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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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A Commitment to an Arctic Free of Heavy Fuel Oil

Posted On February 6, 2017 by

In a time of uncertainty for people and the environment, I am happy to write that a positive step towards a more sustainable Arctic took place last week at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø, Norway.

Hurtigruten, a world-leading expedition cruise ship operator, joined international environmental organizations to launch the Arctic Commitment.

The Arctic Commitment asks businesses and organizations to step forward and call for a phase-out of polluting heavy fuel oil (HFO) from Arctic shipping. The Arctic Commitment makes a clear challenge to businesses and organizations to spearhead the protection of Arctic communities and ecosystems from the risks posed by the use of HFO to power ships.

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The Saddest ‘Emoji’ of All

Posted On February 3, 2017 by

Emoji – “a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication.”

But for veterinarians and staff at Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida, Emoji was so much more.

Emoji was a two-week old orphaned Florida manatee that was found 15 pounds underweight when Zoo staff rescued him separated from his mother in October. Despite being underweight, Emoji was found with a full belly. Unfortunately, it was plastic bags and debris that filled its stomach, while other trash protruded out the back side of Emoji’s digestive system.

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How Technology is Helping Fishermen

Posted On February 3, 2017 by

Greetings from New Orleans, where I’m excited to bring you some great news about the recreational fishery! After years of careful analysis and deliberation, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council embraced change and voted unanimously to bring the charter for-hire fishery—which is made up of vessels operated by professional fishermen who take paying customers out fishing—into the Digital Age.

Yesterday’s decision directs the National Marine Fisheries Service to develop an electronic logbook reporting system for the charter boat fleet in the Gulf. Electronic logbooks are devices—some no bigger than a smartphone—that charter captains use to record their day’s catch and send it directly to managers.

As a result, accurate tracking and monitoring of fish caught by charter boats will be captured in a fast and reliable way—improving the management of our nation’s fisheries.

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Vote Walrus for 2017 Favorite Unloved Species

Posted On January 27, 2017 by

This year, Ocean Conservancy is proud to be a part of the 2017 Wildscreen World’s Favourite Unloved Species Campaign, dedicated to showing love for endangered and unloved species. We’ve nominated the walrus as our favorite unloved species, but we need your help! Vote now, check out our campaign page, and together let’s raise the profile of this incredible species.

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What It Takes to Be the Perfect Spouse (According to a Penguin)

Posted On January 20, 2017 by

It’s not an easy life we lead. And by “we”, I mean the entirety of the male penguin population.

As a male Magellanic penguin, the complexities of my life escalate the second I turn four. In a few years’ time, I’m expected to find the mate I want to spend the rest of my life with, build a nest, father children, raise a family and on top of it all, manage to not get eaten by a sea lion. Or an orca.

In honor of Penguin Awareness Day (my second favorite holiday) I want to shed some insight into the rituals, habits and traits that make me, and my kind, the very best of mates. You just might learn something.

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New Report Evaluates Risks of Vessel Traffic in the Bering Sea

Posted On January 12, 2017 by

Photo Credit: NOAA Fisheries

As Arctic sea ice continues to melt, the Bering Sea—including the narrow Bering Strait—is experiencing more and more ship traffic. As ship traffic increases, so too do the risks, including oil spills, vessel strikes on marine mammals, air pollution, discharge of wastes into the water, and production of underwater noise.

A new report, commissioned by Ocean Conservancy and conducted by Nuka Research and Planning Group LLC, evaluates the risks from vessel traffic in the Bering Strait.

The Bering Sea is used by millions of seabirds, and an array of marine mammals including whales, seals, walruses and polar bears. Alaska Native peoples who live near the Bering Sea depend on its fish and wildlife as a key source of food and to support cultural practices that date back millennia. And the Bering Sea is home to rich commercial fisheries: in 2014, five of the top 10 most valuable commercial fisheries in the United States were based in or near the Bering Sea.

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Why are Whales Stranding in the Gulf?

Posted On January 10, 2017 by

In recent months, two young sperm whales stranded themselves along the coast of Louisiana. These events highlight the importance for quality health and diagnostic information for the marine mammals in the Gulf of Mexico. What could kill one of the greatest predators to ever exist on earth?

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