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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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How to Tell the Difference Between a Seal and a Sea Lion

Posted On February 24, 2017 by

They’re two of the ocean’s most recognizable—and adorable—residents. But can you tell seals and sea lions apart?

Let’s start with the basics. Seals and sea lions are both in the suborder pinnipedia, a group of fin-footed mammals that also includes walruses. All pinnipeds have broad torsos and narrow hips that help them remain streamlined underwater. You can find pinnipeds all over the world, from walruses in the chilly Arctic to Hawaiian monk seals in the balmy Pacific.

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Celebrating the First Black Female Zoologist

Posted On February 23, 2017 by

Howard University is just down the street. As a historically black college in Washington D.C., Howard’s been churning out incredible role models like Kamala Harris (Attorney General of California), Toni Morrison (Nobel Prize for literature) and Taraji P. Henson (star of Hidden Figures, and also your favorite character on Empire).

Besides releasing class upon class of bad-ass black alumnus, Howard was also home to a trailblazer in the conservation field:  Roger Arliner Young, the first African American woman to earn a doctorate degree in Zoology.

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Ocean Trash: It’s Not OK

Posted On February 21, 2017 by

“It’s not ok to destroy our ocean. It’s not one person’s problem. It’s everyone’s problem.” — Kelly Slater, world champion surfer and Outerknown founder

Kelly Slater knows something about a healthy ocean. As an 11-time World Surf League Champion, Slater has spent countless hours in marine environments all over the world and seen how beautiful—and damaged—the ocean can be. He has seen first-hand the massive amounts of marine debris and plastic that end up in our ocean, threatening wildlife from whales to plankton. And that, says Slater, is not OK.

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5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Whales

Posted On February 18, 2017 by

There’s no question that whales are some of the most iconic animals in the sea. From the massive blue whale to the quirky narwhal, these charismatic mammals have captivated people for centuries.

For World Whale Day, we’re taking a moment to celebrate the ocean’s most recognizable residents with five little-known facts about whales.

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It’s Time to Have a New Conversation About the EPA

Posted On February 17, 2017 by

Despite grave concerns from all corners about his ability to lead an agency that protects the health and quality of life of Americans, Scott Pruitt is the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

His nomination raised red flags from concerned citizens to worried coastal businesses. His past track record had given us at Ocean Conservancy plenty of cause for concern, made even more acute during his confirmation hearing by his lack of understanding of fundamental threats to Americans’ health and the quality of our communities. Consider his dance around the issue of ocean acidification. He refused to acknowledge carbon emissions’ impact on our coastal communities, despite the millions of dollars it has cost oyster growers in the Pacific Northwest.

But Pruitt’s confirmation isn’t where the story ends. In fact, this is where it begins.

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Our Next Wave in Tackling Marine Debris

Posted On February 14, 2017 by

Trash and plastic waste is unfortunately everywhere in our ocean. From our coasts to the Arctic, to the deepest part of the ocean, marine debris is a growing, global problem. Without concerted efforts to combat marine debris now, the volume of plastic waste entering our ocean will only grow.

Roughly 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enter our ocean each year. Most of that is trash that is never collected, but instead is thrown into city streets or rural areas, or even directly into our rivers and seas. Clearly, the lack of effective waste management is one of the greatest challenges we face in tackling this global issue. Our research in 2015 revealed that if key countries in Asia Pacific improve their waste management, we could halve the flow of plastic into our ocean by 2025. Good waste management—including effectively picking up and sorting trash—is also essential for a future in which waste can be recovered and repurposed. Effective waste management can also deliver public health, economic development and climate benefits. But, what can we do to ensure this becomes reality?

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How Good Data Keeps America Fishing

Posted On February 13, 2017 by

A system upgrade that will help ensure there are plenty of fish in the sea. 

There are many ways to have a good day out on the water. The ocean gives us endless opportunities to find joy, exhilaration and happiness—playing on the beach, snorkeling, diving and fishing. Most recreational fishermen I know measure their good days by the number and size of fish they’ve reeled in. But it turns out those numbers are important for another reason, too—that’s critical data that ensures there are plenty of fish left for not just for your next trip but also for your kids’ and their grandkids’ trips.

Recreational fishing is a big deal in areas like the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic. That means a lot of folks are out on the water and those coolers of fish start to add up. In 2015, 8.9 million saltwater anglers took 61 million fishing trips in U.S. waters. This industry is responsible for driving $60 billion in sales impacts into coastal communities through purchases like fishing trips and equipment, spending in hotels and restaurants.

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