Category News

Nature Conservancy Launches “Blue Bonds” for Ocean Preservation

The Seychelles Islands implemented the first ever "blue bond" last year

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has unveiled what it says is a pioneering US$1.6 billion scheme to scale up global ocean conservation efforts through “blue bonds”.

The bonds will refinance and restructure debt for coastal and island countries in exchange for a commitment to protect at least 30% of their near-shore ocean areas, including coral reefs, mangroves and other important habitats.

The scheme would help ensure the protection of an additional four million square kilometres of the world’s most biodiverse ocean habitat – a 15% increase on current coverage. It also aims to save 13% of the world’s coral reefs and could benefit 43 million people living within 100 kilometres of a coastline.

The international not-for-profit group’s Blue Bonds for Conservation Initiative, an...

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Coral Reef in Italy Discovered

When you want to go diving to see those majestic coral reefs, Italy is probably not the first country you’d consider going to. In fact, it might not be one of the countries that’s in your short list. Nobody knew of the coral reef hiding in the great coast of Italy until now.

The reef, identified in a new study published in Scientific Reports, wasn’t found sitting just below the surface of some shallow lagoon where it’s easily noticeable. Instead, it sits below the ocean waves, hidden from the very little light that beams from above.

The coral reefs that have won the hearts of many all over the world are usually from the Caribbean, Australia and everywhere else where this majestic oasis of sea life gets a very good source of sunlight...

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The Earth Is Just as Alive as You Are

Every year the nearly 400 billion trees in the Amazon rain forest and all the creatures that depend on them are drenched in seven feet of rain — four times the annual rainfall in London. This deluge is partly due to geographical serendipity. Intense equatorial sunlight speeds the evaporation of water from sea and land to sky, trade winds bring moisture from the ocean, and bordering mountains force incoming air to rise, cool and condense. Rain forests happen where it happens to rain.

But that’s only half the story. Life in the Amazon does not simply receive rain — it summons it. All of that lush vegetation releases 20 billion tons of water vapor into the sky every day. Trees saturate the air with gaseous compounds and salts. Fungi exhale plumes of spores...

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NGO unveils $1.6bn bid to save the oceans

Coral reefs are under threat

The Nature Conservancy plans to deliver ‘Blue Bonds for Ocean Conservation’ to help protect most vulnerable underwater habitats. Global non-profit The Nature Conservancy has announced a $1.6bn plan to help save and restore the world’s oceans by selling ‘blue bonds’ to coastal and island countries.

The Blue Bonds for Conservation initiative will refinance and restructure debt for coastal and island countries, so long as those nations commit to protecting at least 30 per cent of their near-shore ocean areas, including coral reefs, mangroves, and other important ocean habitats.

In exchange for enhanced ocean protections, the TNC says the Blue Bond will give nations better terms for debt repayment and support with ongoing conservation work.

TNC says it has already secured more than $...

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Can you spot ocean plastic from space?

Plastic polluting the Oceans

Scientists are working on a technique to track plastic debris in the ocean from space. It’s extremely challenging, especially since the individual pieces of litter are smaller than the minimum-sized objects that satellites can resolve.

But the approach works by looking for plastic’s reflected light signature in the water.

And early trials conducted by the UK’s Plymouth Marine Laboratory have been very encouraging.

“You’re never going to see an individual plastic bottle floating on the sea, but we can detect aggregations of this material,” Dr Lauren Biermann told BBC News.

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What a planet-wide network of sanctuaries could look like

Starfish on coral

What comes to mind when you think of the high seas? Pirates, whales, giant squid and great white sharks?

Long the subject of stories and myths, life in the oceans beyond territorial waters is far from picture perfect. Under threat from climate change, acidification, overfishing, pollution and deep-sea mining, the area is now a focus for international scientists, who want to limit exploitation with ocean sanctuaries.

“Extraordinary losses of seabirds, turtles, sharks and marine mammals reveal a broken governance system,” said Professor Callum Roberts, a marine conservation biologist at the University of York...

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Right whale protection zone is expanded

North Atlantic right whale

Vessel speed restrictions put in place to protect migrating whales have been extended to late April, according to federal officials.

The voluntary vessel speed restriction zone put in place by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has also been expanded to cover areas off the coast as far north as Gloucester and around the Cape, extending down just south of Block Island, NOAA officials said on Wednesday.

The speed restriction will continue to limit boats to 10 knots or fewer, and NOAA is encouraging boaters to be extra vigilant in shipping lanes because whales have been spotted in those areas.

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Carbon lurking in deep ocean threw ancient climate switch, say researchers

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, seen here in simplified form, brings warm water northward

A million years ago, a longtime pattern of alternating glaciations and warm periods dramatically changed, when ice ages suddenly became longer and more intense. Scientists have long suspected that this was connected to the slowdown of a key Atlantic Ocean current system that today once again is slowing. A new study of sediments from the Atlantic bottom directly links this slowdown with a massive buildup of carbon dragged from the air into the abyss. With the system running at full speed, this carbon would have percolated back into the air fairly quickly, but during this period it just stagnated in the depths. This suggests that the carbon drawdown cooled the planet—the opposite of the greenhouse effect we are seeing now, as humans pump carbon into the atmosphere...

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100,000 whale-based school dinners

The carcass of a Baird's Beaked whale

Six-year-old Reto Aisaka was jumping up and down on the windswept dock. For five months, he’d been counting the days until his dad, Toru, returned from a whale hunt. The boy was up at dawn to meet him. Shimonoseki, on the westernmost tip of Japan’s main island of Honshu, celebrated the return of its small whaling fleet late last month.

The mother ship, Nisshin Maru, carried the meat from 333 Antarctic minke whales. But it was a celebration that masked deep uncertainty about the future of Japan’s whaling industry.

The whales were taken under the guise of research – a designation that has kept Japan’s whaling industry alive despite a three-decade moratorium on commercial whaling.

These were the last Japanese whalers to return from the rich waters of Antarctica’s Southern ...

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Heatwave Causes Extreme Coral Bleaching In Australian Marine Park

Residents of the coral reefs in Lord Howe Island Marine Park. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has been hit with widespread coral bleaching

The world’s southernmost coral reefs have fallen victim to climate change. According to reports, the Lord Howe Island Marine Park is experiencing severe coral bleaching.

In some areas, about 90 percent of reefs have been damaged. Scientists said that this is the worst coral bleaching that the UNESCO World Heritage Site has experienced in recent memory.

Warm Summer Water Causes Widespread Coral Bleaching

Researchers from Newcastle University, James Cook University, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have surveyed the area for the past two weeks. They revealed that the bleaching occurred over the past summer, peaking in March, due to sustained heatwaves and warm ocean water temperature.

They also reported that the bleaching is at its most severe in shallow w...

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