President Obama has the authority and opportunity to leave the largest ocean conservation
legacy in history by extending the existing U.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine National
Monument from the current 50 nautical miles around the seven U.S. Pacific Remote Islands out to the full extent of its 200-nautical mile territorial waters – an increase of 1.8 million square km of new protected area (increase 10 times the current 225,000 square km Monument).
That action would create the largest protected area on Earth (an expanded Monument over 2 million square km) – and include some of the world’s most pristine deep sea and open ocean ecosystems, with unique and global biodiversity value. These pristine national treasures would receive full protection, meaning no extractive activities such as mining, drilling, and fishing would be allowed.
The new National Monument alone would protect 18 percent of the United States EEZ, and it
would double the area of the ocean that is currently fully protected globally. This would make the United States the undisputable world leader in ocean conservation, and set a record in conservation that is unlikely to be matched again in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world.
There is widespread recognition that the oceans need more protection, especially no-take reserves, to protect and restore marine life. Currently less than 1% of the ocean is fully protected from fishing. The natural resource values of the oceanic region surrounding the Pacific Remote Islands MNM are superb, the need for their conservation is clear, and the timing is right for bold leadership by President Obama. The President is the only decision maker with the ability and authority to act swiftly and decisively to protect these national treasures, using the Antiquities Act. Should the President protect these places, he would make conservation history by establishing the world’s largest protected area. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the seeds for the National Park system through his proclamation of 18 National Monuments; President Bush helped increased the legacy of our ocean heritage; and now President Obama can leave an incomparable ocean legacy by protecting our unique and vibrant Pacific ocean ecosystems and establishing the largest ocean conservation legacy in history.
Read the whole report here: http://www.marine-conservation.org/media/filer_public/filer_public/2014/06/17/primnm_expansion_report.pdf
President Obama is deciding in days whether to create the world’s largest marine protected area. But a powerful fishing lobby is trying to sink the plan. Click to join the urgent call to save this Ocean of Hope. Petition can be found with more info here: avaaz.org/en/ocean_of_hope_usasam/?bwPiXdb&v=24636
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If interested, or if you know someone who may be interested, please email (or have them email) Sean at email@example.com
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The sinuous Alaskan coastline, which is 50 percent longer than the rest of U.S. coastline, produces half of all commercial seafood caught in the nation. It is also ground zero for ocean acidification, one of the most devastating effects of our carbon dioxide emissions. In other words, those bountiful crab, clam, and salmon fisheries may not be around much longer.
What scientists don’t know is how much longer.
“The scary thing is that we don’t know the answer to that question yet,” says NOAA oceanographer Jeremy Mathis. “The potential is certainly there for it to be a rapid event, literally overnight. Whether that’s a slow degradation of the fisheries over decades, or whether a species is there one year and isn’t the next, we still don’t know that. That’s what I’m most concerned about.”
Ocean acidification can be thought of as climate change’s similarly disasterous twin. Oceans absorb around one-third of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. As the concentration of CO2 rises, so does the amount that sinks into the ocean, raising the acidity of the water. Acidification is happening everywhere, but even more rapidly in Alaska, where cold coastal waters are able to absorb more carbon dioxide, and where circulation patterns bring deep, naturally acidic water up toward the surface. Sea creatures rely on specific conditions to stay alive. When those conditions change, so do their populations. Usually for the worse.
An acidification spike around the coast of British Columbia in February 2014 wiped out 10 million scallops. Acidification in the the Pacific Northwest around 2006 began dissolving oyster larvae, wiping out some hatchery populations completely. But projected acidification in Alaska would be on a much grander scale. Hundreds of thousands of people depend on the Alaskan fishing industry for jobs and food.
Mathis and his team’s latest research, published Tuesday in the journal Progress in Oceanography, paints a comprehensive picture of just how threatened certain Alaskan communities are by the prospect of fishery decline or collapse. The fishing industry in Alaska supports over 100,000 jobs, and generates more than $5 billion in annual revenue. Beyond commercial fishing, around 120,000 Alaskans, roughly 17 percent of the state’s population, rely on subsistence fishing to feed their families, according to the report. The analysis found that communities most reliant on fishery harvests, with relatively lower income and fewer alternative job options, face the highest risk of ocean acidification.
Mathis hopes his team’s research will provide a basis for local governments and nonprofits to design programs to help Alaska’s fishing communities survive lower and lower yields.
“Economic diversification is key,” Mathis says. “A lot of those places are almost solely reliant on the fishing industry. It’s like a stock portfolio. If you don’t have any diversification, you have a lot of risk.” The report proposes job training programs, increased educational options, and investing in new infrastructure to open up new opportunities to coastal southeastern and southwestern Alaska, where acidification is projected to have the most dire economic consequences.
Among the perils of higher acidity is that it makes it harder for mollusks like clams and crustaceans like crabs to build their shells. The lowered pH dissolves calcium carbonate, it difficult for the animals to extract enough of the mineral compound from the water to build shells. It also appears to damage gill function in crabs and change their behavior, as pointed out in a Newsweek cover story earlier this year.
Pteropod, a tiny swimming sea snail, is especially vulnerable to reduced shell-building due to acidification in the Gulf of Alaska. These little snails make up half the diet of the pink salmon, so their survival and the survival of Alaska’s salmon runs are intimately linked, according to Mathis’ earlier research, as reported by Scientific American. Pteropod populations in similar acidity conditions as those already seen in coastal Alaska have shown “rapid and significant shell dissolution,” according to the latest report.
In the past 200 years, global average pH has dropped by .1 units. If CO2 emissions continue as projected, the next 100 years will sink pH by another .3 units. “That’s a 300 percent change by 2100. I think that if those changes come to fruition, the oceans in general are probably going to be in trouble,” Mathis says.
Once acidity reaches those levels, there’s no turning back–at least not in a terms of time scales relevant to people alive today. “It is reversible, but not on human lifetime scale,” Mathis says. In a fantasy scenario where we halted all CO2 emissions beginning right now, it would still take hundreds of years to recover. If we emit the amount of CO2 we are projected to emit over the next hundred years, Mathis says, it will take “hundreds of thousands of years” to bounce back.
Long before then, sometime in this century, but perhaps overnight, it may be the people of Alaska who first feel the socio-economic pain of ocean acidification.
By: Zoe Schlanger
The vast majority of debris in the ocean — about 75 percent of it — is made of plastic. It can consist of anything from plastic bottles to packaging materials, but whatever form it takes, it doesn’t go away easily.
While plastic may break down into smaller and smaller pieces, some as small as grains of sand, these pieces are never truly biodegradable. The plastic bits, some small enough that they’re called microplastics, threaten marine life like fish and birds, explains Richard Thompson, a professor of marine biology at Plymouth University in the U.K.
“The smaller the piece of debris, the more accessible it is — and the wider the range of creatures that could potentially eat it,” says Thompson, who talked with NPR’s Melissa Block about his research on the effects of these tiny particles.
Thompson says limiting the damage plastics can cause to sea life doesn’t mean giving up plastic entirely. “It’s not about banning plastics,” Thompson says. “It’s about thinking about the ways that we deal with plastics at the end of their lifetime to make sure that we capture the resource.”
By recycling items like plastic bottles, he says, and then ultimately recycling those products again, what might have become harmful debris can be turned instead to better use — and kept out of the ocean.
You can hear Block’s full conversation with Thompson here: http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=322959714&m=323032849
– A series of new reports are raising concerns about the damage plastic waste is doing to oceans — harming marine animals, destroying sensitive ecosystems, and contaminating the fish we eat.
The United Nations Environment Programme, as well as the NGOsGlobal Ocean Commission and Plastic Disclosure Project, released reports on Monday ringing the alarm bell about the environmental impact of debris on marine life.
Plastic waste in oceans is causing $13 billion of damage each year, according to the UNEP report, and that figure could be much higher. Worldwide plastic production is projected to reach 33 billion tons by 2050, and plastic makes up 80% of litter on oceans and shorelines.
“Plastics undoubtedly play a crucial role in modern life, but the environmental impacts of the way we use them cannot be ignored,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner in a press release.
Ten to 20 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year, from litter, runoff from poorly managed landfills, and other sources. Once it’s in the water, plastic does not degrade but instead breaks into smaller pieces and swirls in massive ocean gyres, creating soupy surfaces peppered with the material.
Scientists are especially worried about the growing prevalence of tiny microplastics which are smaller than 5 millimeters. These include microbeads, which are used in toothpaste, gels, facial cleansers and other consumer goods. Microplastics aren’t filtered by sewage treatment plants, and can be ingested by marine animals with deadly effect.
Ocean debris isn’t just an environmental issue — it also complicated the search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 earlier this year, as floating debris confused satellite images.
What can be done?
“It’s not just an ocean problem, it’s a business and a municipal issue,” Woodring said. “The ocean is just downstream of our activities. The real solution is upstream at the producer and user end.”
Governments can help solve the problem by regulating the use of plastics and creating infrastructure to recycle them. For example, dozens of nations have banned plastic bags at supermarkets or restricted their use.
That’s a “good start,” said Ada Kong, a campaigner at Greenpeace. But they can go further, she said. “Governments should enforce laws to regulate the cosmetic manufactures to label the ingredients (of consumer goods), including all the microplastics.”
The general public can also be conscious about their plastic footprint by simply purchasing goods without a lot of excess plastic packaging. People should also separate their plastic from other waste and recycle it, Woodring said.
From waste to resource
Companies that produce plastic goods have perhaps the biggest opportunity to make a difference, Woodring said. They can engage their customers with rebate or deposit programs, giving them incentives to bring back plastic for recycling.
“Everything from bottles to food packaging can be made from recycled plastic,” Woodring said. “The technology is there today to reuse it.”
His organization is hosting a “Plasticity Forum” in New York City on Tuesday featuring presentations about how to creatively reuse plastic.
Plastic isn’t just waste — it’s “a valuable material, pound-for-pound worth more than steel, and we’re just not capitalizing on it today,” Woodring said.
The new reports come on the eve of the first-ever United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, a forum for environmental ministers, scientists, and others to discuss strategies to combat climate change and other environmental problems. An ocean conference hosted by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, D.C. last week also focused on marine pollution.
Perhaps the greatest sign of the problem is the rapidly-growing Great Pacific Trash Patch, a massive sheet plastic and other debris that circles in a gyre across the ocean.
-Article compliments of Daojun Wu (CNN)-
The last moments of thousands of fish in the Gulf of Mexico. They are dying from asphyxiation, due to the depletion of oxygen in the water from the annihilation of phytoplankton from ocean pollution.
This isn’t a singular occurrence, this is happening all over the world! See: https://projectoceanus.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/mass-fish-deaths-millions-have-been-found-dead-all-over-the-world-in-the-past-month/
If our oceans go, we go! Stop polluting our waters!
Tell us what you think.
(video compliments of GuppyStorm photography)
Link to the petition (click here): Online Petition – http://action.sumofus.org/a/sperm-whale-plastic-tesco/4/2/?sub=fb Click on it, and sign it, please.
A sperm whale that washed up in Spain died after swallowing almost 60 different pieces of plastic dumped by the greenhouses that supply Trader Joe’s parent company, Aldi.
This 4.5 tonne whale was defeated by 17 kg of plastic waste, including two dozen sections of the transparent sheeting used to cover industrial greenhouses. There’s no excuse for Aldi’s failure to ensure their suppliers recycle and safely dispose of their deadly waste — but as long as they’re given a free pass, plastic will continue to swamp our oceans each year, and more whales will die.
Tell Trader Joe’s parent company to make sure their greenhouses recycle or safely dispose of their waste.
Only about 1,000 sperm whales are left in the Mediterranean, and they feed near waters flooded by the greenhouse industry. Acre after acre of farmland in southern Spain is covered in reams of plastic sheeting to produce the perfect growing conditions for year round fruit and vegetables. Due to poor waste disposal, this plastic ends up floating in the Mediterranean.
Now these whales are under threat from swallowing huge quantities of non-degradable plastics. If we lose the whales, we disable an entire ecosystem — and all because grocery stores are too lazy to monitor their suppliers.
Our supermarket chains could easily ensure that plastics used to grow our fruit and vegetables are disposed of correctly and recycled. But so far, they are walking away and counting their profits — and as they do, our oceans and seas are dying. Let’s not let another whale die from too much plastic.
Tell Aldi to clean up their supply chains and stop their suppliers from dumping toxic plastics in to the Mediterranean.
This isn’t the first time we’ve taken on the big supermarket chains. We came together to take on the might of Tesco in the UK when it was electronically tagging its workers, and we won a landmark campaign in the US demanding that Trader Joe’s help farm workers get paid a fair wage. Now we need to come together and take on grocery stores and demand they help save the whales.
Millions of fish are suddenly dying all over the planet. In fact, there have been dozens of mass fish death events reported in the past month alone. So why is this happening? Why are fish dying in unprecedented numbers all over the world? When more than six tons of fish died in Marina Del Ray over the weekend, it made headlines all over the United States. But the truth is that what just happened off the southern California coast is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2014, mass fish die-offs have pretty much become a daily event globally. Individually, each event could perhaps be dismissed as an anomaly, but as you will see below when they are all put together into one list it truly is rather stunning. So is there a reason why so many fish are dying? Is there something that connects these mass fish death events? Has something about our environment changed? The following are just a few examples of the mass fish death reports that have been coming in day after day from all over the globe…
*In April, 500,000 carp were found “floating belly-up in Kentucky’s Cumberland River“.
*Over the weekend, thousands upon thousands of fish died just off the southern California coastline…
California Fish and Wildlife workers are still scooping dead sea life from the surface of the harbor Monday after thousands of dead anchovies, stingrays and even an octopus died and floated up over the weekend.
So far officials have cleaned up 6 tons of dead fish, and they still have a long way to go.
*The death of approximately 35,000 fish up in Minnesota is being blamed on a “lack of oxygen“.
*The recent die off of thousands of fish in the Shark River near Belmar, New Jersey is also being blamed on “oxygen depletion“.
*Officials in Menifee, California are still trying to figure out what caused the death of thousands of fish in Menifee Lake a few weeks ago…
Authorities continued testing the water in Menifee Lake Friday after thousands of dead fish have been seen floating since last weekend.
Menifee city officials first heard reports Saturday of floating fish at the lake, which is located on private property about a half-mile east of the 215 Freeway.
*In the Gulf of Mexico, dolphins and sea turtles are dying “in record numbers“.
*Maryland officials are still puzzled by the death of 7,000 Atlantic menhaden last month…
State environmental scientists are investigating the cause of a fish kill that left about 7,000 dead Atlantic menhaden in waters that include the Inner Harbor and Fells Point.
Jay Apperson, spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment, said that biologists went by boat on Tuesday to the area of Monday’s fish kill. He says the area extended from the mouth of the Patapsco River, up the Baltimore Harbor to Fells Point and Fort McHenry.
*Mass fish die-offs in Lake Champlain up in Vermont are being called “the new normal” by government officials.
*Along the coast of northern California, seals and young sea lions are dying “in record numbers“.
*Three months ago, farmers in Singapore lost 160 tons of fish to a mass die-off event.
*Back in September, approximately 40 kilometers of the Fuhe River in China “was covered with dead fish“.
*Also during last September, close to ten tons of dead fish were found floating on a lake near the town of Komotini, Greece.
The following are some more examples of mass fish death events from just the past several weeks that come from a list compiled on another website…
17th May 2014 – Masses of fish turn up dead in a marina in Pultneyville, New York, America. Link
16th May 2014 – Mass die off of fish in a river in Aragatsotn, Armenia. Link
15th May 2014 – Hundreds of fish dying off ‘due to pollution’ in the wetlands of Rewalsar, India. Link
14th May 2014 – Thousands of dead fish washing ashore in Cootes Paradise, Hamilton, Canada. Link
13th May 2014 – Tens of thousands of dead fish wash up along coast of Tasmania, Australia. Link
12th May 2014 – Mass death of fish in the river Eden ‘is a mystery’ in Cumbria,England. Link
11th May 2014 – Hundreds of dead fish found in a pond is ‘a mystery’ in Southborough, England. Link
10th May 2014 – Thousands of fish dead due to pollution in spring in Sikkim,India. Link
9th May 2014 – Die off of Fish ’causes panic’ in the Luda Yana River in Bulgaria.Link
8th May 2014 – Thousands of dead fish appear in a lake ‘shock residents’ in Mangalore, India. Link
8th May 2014 – 12 TONS of dead fish removed from lakes in Chisago County, Minnesota, America. Link
7th May 2014 – Massive die off of fish in reservoirs in Quanzhou, China. Link
7th May 2014 – Thousands of fish found dead on the shores of Roatan,Honduras. Link
5th May 2014 – Hundreds of dead fish wash up on a beach ‘a mystery’ in San Antonio Oeste, Argentina. Link
5th May 2014 – Mass death of fish found in lakes in Almindingen, Denmark.Link
4th May 2014 – Mass die off of fish in a river in Fujian, China. Link
3rd May 2014 – 1,000+ dead fish wash ashore along a lake in Ontario, Canada.Link
2nd May 2014 – 40,000 fish die suddenly in a dam in Piaui, Brazil. Link
30th April 2014 – Mass fish kill ‘worst I’ve seen in 26 years of working here’ in Iowa, America. Link
30th April 2014 – Large amount of dead fish found floating along a river in Xiasha District, China. Link
29th April 2014 – Dozens of sea turtles are washing up dead in South Mississippi,America. Link
29th April 2014 – Thousands of dead fish washing up along the shores of Lakes in Wisconsin, America. Link
28th April 2014 – Turtles and other marine life continue to wash up dead in Bari,Italy. Link
28th April 2014 – Large fish kill found in the Mogi River in Brazil. Link
25th April 2014 – Large fish kill found in a reservoir in Nanchong, China. Link
24th April 2014 – Large amount of fish wash up dead along a river in La Chorrera, Panama. Link
23rd April 2014 – 2 Million fish found dead in a dam in Tehran, Iran. Link
23rd April 2014 – Mass die off of fish in Island lake in Ontario, Canada. Link
23rd April 2014 – Thousands of dead fish appear in a lake in Mudanjiang, China.Link
22nd April 2014 – 1,000 fish found dead in Oona River, County Tyrone,Northern Ireland. Link
21st April 2014 – Large amounts of fish washing up dead along the Panchganga River in India. Link
19th April 2014 – MILLIONS of dead fish found floating in Thondamanaru Lagoon, Sri Lanka. Link
And remember, this list represents events that have happened in just a little over the past month.
So what is causing all of these mass fish death events?
Please feel free to share your opinion by posting a comment below…
This article first appeared here at the American Dream by Michael Snyder