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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...
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 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...
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...

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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...
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...
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...
Photo: Indian Coastguard via Survival.

Illegal fishermen endanger world's most isolated tribe

The Ecologist

20th November 2014

The last completely isolated tribe on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal is at risk from illegal fishing, with Burmese boats entering their waters and fishermen landing on their island home. But they had better watch out - two intruders were shot dead with arrows in 2006. 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...
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...

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