News and Updates

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Posted on November 20, 2015 - 9:48am, by nwehner

Via Vice News

"A Japanese whaling company, Kyodo Senpaku, has been hit by AU$1 million fine for hunting whales in Antarctic waters that Australia says is part of a marine sanctuary. The fine, ordered by an Australian federal court this week, is the equivalent of US$717,600. 

The plaintiff in the case is the Australian branch of Humane Society International, which opposes Japan's practice of whaling in the Antarctic."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 19, 2015 - 9:55am, by nwehner


"Today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Park Service (NPS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Cuba’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment (CITMA). The MOU aims to facilitate joint efforts concerning science, stewardship, and management related to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The MOU also includes a sister MPA program to foster conservation and understanding of natural marine resources in both countries, sharing technical and scientific data, and promoting education and outreach initiatives."

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Ocean conservation is hard. You fight the challenges of “out of sight, out of mind,” of largely unregulated high seas, and of waters so vast people find it hard to believe humans could actually overfish it (or as the saying goes in Jamaica, “fish can’t done”).

The ocean is indeed in deep deep trouble due to overfishing, climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction, and good science is needed to turn that around. This science doesn’t need to be fancy, expensive, or complicated. Rather, it needs to be thoughtful, targeted, and inclusive.

Here are six lessons I’ve learned (mostly the hard way) during my first decade of studying and working in ocean science and conservation that I wish I’d known from the very beginning.

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 18, 2015 - 11:56am, by nwehner

Via Jamaica Observer

"The United States and Cuba on Wednesday are set to reach their first accord on environmental protection since announcing plans to re-establish diplomatic relations, linking up marine sanctuaries in both countries to cooperate on preservation and research.

US National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration chief Kathryn Sullivan arrived in Havana the previous day to sign the agreement and continue talks on a host of environmental issues common to the two countries, separated by just 90 miles (140 kilometres) of water."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 18, 2015 - 9:06am, by nwehner

Via Girls' Globe

"With all these benefits to be gained, it stands to reason that women and girls can and should pioneer the marine conservation movement. And in some places, they already are: the United States is home to inspirational ocean champions like Julie Packard, Dr. Jane Lubchenco and “Her Deepness,” Dr. Sylvia Earle, who have already mentored generations of emerging women leaders.

Globally, there is every reason for women and girls to spearhead this movement, as well. As specialists in agriculture, water and forestry systems, women are well equipped to translate that knowledge to complex coastal ecosystems. Women and girls are also natural communicators who routinely hold together the fabric of families, communities and societies. With these skills, they’re especially suited to bring together diverse stakeholders, scientists and decision-makers to achieve forward-thinking and collaborative solutions for the challenges we face in the ocean."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 16, 2015 - 2:29pm, by nwehner

Via Earth Island Journal

"“See this sheared rock?” Oakley asks as he hands me a large chunk of white coral. Along the top edge, the cups from the coral polyps indicate the edge of the once-living coral. “This kind of damage only comes from blasting.”

Oakley is referring to the practice of blast fishing, whereby fishermen toss explosives into the water, often a bottle of fertilizer and kerosene with a lit fuse. The resulting blast produces a large crater in the reef, and kills or stuns fish within a 15 to 25 meter radius. The fish float to the surface, where they are easily collected for market. In areas that have been heavily blasted, the practice leaves behind a wasteland of flattened coral rubble that can take decades or even centuries to recover. It is an illegal but rampant form of fishing here in the Coral Triangle, where locals often live hand-to-mouth and rely on the sea to survive."

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Marine litter is a problem of increasing concern that threatens marine life in all the world’s oceans. Plastic debris is particularly worrying because it is resistant to environmental breakdown. Plastics are found throughout the marine environment, from the surface of the water down to the seafloor. One of the most polluted areas is the Mediterranean Sea. An estimated 82% of all man-made litter found floating on its surface is plastic, and it is the most common debris on the seafloor. 

In the News
Posted on November 16, 2015 - 10:31am, by nwehner

The World Forum of Fisher Peoples’ (WFFP) and the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers (WFF) have released a joint statement opposing the Coastal Fisheries Initiative:

With the Coastal Fisheries Initiative (CFI) the FAO, the World Bank, Conservation International and others have launched a wide reaching program aiming at the reform of fisheries policy across the world. Through a period of 4 years, 235 million USD will be distributed through a number of projects in countries spanning Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia. The program is funded jointly by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and a few governments, NGOs, foundations and private sector ac- tors. The CFI will have devastating impacts for small-scale fisher folk in the targeted countries and regions and the actors behind the CFI furthermore want their reforms to inform global fisheries policy. With this statement we, as representatives of over 20 million fisher people, wish to express our firm opposition to the CFI, which directly contradict the implementation of the recently endorsed Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (VGSSF) 

Please see the attached PDF for the full statement.

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 16, 2015 - 10:17am, by nwehner

Via Tech Times

"Using selective breeding, researchers out of the University of Hawaii now started their experiment with “super corals” aimed at capably withstanding future ocean conditions. Target corals will be those exhibiting strength and resilience to be passed on to succeeding generations.

The resulting corals will be transplanted Kaneohe Bay, where up to 80 percent have been devastated in 2015, and then grown and reproduced while human-induced climate change is taking place."

Community Updates - External Link
Posted on November 16, 2015 - 10:12am, by nwehner

Due to popular request we will be extending the deadline for submitting IMCC4 proposals until November 21. That will be the final deadline so please do get your proposals in as soon as possible. Further details about the call can be found at