The Blog Aquatic » Ocean Life http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:50:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Dedicated Coordinators Expand Beach Cleanups in Mexico http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/11/dedicated-coordinators-expand-beach-cleanups-in-mexico/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/11/dedicated-coordinators-expand-beach-cleanups-in-mexico/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 13:39:34 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9208

Photo: Alejandra Lopez

This blog is part of a series of stories about the International Coastal Cleanup from Coordinators. This blog was written by Alejandra Lόpez de Román, a Coordinator for the International Coastal Cleanup in Tamaulipas, Mexico.

In honor of the 10th anniversary of the first time I organized and coordinated the International Coastal Cleanup in Tamaulipas, Mexico, I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve felt and learned during all these years.

The way I became engaged with the ICC was fortuitous because I was invited by an instructor from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors to do an underwater cleanup that was not affiliated with Ocean Conservancy at the time. The water conditions were not appropriate for diving, so we did a beach cleanup instead. We found so much trash that I thought we should do this more often and invite many more people!

My instructor was very busy so I organized the next cleanup, inviting people from the Club de Regatas Corona, and family and friends.  I eventually connected with Ocean Conservancy because I wanted Tampico and Tamaulipas (my state) to be a part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

Since then, our Cleanup has grown exponentially in Tampico: from a handful of volunteers in 2003 to 1,233 registered volunteers in 2013! Our best move has been to invite high school and university students. We motivate students with talks about what Ocean Conservancy does, the damage marine debris causes our ocean, and the need to ACT NOW before it´s too late. Of course one of the best ways of acting is by joining forces with hundreds of thousands of other volunteers to participate!

Will you join us on September 20, 2014? Check out Ocean Conservancy’s map to find a cleanup location near you.

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Petition: Help Kids Protect the Ocean http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/09/petition-help-kids-protect-the-ocean/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/09/petition-help-kids-protect-the-ocean/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:05:06 +0000 Allison Schutes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9194

Thanks to a group of fifth grade students who care passionately about the environment, Dunkin’ Donuts has agreed to stop using foam cups at all their store locations. These young students researched the problems associated with foam cups and were really upset to learn that foam products fragment into the ocean, where fish, sea turtles, or seabirds can mistakenly eat the plastic bits. Nearly 350,000 foam cups, plates and food containers were removed from beaches by volunteers during the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup alone.

The students launched a petition on Change.org asking Dunkin’ Donuts to stop using foam cups and have had an amazing show of public support more than 272,000 people signed on to their petition!

Ocean Conservancy wants to thank Dunkin’ Donuts for committing to making these changes. Dunkin’ Donuts has already launched in-store foam recycling pilot projects and are working to introduce an improved reusable cup program in the next 6-12 months.

Will you join us in applauding Dunkin’ Donuts for taking those steps towards improving their environmental footprint?

There’s just one more donut hole size ask we want to make of Dunkin’ — and that’s to commit to a timeline for phasing out polystyrene foam cups from their stores.

Let’s join together to sweeten the deal to truly help protect the environment that these students will grow up to take care of.

Kids don’t often have a big voice when it comes to policies but with a lot of passion and determination, these amazing young students have been able to have a big voice in support of a cleaner ocean.

Please join us today!

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Breaking: Great News For the Gulf of Mexico http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/04/breaking-great-news-for-the-gulf-of-mexico/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/09/04/breaking-great-news-for-the-gulf-of-mexico/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:59:00 +0000 Ivy Fredrickson http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9153

Today, a judge found  that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster was the direct result of BP’s “’gross negligence’ and ‘willful misconduct’” under the Clean Water Act. What does this mean for the Gulf? It means more funding available for restoring the Gulf.

Funding for restoration projects via the RESTORE Act comes from Clean Water Act fines. And a finding of “gross negligence,” rather than ordinary negligence, means that fines can be as high as $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled, instead of $1,100. The result of today’s court decision could mean a fine as high as $17.6 billion, 80% of which will be used to repair and restore the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and the communities and economies that depend on it.

Over the past four years, BP has spent inordinate amounts of time and money shirking responsibility, pointing fingers at others and downplaying the seriousness of the disaster. Today, the court is holding BP responsible.

The judge still must rule on the amount of oil spilled – a major factor determining the ultimate amount of fines. The third stage of the trial will begin in January 2015.

 

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Plastics Are a Whale of a Problem for Our Ocean http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/26/plastics-are-a-whale-of-a-problem-for-our-ocean/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/26/plastics-are-a-whale-of-a-problem-for-our-ocean/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 01:35:37 +0000 Nick Mallos http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9123

Photo: Eric Patey via Flickr Creative Commons

Sei whales are majestic animals and I’ve had the great fortune of witnessing their grace and splendor in the open ocean. Last week, however, a 45-foot sei whale washed up on the shores of the Elizabeth River in Virginia. An 11-foot bruise above her left jaw and two fractured vertebrae led the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team to believe she was killed by blunt force trauma following a collision with a ship.

However, a necropsy revealed that the whale also had “a large sharp piece of rigid, black plastic” roughly the size of a standard index card lodged in her stomach.

In the days leading up to her death, the Virginia Aquarium team said that she “was thin and its movements were not indicative of a healthy whale.” They believe that the plastic in the whale’s stomach prevented her from feeding normally. This likely weakened the whale and could explain why she swam up the Elizabeth River.


Unfortunately we cannot dismiss this as a tragic, isolated incident. Plastic pollution in the marine environment has become a persistent and proliferating threat to our ocean. Plastics pose a great threat to the animals that live in and around the ocean, and our fight for a clean ocean is just as much for them as it is for us.

While there is no “catch all” solution for ocean trash, you can join the fight for a healthy ocean. This September, Ocean Conservancy is hosting its 29th annual International Coastal Cleanup. The Cleanup will not eradicate the perils of plastics in the ocean, but it can eliminate the chance that items littering our beaches and waterways ever find their way into our marine environment.

Join us, and you can help make a difference for our ocean.

 

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Petition: Save the Vaquita http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/23/petition-save-the-vaquita/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/23/petition-save-the-vaquita/#comments Sat, 23 Aug 2014 13:37:58 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9075

The smallest porpoise in the ocean is facing the biggest chance of extinction. With fewer than 100 remaining, the vaquita, a tiny porpoise found only off the coast of Mexico, is the most endangered marine mammal in the world.

The few remaining vaquitas need your help, now!

Sign the Petition: Save the vaquita from extinction!

Imagine losing this species, entirely. The tiny vaquita seems to always be seen smiling, but those smiles are depleting. This swift decline of the population is a direct result of fishing nets. These vaquitas are getting caught in nets, and dying completely preventable deaths.

The Mexican government is set to decide the fate of the vaquita this September. Be a big voice for the smallest porpoise in the ocean! Tell the US government to work with Mexico to ban the gillnets that threaten the future of the vaquita. If we don’t speak up now, the vaquita species could vanish completely this decade.

Help keep the smiling vaquitas roaming the ocean, today!

Take Action: Tell the US to protect the vaquita.

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Shark Week 2014 is FINished http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/17/shark-week-2014-is-finished/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/17/shark-week-2014-is-finished/#comments Sun, 17 Aug 2014 13:00:56 +0000 Brett Nolan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9025

Photo: Digital Vision

Another Shark Week has come and gone. Were you on the edge of your seat watching Discovery’s shark specials or tweeting corrections about their info-tainment? We here at Ocean Conservancy were doing a bit of both. Shark issues do get a huge bump, especially on social media, during Shark Week. We felt it was important to use this swell of interest to share important shark information and turn casual Shark Week viewers into full on shark advocates.

Sharks Are Fin-tastic: Ocean Conservancy’s Google Hangout

On Thursday, August 14, we hosted a Sharks Are Fin-tastic Google Hangout that was moderated by George Leonard, our chief scientist. Our panelists included David Shiffman, Dr. Joe Quattro, Juliet Eilperin, and Austin Gallagher. They all touched on what they thought were the biggest threats facing sharks. Their answers ranged from ignorance about sharks to shark finning. They all have hope for the future though. Recent studies show some shark species are rebounding and world leaders are implementing new protections like marine protected areas. And thanks to questions from our Twitter followers, we were able to have a lively Q&A session.

Dating Bites – Meet the Shark of Your Dreams

Despite being so misunderstood by humans, sharks are still searching for reel love. We created shark dating profiles so supporters like you can get to know sharks a little better.

Highlighting New Protections for Scalloped Hammerheads

Scalloped hammerheads are the first shark species ever to be protected by the Endangered Species Act. We asked people to celebrate Shark Week by thanking NOAA for taking a step in the right direction for shark conservation.

Hey Girl, Share Your Shark Week Love

Continuing with our theme of shark love, we sharkified the ‘Hey Girl, Ryan Gosling’ Meme. Send one to your fellow shark lovers today!

Toilets Are Scary, Sharks Are Not

With Shark Week specials like Sharkageddon giving viewers bloody dramatizations of shark attacks, it’s important to put things in perspective. There are so many everyday things more likely to kill you than sharks. Did you know dogs, bees, snakes and pigs kill more people than sharks every year?

Sharks Are Jawesome

Whether you love to hate Shark Week or devour it whole, we can all agree that sharks are Jawesome. The diversity of shark species is astounding! Each one is perfectly adapted to their environment, making them some of the top predators in the ocean.

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Watch Our Google Hangout All About Sharks http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/14/watch-our-google-hangout-all-about-sharks/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/14/watch-our-google-hangout-all-about-sharks/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:19:43 +0000 Michelle Frey http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9016 Did you miss Ocean Conservancy’s Google Hangout all about sharks? If so, don’t worry! We have a recording here to share with you. Enjoy.

Did you know that there are roughly 400 species of sharks? While many people fear sharks, the reality is that sharks have more to fear from humans than humans do from sharks. Watch our Google Hangout as we talk about the coolest (and often unknown) facts about sharks, the greatest threats facing sharks today, and our biggest hopes for shark conservation.

Moderator:

  • George Leonard, Chief Scientist at Ocean Conservancy

Speakers:

  • David Shiffman, Ph.D. student at the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy
  • Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post correspondent and author of “Demon Fish: Travels Through the World With Sharks”
  • Dr. Joe Quattro, professor of the Marine Science Program and Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina
  • Austin Gallagher, integrative conservation biologist fascinated with the adaptations of species
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