The Ecologist


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Surfing at Noosa Beach, Australia. To avoid shark attack, keep out of the water at dawn and dusk, and avoid turbid estuaries. Even sharks can make mistakes. Photo: m.maddo via Flickr (CC BY).

Culling sharks doesn't work - here's what we can do instead

Jane Williamson

26th August 2015

Following six shark attacks this year on the beaches of New South Wales, Australia, the press are demanding a shark cull as a 'permanent solution' to the problem, writes Jane Williamson. Trouble is, culling is indiscriminate, ineffective, disrupts ocean ecosystems, and diverts resources from more effective responses. more...
Salmon run on the Adam's River, BC. Photo: John Biehler via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Is Canada's government trying to kill off the wild salmon?

Jeff Matthews

8th June 2015

Does the Canadian Government actually want to wipe out its wild salmon? To ordinary, sane people, the idea is completely mad, writes Jeff Matthews. But for resource extraction industries, salmon farmers and right wing neoliberal politicians, it could make perfect sense. more...
The Dalmatian pelican suffered large declines in the last centuries due to habitat loss and degradation and persecution, but thanks to habitat management and restoration the population in Europe is recovering and the species is no longer at risk. Photo: B

One fifth of Europe's birds are in danger of extinction

The Ecologist

3rd June 2015

Conservation projects have pulled several endangered European birds back from the brink of extinction, but habitat loss, industrial farming, over fishing and climate change all represent growing threats that requires broader and deeper change in the EU and beyond. more...
Slieve Gallion in the Sperrin Mountains of County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, at risk from a proposed gold mine. Photo: SHANLISS_SNAPPER via Flickr (CC BY).

EU nature laws are essential to fight off wildlife attacks in Northern Ireland

Andy Atkins

26th June 2015

Northern Ireland shows just how much we need the EU's laws protecting nature, writes Andy Atkins - and for the Government to enforce them. The province's wonderful natural heritage is at risk from aggressive and often unlawful developments. And the EU nature laws are essential for us to fight off a host of threats - among them sand dredging, gold mining, road-building and over-fishing. more...
Swimming seal at Barrel of Butter, Scapa Flow, Scotland. Photo: Dafydd Thomas via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Stop the seal slaughter on Britain's shores!

Dominic Dyer

14th May 2015

A 'summer of protest' is brewing as campaigners vow to protect seals from shooting by salmon farmers in Scotland and managers of wild salmon fisheries, writes Dominic Dyer. The RSPCA's 'Freedom Food' system is driving animal welfare advances on salmon farms - now the model must be extended to wild salmon. more...
Young fishers with their catch on the opening day after a temporary fisheries closure. Small-scale fisheries support the livelihoods of at least 500 million people worldwide - Andavadoaka, Madagascar. Photo: Garth Cripps / Blue Ventures.

Sustainable abundance - rebuilding fisheries to support coastal communities in Madagascar

Alasdair Harris

12th May 2015

Marine conservation is usually expressed in austere and negative terms, writes Alasdair Harris, with strict quotas and exclusion zones. But the truth is the exact opposite: it's about working with natural ecosystems to unlock their productive potential, creating sustainable wealth and abundance for fishing communities while enhancing marine biodiversity. more...
Recovering marine life within the Lamlash Bay 'no take zone'. Photo: Howard Wood / COAST.

Strong marine protection works for fisheries and wildlife!

Bryce Stewart & Leigh Howarth

20th April 2015

The strongly protected marine reserve in Lamlash Bay, Arran, has been a huge success, write Bryce Stewart & Leigh Howarth, with abandant life returning to the once denuded waters. The government's refusal to expand such protections represents a huge wasted opportunity for both fishing and the marine environment. 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 large hammerhead shark in the officially protected waters off Cocos Island, Costa Rica. Photo: Barry Peters via Flickr (CC BY).

Shark-counting divers off Costa Rica show marine reserves need active protection

Julia Baum & Easton R. White

24th April 2014

A Pacific island paradise 340 miles from Costa Rica's coast should be the ideal place for marine conservation, write Julia Baum & Easton R. White. But while its waters are indeed teeming with life, steep population declines in key shark and ray species show that stronger protection is badly needed. more...
Howard Wood and colleagues in COAST, with the Lamlash Bay 'no take zone' in the background. Photo: COAST.

Saving Lamlash Bay - and over-exploited seas everywhere

Howard Wood

20th April 2015

A coveted award has put the campaign to protect and recover marine life in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, into the international limelight. Goldman Prize winner Howard Wood explains how Arran Islanders' efforts to keep scallop dredgers out of Lamlash Bay has brought life, and fish, back to the sea. 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...
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 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...

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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...
Beaver dam above Lundy Lake, California. Photo: Fred Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Beavers are saving California’s wild salmon

Miria Finn / onEarth

1st March 2015

With California's wild Coho salmon populations down to 1% of their former numbers, there's growing evidence that beavers - long reviled as a pest of the waterways - are essential to restore the species, writes Maria Finn. In the process, they raise water tables, recharge aquifers and improve water quality. What's not to love? 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...
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 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...
A submarine forest of kelp. Photo: NOAA.

Conserving the Great Blue - a new Law of the Sea to protect our oceans

Deborah Wright

11th February 2015

The rapid deterioration of the world's oceans and the life they contain calls for a breakthrough in their governance, writes Deborah Wright. The seas must be protected, respected and policed as the common heritage of all mankind, and of all generations present and future. more...
The 'sustainable' fishery targets a species known as neothrops or Norwegian lobster. Photo: Chris Grodotzki / The Black Fish.

Illegal Swedish fishery is 'certified sustainable'

The Ecologist

6th February 2015

Trawlers in an MSC-certified 'sustainable' lobster fishery producing have been caught in the act of using illegally modified nets to target valuable cod. The MSC has been notified but considers the evidence insufficient to act, so the lobsters still carry the MSC label. more...
Front cover of Farmageddon, published by Bloomsbury.

Farmageddon - the true cost of cheap meat

Julian Rose

5th February 2015

So just how serious is the impact of industrial farming? Worse than you could ever imagine, writes organic farmer Julian Rose in this review of 'Farmageddon - the Real Price of Cheap Food', which lifts the lid on the industry's human and ecological devastation, and the systematic cruelty inflicted on the animals that feed us. more...
A rosier future for the high seas beckons. Photo: Moyan Brenn via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

UN talks begin on a new law to save our oceans

The Ecologist

30th January 2015

Countries at the UN have agreed to start formal negotiations on a new 'legally binding instrument' to conserve the biological riches of the high seas that cover 45% of planet Earth, and ensure their sustainable use for the benefit of all mankind. more...
One of the single-engine Cessnas used by the Wildlife Air Service for their marine patrols with The Black Fish. Photo: Marine Air Service.

Wildlife Air Service spreads its wings

Elizabeth Claire Alberts

6th February 2015

Aerial surveillance is a proven and effective technique in tackling wildlife crime, writes Elizabeth Claire Alberts - so the arrival on the scene of a new wildlife organization dedicated to providing air reconnaissance services to frontline environmental defenders couldn't come too soon. more...
Western Sahara refugee children in Dakhla Refugee Camp, Algeria. Photo: UN Photo / Evan Schneider via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

After 40 years, still waiting for justice: Western Sahara, Africa's last colony

Oscar Güell

12th January 2015

The Sahrawi people of Western Sahara have been waiting 40 years for a self-determination referendum, writes Oscar Güell. But thanks to the passivity of the EU, the US and the rest of the 'international community' their wait for justice won't end any time soon. Meanwhile, Morocco settles the country with colonists and exploits its natural resources. more...
Fishing boats on Sasyk Lyman were abandoned following the collapse of its marine fishery. Photo: Dimeter Kenarov.

A failed Soviet irrigation project brings eco-apocalypse to SE Ukraine

Dimiter Kenarov

29th December 2014

In 1976, it looked like a good idea: to divert the waters of the Danube into a salt-water lagoon on Ukraine's Black Sea coast, and irrigate millions of hectares of arid steppe land, writes Dimiter Kenarov. But the result has been human and environmental disaster on an epic scale. 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...


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