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Posted on April 3, 2018 - 5:28pm, by abrown

In August 2017, a massive net pen failure released thousands of Atlantic salmon into the waters of Puget Sound. This event prompted a renewed surge of energy for the many residents, lawmakers, advocacy groups, and businesses which oppose the development of net pen salmon aquaculture in Washington. From the cancellation of Cooke Aquaculture’s Port Angeles farm lease, to the signing of a bill on March 22, 2018 to eliminate the farming of non-native finfish in state waters, the future of finfish aquaculture in Washington is beginning to look grim.

Read the rest HERE

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Posted on March 29, 2018 - 11:14am, by abrown

Chimpanzees preen in front of mirrorselephants inspect themselves in reflective surfaces, and dolphins name themselveswith individual whistles. Surprisingly, manta rays are in the same category as these charismatic mammals when it comes to intelligence tests. A recent study found that giant manta rays display the distinct behaviors humans assign to self-awareness. Manta rays are in the elasmobranch family of cartilaginous fishes that include sharks and skates. They have the largest known brain of any fish and coordinate hunting in large groups, suggesting social intelligence.

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Posted on March 8, 2018 - 3:54pm, by abrown

Did you know that the pharmaceuticals you take can end up in your pee? And once that’s flushed down the toilet, they can build up in aquatic environments. At the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, researchers Tawnya Peterson, Brittany Cummings and Joseph Needoba discussed how freshwater and coastal marine environments near urban centers can retain dissolved drugs, and how this has the potential to biologically affect the organisms in these ecosystems.

Read the rest HERE

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Posted on February 22, 2018 - 12:01pm, by abrown

The recent debate over the newly-approved ‘trade remedies’ on solar imports has U.S. citizens polarized. The solar market has become the subject of another green energy versus conventional energy, left versus right, progressive versus status quo dispute.  However, upon further investigation, the roots of these opposed sides tangle in a muddy field; the political platforms to which citizens cling collapse under scrutiny.

Review of the events

  • Last year, two US solar manufacturers, Suniva and SolarWorld Americas, petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to implement tariffs on international CSPV imports under section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act to relieve them of “trade injury” so they can remain competitive in the domestic solar market.
  • In May of 2017, the ITC began its investigation into the claims of injury.
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Posted on February 22, 2018 - 12:00pm, by abrown

Two stories seem to circulate repeatedly in the news: declining sea turtle populations and the dangers of fishing to marine life. Unsurprisingly, the two are related.

Fishing gear is the single greatest threat to sea turtles. Bycatch, or the incidental capture of a species by a commercial fishery, is such an extensive problem that some small-scale fishing boats can catch 16 sea turtles a day. Even more staggering: each year, over “250,000 sea turtles are accidentally captured, injured, or killed by U.S. fishermen” alone.

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Posted on February 22, 2018 - 11:58am, by abrown

What if I told you that, despite my best intentions, I could single-handedly be causing tons of recyclables to end up in a landfill? I am that person that hovers over the recycling, compost, and waste bins while struggling internally to decide what item goes where. I want to feel like I’m saving the environment one piece of trash at a time. So when in doubt, I drop it in the recycle bin. I feel better about myself for “recycling” my item, and it is always better to recycle it than toss it, right? WRONG.

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Posted on February 8, 2018 - 3:25pm, by abrown

By Spencer Showalter

For this week’s dose of #OceanOptimism, let’s fly across the Pacific to meet Hawaii’s state marine mammal: the Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi)! This charismatic animal is the oldest seal species on the planet—evidence indicates that they have lived on the Hawaiian islands for several million years. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most endangered marine mammal species in the world. Presently, their population is estimated at about 1,400 seals, which comes out to about 30% of historic estimates for the species. Between 1950 and 2013 the species declined continuously due to a number of forces, including food limitations, shark predation, and most importantly, humans. Fishermen leave behind marine debris and inactive fishing nets, which lead to potentially fatal entanglement. Tourists take over beaches where monk seals historically hauled out to rest, escape predation, and raise young. Finally, beachgoers often feed monk seals, which can be dangerous to the seal and limit their capacity to learn to hunt for themselves.

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Posted on February 8, 2018 - 3:21pm, by abrown

By Ashley Bagley

Ocean acidification is Puget Sound’s silent killer for marine organisms – acidifying seawater cannot be readily seen, yet its effects are pervasive and detrimental to the Sound’s ecology and renowned shellfish industry. Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which creates a foundational change in seawater chemistry – carbon dioxide reacts with water to create carbonate and bicarbonate ions. As a result, seawater becomes more acidic.

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Posted on February 5, 2018 - 12:59pm, by abrown

By Kelly Martin

You open the newspaper or scroll through your newsfeed and it’s everywhere: another oil spill, natural disaster, or endangered species gone extinct. Doom and gloom fills the pages of most news we see, particularly news concerning the environment. After a while you may think to yourself, “is it even worth trying to fix the planet anymore?” You’re not alone in this sentiment: researchers at Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) call this “emotional numbing,” a phenomenon that occurs after repeated exposure to emotionally draining scenarios. In a world saturated with information about the many environmental disasters happening all around us, it is easy to become numb to these issues. “Eco-anxiety” has also become an increasingly recognized problem, as issues ranging from devastating natural disasters to the more gradual impacts of climate change are linked to stress, a feelings of powerlessness, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. One study found that in Australia, 25% of children are “so troubled about the state of the world that they honestly believe it will come to an end before they get older.”

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