Category News

Coral Restoration And Why You Should Choose Hotels That Support It

If you were lucky enough to take a tropical beach vacation more than 30 years ago, you were likely amazed at the underwater world you could explore with a snorkel and mask. Since then, underwater enthusiasts often find reefs are a disappointment, with bleached, broken, and dead corals more prominent than live colorful ones. 

Coral restoration projects are making a difference. They’re not just for guests of the hotels that sponsor them but make a difference for the entire planet. As you plan a post-pandemic beach vacation, lend the oceans a helping hand by choosing a resort that participates in coral reef restoration programs.

The world’s corals are dying

Due mainly to climate change, but also to problems like over-fishing and even tourists wearing the wrong sunscreen, the wor...

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UK seeks to drill more oil and gas from North Sea

More oil and gas wells are to be drilled in the North Sea, the UK government has announced. The decision has angered environmental campaigners, who say the government should refuse new licences. Ministers say permission to drill will be granted as part of a careful transition away from fossil fuels, safeguarding jobs and the economy. But environmentalists say that enough fossil fuels to ruin the climate have already been found.

In light of this, they say, the government should have refused the new licences.

They add that the decision undermines the UK position as leader of the vital UN climate conference in November, known as COP26. 

But ministers insist that their strategy will work...

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Plastic Facemasks Devastating Impact on the World’s Oceans

Divers have gathered shocking images of the devastating impact disposable masks are having on the environment and our oceans, ending up washed-up among coral reefs and damaging the health of marine animals. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a surge in pollution, adding to the plastic waste that is already threatening marine life. Divers have seen throwaway facemasks and plastic gloves floating around the ocean like jellyfish.

Environmentalists have warned how sea creatures such as turtles, whose habitat are the tropical waters close to Manila, the Philippines, will be unable to distinguish food from plastic waste.

Since March 2020, the RSPCA has said they have had to help more than 900 animals caught in discarded PPE, the majority being birds...

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The Open Ocean

Many open ocean organisms live out their existence without ever coming into contact with the shore, the seafloor, or the water’s surface. They spend their entire lives surrounded by water on all sides and do not know that anything else even exists. In the case of the deep open ocean, organisms never even see sunlight. As land mammals that breathe air, walk on land, and rely on our sense of sight for almost all functions, it is difficult for people (even experts) to comprehend that most of the organisms on the planet are never exposed to air, land, or sunlight.

The open ocean is an enormous place. In fact, more than 99% of the inhabitable space on earth is in the open ocean. In order to better study and understand this huge ecosystem, scientists divide the it into different zones:

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Great Barrier Reef has Lost Half of the Reef

A coral reef impacted by a severe bleaching event

In the past 30 years, the Australian Great Barrier Reef has lost about half of its coral reefs. And with it the ability of coral reefs to recover from disasters like coral bleaching, Andy Dietzel of ARC’s Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and his team has written in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Damage affects a wide range of species in all size classes. “The number of small, medium and large corals has decreased by more than 50 percent since the 1990s,” says reef researcher Terry Hughes of Coral Coe, who was involved in the study: “The declines have occurred in shallower, deeper waters and throughout the species inventory. It is particularly influenced by the branched representatives and table figures.

These coral species in particular suffered from catastroph...

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Protect our ocean ‘to solve challenges of century’

Protecting the ocean has a triple whammy effect, safeguarding climate, food and biodiversity, according to new research. A global map compiled by international scientists pinpoints priority places for action to maximise benefits for people and nature. Currently, only 7% of the ocean is protected. A pledge to protect at least 30% by 2030 is gathering momentum ahead of this year’s key UN biodiversity summit.

The study, published in the scientific journal Nature, sets a framework for prioritising areas of the ocean for protection.

The ocean covers 70% of the Earth, yet its importance for solving the challenges of our time has been overlooked, said study researcher Prof Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“The benefits are clear,” he said...

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Sea-cucumber divers off Liberia risk danger to feed a hunger in China

Abdoulaye Mansaray learnt about the business while processing sea cucumbers in Sierra Leone

In late 2019, Wilson Nimley, a field officer from the Liberian fisheries authority, stumbled across a group of strangers living in one of the remote coastal communities under his watch. They turned out to be divers from Sierra Leone, on a mission prospecting for sea cucumbers. These slimy, sausage-shaped members of the starfish family have no local market but are a valuable commodity in China as both a culinary delicacy and a medicinal ingredient. 

Entering mainland China from around the world via Hong Kong, some varieties can fetch up to $6,000 (£4,300) per kilogram.

Man wearing breathing equipment
Aliou Ba, or “Ali Diver”, tests out the breathing equipment before the hunt for sea cucumbers begins

Neither Mr Nimley nor his superiors knew anything about the existence of these valuable creatures in Liberian wa...

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Bringing the High Seas Biodiversity Treaty Into Port

The Nancy Foster, a U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship, travels over Gray’s Reef, about 20 miles off the coast of Georgia, Aug. 7, 2019 (AP Photo by Robert F. Bukaty).

As President Joe Biden’s administration moves to restore U.S. global leadership on the environment, it cannot afford to ignore the health of oceans. It must spearhead the successful conclusion of negotiations on a U.N. high seas biodiversity convention, which are currently adrift. To bring this treaty into port, the United States will need to forge global agreement on several contentious issues. It will also need to temper its neuralgic opposition to legally binding multilateral commitments, recognizing that the treaty poses no threat to U.S. sovereignty and is deeply in American interests.

Although not entirely lawless, the high seas are poorly governed by a fragmentary patchwork of regulatory schemes covering everything from migratory birds and regional fisheries to deep-sea mining...

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Seagrass faces uncertain future

The green, underwater meadows of Posidonia seagrass that surround the Balearic Islands are one of the world’s most powerful, natural defences against climate change. A hectare of this ancient, delicate plant can soak up 15 times more carbon dioxide every year than a similar sized piece of the Amazon rainforest. But this global treasure is now under extreme pressure from tourists, from development and ironically from climate change. 

Posidonia oceanica is found all over the Mediterranean but the area between Mallorca and Formentera is of special interest, having been designated a world heritage site by Unesco over 20 years ago.

Here you’ll find around 55,000 hectares of the plant, which helps prevent coastal erosion, acts as a nursery for fish, but also plays a globally significant r...

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Seychelles exploring man-made reefs to protect from coastal erosion

Seychelles, in partnership with the World Bank, is for the first time exploring the potential of implementing an innovative solution to build the island nation’s coastal resilience and reduce the impact of coastal erosion. This solution, called the ‘blue barriers’ concept, involves the construction of an underwater structure through the use of non-toxic materials, onto which corals are transplanted, creating a man-made reef.

The principal secretary of Environment, Alain De Comarmond, told SNA that the blue barrier concept is another approach used for climate change adaptation.

“There are different ways to deal with coastal erosion. You can stop it when it reaches the land, where you build walls or do rock armouring...

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