Category News

Global Deal Will Help Reduce Overfishing and Improve Ocean Health

World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Timur Suleimenov, deputy chief of staff for Kazakhstan's president, close the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference on 17 June 2022 in Geneva, Switzerland, where WTO members adopted an historic agreement to curb fisheries subsidies.

When the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) 12th Ministerial Conference closed at dawn on 17 June 2022, the 164-member intergovernmental body had finally adopted a fisheries subsidies agreement after 21 years of on-and-off discussions and negotiations.

The WTO’s Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies is a historic step towards tackling one of the key drivers of overfishing on the world’s ocean harmful subsidies nations pay to commercial fishing operators to help keep their businesses profitable. 

One-third of fish stocks worldwide are exploited beyond sustainable levels, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The $22 billion a year in government subsidies are helping drive this overfishing; the funds go primarily to industrial fishing fleets to artifici...

Read More

Scientists can now train coral to spawn on demand

Coral spawning is a natural wonder. It’s also a pain in the neck for coral researchers. Once a year, at a time determined by a combination of water temperature, the length of the days and the phase of the moon, coral across a reef release buoyant bundles of eggs and sperm into the water. The effect resembles an upside-down snow globe, a blizzard of little pearls rising toward the surface.

The event is magical. And, for scientists, it triggers a crazed late-night frenzy of trying to collect enough eggs and sperm to last them through a year of experiments, until the next spawning.

Now, researchers in Australia have joined a select few labs around the world that have figured out how to trigger spawning on a human-made schedule...

Read More

Coral “nurseries” take off in Brazil in effort to protect species at risk

Ocean temperatures are rising every year, according to a 2021 UN report, which means certain marine species vulnerable to heat, such as corals, are becoming increasingly endangered. In Brazil’s Northeastern Pernambuco state, a scientific initiative is trying to fight back. Since 2017 the Corais Biofactory, a local scientific startup, has developed a technique to aid coral restoration by using “nurseries”. In these spaces, scientists rehabilitate damaged corals taken from the sea. After the treatment, they reintroduce them into Pernambuco’s coral reefs.

The work is a pioneering effort in Brazil, as it uses 3D-printed bases that serve as support for the coral while it undergoes rehabilitation...

Read More

United Nations Fails – High Seas Treaty Sinks

Two months ago the Sea Save Foundation delegation participated in the United Nation’s Ocean Conference – Sustainable Development Goal #14. Delegate after delegate took the podium and passionately expressed their nations’ support for the protection and the conservation of oceans.
Scientists are concerned that the failure to protect open oceans will spell disaster not only for marine species, island communities and fisheries but for the entire planet.

Climate Change, the effects of which we are seeing daily in news headlines, is largely buffered by oceans. Ocean decline will cause a domino-like effect on the climate of our planet.

The United Nations has tried to pass the High Oceans treaty four times before, and this fifth-time failure to reach consensus was unexpected by most and is ...

Read More

Google ‘airbrushes’ out emissions from flying, BBC reveals

The way Google calculates the climate impact of your flights has changed, the BBC has discovered. Flights now appear to have much less impact on the environment than before. That’s because the world’s biggest search engine has taken a key driver of global warming out of its online carbon flight calculator.

“Google has airbrushed a huge chunk of the aviation industry’s climate impacts from its pages” says Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist of Greenpeace.

With Google hosting nine out of every 10 online searches, this could have wide repercussions for people’s travel decisions. 

The company said it made the change following consultations with its “industry partners”.

It affects the carbon calculator embedded in the company’s “Google Flights” search tool.

Chart showing Google calculations.

If you have ever tried ...

Read More

Dugong Extinct in China

Researchers have declared a mammal related to the manatee – said to have inspired ancient tales of mermaids and sirens – extinct in China. Only three people surveyed from coastal communities in China reported seeing the dugong in the past five years. Known as the ocean’s most gentle giant, the dugong’s slow, relaxed behaviour is likely to have made it vulnerable to overfishing and shipping accidents. It still exists elsewhere in the world but is facing similar threats.

Prof Samuel Turvey, from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), who co-authored the research study, said: “The likely disappearance of the dugong in China is a devastating loss.”

Scientists at ZSL and the Chinese Academy of Science reviewed all historical data on where dugongs had previously been found in China. 

...Read More

UN Ocean Treaty Negotiations Stall

sunset over the ocean surface

In their first week, UN negotiations for a new Global Ocean Treaty are stalling due to a lack of political will. In response, activists marched for the oceans with Greenpeace USA activists in New York City outside the United Nations, with representatives from frontline communities addressing the crowd and calling for more urgency to ensure a strong Treaty is finalised in 2022.

Shaama Sandooyea, an activist from Mauritius who spoke at the rally, said:
“In Mauritius, we’re already feeling the impacts of the ocean crisis. The negotiations are not moving fast enough and we need action now. Delegates are not recognising the urgency of the situation, and are spending hours debating minor points that were put to bed decades ago...

Read More

Leaders meet to try to pass a UN treaty to protect oceans

World leaders will meet at the UN in New York later for more talks to save the world’s oceans from overexploitation. The UN High Seas Treaty has been through 10 years of negotiations but has yet to be signed. If agreed, it would put 30% of the world’s oceans into conservation areas by 2030. Campaigners hope it will protect marine life from overfishing and other human activities.

Two-thirds of the world’s oceans are currently considered international waters, which mean all countries have a right to fish, ship and do research there. But only 1.2% of these high seas, as they are referred to, are protected.

This leaves the marine life living there at risk of exploitation from the increasing threats of climate change, overfishing and shipping traffic.

And with ecosystems in the high...

Read More

Warnings, again, from the ends of the Earth

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS), so-called “sleeping giant”, which holds the majority of glacier ice on Earth, is closer to being “awakened” than scientists have previously believed. In research published this week, a team of scientists analyzed how EAIS behaved during warm periods in Earth’s past to predict how it will fare as the world continues heating. Recent satellite images already show signs of thinning ice and melting. 

“A key lesson from the past is that the EAIS is highly sensitive to even relatively modest warming scenarios. It isn’t as stable and protected as we once thought,” said co-author Professor Nerilie Abram, from Australian National University’s Research School of Earth Sciences.

If the global average temperature remains well below 2C, then EAIS is p...

Read More

Can eating fish ever be sustainable?

For someone looking to make their diet more sustainable, the choices when it comes to eating seafood can be frankly baffling. It’s a vast category of food that includes everything from farmed prawns to wild-caught mackerel, and can have a huge array of environmental impacts, from high carbon emissions to the nasty effects of overfishing, slaughtered bycatch or antibiotic pollution.

Many people seeking to eat more environmentally choose to eschew it altogether and go for the vegetarian or vegan option.

But some seafood can be low-carbon, low environmental impact and also be a healthy source of food. And if you’re going to eat fish, making sure you choose a more sustainable option can make a huge difference.

“The category of seafood is really diverse,” says Jessica Gephart, assis...

Read More