marine conservation

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Hey!!! I made a little zine about shark conservation and how the language you use to talk about shark bites can impact conservation efforts! I’m gonna have this lil zine at SPX so if you want to find me roaming around the halls I can give you one or we can trade! I hope this inspires you to participate in shark conservation efforts!

Click through for the optimal reading experience on tumblr!

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Octavio Aburto Using Science to Influence Conservation

Octavio is the Director of the Gulf of California Marine Program. He is an Assistant Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) and a professional photographer associate with the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Dr. Aburto obtained his PhD at the Center of Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at SIO and was honored with the Jean Fort Award by the University of California, San Diego for his significant contribution to an issue of public concern through his doctoral research. As a Kathryn Fuller and Hellman Fellow, his research and photographs have focused on marine protected areas and commercially exploited marine species in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the U.S. His photographs have been part of several conservation projects worldwide and have won international photography contests including a gold place in the Our World Underwater 2016. Thanks Nubbsgalore


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Posted by Andrew

TAIWAN PINK DOLPHIN ABOUT TO DISAPPEAR SOON

The eastern Taiwan Strait (ETS) population of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins, (Sousa chinensis), is dependent on the estuarine systems of Taiwan’s west coast, and so has habitat that overlaps greatly with human activities. In 2003, its population was about few 158 matures, while currently at only 60. This is a reduction of 62% specimens. Alarming data, which could lead to the absolute end of the species in less than ten years. The population has a Critically Endangered status on the IUCN Red List

The threats to the ETS humpback dolphin population fall into five categories: the reduction of freshwater outflow, underwater noise, habitat loss, fisheries interactions, and contamination from industrial, municipal and agricultural discharge

Global marine analysis suggests food chain collapse

A world-first global analysis of marine responses to climbing human CO2 emissions has painted a grim picture of future fisheries and ocean ecosystems.

Published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), marine ecologists from the University of Adelaide say the expected ocean acidification and warming is likely to produce a reduction in diversity and numbers of various key species that underpin marine ecosystems around the world.

“This ‘simplification’ of our oceans will have profound consequences for our current way of life, particularly for coastal populations and those that rely on oceans for food and trade,” says Associate Professor Ivan Nagelkerken, Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow with the University’s Environment Institute.

Associate Professor Nagelkerken and fellow University of Adelaide marine ecologist Professor Sean Connell have conducted a ‘meta-analysis’ of the data from 632 published experiments covering tropical to artic waters, and a range of ecosystems from coral reefs, through kelp forests to open oceans.

“We know relatively little about how climate change will affect the marine environment,” says Professor Connell. “Until now, there has been almost total reliance on qualitative reviews and perspectives of potential global change. Where quantitative assessments exist, they typically focus on single stressors, single ecosystems or single species.

“This analysis combines the results of all these experiments to study the combined effects of multiple stressors on whole communities, including species interactions and different measures of responses to climate change.”

Read more here.

Provided by the University of Adelaide

Image: Kelp forest - Eaglehawk, Tasmania (Credit: Phil Watson)

ALL MANTA AND DEVIL RAYS SPECIES THREATENED AND IN DECLINE

Manta and devil rays of the subfamily Mobulinae (mobulids) are large filter feeding animals, whose flesh is considered to be of relatively poor quality by humans all around the world. As a result these animals have not been widely targeted for human consumption through commercial fisheries in the past.  

However, in recent years this has changed. Manta rays and their close relatives are now rapidly becoming a more desirable product, making them a target for fishermen all over the tropical and temperate oceans of the world.

Targeted and bycatch mortality from tuna fisheries is a globally important and increasing threat, and targeted fisheries are incentivized by the high value of the global trade in mobulid gill plates.

Approximately 61 ton of dried gill plates are traded annually at a value of $US 11.3 million. They are predominately sold whole. Guangzhou, China is the mobulid gillplate trade centre, with much of the market emanating from a handful of large suppliers. Because the market for mobulid gill plates does not have a long history of widespread traditional use, and almost all of the trade is centred in Guanghzhou, a focused education strategy to reduce consumer demand has the potential forrelatively rapid success. 

In addition, international economic tools (e.g. boycotts, embargos) can alsobe used as conservation levers. The low value of mobulid meat, and relatively low targeted catch rates of mobulids before emergence of the gill plate market indicate that eliminating this market could greatly reduce mobulid fisheries

Imagen: A handful of gill plates is the only body part of the entire manta ray which is worth anything of real value. The rest of the carcass is sold for virtually nothing and often processed for animal feed.

MICRO-PLASTICS ARE EVERYWHERE, NOW TAINTING THE OCEAN FLOORS

Marine debris, mostly consisting of plastic, is a HUGE global problem, negatively impacting wildlife, tourism and shipping. Billions of tiny plastic fragments are littering each square kilometre of the deep sea, an analysis of sea-floor sediments suggests. And recently, the most comprehensive estimate of plastic floating on the ocean surface was published in PLOS ONE, which calculated that there are 270,000 tons of the microplastics

Plastic waste has long been recognized as a problem for the oceans: it pollutes beaches; accumulates in floating, nation-sized ‘garbage patches’; and is consumed by seabirds, fish and other creatures. It’s impossible to say how much plastic is there, and until now, it has barely been studied at all. But in the aforementioned spot in the Indian Ocean, on a remote seamount (or underwater mountain) in the deep sea,  scientists found as much as 40 bits per 50 milliliters of sediment.

Analysing samples from 12 sites in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean taken between 2001 and 2012, researchers found for the first time that substantial quantities of microplastics, had accumulated in deep sea sediment.

The tiny fibres were found at depths from 300m down at the shallowest in the Mediterranean to over 3,000m deep, at volumes 1,000 times higher than those at the surface of the sea.

That’s a lot—about 100,000 times more plastic bits than you’d find in an equivalent volume of surface water in one of the five gyres, or circular ocean currents, where the junk accumulates 

 The abundance of plastic at such depths has potentially negative ramifications for marine life, though the study says more research is needed. “A range of organisms are known to ingest microplastics, and there is concern this could result in physical and/or toxicological harm,” the authors warn.

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SUMMER SHARKFEST 2016!

WHAT’S THIS ABOUT?

It’s SUMMER SHARKFEST 2016! I love sharks, but unfortunately, there are a lot of people in the world who don’t feel that way. Finning sharks and killing them for sport is chipping away at their numbers and they’re struggling to recover their populations. As we all know, shark week is around the corner, but I wanted to do something of my own. The aim of this social media campaign is to spread awareness about shark conservation, dispel the negative stereotypes, and get other people involved. It’ll start with this post right here, and over the next month or so, I’ll be continuing the festivities on my social media (Tumblr and Twitter) with some other fun stuff I have planned. There will be opportunities for you to get involved, too!

WHAT’S THE ISSUE?

You may or may not know this, but sharks are facing some real dangers right now at the hands of man. Shark finning is one of the biggest threats to many shark species. An estimated 73 million sharks are killed each year by the shark finning industry alone. That’s more than 10,000 sharks every hour. The process of finning leaves a shark unable to continue living after being thrown back into the ocean - without their fins, they can’t move, and as a result they either starve, suffocate, or become vulnerable to other predators. This cruel and harmful practice brings in millions of dollars to the greedy finning industry at the cost of bringing 50 shark species to near extinction. Some countries outlaw the practice, but there is no international ban, and the trading and selling of shark fin products is still legal in most countries.

Over 100 species of sharks continue to be exploited and their populations are at risk. Not only does finning pose a threat to them, but pollution, fishing technology like longlines, and being killed for sport & meat have all contributed to their dwindling populations as well. Shark conservation organizations have been fighting for years to protect shark populations by getting stricter laws on shark trade and more regulation and supervision in international waters.

Wanna know more + how you can help? Keep reading below.

Keep reading

Shhh… To Make Ocean Conservation Work We Should Keep the Noise Down

Quiet marine zones would support ecological research, says new study

Quiet areas should be sectioned off in the oceans to give us a better picture of the impact human generated noise is having on marine animals, according to a new study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin. By assigning zones through which ships cannot travel, researchers will be able to compare the behavior of animals in these quiet zones to those living in noisier areas, helping decide the best way to protect marine life from harmful noise.

The authors of the study, from the University of St Andrews, UK, the Oceans Initiative, Cornell University, USA, and Curtin University, Australia, say focusing on protecting areas that are still quiet will give researchers a better insight into the true impact we are having on the oceans.

Almost all marine organisms, including mammals like whales and dolphins, fish and even invertebrates, use sound to find food, avoid predators, choose mates and navigate. Chronic noise from human activities such as shipping can have a big impact on these animals, since it interferes with their acoustic signaling – increased background noise can mean animals are unable to hear important signals, and they tend to swim away from sources of noise, disrupting their normal behavior.

The number of ships in the oceans has increased fourfold since 1992, increasing marine noise dramatically. Ships are also getting bigger, and therefore noisier: in 2000 the biggest cargo ships could carry 8,000 containers; today’s biggest carry 18,000.

“Marine animals, especially whales, depend on a naturally quiet ocean for survival, but humans are polluting major portions of the ocean with noise,” said Dr. Christopher Clark from the Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell University. “We must make every effort to protect quiet ocean regions now, before they grow too noisy from the din of our activities.”

Read more here.

Provided by Elsevier

Image credit: Stephane Bailliez

GALAPAGOS IS THE SHARK PARADISE

A study published in the journal PeerJ by scientists from the Charles Darwin Foundation and the National Geographic Society, reveals that the Darwin and Wolf Marine Sanctuary, declared by Ecuador last March of 2016, is home to the largest shark biomass reported to date ♥ 

Given the ecological value and the economic importance of Darwin and Wolf for the dive tourism industry, the current protection should ensure the long-term conservation of this hotspot of unique global value. 

-  School of Hammerhead Sharks in Darwin and Wolf Islands (Photograph by Pelayo Salinas/CDF)

Despite the large shark biomass, the abundance of reef fishes in this area has been severely reduced because of excessive fishing. The area was not fully protected from fishing until the Ecuadorian government announced the creation of a marine sanctuary around Darwin and Wolf this year. Given how important the Galápagos are to Ecuador’s tourism industry and to the well-being of these top predators, researchers in this study urge strong enforcement of the new marine sanctuary.

The February issue of Conservation Biology is out, and it’s FREE! 

On the cover is a green sponge (Lubomirskia baicalensis), endemic to Lake Baikal, Russia. Worldwide sponges contribute to the function and integrity of marine and freshwater benthic communities, but the conservation status of only a minority of species is known. A lot of great content in the February issue. 

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From a distance, Adidas’ newest shoe looks seafoam green. But it’s an illusion; up close that pellucid hue gives way to white, with teal thread stitched around the upper in contoured rows, like lines on a topographic map. That thread comes from a company called Parley for the Oceans, and it’s special, spun from plastic waste and old fishing nets retrieved from the coast of Africa.

Adidas is only giving away 50 pairs because spinning plastic ocean trash into high-performance fibers is hard to do.

MORE. Adidas Spins Plastic from the Ocean into Awesome Kicks