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Weekly Marine Policy Round Up – #15

July 3, 2011

Top Stories

Scripps scientists found plastic in 9.2% of lanternfish collected. The small fish are commonly eaten by larger species, and the plastic could end up in the food chain.

Pirate” fishermen are roaming the seas along West Africa and looting marine treasure from some of the world’s poorest countries.  According to the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) these illegal, unregulated fisherman are taking an estimated $1 billion worth of fish from African waters each year.

Japan indicates that it will re-start whaling in the Southern Ocean and Sea Shepherd prepares its Operation Divine Wind in response.

NOAA released its annual “2010 State of the Climate” report, describing trends in more than 40 climate variables . In a briefing to press, NOAA said the report provides a “consistent and unmistakable signal from the top of the atmosphere to the bottom of the oceans” that the world continues to warm.

Since its launch last month, Project Ocean has raised over £96,000 towards setting up marine reserves in our oceans. Project Ocean is the result of a collaboration between the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Selfridges to promote the global need for marine conservation and highlight the issue of overfishing.

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Other Stories

The FAO has elected a new Director-General. José Graziano da Silva (Brazil) succeeds Jacques Diouf (Senegal)

The Marine Stewardship Council has welcomed the UK Government’s commitment to sourcing 100 per cent sustainable fish for all central government procurement.

European fishery “superpowers” such as Spain hold the key to Iceland’s membership of the European Union, Iceland’s foreign minister has said.

After being hunted to local extinction more than a century ago and unable to remember their ancestral calving grounds, the southern right whales of mainland New Zealand are coming home.

A Senate bill, S. 3641, would create the National Endowment for the Oceans. Introduced last summer by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Olympia Snow (R-ME), the bill, if passed, could provide over $1 billion a year for protection of the oceans and Great Lakes, plus research and restoration.

The familiar fragrance of the sea is due to a sulfer-rich gas called dimethyl sulfide, or DMS, that is released by ocean plankton.  Scientists findings suggest that the production of DMS is influenced by local temperatures, so warmer oceans may be smellier as a result.

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Worth Reading/Watching

Greenpeace asks you to join the Rebellion against The Dark Side (1 min).

Yale e360 tells us that as ice rapidly melts in the Arctic and along the Antarctic Peninsula, this intricate web of life is undergoing major shifts, benefiting some creatures and putting others at risk.

Matt Rand talks to Asian Scientist Magazine about strategy and opportunities for more shark protections around the world.

According to a Mombasa-based consultant, Somali fishermen have no way of standing up to illegal trawlers and ships dumping toxic, nuclear or other waste without being labeled pirates by military forces.   And illegal fishing and dumping by foreign vessels was the original impetus for bands of fishermen to become pirates.

Slate discusses the economic value of sharks.  Here’s a great quote: “it turns out that the transition between economic systems—from barter economies and feudal ones, to communism and capitalism—have had profound impacts on great whites, whale sharks, and a host of other sharks.”

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Good Stuff

 The Dutch Navy released a video featuring a real deal, high seas gunfight during an anti-piracy operation on April 2, 2011. 16 pirates were arrested and 2 were fatally wounded by the Dutch forces (4mins).

ABC News’ Matt Gutman gets an exclusive preview of a new and dangerous free dive racing sport.

WHOI audio slideshows highlight how scuba extends researchers reach into the ocean.

A giant squid was found off the coast of Florida.

Researchers have found that people often respond positively to the presence of water. But “important aspects of the sensual perception of blue space” include “the sound of water, its color, clarity, motion, and context,” the authors note. In some studies “blue water is generally preferred to yellow water… Blue water is associated with coolness, white water with power and roaring sounds” and “yellow waters are accepted when they are perceived as natural.”

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