the 35 known animal lineages, representatives of all but two are found here. In contrast, the huge numbers of species that inhabit tropical rainforests represent a mere 12 lineages. One group of animals that illustrates the diversity of the seabed is the Priapulida, which also go by the unfortunate common name of "penis worms." Only 20 species of priapulid are known today, a shadow of their diverse past, which extends back for well over 500 million years. Not commonly seen, the priapulids have attracted little attention from the zoology community as a whole. Jeremy Hance 32.026706 177.788084 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12850 2014-02-28T14:36:00Z 2014-02-28T15:53:56Z Saving sharks one sandwich at a time: conservationists target 'shark bake' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0228shark150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Thousands of Carnival revelers in Trinidad wouldn't think of missing the chance to go to Maracas Beach, the most famous strip of sand on the small Caribbean island off the northeast coast of Venezuela. Beachgoers might not think twice about eating a favorite food called "shark bake" either – at least, until now. But this week, conservationists launched a shark-saving campaign timed to get maximum exposure out of the celebration that will bring throngs of visitors to the island. Tiffany Roufs 10.393174 -61.250281 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12831 2014-02-26T18:19:00Z 2014-02-26T18:34:21Z Plastic waste ingested by worms threatens marine food chains <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0212plastics150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Small fragments of plastic waste are damaging the health of lugworms, putting a key cog in marine ecosystems at risk. Published in <i>Current Biology</i>, a new study by scientists at the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth shows the impact of microplastics on the marine worms' health and behavior. Tiffany Roufs 27.059126 161.308587 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12826 2014-02-25T23:12:00Z 2014-02-27T08:25:24Z Corals thriving despite acidified conditions in remote Pacific bay <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0225palau150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Scientists have discovered a small island bay in the Pacific which could serve as a peephole into the future of the ocean. Palau's Rock Island Bay harbors a naturally occurring anomaly – its water is acidified as much as scientists expect the entire ocean to be by 2100 as a result of rising carbon dioxide emissions. Rhett Butler 7.233333 134.3 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12819 2014-02-24T17:10:00Z 2014-02-27T11:36:26Z Ocean acidifying 10 times faster than anytime in the last 55 million years, putting polar ecosystems at risk <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0127oceans150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>An assessment of ocean acidification, presented at the UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw in November 2013, starkly concluded that acidity is on track to rise 170 percent by the end of this century. As many key species are sensitive to changes in acidity, this would drastically impact ocean ecosystems, with effects especially pronounced in polar regions where the cold waters intensify acidification, and which are home to many organisms that are particularly vulnerable to acidification. Tiffany Roufs 66.791909 -100.400394 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12804 2014-02-21T14:50:00Z 2014-02-21T14:53:01Z Indonesia pledges to protect manta rays <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0222mantaray150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In a move signaling their commitment to CITES agreements on international trade of plants and animals, the Indonesian government declared two species of manta ray 'protected' under Indonesian law. Decree Number 4/KEPMEN-KP/2014 issued by Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries states that two manta ray species, Manta birostris and Manta alfredi, now enjoy full protection throughout their entire life cycle. The decree explicitly extends that protection to all parts of their body. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12774 2014-02-14T03:12:00Z 2014-12-30T22:53:51Z Scientists discover new whale species <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0213.800px-Beaked_Whale.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Beaked whales are incredibly elusive and rare, little-known to scientists and the public alike&#8212;although some species are three times the size of an elephant. Extreme divers, beaked whales have been recorded plunging as deep as 1,800 meters (5,900 feet) for over an hour. Few of the over 20 species are well-known by researchers, but now scientists have discovered a new beaked whale to add to the already large, and cryptic, group: the pointed beaked whale (Mesoplodon hotaula). Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12772 2014-02-13T13:51:00Z 2014-02-28T20:02:14Z Wonderful Creatures: the bizarre-looking marine worm with an incredibly important ecological role <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0213.1.-Chaetopterus-cf-variopedatus_Arthur-Anker.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Almost everyone knows what an earthworm is, but these very familiar animals are just one variation on a very rich theme that is at its most fabulously varied in the oceans. The mind-boggling appearances and lifestyles of the marine segmented worms are perfectly exemplified by this week's animal. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12761 2014-02-11T16:29:00Z 2014-12-30T22:54:11Z Incredible encounter: whales devour European eels in the darkness of the ocean depths <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0211.eel.68473.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Critically Endangered European eel makes one of the most astounding migrations in the wild kingdom. After spending most of its life in Europe's freshwater rivers, the eel embarks on an undersea odyssey, traveling 6,000 kilometers (3,720 miles) to the Sargasso Sea where it will spawn and die. The long-journeying eels larva than make their way back to Europe over nearly a year. Yet by tracking adult European eels (Anguilla anguilla) with electronic data loggers, scientists have discovered that some eels never make it to their spawning ground, but instead are swallowed-up in the depths by leviathans. Jeremy Hance 48.341646 -34.643556