Category News

Sharks Killed For Food And ‘Sold In UK Chip Shops’

Endangered sharks are being killed and sold for food to unsuspecting consumers, researchers have said. A new study has estimated that shark fishing mortality rose to 80 million from 2012 to 2019. Of these, 25 million were from species already threatened with extinction. The figures are probably an underestimate, the researchers cautioned, due to country-level underreporting. The true figure could be as high as 101 million, according to the study.

As a result, people eating fish may be unknowingly eating sharks, the researchers revealed.

Since sharks have been recognized as endangered, governments and international bodies have passed laws to protect them. In particular, efforts have been made to reduce the trade in shark fins. Nearly 70 percent of maritime jurisdictions have introd...

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First Marine Fish Declared Extinct Due to Humans

Java Stingarees are the first marine fish to be declared extinct as a result of human activity. This troubling news was released with the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) latest update of its Red List of Threatened Species last week, along with reports of escalating climate impacts on freshwater fishes presented at COP28. A shocking quarter of all known freshwater fish species are currently at risk of extinction, with 20 percent impacted directly by climate change.

“Freshwater fishes make up more than half of the world’s known fish species, an incomprehensible diversity given that freshwater ecosystems comprise only 1 percent of aquatic habitat,” says Kathy Hughes, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Freshwater Fish Specialist Group.

“These diverse species are integral ...

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The Undermined Aspect of Climate Change

The world’s oceans, covering an expansive 70% of our planet’s surface, are a lifeline for humanity and a cornerstone of Earth’s health. They are not just vast bodies of water; they are dynamic systems that regulate our climate, provide livelihoods for millions, and are home to a diverse array of marine life. In contemporary times, these critical ecosystems are under siege. Human activities, ranging from pollution to overfishing, are posing serious threats to their health and sustainability.

The benefits of oceans for humanity is as important as its very existence. Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming...

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Boom in unusual jellyfish spotted in UK waters

The number of jellyfish spotted in UK waters and on beaches increased by 32% in the past year, according to a survey by the Marine Conservation Society. The most commonly spotted were the huge barrel jellyfish – but rarer warm-water crystal jellyfish were also seen. Jellyfish populations vary naturally over time – but climate change warming the UK seas is creating favourable conditions.

A marine heatwave in June increased UK water temperatures by about 3-4C.

The world has warmed 1.1C compared to the pre-industrial period before humans began burning fossil fuels and a series of broken records this year is alarming scientists.

In August, oceans hit their highest global average temperature on record.

The Marine Conservation Society’s annual wildlife-sightings report is based on...

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Uniting the World to save our Planet

I am the founder and Director of Earthdive. 37 years ago I founded and organised a charity event called Sport Aid. 19.8 million people took part in 274 cities and 89 countries and delivered a ‘petition of blistered feet’ to the doorstep of the United Nations in New York. They demanded help for victims of the African Famine – and they got it! They raised US$35 million on the day and at a UN Special Session on Africa that followed, US$150m of African debt was cancelled.

It taught me that together, we can help change the world and now I need your help to unite the world again, this time to save our planet.

As a scuba diver I have witnessed the devastating effects climate change has had on our oceans...

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Surprising discovery could help reefs survive climate change

The factors affecting coral’s resilience—its ability to adapt to and survive environmental changes—seem to be more nuanced than scientists believed. In a study published Oct. 17 in the journal Global Change Biology, researchers reveal surprising findings about a species common to Caribbean waters. The discovery may help improve efforts to save corals from bleaching and other consequences of climate change.

A team led by Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Carly Kenkel at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences studied the mountainous star coral, Orbicella faveolata, to determine whether coral populations that have survived higher temperatures can pass their heat tolerance on to their offspring.

To the scientists’ surprise, the results showed the opposite: T...

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Dolphins, seals and whales managed by the US are highly vulnerable to climate change,

According to a study published in PLOS ONE, 72% of cetacean and pinniped stocks managed under U.S. jurisdiction are highly or very highly vulnerable to climate change. The research was led by Matthew D. Lettrich at NOAA Fisheries, in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.

Climate change could affect the distribution, behavior, and movements of marine mammals via warming ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, decreasing dissolved oxygen, declining sea ice coverage, ocean acidification, and salinity changes. Climate vulnerability assessments (CVAs) provide a framework for evaluating climate impacts over a broad range of species.

Prior to the study, no known CVAs specifically assessed U.S.-managed marine mammals...

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Robots are trained to help revive coral reefs

“It’s a really special part of the world,” says marine biologist Taryn Foster from the Abrolhos Islands, 40 miles from the coast of Western Australia. “There are no palm trees or luscious vegetation. But once you get in the water, you see all these tropical species of coral and fish.” Corals are animals called polyps, found mostly in tropical waters. The soft-bodied polyp forms a hard outer shell by extracting calcium carbonate from the sea. Over time those hard shells build up to form the foundations of the reefs we see today. Coral reefs may only cover 0.2% of the seafloor, but they provide a habitat to more than a quarter of marine species.

However, the creatures are sensitive to heat and acidification so in recent years, as the oceans have warmed and become more acidic, corals ha...

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It’s time to put oceans to the test in the climate fight, scientists say

More than 200 scientists have signed a letter pushing for “responsible” research into ways to trap planet-heating carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans. They want to take urgent action on the climate crisis, while making sure they don’t trigger any new problems by relying on oceans to help in the fight.

Polluters have trashed the world’s atmosphere with carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. That blanket of pollution is already warming the planet and causing more extreme weather disasters. One way to keep climate change from getting worse is to take some of those historic emissions out of the atmosphere.

Oceans already do that for us, absorbing and holding around 50 times more carbon than the atmosphere. What if humans could supercharge that ability?

That’s what...

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The complexities of mapping Pacific and Asian reefs

Des and Kelvin of Gladstone, Katy and Filimone of Fiji and Victor and Christina of Palau all have the same issue – reefs under their care face unprecedented threats. Reefs that have protected shores and supported local fisheries for thousands of years.  Fisheries sustained through customary management rooted in traditional ecological knowledge accumulated over millennia, reflecting local peoples’ deep understanding of their ecosystems. 

They are not alone – the Pacific is home to 27% of the world’s coral reefs and her island nations are particularly reliant on healthy oceans for food, income and coastal protection, says Dr Manuel Gonzalez-Rivero, Australian Institute of Marine Science.  

New understandings and tools are needed to manage reef-bound islands and coastlines faci...

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