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UK Seas in Crisis : Will Brexit change things?

Note: This article was commissioned by The Marine Quarterly which has agreed to the publishing of an abridged version in its Summer edition. The decline in both the health and diversity of life of British seas is a subject much reported upon. Yet in addressing the meaning of Brexit in this context it is first […]

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Coral reefs – can the Honduran reefs survive over-fishing, climate change and pollution?

The Guardian reports, 27th December 2017: “I’m like one of those old-school gangsters,” says Ralston Brooks, a park ranger on the island of Roatán off the coast of Honduras. “If you’re going to do it, do it. Pop a cap.” The 37-year-old boat captain says he faces regular death threats from local fishermen because of […]

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Coral reefs – can they be protected by insurance?

The Guardian reports, 20th July 2017: A stretch of coral reef off Mexico is the testing ground for a new idea that could protect fragile environments around the world: insurance. The reef, off the coast of Cancún, is the first to be protected under an insurance scheme by which the premiums will be paid by […]

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Scientists are trying to lab-breed corals that are resistant to global warming

The Guardian reports, 23rd December 2017: New super corals bred by scientists to resist global warming could be tested on the Great Barrier Reef within a year as part of a global research effort to accelerate evolution and save the “rainforests of the seas” from extinction. Researchers are getting promising early results from cross-breeding different […]

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Seas-At-Risk organisation evaluates new fishing proposals, including electric pulse fishing

Seas-At-Risk press release, 21st November 2017: The European Parliament Fisheries Committee [has taken a decision which] seriously weakens marine environmental legislation. The European Parliament Fisheries Committee today [21st November] voted on a proposal that will revise legislation on the protection of fisheries resources and marine ecosystems. The proposal merges more than 30 existing regulations and […]

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Great Barrier coral reef : Is it capable of regenerating itself?

The Guardian reports, 29th November 2017: A group of “source” reefs have been identified that could form the basis of a life support system for the Great Barrier Reef, helping repair damage by bleaching, starfish and other disturbances. Researchers from the University of Queensland, CSIRO, Australian Institute of Marine Science and the University of Sheffield […]

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Wildlife Trusts call for new UK Marine Strategy following Brexit

The Wildlife Trusts, October 2017: A unique chance for the UK to become a world leader in marine management. Seize the moment! In 2019 the UK plans to leave the European Union. While it is important that we retain existing EU law through the Withdrawal Bill and anticipated Fisheries and Agriculture Bills, this departure is […]

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Albatross have experienced a major decline over last three decades

BBC News reports, 20th November 2017: The spectacular wandering albatrosses in the Blue Planet programme on the BBC have suffered a major decline in numbers over the past three decades. New research suggests breeding pairs of this species are now little more than half what they were in the 1980s. Scientists say the losses are […]

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Kelp farming being explored in research project off Cape Cod, USA

The Cape Cod Times reports, 9th October 2017: The marine farm of the future could look like this: offshore fields of kelp growing on a latticework of line 8 feet below the waves, each section tethered by a single line to an anchor hundreds of feet below. The farmer only has to go out to […]

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UN lays groundwork for an Ocean Treaty

The High Seas Alliance, an alliance of 32 NGOs and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), reports 21st July 2017: “States meeting at the United Nations in New York today took an important step towards launching negotiations for a new treaty to protect the biodiversityBiological diversity in an environment as indicated by […]

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The survival of the Wadden Sea, Netherlands, is in question

The Guardian reports, 16th June 2017: The world’s largest unbroken intertidal system of sand and mud flats could sink beneath the waves by the end of the century due to sea level rise and subsidence caused by gas drills. The Unesco world heritage site at the Wadden Sea on the Dutch coast stretches over 10,000 […]

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Humpback whales return to Hudson River estuary, New York

SFGATE.com reports, 9th June 2017: Large numbers of humpback whales have returned to New York City for the first time in a century. For the first time in 100 years, sizeable numbers of humpback whales are being spotted in the waters off NYC, and it’s thanks to years of environmental clean-up efforts, Popular Science reports. […]

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World’s largest colony of Humboldt penguins threatened

Oceana reports, 12th January 2017: Six hundred kilometres (360 miles) north of Santiago, Chile, the National Humboldt Penguin Reserve reverberates with the braying of 26,000 Humboldt penguins — around 80 percent of the species’ entire population. Sea otters and migrating blue whales glide through the waves close to colonies of nesting seabirds. This global biodiversityBiological […]

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Convention on Ballast Water Management secures legal force

The UK Wildlife and Countryside Link reports, October 2016: This month Finland ratified the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Ballast Water Management Convention. Being the 52nd contracting party, Finland tipped the target of 35% world shipping tonnage and triggered entry into force by September 2017. We’ve been waiting a long time for this, as the convention […]

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Sea otter is a “keystone species” says new ecological study

The Observer reports, 10th July 2016: Charles Darwin once mused on the impacts that predators could have on the landscapes around them. In particular, he wondered – in On the Origin of Species — how neighbourhood cats might affect the abundance of flowers in the fields near his house at Downe in Kent. He concluded […]

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Denmark is an obstacle to the protection of 69 threatened Baltic species, says Oceana

Oceana reports, 14th March 2016: Three years of work by 88 leading experts were effectively scrapped during the 37th Annual Meeting of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), held March 2016, when countries approved a heavily weakened version of a plan to protect and rebuild the most threatened Baltic Sea and Kattegat species. Oceana denounces Denmark as […]

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Arrests over illegal fishing of Patagonian toothfish

The Guardian reports, 9th March 2016: Six people have been arrested on charges of illegal fishing of protected species in raids carried out jointly by Interpol and Spanish police in Galicia in northwest Spain. The six include five members of the Vidal family who run Ribeiro Vidal Armadores, among them Antonio Vidal, the owner, and […]

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Seagrass meadows around the British Isles are in “perilous state”

BBC News, 13th January 2016, reports: Most seagrass meadows around the coast of the British Isles are in a “perilous state”, say scientists. Plants are being damaged by pollution and human disturbances such as mooring boats, according to researchers. Surveys of 11 sites in England, Wales and Ireland found high nitrogen levels in water were […]

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Sea bird populations on St Kilda are being profoundly affected by climate change

The Guardian reports, 4th December 2015: The survival of seabirds including puffins and kittiwakes on St Kilda — the island archipelago home to one of the world’s most important seabird populations — is being threatened by climate change, striking new evidence shows. Naturalists have discovered that the kittiwake, a small migratory gull with ink-black wing […]

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Deep Sea Mining : the nature of the resource, and the threat to ocean integrity

Prof. Richard Steiner writes in The Huffington Post, 20th October 2015: Adding to concerns about the disastrous decline in ocean ecosystems, now there is another emerging threat — deep sea mining. While shallow water mining for sand, gold, tin, and diamonds has been conducted for decades, commercial deep sea mining has yet to occur anywhere. […]

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