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Whale woe in the Atlantic

Whale woe in the Atlantic | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

Human activity is still killing right whales, one of the most endangered animals in the ocean. An analysis of four decades of whale deaths shows that attempts to prevent them have not had a demonstrable impact.

 

Only around 460 North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) are thought to be swimming the waters off the eastern seaboard of Canada and the United States. The governments of both countries have implemented several measures to protect whales from becoming entangled in fishing gear or being hit by ships, such as the US ‘ship strike rule’ that limits vessel speeds in certain areas. That rule came into force in 2008 and is due to expire next year.

 

Marine-mammal researchers Julie van der Hoop and Michael Moore, both at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and their colleagues, analysed all known deaths of eight species of large whale in the northwest Atlantic between 1970 and 2009. During that time 122 right whales died, along with 473 humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae), 257 fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) and scores of whales of other species. When the authors were able to assign a cause of death, ‘human interactions’ was the most common, appearing in 67% of cases. Entanglement in fishing gear was the main cause of death in this category.

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A Pretty Kettle of Fish
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Jacques Cousteau: The Voice of a Silent World

Jacques Cousteau: The Voice of a Silent World | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

Jacques Cousteau was willing to go to whatever lengths were necessary to protect the seas.

When it comes to good stewardship and protection of the oceans and marine life, much of what we know stems from the work of this undersea adventurer and his companions aboard a repurposed WWII minesweeper named the Calypso.

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Guacamole Coasts: Not Just Florida, Not Just Now

Guacamole Coasts: Not Just Florida, Not Just Now | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

Florida’s Treasure Coast has turned toxic this summer, as a foul-smelling algae bloom that resembles guacamole has made some of the Sunshine State’s beaches untouchable.


One cause is the controlled release of water from an over-full Lake Okeechobee into local rivers that flow east to the Atlantic and west to the Gulf of Mexico. Heavy precipitation makes these controlled releases necessary because Lake Okeechobee’s aging dike system can’t retain the large amount of water. Even if the lake’s infrastructure was up to snuff, the water in Lake Okeechobee is in bad shape.

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EU bans deep sea trawling

EU bans deep sea trawling | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
Two and a half years after the European Parliament's surprise refusal, the European institutions on Thursday (30 June) finally agreed to ban trawler fishing at depths of more than 800 metres. EurActiv's partner Journal de l'Environnement reports.
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Under the sea

Under the sea | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
It was World Oceans Day last week, and the annual event highlighted once again just how poorly studied two-thirds of our planet’s surface is. But this year’s tag line, “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet”, should remind us that we do know some things about the sea — notably, how much people depend on it.

Millions of people rely directly on food taken from ocean waters, and millions more depend on money from fishing, tourism and other marine activities. But across the world, these relationships are often undermined.

Nowhere is this more apparent right now than at the world’s coral reefs. Bathed in warming waters, reefs everywhere are bleaching as the corals on them sicken and turn white. Many will die, and so will animals that live on them.
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Woman paddleboards across England, documents disgusting things in canals

Woman paddleboards across England, documents disgusting things in canals | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
Lizzie Carr likes being outdoors. And she doesn't much care for litter.

So she's just undertaken a rather epic journey, paddleboarding the entire length of England, and documenting the sorry state of the country's canals and waterways in the process. As detailed in an interview over at The Guardian, Carr traveled over 400 miles in 22 days.

And while the physical exertion of such an arduous journey took its toll, she was also left disturbed by just how much trash is dumped into the canals that she traveled along. Among the finds, apparently, were 1,600 plastic bottles, 850 plastic bags, 40 soccer balls, 24 toys, seven pacifiers, a pair of traffic cones and a trash can lid. If you're so inclined, you can check out her journey—including many of her grim discoveries—over at her twitter feed.
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Arctic sea ice fell to record low for May

Arctic sea ice fell to record low for May | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest ever May extent, prompting fears that this year could beat 2012 for the record of worst ever summer sea ice melt.

Data published by the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) this week showed average sea ice extent for last month was more than 500,000 sq km (193,000 sq miles) smaller than May 2012.

The extent of sea ice in the Arctic is one of the key indicators of global warming, and the new findings have been greeted with concern by scientists. Although it is too early to say whether this summer’s ice extent will be the lowest recorded, if current projections follow the course of previous years then it will be at least one of the lowest ever.
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Malaysia creates 1 million hectare marine park, but allows commercial fishing

Malaysia creates 1 million hectare marine park, but allows commercial fishing | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
... unlike some marine protection zones—Tun Mustapha park was created with a view to managing, rather than banning, fishing operations outright. Both commercial fishing operators and local residents will be allowed to continue fishing in designated zones which were established in consultation with NGOs, the Malaysian park service, local communities and fishing operators themselves.
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The big awful truth about biodegradable plastics

The big awful truth about biodegradable plastics | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
Contrary to what their name suggests, a comprehensive new UN report on marine plastics confirms that most plastics labeled as biodegradable don't break down in the ocean.

We’ve all seen the photos; the grim images of marine animals tangled up and tortured in the plastic chaos of our detritus. Some estimates put plastic pollution as the cause of death for 100 million marine animals every year, while a study from Imperial College London last year concluded that plastic will be found in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050.
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Great Barrier Reef: Bleaching 'kills 35% of area's coral' - BBC News

Great Barrier Reef: Bleaching 'kills 35% of area's coral' - BBC News | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

At least 35% of corals in the northern and central parts of Australia's Great Barrier Reef have been destroyed by mass bleaching, scientists warn.

The experts from James Cook University (JCU) say it is the most extreme case of mass bleaching they have ever measured at the World Heritage Site.

"We found on average, that 35% of the corals are now dead or dying on 84 reefs that we surveyed along the northern and central sections of the Great Barrier Reef, between Townsville and Papua New Guinea," Professor Terry Hughes, the head of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at JCU, said in a statement.

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Water Clouds on the Tibetan Plateau

Water Clouds on the Tibetan Plateau | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

Ten of Asia’s major rivers flow from the Tibetan Plateau and fill river basins that provide water to more than 1.35 billion people, a fifth of the world’s population. Demand for this water, propelled by population growth and rapid urbanization, is soaring while supply is under increasing pressure from accelerated melting of Himalayan glaciers and other factors. A water crisis looms.


Overall, Asia has the world’s lowest per capita water availability and arable land, according to an Asia Development Bank report. Experts warn that the region needs to improve cooperation on water management soon or run the risk of conflict over water resources.

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McDonald's fish: Row over sustainability 'cover-up' - BBC News

McDonald's fish: Row over sustainability 'cover-up' - BBC News | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
A leaked New Zealand government memo casts serious doubts on the sustainability of fish that are widely used in McDonald's restaurants.

The document shows that the government was aware of made-up data and illegal practices such as the dumping of vast quantities of unwanted fish. There are also concerns that unlawful fishing in NZ waters is threatening the world's rarest dolphin.

... A study published earlier this week highlighted the long term problems of illegal fishing in New Zealand waters, concluding that the amount of fish taken from the seas was 2.7 times greater than the numbers reported.
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Overfishing, pollution leave Turkish waters bare

Overfishing, pollution leave Turkish waters bare | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

ISTANBUL, Feb 10 (Reuters) - "Balik ekmek! Balik ekmek!" (Fish bread! Fish bread!) yell the vendors tucked under Istanbul's Galata Bridge, dishing out fish sandwiches to hordes of hungry locals and tourists much as they have for decades.

 

But frozen mackerel from Norway or imports from Morocco are more likely to fill the onion, lettuce and pickle stuffed buns than a fresh catch from the Bosphorus or Marmara Sea.

 

Once rich fishing grounds in seas and waterways the size of New Zealand, Turkish fish production is in sharp decline, a victim of commercial ambitions and lax regulation.

 

Over fishing, illegal netting and pollution threaten the industry. Anchovy production, which accounts for around two-thirds of the annual catch, fell by 28 percent in 2012, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.

In a bid to replenish stocks, the government has banned fishing in the summer months when fish reproduce and says it is tightening supervision. But it appears too little, too late.

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Salmon born with 'magnetic map'

Salmon born with 'magnetic map' | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
Scientists believe that Pacific salmon sense changes in intensity and angle of the Earth's magnetic field to find their way in the ocean.
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Phosphorus pollution poses a major threat to the world's lakes

Phosphorus pollution poses a major threat to the world's lakes | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
Nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen are necessary for plant growth, but excess nutrients in a water system can cause a dangerous form of pollution known as eutrophication. Eutrophication overstimulates the growth of algae, phytoplankton, and simple plants in lakes or coastal regions. When these organisms die and decay, they deplete oxygen levels, creating “dead zones” of hypoxic, or oxygen poor, water. Few aquatic animals can survive in these conditions, which poses a huge threat to biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems.

High nutrient levels in lakes and other bodies of water are primarily a result of human industrial practices. Discharge from sewage treatment plants and runoff from agricultural fields contaminate bodies of water with excess phosphorus, leading to eutrophication.
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The Gulf of Mexico is about to experience a "dead zone" the size of Connecticut

The Gulf of Mexico is about to experience a "dead zone" the size of Connecticut | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

The Gulf of Mexico teems with biodiversity and contains some of the globe's most productive fisheries. Yet starting in the early 1970s, large swaths of the Gulf began to experience annual dead zones in the late summer and early fall. This year's will likely be nearly a third larger than normal, about the size of Connecticut, according to a recent report from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and Louisiana State University.


This year's dead zone will likely be nearly a third larger than normal. The problem is tied to industrial-scale meat production. To churn out huge amounts chicken, beef, and pork, the meat industry relies on corn as cheap feed. The US grows about a third of the globe's corn, the great bulk of it in the Midwest, on land that drains into the Mississippi River. Every year, fertilizer runoff from Midwestern farms leaches into the Mississippi and makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

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Beneath the Caribbean Sea, a Wastewater Problem Lurks Unnoticed

Beneath the Caribbean Sea, a Wastewater Problem Lurks Unnoticed | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
Only 15 percent of wastewater entering the Caribbean Sea is currently being treated, and only 17 percent of Caribbean households are connected to acceptable collection and treatment systems. The majority of the region’s wastewater spews right into the sea, bringing with it pollutants like nutrients, fecal matter, toxins, pharmaceuticals, oil and more.

Part of the reason Caribbean governments have not addressed the wastewater issue is because they lack data on how wastewater pollution is impacting ecosystems and human health, or what realistic solutions exist.
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Mass coral death drives efforts to identify resilient reefs

Mass coral death drives efforts to identify resilient reefs | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
It has been a bleak year for the world’s coral. Ecologists have watched in horror as unusually warm ocean temperatures have prompted corals to ‘bleach’, or expel the symbiotic algae that provide much of their food. The result has been death and damage to reefs from Kiribati in the Pacific to the Indian Ocean's Maldives.

With such episodes projected to occur more often even if climate change is mitigated, researchers are redoubling efforts to identify the factors that can make a reef resilient to harsh conditions. An analysis published this week in Nature points to some answers
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The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare

The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
Australia’s natural wonder is in mortal danger. Bleaching caused by climate change has killed almost a quarter of its coral this year and many scientists believe it could be too late for the rest. Using exclusive photographs and new data, a Guardian special report investigates how the reef has been devastated – and what can be done to save it
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A History of Untreated Sewage Sours Tobago’s Waters | World Resources Institute

A History of Untreated Sewage Sours Tobago’s Waters | World Resources Institute | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

Tobago, an island in the Eastern Caribbean, is endowed with lovely beaches, lush tropical forests and stunning marine life—a paradise for bird watchers, scuba divers and sun worshipers. It is a key eco-tourist destination, attracting more than 20,000 international arrivals in 2015, with tourism contributing nearly half of GDP that year.


The natural amenities that attract these visitors rely on clean water and healthy ecosystems—both of which are in jeopardy due to Tobago’s inadequate treatment of wastewater, including sewage. More than 80 percent of the Caribbean’s wastewater enters the ocean untreated, spurring the growth of algae on coral reefs and increasing the risk of ear infections for swimmers and divers, among other issues. Many residents, business owners, environmental NGOs and government officials have been aware of this problem for more than 20 years, but there has been little action by the government.

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Rise of the cephalopods! Octopuses, cuttlefish, and squid booming in changing environment

Rise of the cephalopods! Octopuses, cuttlefish, and squid booming in changing environment | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

Increased ocean temperature and depleted fish stocks, among other changes, appear to be good for cephalopods.

Such is the conclusion of a recent study from the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide in Australia. The researchers found that cephalopods' numbers have increased significantly over the last six decades. As a class of mollusks, cephalopods include octopuses, cuttlefish, and squid.


"The consistency was the biggest surprise," says Zoë Doubleday of the University. "Cephalopods are notoriously variable, and population abundance can fluctuate wildly, both within and among species. The fact that we observed consistent, long-term increases in three diverse groups of cephalopods, which inhabit everything from rock pools to open oceans, is remarkable."

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Mercury In Fish Poses Major Danger To Unborn Babies: Lower IQ, Fetal Development And More

Mercury In Fish Poses Major Danger To Unborn Babies: Lower IQ, Fetal Development And More | In Deep Water | Scoop.it
Medical professionals and officials have long struggled with balancing seafood recommendations for women who are, or might get pregnant. Fish are the major source of people’s exposure to mercury, which can harm developing brains and reduce IQs.
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Here’s where 17,000 ocean research buoys ended up

Here’s where 17,000 ocean research buoys ended up | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

A combined look at 35 years’ worth of ocean buoy movements reveals the currents that feed into ocean garbage patches.

The garbage patches aren’t floating landfills of intact soda bottles and yogurt cups. The gyres are instead speckled with tiny plastic bits smaller than grains of rice, as many as 100,000 per square kilometer. All that plastic can end up in fish and serves as a foundation for microbe colonies.

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Sea Level Rise Swallows 5 Whole Pacific Islands

Sea Level Rise Swallows 5 Whole Pacific Islands | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

Recently at least five reef islands in the remote Solomon Islands have been lost completely to sea-level rise and coastal erosion, and a further six islands have been severely eroded.


These islands lost to the sea range in size from one to five hectares. They supported dense tropical vegetation that was at least 300 years old. Nuatambu Island, home to 25 families, has lost more than half of its habitable area, with 11 houses washed into the sea since 2011.


This is the first scientific evidence, published in Environmental Research Letters, that confirms the numerous anecdotal accounts from across the Pacific of the dramatic impacts of climate change on coastlines and people.

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Mourning Loomis Reef - the heart of the Great Barrier Reef's coral bleaching disaster

Mourning Loomis Reef - the heart of the Great Barrier Reef's coral bleaching disaster | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

The Great Barrier Reef, of which Loomis is just one of 3,000 reefs, is in the death throes of its worst ever coral bleaching event – part of the third global mass bleaching since 1998.

Latest figures show that 93% of the reef has been impacted by bleaching. The worst affected areas are in the reef’s north.

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Sea wall tweaks boost biodiversity

Sea wall tweaks boost biodiversity | In Deep Water | Scoop.it

Slight modifications to sea defences - at little or no extra cost - can boost the level of biodiversity found in intertidal zones, a study has shown.

 

Researchers found that attaching artificial rock pools to the structures created habitats suitable for mobile creatures, such as starfish or crabs.

 

They added that they hoped the results would encourage future designs to incorporate "ecological engineering".

 

The findings have been published in the Marine Ecology Progress Series journal.

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