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Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin collides with the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No. 3 in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, 6th February 2009. Photo: John via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Japan's 'scientific whaling' fail: experts reject plan to kill 4,000 Minke whales

Tony Press

15th April 2015

Japan's latest plans for 'scientific whaling' in the Southern Ocean have fallen at the first hurdle, writes Tony Press. The IWC's expert panel says Japan's proposal contains 'insufficient information' on which to judge its validity, in particular the need for the 'lethal sampling' of over 3,996 Minke whales that is central to the research plan. more...
Small fishing boats at Lyme Regis, Dorset, where England's first big marine Protected Area was designated. Photo: Sue Hasker via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

To protect our seas, first we must reclaim them from 'Big Fishing'

Horatio Morpurgo

10th April 2015

There's strong public support for protecting marine wildlife, writes Horatio Morpurgo - so why aren't politicians championing the cause? Labour and Tories alike fear to challenge the big fishing companies that have come to believe they own Britain's offshore waters and seabed. Now it's up to use to prove they're wrong. more...
A wondrous new wave power device? Sadly no: a lot of useful energy going to waste on the sea defences of Brighton Marina. Photo: Barry Goble via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Ocean energy plus cybernetics can supply a quarter of the US's power

Shalinee Kishore

14th April 2015

Wave power has a huge part to play in supplying the US with clean, renewable electricity, writes Shalinee Kishore. But to achieve its full potential, we must harness not just the energy of waves, but their predictability - and so so ensure the smooth integration of wave power into the electricity grid. more...
Dead fish on the beach at Cape San Blas, Florida, after a 'red tide' event in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Judy Baxter via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Ocean 'dead zones' are spreading - and that spells disaster for fish

Lee Bryant

9th April 2015

Oxygen levels in our oceans are falling, writes Lee Bryant, producing growing 'dead zones' where only the hardiest organisms can survive. The causes are simple: pollution with nutrient-rich wastes, and global warming. But the only solution is to stop it happening - or wait for 1,000 years. more...
Greenpeace volunteers on board Shell's 'Polar Explorer' oil rig in the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Miriam Friedrich / Greenpeace.

Greenpeace occupies Shell rig after Arctic drilling go-ahead

Christine Ottery & Oliver Tickell

7th April 2015

Days after Shell received US Government backing for its plans to drill in the Chukchi Sea in the Alaskan Arctic, volunteers from Greenpeace have occupied its 'Polar Pioneer' oil rig in the Pacific Ocean to demand a halt to all Arctic oil exploration. more...
After more than century of colliery dumping, there's still plenty of coal to be picked up at Seaham Harbour. But now a far more toxic form of pollution is on its way, thanks to UGC - underground coal gasification. Photo: David Robson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-

'Underground coal gasification' hell-fires threaten Tyneside and the North Sea

Paul Mobbs

3rd April 2015

After over a century of coal ash and colliery waste dumping, the Tyne and Wear coastline is no stranger to industrial pollution. But soon a horrific new technology - underground coal gasification (UCG) - will endanger human health and the environment, backed by unflinching Government support and generous lashings of taxpayers' money. more...
The Sea Shepherd vessel the Bob Barker braving the waves of the Southern Ocean in pursuit of the Japanese whaling ship the Nisshin Maru in 2010. The same boat is now chasing illegal fishing vessels in the same waters. Photo: wietse? via Flickr (CC BY-NS-S

Fishing bandits arrested in Sea Shepherd's 'Operation Icefish'

The Ecologist

31st March 2015

The first year of Sea Shepherd's campaign to close down illegal fishing operations in the Southern Ocean, dubbed 'Operation Icefish' has already led to the detention of two 'bandit' fishing vessels while a third is under pursuit. more...
Lewis Pugh swimming 500m in water with a temperature of 0°C off the coast of Peter I Island in the Bellinghausen Sea - one of 13 seas which surround Antarctica. Photo: lewispugh.com.

Man on an Antarctic mission - taking a plunge for the Ross Sea

Yannic Rack

1st April 2015

How to campaign for the world's biggest marine protected area in Antarctica's freezing seas? If you're Lewis Pugh, the answer's a simple one: swim there! And before your hands have even recovered from the frostbite, fly off to Moscow to persuade the Kremlin to back the idea. Yannic Rack met the intrepid swimmer in a cosy London pub ... more...
Humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean near Pitcairn Island. Photo: Robert Irving / Darwin Initiative via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Clear blue water! Pitcairn Islands reserve is Britain's biggest conservation initiative ever

Nick Hurd and Zac Goldsmith

20th March 2015

The the creation of almost a million sq.km of the South Pacific as a fully protected marine area builds on a long Conservative tradition of protecting the natural environment, write Nick Hurd & Zac Goldsmith - and as factory trawlers close in on Pitcairn's pristine waters, the initiative could not have been more timely. more...
Pitcairn, one of four islands in the Pitcairn Islands British Overseas Territory, is to be become the centre of a vast marine protected areas protecting 830,000 sq.km of ocean. Photo: doublecnz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

World's greatest marine reserve around Pitcairn Islands

The Ecologist

19th March 2014

The UK is to create a fully protected marine in the South Pacific more than three times bigger than the UK itself, covering some 830,000 square kilometres. The move may herald further huge designations in the UK's 'overseas territories' which encompass over 6 million square kilometres of ocean. more...
Where ice meets ocean - Antarctic coastline by McKay Savage via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Antarctic warmth brings more snow, reducing sea level rise

Alex Kirby & Oliver Tickell

18th March 2015

Rising temperatures will result in more snow falling in Antarctica, and the build-up of ice will reduce sea level rise from other sources. But as the extra weight of ice makes Antarctica's glaciers flow faster, the continent will still be a net contributor to sea level rise. more...
If the Adami mine goes ahead, the Abbot Point port will be in line for a massive upgrade. But the Queensland Government is paying nothing towards the cost. Photo: Greenpeace.

Money dries up for Great Barrier Reef coal project

Marina Lou & Christine Ottery / Greenpeace Energydesk

16th March 2015

Indian coal firm Adani is struggling to finance its proposed mega coal mine in Australia's Galilee Basin, write Marina Lou & Christine Ottery, as promised government support evaporates and a major investor looks set to pull out. more...

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In March 2012 the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) rallied on the Mediterranean Sea between the Gaza seaport and Beit Lahia to protest Israeli naval attacks on Palestinian fishermen and demand the return of fishing boats seized by Israel. Sinc

Israel escalates deadly attacks on Gaza's fishers

Charlie Hoyle

12th March 2015

Under the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas last August, Gaza's fishers were meant to be able to work up to six miles from the coast, writes Charlie Hoyle. In fact, Israel is routinely attacking boats within the zone, arresting fishermen, and seizing boats and nets, never to be returned. Only last week, one fisherman was shot dead after allegedly straying over an invisible boundary. more...
Doggerland - the perfect place for the world's biggest offshore wind farm? Photo: NASA via Wikimedia Commons.

Why a submerged island is the perfect spot for the world's biggest wind farm

Xavier Lemaire

27th March 2015

Way out in the turbulent North Sea, the Dogger Bank may seem like an unlikely place to site a large part of Britain's energy infrastructure. But given the stable sea floor, consistent winds, and distance from sensitive neighbours, it could be the perfect place. Even the fish could come to like it! more...
The show goes on at Loro Parque, Tenerife, Spain - the country which hosts 11 out of the EU's 33 dolphinaria. Photo: Oliver Clarke via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Call goes out for dolphinarium-free Europe

The Ecologist

4th March 2015

Whale and dolphin experts from across the world today launched a new campaign at the European Parliament to ban dolphin captivity in Europe, putting an end to a long saga of abuse and exploitation. more...
NASA image of the Arctic sea ice on March 6, 2010. Image: NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio; Blue Marble data courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC), via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Coming soon: the 'Big Heat'

Nafeez Ahmed

3rd March 2015

Global warming has been on vacation for a few years, writes Nafeez Ahmed. But that's only because the excess heat - two Hiroshima bombs-worth every second - has been buried in the deep ocean. But within a few years that's set to change, producing a huge decade-long warming surge, focused on the Arctic, that could overwhelm us all. more...
As ocean acidity rises, diatoms stuggle to gow in variable light conditions. Photo: Mixed diatom frustules by Carolina Biological Supply Company via Flickr (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0).

Keystone plankton 'go slow' as ocean acidity rises

Tim Radford

1st March 2015

Increasing acidity in the Southern Ocean is slowing the growth of diatoms, reports Tim Radford. Why worry? Because these tiny plankton sustain essential marine ecosystems, and are highly effective at drawing CO2 down into the deep ocean. more...
Orange roughy - one of the vulnerable fish species caught on the high seas. Photo: CSIRO Science Image (CC BY).

End high seas fishing for fairness and sustainability

Reg Watson

9th March 2015

What's the solution to the over-exploitation of fish on the high seas, outside territorial boundaries? Ban it altogether, argues Reg Watson. It would make little difference to the total fish catch, poor coastal countries would reap huge benefits, and the fishing fleet's fuel burn would be slashed. The main losers? Rapacious industrial factory-fishers. more...
New technological advances could make the power of Atlantic waves into a competitive source of renewable energy. Photo: Albert Bridge via Wikimedia Commons.

New technologies promise cheap wave power

Paul Brown

23rd February 2015

Scandinavian inventors are hoping that efficient new waves power technologies will for the first time make the sector competitive with other renewable energy sources, writes Paul Brown - opening up a massive new clean energy resource around the world. more...
A Coral Cod (Cephalopholis miniata) at Lighthouse Bommie, Ribbon Reef #10, Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Richard Ling via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

US tax dollars must not finance $1bn Great Barrier Reef destruction!

The Ecologist

20th February 2015

A powerful call has gone out the the US Export-Import Bank not to finance a massive coal mine, railway, port terminal and dredged 'canal' through Australia's Great Barrier Reef with $1 billion in loans and guarantees. more...
Houma, Louisiana: after the town of Venice was almost completely destroyed by Katrina, Houma became the service and transportation center for the offshore oil industry in this part of the Gulf. Photo: Paul Goyette via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Oil lawyer turned judge rules: industry not liable for $50bn Gulf Coast damage

Farron Cousins / DeSmogBlog

19th February 2015

The oil and gas industry has admitted that its canals and drilling rigs have destroyed 1,900 square miles of coastal wetlands on the US Gulf Coast, but a Federal Judge with deep industry ties has ruled that 97 companies off have no liability for the $50 billion damage. more...
What goes up, must come down. Arizona's Navajo Generating Station consumes up to 25,000 tons of coal per day, and the mercury it emits - along with other coal plants - is poisoning our oceans, our fish, and us. Photo: Alan Stark via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Mercury - thanks to our pollution, tuna will soon be unsafe for human consumption

Paul Drevnick

18th February 2015

Levels of neurotoxic mercury in Yellowfin tuna are rising at almost 4% per year, and will soon reach a point where the fish are officially unsafe to eat, writes Paul Drevnick. And after decades of debate, there's no longer any doubt where the mercury comes from: humans. Industrial sources like coal burning are mainly to blame, and it's high time we put a stop to it. more...
A seal caught up in plastic pollution near Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Photo: Nels Israelson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Five to 12 million tonnes of plastic are going into the ocean each year

Britta Denise Hardesty & Chris Wilcox

4th April 2015

An unimaginably large volume of plastic debris is reaching the world's oceans every year, write Britta Denise Hardesty & Chris Wilcox - and it's set for a ten-fold increase over the next decade, adding to the already terrible toll on marine life from turtles to seals, sea birds and fish. The solution must be to give waste plastic value - if we can find a way. more...
A Basking shark in UK coastal waters. Photo: Andrew Pearson / The Wildlife Trusts.

We need safe havens for our ocean giants!

Dr Lissa Batey

2nd March 2015

'Ocean giants' in our coastal waters are increasingly rare, writes Dr Lissa Batey, thanks to a host of threats from pollution to entrapment in fishing gear. Marine Protected Areas in England and Wales could help restore our cetaceans to their former abundance - but so far, only one has been designated for these species in Wales, and none in England. more...
Plastic waste on the 'Mayan Riviera', Quintana Roo, Mexico. Photo: John Schneider via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Fighting the plastic plague in our oceans

Dr Mae-Wan Ho

13th February 2015

On current trends the world will contain 33 billion tonnes of plastic by 20150, writes Mae Wan Ho, and much of it will litter the oceans, concentrating toxins and damaging marine life throughout the food chain. The alternative is to classify the most toxic plastics as 'hazardous waste', and for all plastics to be reused and recycled in 'closed loop' systems. more...

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