Tag Archives: Marine Animals

U.S. agency says no to requests for ocean surveys with airguns

Humpback whale. Captions and Photo source: NOAA Photo Library


Federal officials have turned down six applications to use airguns to look for undersea sites that might yield oil and natural gas up and down the East Coast, including areas off North Carolina.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said the risks to marine life outweigh the potential benefits of seismic surveying along the Outer Continental Shelf, particularly since the Atlantic has been removed from the federal leasing program.

Dozens of coastal towns and counties have passed resolutions objecting to surveying with airguns…

Read Full Article, The Outer Banks Voice (01-06-2017)

Could Seismic Tests Harm Fish? Coastal Review (06-18-2016)

Sonic Sea, Film Documentary; NRDC May 19th, 2016
Oceans are a sonic symphony. Sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life. But man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile world. “Sonic Sea” is about protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution…

U.S. Blocks Oil, Gas Drilling in Atlantic Coastal Waters; (03-15-2016)
The Obama administration pulled back its plan to sell new oil and gas leases off the southeast U.S. coast, ceding to environmental concerns and continuing a trend among federal agencies to slow fossil fuels development in an era of climate change. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that the decision was made because many coastal communities oppose oil drilling off their shorelines.

Estimates of offshore drilling’s benefits exaggerated, report says, The Virginian Pilot (12-15-2015)
A report released in December, and prepared for the Southern Environmental Law Center, contends that the potential economic benefits, as cited in a prior report released in 2013 by the American Petroleum Institute, have been exaggerated and don’t take into account the potential loss of jobs in tourism, commercial fishing and other business sectors…

Why U.S. East Coast Should Stay Off-Limits to Oil Drilling, Yale E360 (02-28-2015)
It’s not just the potential for a catastrophic spill that makes the new proposal to open Atlantic Ocean waters to oil exploration such a bad idea. What’s worse is the cumulative impact on coastal ecosystems that an active oil industry would bring…

Don’t Drill Along the East Coast, The New York Times (02-04-2015)

When You Drill, You Spill; Huffington Green (05-27-2015)

Humpback habitats off Madagascar revealed as energy exploration ramps up

Humpback whale, Madagascar. Photo source: Photo source: ©© Jaaskier1


How humpback whales use marine habitats off the eastern coast of Africa is only partially understood, and that has become a conservation concern as offshore energy exploration expands in the region.

However, a new study found that humpback whales that were satellite tagged off the coast of Madagascar during peak breeding season are traveling much further in the southwest Indian Ocean than previously thought…

Read Full Article, Science Daily (01-04-2017)

Up to 20,000 dead fish, other animals washed up on Nova Scotia coast

Nova Scotia coast. Photo source: ©© Jean-François Gaudet


The carcasses of thousands of sea creatures have mysteriously washed up on the western coast of Nova Scotia.

As many as 20,000 fish, lobsters, starfish, scallops, crabs and other animals have turned up dead at Savory Park, Canadian authorities said. And they have no idea why…

Read Full Article; CNN (12-30-2016)

Mystery of hundreds of thousands of dead fish on Cornish beach solved, UK; Guardian UK (12-19-2016)

The World’s Tuna and Mackerel Populations Are in a “Catastrophic” Decline, Quartz (09-17-2015)

One of the World’s Biggest Fisheries Is on the Verge of Collapse; National Geographic (08-29-2016)

Food Chain Collapse Predicted in World’s Oceans; Discovery News (10-12-2015)

30 percent of global fish catch is unreported, study finds, Science Daily (01-20-2016)

Nearly Half of U.S. Seafood Supply is Wasted, Study Shows, Science Daily (09-25-2015)
As much as 47 percent of the edible US seafood supply is lost each year, mainly from consumer waste, new research suggests…

Busy Times at the World’s Largest Polar Bear Prison

Photo source: ©© Jidanchaomian


Sea ice has done some extremely odd things in 2016. This is in part because climate change is reshaping the Arctic faster than the rest of the planet. In its Arctic Report Card 2016, released this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noted that Arctic air temperatures are increasing twice as fast as those in the temperate regions.

According to a new study, published last week, there’s a 71 percent chance that the global polar bear population will fall by over 30 percent in the next three decades.

The only hope for the polar bear is to reduce carbon emissions, in the hope that the runaway pace of Arctic warming will eventually stabilize and reverse. It’s a dire situation, which is forcing people like Derocher to consider extreme solutions—like feeding the surviving bears…

Read Full Article, The Atlantic (12-16-2016)

Polar Bears Shifting to Areas with More Sea Ice, Genetic Study Reveals; USGS (01-06-2015)
Scientists from around the Arctic have shown that recent generations of polar bears are moving towards areas with more persistent year-round sea ice…

Stranded Polar Bears at Kaktovik, Barter Island, Alaska; Guardian UK (11-21-2011)
Possibly hundreds of bears are becoming stranded on the coastal plain of North Alaska, because they cannot reach the retreating sea ice. Will Rose and Kajsa Sjölander, captured shots of stranded polar bears as part of “70° North”, a multimedia project documenting the impact of climate change and resources exploration in the Arctic…

Southern Beaufort Sea Polar Bear Population Declined in the 2000s; USGS (11-18-2014)
Scientists from the United States and Canada found that during the first decade of the 21st century, the number of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea experienced a sharp decline of approximately 40 percent…

Save The Arctic Video, Greenpeace; Greenpeace (09-01-2012)
Greenpeace, Jude Law, Radiohead and hundreds of thousands of people around the world are coming together to demand we save the Arctic from oil drilling, industrial fishing and militarization…

Saving Mexico’s endangered sea turtles will be good for tourism too

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Seven of the world’s eight sea turtles species nest on the beaches of Mexico – undertaking the serious business of reproduction in 17 of the country’s 32 states. That means 53% of Mexican national territory, which is flanked by both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, is home to sea turtles.

But in a country with one of the world’s most extensive shorelines, nesting beaches for turtles are disappearing. Climate change, human development, and the complex interaction between the two are to blame…

Read Full Article, Huffington Green (10-27-2016)

Stealing Turtle Eggs Got People Shot, But The Thievery Continues; National Geographic Video (12-08-2015)

Sea Turtle Eggs Have Turned Beach into a Battleground, ABC News (11-08-2015)

Sea Turtle Egg Poaching Legalized in Costa Rica: The Debate, Coastal Care (07-29-2011)

Sea Turtles Face Plastic Pollution Peril; Guardian UK (10-09-2015)
A new global review that set out to investigate the hazards of marine plastic pollution has warned that all seven species of marine turtles can ingest or become entangled in the discarded debris that currently litters the oceans, and nesting beaches…

The Plastic Found In a Single Turtle’s Stomach, Independent UK (03-24-2011)

Largest Turtle Breeding Colony in the Atlantic Discovered; Science Daily (06-04-2015)
A huge ground survey covering nearly 600 km of Gabon’s coastline has uncovered the largest breeding colony of olive ridley turtles in the Atlantic…

World Must Tackle the Biggest Killer of Whales – and it’s not Whaling

Photo source: ©© Mike Baird


Every two years, governments from across the globe gather to debate the fate of the world’s whales. And every two years, Japan, Norway and Iceland find themselves in the firing line for their refusal to end commercial whaling.

This week at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Slovenia will be no different. But while the divisive debate on whaling rages, the IWC has the chance to unite behind efforts to tackle the most immediate 21st century threat to whales – bycatch.

It is scarcely believable but accidental entanglement in fishing gear – or bycatch – kills over 300,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises (collectively known as cetaceans) every year. And that’s a conservative estimate based on data from 2008. No one knows the real figure but it far outstrips the less than 2,000 whales that are deliberately hunted and killed for commercial purposes each year…

Read Full Article, IPS News (10-24-2016)

Larger marine animals at higher risk of extinction, and humans are to blame, Science Daily (09-14-2016)
In today’s oceans, larger-bodied marine animals are more likely to become extinct than smaller creatures, according to a Stanford-led report. It’s a pattern that is unprecedented in the history of life on Earth, and one that is likely driven by human fishing…

Fish Poachers Push Endangered Porpoises to Brink; Yale E360 (03-05-2016)

Study: Why Blue Whales Can’t Avoid Barges, Ocean Liners, Huffington Green (05-06-2015)

People Power Wins: Super Trawler Banned, Australia, Greenpeace (09-12-2012)

Overfishing is as big a threat to humanity as it is to our oceans; Guardian UK (02-16-2016)

Sonic Sea, Film Documentary; NRDC May 19th, 2016
Oceans are a sonic symphony. Sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life. But man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile world. “Sonic Sea” is about protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution…

A Turtle Saver, NC

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Sea turtles that nest in North Carolina are listed as endangered species in part because many beaches have become dangerous or undesirable places for nesting.

One of the biggest issues is light pollution…

Trash, debris and holes left on the beach pose a danger to sea turtles, as they can block the path of both mothers and babies trying to get to and from the ocean. Turtles can also ingest the plastic, which has devastating effects…

Read Full Article, Coastal Review Online (07-29-2016)

Coastal Light Pollution Disturbs Marine Animals, New Study Shows; University of Exeter (04-29-2015)
Marine ecosystems can be changed by night-time artificial lighting according to new research. The results indicate that light pollution from coastal communities, shipping and offshore infrastructure could be changing the composition of marine invertebrate communities…

Florida beaches are becoming darker, and that’s good for sea turtles (01-29-2016)
Newly published research confirms that the density of sea turtle nests on Florida beaches is reduced where artificial lights along the coast deter nesting females. The data also show that the network of sea turtle-friendly lighting ordinances along Florida’s coast seems to be working…

Light Pollution Deters Nesting Sea Turtles, LiveScience (06-09-2013)
Light pollution along the Mediterranean is changing the nesting habits of sea turtles in Israel, according to new research…

19,000 Sea Turtle Eggs Seized in Anti-Smuggling Operation

sea turtle egg
“El nacimiento.” A sea turtle egg. Photo source: ©©Emmanuel Frezzotti


Police seized 19,000 sea turtle eggs off the coast of Malaysia in a special operation to hobble a major smuggling syndicate…

Read Full Article, National Geographic (07-24-2016)

Ban turtle eggs trade in Malaysia: WWF, PhysOrg (08-03-2011)
WWF urged Malaysia to impose a national ban on the trade and consumption of turtle eggs to ensure the survival of the marine creatures.Turtles once arrived in their thousands to lay eggs on Malaysian beaches but are now increasingly rare due to poaching and coastal development…

Stealing Turtle Eggs Got People Shot, But The Thievery Continues, National Geographic (12-08-2015)

Sea Turtle Eggs Have Turned Beach into a Battleground, ABC News (11-08-2015)

Sea Turtle Egg Poaching Legalized in Costa Rica: The Debate, Coastal Care (07-29-2011)

How Do Marine Turtles Return To The Same Beach To Lay Their Eggs? Science Daily (12-09-2010)

After Steep Decline, Signs of Hope for World’s Sea Turtles; Yale E360 (12-12-2014)
Nearly all sea turtle species have been classified as endangered, with precipitous declines in many populations in recent decades. But new protections are demonstrating that dramatic recovery for these remarkable reptiles is possible…

More than 160 years of Walrus Haulout Observations Reported by Russians and Americans Published as Database

Walrus – Odobenus rosmarus divergens – hauled out on Bering Sea ice. Captions and Photo source: NOAA


The Pacific Walrus Coastal Haulout Database, based on generations of observations shared by Russians and Americans over more than 160 years, is now available to assist planning efforts of wildlife managers, mariners, industry and others operating in the Arctic.

The database shows where walrus haulouts may be found. This information is vital to reduce the risk of mortality events from human-caused disturbance or pollution.

“It’s great to see this information in a consistent format, on a user-friendly platform, and up to date,” said James MacCracken, walrus program supervisor at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “This should be very useful to anyone planning activities that may occur near a haulout and as well as the USFWS’s assessment of those activities.”

Walruses are large marine predators that must rest out of water on sea ice or the coast between feedings along the shallow arctic sea floor. Female Pacific walruses and their calves in particular traditionally spend summers far from shore. However in recent years, loss of summer sea ice over the continental shelf has forced many walruses to travel to the Arctic coasts of the U.S. and Russia where they haul-out on shore to rest. When hauling out on the coast, they often gather in large numbers and use specific locations, termed haulouts, where they may be vulnerable to disturbance and pollution events.

To produce the database, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and their Russian counterparts at the Russian Academy of Sciences and Chukot-TINRO, combed through published reports, state records, as well as observations from coastal residents, aviators and scientists.

“This database reveals the full geographic context of all places where Pacific walruses have been observed repeatedly resting on shore or in large numbers,” said Anthony Fischbach, wildlife biologist with the USGS. “The database is the result of generations of Russians and Americans, who openly shared their wildlife observations.”

The data can be used in GIS applications, such as Google Earth, or worked with in NOAA’s Arctic Environmental Response Management Application.

Each haulout entry in the database provides a narrative describing the geography and history of reported use with citations to reports and personal communications. The publication of these data are possible because of the long-standing good working relationship that scientists have across the Bering Strait dating back to the first joint surveys in 1975.

A summary report of this database provides an overview of the distribution patterns of the Pacific walrus haulouts.

The walrus research reflects a large interagency and international effort including USGS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Russian Academy of Sciences and Chukot-TINRO. USGS is also coordinating with the US Coast Guard, NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration, Eskimo Walrus Commission, North Slope Borough, affected National Wildlife Refuges, the NPS Bering Straits Land Bridge and the State Department.

Map showing Pacific walrus coastal haulout locations reported in the past four decades (1980s– 2010s), with a maximum aggregation size of greater than or equal to 1,000 walruses.

Original Article and Learn More, USGS (07-18-2016)