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Ocean: 1/25 of 141
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An iceberg floating in the Amundsen Sea, where glaciers are shedding ice faster than in any other part of Antarctica. Photo: NASA / Jane Peterson via Wikimedia Commons.

Antarctica: warming ocean trebles glacial melt

Tim Radford

17th December 2014

As temperatures rise in the Southern Ocean, warmer currents are eroding the Antarctic ice sheet from below, writes Tim Radford - causing the melting rate to treble in two decades to 83 billion tonnes a year. more...
The garbage that builds up incessantly on the Praia de Achados beach presents formidable obstacle to loggerhead turtles seeking nesting sites. Photo: Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd.

Over 268,000 tonnes of ocean plastic - neglect it at our peril

Magnus Johnson & Melanie Coull

11th December 2014

The oceans are awash with plastic, write Magnus Johnson & Melanie Coull, with dire effects on marine wildlife mistaking it for food. But it's not just big animals like basking sharks, turtles and albatrosses that suffer. The very worst damage may be caused by particles too small for the eye to see, and the toxic chemicals that cling to them. more...
Murder most foul - a porpoise carcass bearing cruel bite marks. Photo: Johan Krol.

Murder most foul - who killed all the porpoises?

Ken Collins

9th December 2014

Since 2010 porpoise carcasses have been washing up on our shares, writes Ken Collins - displaying horrific wounds and bite marks that many thought a sign of Great White sharks in Britain's coastal waters. But now scientists have identified an improbably cuddly culprit ... more...
January-October 2014 average air temperature anomalies over land and sea surface temperature anomalies over the oceans (relative to the 1961-1990 average) from the HadCRUT.4.3.0.0 data set. Image: WMO.

WMO: 2014 set to be the hottest year on record

The Ecologist

3rd December 2014

The year 2014 is on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, on record, according to preliminary estimates by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Their latest report, issued today at the UN climate talks in Lima, shows exceptional heat and flooding in many parts of the world. more...
The possible lengthening of ice-free periods may affect polar bears before the end of the century. Photo: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons.

With melting Arctic ice, Canada's polar bears face wipe-out by 2100

Tim Radford

6th December 2014

The expected melting of sea ice in Canada's Arctic Archipelago will progressively render huge areas unable to support viable polar bears populations, writes Tim Radford. By 2100 the polar bears could be pushed out altogether. more...
Vaquitas in the Sea of Cortes. Photo: unknown.

No more cetacean extinctions! It's our last chance to save the vaquita

Willie Mackenzie / Greenpeace

27th November 2014

The 'vaquita', a small porpoise limited to a small area of Mexico's Gulf of California, is on the brink of extinction, writes Willie Mackenzie - its numbers reduced to around 100. But it's not too late to save it, by expanding a protected area and providing alternative livelihoods for local fishermen. more...
Sailing boat on Førdefjorden. Photo: Arild Nybø via Flickr.

'Acutely toxic' mine waste threatens the death of Norway's fjords

Tina Andersen Vågenes

28th November 2014

Two huge open pit mines in northern Norway are on the verge of approval, writes Tina Andersen Vågenes - even though they would dump hundreds of millions of tonnes of tailings in fjords where wild salmon spawn. Scientists are voicing serious concerns, and protests are growing, but government and mining companies appear determined to push the projects forward regardless. more...
The cartographic submarine at work. Photo: WHOI.

Antarctic sea ice expands to record extent - and it's deeper than we thought

Edward Hanna

28th November 2014

While the Arctic melts, Antarctica's ice has spread to record extents in three consecutive years, writes Edward Hanna. But is the news as good as it looks? Yes, if indications from a robot submarine that the ice is thicker than expected are supported by further evidence. It may just be that Antarctica's ice is more resilient than scientists dared to hope. more...
Rod and line fishing for tuna on a Maldivian fishing boat. Photo: Canopus Maldives / '...your local connection' via Flickr.

Human rights vs sustainability? EU must not attack Maldives 'green' fishery

Tony Juniper

27th November 2014

The Maldives, a vast republic of scattered islands in the Indian Ocean, has worked hard to make its fisheries among the world's most sustainable, writes Tony Juniper. But now the EU has slapped a 20% levy on its fish exports due to human rights concerns - a move that mainly hits poor fisherfolk innocent of any wrongdoing. more...
Women of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, protesting today. Photo: World Forum of Fisher Peoples - WFFP.

Marine Protected Areas in South Africa - ocean grabbing by another name

Mads Barbesgaard, Carsten Pedersen, Timothé Feodoroff

21st November 2014

Today on World Fisheries Day, fisher peoples and their allies are taking to the streets and beaches to fight against ocean grabbing in all its forms - including Marine Protected Areas imposed without consultation that rob and criminalise local communities and benefit only privileged outsiders. more...
Isobel (Bella) and father Gil Rodrigues. Photo: Sea Shepherd / Simon Ager.

My conversion - from shearwater hunter to protector of birds and ocean

Gil Rodrigues Fortes / Sea Shepherd

23rd November 2014

For nearly 30 years, Gil Fortes was a hunter of Cabo Verde's shearwater chicks, helping to drive the bird to the brink of extinction. But following a life-changing rethink, he and his daughter Isabel (Bella), are now at the forefront of efforts to save the shearwater and rebuild its perilously low numbers. more...
At risk from climate change: a turtle on the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Marc Füeg via Flickr.

Obama 'shirtfronts' Abbott: protect Barrier Reef from climate change

Michelle Grattan

17th November 2014

In a blunt rebuke to Australia's prime minister Tony Abbott, US President Obama stated that 'every nation has the responsibility to do its part' on climate change, writes Michelle Grattan - in a clear reference to the G20 host's backsliding on climate promises. more...

Ocean: 1/25 of 141
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Building on existing cooperation to protect the fragile Arctic environment and its wildlife could be the key to forestalling a new Cold War over Arctic resources. Photo: Walrus, by Colin Jagoe via Flickr.

Arctic chill, red hot politics - as the ice melts, a new Cold War can still be avoided

Conn Hallinan

25th November 2014

As the Arctic ice retreats, a fragile but resource-rich landscape replete with oil, minerals, fish and islands is opening up, writes Conn Hallinan. A new land-rush is on, and it could all lead to war. But it can be avoided provided states respect the rule of law and build on existing regimes of cooperation to protect the precious Arctic environment. more...
Marine parks need to be big enough to safeguard wide-ranging species, like the sharks being studied here. Photo: Manu San Felix / National Geographic Pristine Seas Expedition, Author provided.

Now is our chance to deliver on the 30% ocean protection target

Jessica Meeuwig

15th November 2014

In 2003 nations pledged to place 20-30% of the world's oceans into no-take marine parks, writes Jessica Meeuwig - but more than ten years on, such areas now cover just 1% of ocean area. Now the World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia, provides an opportunity to drive marine protection forward, and benefit both ecology and economy. more...
Is this the kind of Arctic you want, cross-crossed by shipping, complete with oil rigs, mining, industrial fishing and pollution? If not, get behind the Arctic Declaration! Photo: epsdave via Pixabay.

We must keep the Arctic clean, wild and free!

Professor Robert Spicer

17th November 2014

The Arctic is a special place, teeming with life, but it is under threat like never before, writes Robert Spicer - not just from climate change, but from oil drilling, industrial fishing and shipping, as receding ice creates now commercial opportunities. We must designate an Arctic Sanctuary where nature can reign undisturbed. more...
Farnes East candidate MCZ. Photo: Jean Luc Solandt via MCS.

A Marine Charter to protect and revitalise the UK's ocean riches

Tom Hickey

12th November 2014

The 2009 Marine Act was meant to result in a full network of marine protected areas along the UK coast, writes Tom Hickey. But since then far too few MPAs have been created, and no real change or action has followed. Hence the launch of the Marine Charter today - to galvanise political will - and manifesto commitments - for the 2015 election. more...
Over 50% of an iguana shipment found dead. Photo: PETA.

The exotic pet trade is a global evil that must be stopped

Clifford Warwick

10th November 2014

Behind the relatively sanitized façade of the exotic pet industry resides a vast chronicle of species decline, ecological disruption, animal suffering, mortality, and the global dissemination of pathogens, writes Clifford Warwick. We are in the midst of a profit-fueled frivolous wildlife biocide, as animal traders strive to bring the next curiosity fish, turtle or primate into our homes. more...
Cod smolts among seagrass. Photo: John Carroll.

For the love of cod, let's save our disappearing seagrass

Richard K. F. Unsworth

4th November 2014

Seagrass provides a key marine habitat, writes Richard Unsworth - it stablises the sea floor, sustains rich ecosystems, soaks up excess nutrients, sequesters carbon dioxide, feeds dugongs, and nurtures young cod. Hadn't we better stop wiping out some 1,500 sq.km of seagrass meadows every year? more...
Hunting for lugworms for fishing bait at Brighton beach. Photo: Martin Thomas via Flickr.

Lugworms suffer toxic impact of acidifying oceans

Alex Kirby

30th October 2014

A common marine worm key to the richness of many coastal ecosystems is being damaged by the increasing ocean acidification that was thought to imperil mainly shellfish and coral, writes Alex Kirby. It's an unwelcome sign of more unexpected ecological changes to come. more...
An artist's impression of the Searaser at work. Photo: DWE Ltd.

New wave generator brightens ocean power prospects

The Ecologist

27th October 2014

A new wave power generator has moved closer to reality after successful testing in simulated marine conditions. An array of the 1.5MW 'Searaser' devices could be deployed on Britain's coast within a few years. more...
A Bottlenose Dolphin does a backflip off of Kilauea Point, Hawaii. Photo: Byron Chin via Flickr.

San Francisco declares: every whale and dolphin has the right to be free

Laura Bridgeman

23rd October 2014

If SeaWorld is looking to build a new park in California, it will be steering well clear of San Francisco, writes Laura Bridgeman. Following a campaign backed by scientists and hundreds of high school students, the City has declared cetaceans' right to be free and 'unrestricted in their natural environment'. more...
Melting point: researchers study Arctic sea ice and melt ponds on the Chuckchi Sea. Photo: Kathryn Hansen / NASA via Wikimedia Commons.

Arctic ice loss sends Alaskan temperatures soaring

Alex Kirby

22nd October 2014

Scientists analysing more than three decades of weather data for the northern Alaska outpost of Barrow have recorded an astonishing 7°C temperature rise, writes Alex Kirby - and the likely cause is the decline in Arctic sea ice. more...
Fisherfolk on the beach, The Gambia. Photo: Angus Kirk via Flickr.

Ocean grabbing: a new wave of 21st century enclosures

Nick Buxton, Carsten Pedersen & Mads Christian Barbesgaard

20th October 2014

Small-scale fishing communities are key to any transition towards an ecologically and socially just food regime. But backed by the World Bank, powerful corporate interests are seizing their fish, seas and shores in the name of 'sustainability'. A revolution of the poor is needed to rebuild food sovereignty - and restore the oceans to the global commons. more...
A Raso Island shearwater chick looks out from its nest - a ball of grey fur, but mind the sharp beak! Photo: Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd.

Raso Island, Cape Verde - a jewel in the crown of Africa's wildlife

Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd

22nd October 2014

Shearwater chicks are cute grey furballs with beaks, writes Simon Ager, and they are all too ready to use them on pesky wildlife researchers. But Cape Verde offers abundant compensations to nature lovers - so many that its future surely lies in conserving, not exploiting its biological riches.
more...
Fish exploding from the ocean off the North Carolina coast - but global fish stocks are doing no such thing. Photo: Jared Cherup via Flickr.

Plenty more fish in the sea? Not if we follow healthy eating guidelines

Ruth H. Thurstan & Callum Roberts

6th November 2014

Until demand for fish is balanced with sustainable methods of production, write Ruth Thurstan & Callum Roberts, governments should consider the social and environmental implications of promoting greater fish consumption. Worldwide, wild fish supplies per person have been declining ever since 1970. more...

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