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BP pay record fine for Gulf of Mexico oil spill

The Guardian reports, 2nd July 2015: “BP has agreed to pay a record environmental fine of $18.7bn to settle legal actions brought by the US and several states over the fatal 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The US justice department, along with the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida, all sued BP […]

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Microplastics are moving up the ocean food chain

The Vancouver Sun reports, 30th June 2015: “A new study from the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre suggests microplastic particles could pose a serious risk of physical harm to the fish and marine animals that consume them. Plastic fibres and particles in West Coast waters are being consumed and passed up the food chain by […]

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US bid to remove microbead plastics from the oceans

PlanetExperts.com reports, 28th June 2015: “Last week the California State Assembly passed California’s microbead ban, AB 888, with bipartisan support. Co-sponsored by the 5 GyresA circular pattern of currents in an oceanA circular pattern of currents in an ocean Institute, AB 888 would phase out plastic microbeads from consumer care products, stopping a major contributor […]

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Call for more protection of seagrass meadows

BBC News reports, 27th June 2015: “Seagrasses — the underwater plants that act as nursery grounds for young fish — need more protection, say scientists. Monitoring of seagrass meadows off the North Wales coast found areas damaged by the likes of boat moorings, anchors and vehicles crossing at low tide had reduced value to the […]

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Dredging ban for South Arran MPA

C.O.A.S.T. (Community of Arran Seabed Trust) reports June 2015: In a broadly welcome statement Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, announced yesterday that a Marine Conservation Order (MCO) will be put before parliament this week setting out conservation measures including banning the highly destructive practice of scallop dredging within the South […]

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Blue Ventures advocate the “temporary fisheries closure” approach

The Ecologist reports, 12th May 2015, on the Blue Ventures proposal: “Marine conservation is usually expressed in austere and negative terms, writes Alasdair Harris [CEO Blue Ventures], with strict quotas and exclusion zones. But the truth is the exact opposite: it’s about working with natural ecosystems to unlock their productive potential, creating sustainable wealth and […]

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Over-fishing could push European fish species to extinction

Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), reports 3rd June 2015: More than 90 species of marine fishes in Europe’s waters are threatened with extinction, according to a report (large 4MB pdf file) published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Sharks, rays, and other cartilaginous […]

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Marine Conservation Society launches new Beach Guide

The Marine Conservation Society reports, May 2015: “A new era in beach information — as beaches get set to meet a stricter bathing guidelines the MCS popular website goes beyond the beach. We’ve published our Good Beach Guide to campaign for better water quality since 1988. We can now reveal that it has achieved many […]

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Study suggests acidification leads to an increase in calcium in the shells of shrimps

The Scripps Oceanographic Institution reports, 1st June 2015: A new study by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego researchers reveals that more carbon dioxide in seawater could lead to more calcium in shrimp exoskeletons and a decrease in their transparency. The study appears in the 1st June issue of Scientific Reports, an open […]

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Arctic ice-melting affecting the weather in the northern hemisphere

The Guardian reports, 1st June 2015: The string of massive snowstorms and bone-chilling cold on the US east coast, as well as flooding in Britain and record temperatures in Europe, are linked to rapid ice loss in the Arctic, new research appears to confirm. While the rapidly-thawing Arctic cannot be held responsible for specific weather […]

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Canadian government scientists question claims made for GM salmon

Friends of the Earth United States report, 28th May 2015: A never-before-seen draft environmental review of AquaBounty Technologies’ (ABTX) genetically engineered — or GE — salmon reveals that Canadian government scientists disagree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on key questions related to the safety and performance of what may be the first GE […]

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Australian researchers explore carbon-storage potential of seaweeds

The University of Technology (UTS), Sydney, reports May 2015: There are great hopes for the potential of coastal plants and seaweeds to store carbon and help counter the effects of climate change and a new study is backing that potential. Scientists from UTS and Deakin University have carried out the first investigation of how a […]

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Will the SNP honour its commitment to the Isle of Arran?

The Daily Telegraph reports, 27th May 2015: The Scottish Government is set to reject pleas by islanders to protect the seas around their coast From afar, the hills of the Isle of Arran famously resemble a sleeping warrior. But the people of the largest island in the Firth of Clyde are alarmed. For they fear […]

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“Ghost nets” are an enduring hazard in the oceans

Deutsche Welle reports, 22nd May 2015: Ghost nets are fishing nets that have either been lost or discarded at sea. Small fish, which are usually the first to become trapped in their mesh, attract larger species and other marine predators including sharks, dolphins, sea turtles and even marine birds. When the weight of their incidental catch […]

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Iceland to ship whale meat to Japan

The Guardian reports, 19th May 2015: The Icelandic whaling company Hvalur HF plans to ship 1,700 tonnes of whale meat via Luanda in Angola, repeating a similar controversial delivery of 2,000 tonnes last year which sparked protests along its route. According to Icelandic daily newspaper Eyjan, the meat was loaded aboard a ship near the […]

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700,000 tyres to be exhumed from seabed off Florida

The Guardian reports, 22nd May 2015: Florida officials have resumed raising some of the hundreds of thousands of tyres dumped off its shores decades ago during an unsuccessful attempt to create an artificial reef. Between 1m and 2m tyres were piled in the waters around Florida in the 1970s, but coral and fish never took […]

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Drugs flushed down the toilet affect aquatic life, says US EPA

The Guardian reports, 20th May 2015: “Doctors should take into account the ‘downstream’ effects on the environment when they prescribe drugs, suggests a scientist at the US Environmental Protection Agency Around 80% of aquatic pharmaceutical pollution comes from domestic medicines (those that we take at home rather than in hospital), and while unused drugs that […]

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Further evidence of serious Antarctic ice melting

The Independent reports, 21st May 2015: A sudden and massive melting of glaciers in a part of the Antarctic that was thought to be relatively stable has been detected by satellites monitoring the polar ice sheet, scientists have said. Many glaciers in the Southern Antarctic Peninsula have become unstable since 2009, releasing vast amounts of […]

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Research suggests that the skin of the octopus is sensitive to light

The Guardian reports, 20th May 2015: “Octopus skin contains a light-sensitive pigment found in eyes, suggesting that these clever cephalopods can “see” without using their eyes. Octopuses are well known for changing the colour, patterning, and texture of their skin to blend into their surroundings and send signals to each other, an ability that makes […]

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Ulster legal action over “illegal sand extraction” from Lough Neagh

The Mid Ulster Mail reports, 20th May 2015: Despite a warning from DoE that they are in breach of planning control, companies “illegally extracting” sand from Lough Neagh have carried on. And because Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan, “has failed to stop them” the Green Party has served notice on his department under the Environmental […]

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