News

Check out our local, national and international news!

Here Eco-Odyssey offers you original news article covering some of the most pressing environmental issues around the globe.

☛ Scroll down to find 4 categories providing direct links to current New Zealand and international news, press releases, and a news archive.

April 11th, 2012

Marine mammal consumption on the rise 

Nearly three decades since the Moratorium on Whaling was called, the fight to save the largest marine mammals on earth continues.  The International Whaling Commission works to mitigate the exploitation of whales around the world, while wildlife conservation initiatives diligently attempt to raise awareness, take action, and lead the global community to demand, once and for all, for an end to whaling.

While these efforts are warranted and conservation societies like Sea Shepherd take on the challenge of enforcing environmental regulations on the high seas, new studies are surfacing regarding the smaller species of marine mammals being increasingly targeted for their meat.  Turning their attention to the less understood species of marine mammals, scientists found that the deliberate harvesting of Dolphins, Porpoises, Manatees, and the like, is rarely studied or monitored.

The Wildlife Conservation Society along with Okapi Wildlife Associates conducted a global study on the human consumption of marine mammals using over 900 sources of information.  The project, which took three years to complete, was led by Dr. Martin D. Robards, who stated certain marine mammals are being “directly hunted without any means of tracking as to whether these harvests are sustainable”.

The extensive study revealed a rise in the global consumption of marine mammals since the 1970’s, particularly of smaller cetaceans such as Pygmy Beaked whales, South Asian river dolphin, Narwhal, Chilean dolphin, long-finned Pilot whale, Seals, Sea lions, Polar Bears (classified as marine mammals), Manatees, and Dugongs.

 

Coined as ‘fishing up the food chain’, hunting marine mammals for food is not only prevalent in developing nations, but also in modern ‘civilized’ countries including the the United States, Canada, and South Korea.  An American study concluded 92 countries hunted marine mammals between 1990-2009. Japan topped the list with 32 marine species targeted, while Greenland and Indonesia tied for second with an average consumption of 19 marine mammals. 

  

Recent media coverage featured a report on the popular tourist destination of Lombok, Indonesia where local fishermen are hunting Spinner Dolphins for their meat and more disturbingly, to use as live bait in shark fishing. In Africa, the Congo, Gabon and Madagascar have all increased their efforts at harvesting the rare Atlantic Humpback dolphins found in their waters. Now the species are consumed and sold in markets as the newest trend in ‘bushmeat’ products.

Some scientists predict with the decline in fish stocks around the world, many populations are turning to large marine mammals as a food source, essentially targeting what seafood is readily available to them.  This trend is alarming for many reasons, one of which being the simple fact that most small cetaceans such as toothed whales and dolphins collect magnified concentrations of Mercury and other Neurotoxins found throughout our ocean ecosystems; leaving their meat heavily contaminated and not recommended for human consumption. Furthermore, with next to no monitoring or regulation in place to control the exploitation of small marine mammals, it is near impossible to assess whether humans have already caused irrevocable harm to certain populations.  With so many other factors threatening marine mammals such as pollution, habitat degradation, and noise pollution, a new form of uncontrolled exploitation of our vulnerable marine wildlife could prove disastrous for them, our ocean environment, the planet, and us.

Through education and raising global awareness of the current fishing trends around the world, individuals, communities, and nations can begin to legislate for tougher environmental regulations, fishing laws, and to safeguard vulnerable marine mammals around the world.  Please share this article and click on our links for more on this important topic.

"Marine Mammals on the Menu" (® Wildlife Conservation Society)

http://www.wcs.org/news-and-features-main/marine-mammals-on-the-menu.aspx

"Marine mammals on the menu in many parts of (the) world" (® Science Daily)

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120124151945.htm

"Dolphins die for Shark Fin Soup" (® Paul Hilton Photography) 

http://www.paulhiltonphotography.com/index.php/field-notes/41 

 

Citation: Isaac Davidson. "Rise in Whale trade stuns experts". nzherald.co.nz. 2.04.12. Science Daily. "Marine Mammal on the menu in many parts of world". 24.01.12


March 28th, 2012

Secrets of the deep revealed!

Image © National Geographic

 

After more than 50 years since two Swiss explorers touched down on the deepest sea bed on the planet, James Cameron has returns from the 11, 000 meter (35, 800 ft) journey to Challenger Deep, the small valley at the southern end of the Marianna Trench.  The latter is where the western pacific ocean reaches unimaginable depths, and where isolation and remoteness are taken to new levels.   

The Marianna Trench lies east of the Marianna islands, extending 2,500 kilometres in length and 69 kilometres in width.  The Pacific tectonic plate, the biggest on earth, is subducted beneath the Marianna plate. In turn, as the Pacific plate slowly slides beneath the Marianna plate, so is formed the famous trench.  It is assumed the movement of these two plates was partly responsible for the formation of the Marianna islands.  Although subduction movements occur at incredibly slow rates, subduction zones are central points from which volcanoes and earthquakes emerge and consequently may play a large role in the generation of powerful Tsunamis.

 

In the name of science

James Cameron, primarily knows for his films Avatar and Titanic, is a scientist at heart.  He wholeheartedly promotes exploration of our vast oceans and values the importance of scientific discovery.  Given 95% of our oceans remain unexplored; undiscovered gems could be quietly existing in the depths of our seas, waiting to be revealed to the world.

Image © National Geographic Society

Cameron has spent the the last two years co-designing the 7.3 meter (24 foot) submersible craft in which he would eventually plunge 7 miles down into deep, dark, virtually uninhabited  ocean depths.

The DeepSea Challenge, a partnership between Cameron and National Geographic to explore the Marianna Trench, had much to consider and plan as the remote destination is completely devoid of sunlight, and subject to pressure 1000 times that of land. “You have to imagine the possible before you can go and do it”, said Cameron. 

Shooting down into the most remote location on earth, Cameron’s submersible, coined the  vertical torpedo, took a mere 2 hours to reach the sea floor.  After 4 hours of exploration with the help of 3D cameras and extendable robotic arms, Cameron began his ascent where he reached speeds of 7 nautical miles per hour.  From what he could recount of this desolate trench, the bottom was extremely silty, and apart from a few small life forms, most likely Amphipods, the Challenger Deep was mostly ‘desert-like’.

With so much ocean terrain remaining to be explored, journeys like this one to the Marianna Trench, will hopefully fuel a resurgence of ocean exploration and innovative ocean science and research. 

With 71% of our planet being water, a better understanding of the chemistry and makeup of our seas could change the way we relate to our marine environment, and with any luck, shift and shape us into better ambassadors for the blue heart of our planet.

For more on this exciting expedition, please link to the DeepSea challenge website, presented by National Geographichttp://deepseachallenge.com/

 

Citation: "DeepSea Challenge". National Geographic. http://deepseachallenge.com/.  "Marianna Trench". Wikipedia online ecyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariana_Trench

February 8th, 2012

"Shipping traffic stressful for whales"

Image © New England Aquarium

A new study examines the effects of ocean noise on whales.

Following a recent study led by Dr. Rosalind Rolland from the New England Aquarium, U.S, hormones associated with stress found in North Atlantic Right whales were significantly higher in populations migrating near busy shipping lanes along North America’s eastern coastline.

Large ocean faring ships have propellers that emit low frequency sounds similar to those of whales, and past studies have shown these mammals can change their vocalization patterns and migratory paths when responding to ocean noise from shipping vessels.

Most marine mammal species communicate through some type of vocalization underwater.  The lower the frequency of sound in water, the further it will travel. Thus, species like the North Atlantic Right whale better relay their ‘messages’ by producing frequencies that will be carried furthest through the ocean. 

By collecting and analysing the faeces of Right whales that travel to the Bay of Fundy (Canada) to feed, Dr. Rosalind and her team noticed patterns of stress levels in whales exposed to high levels of shipping traffic versus those collected during lighter shipping periods.

In 2001, soon after the attacks of 9/11 in New York City, shipping along the North Atlantic coast was reduced, and faeces samples gathered during this period in the Bay of Fundy showed lower levels of stress hormones compared with summer feeding periods in later years.  It appears there is a direct correlation between an increase in shipping traffic and a high incidence of stress in north-Atlantic Right whales.

Scientists believe humans and whales share the same ‘stress systems’ in that a high production of the hormones responsible for stress will eventually impact our immune and reproductive systems.  For the Right whale migrating along the northeast Atlantic coast, their fragile population has yet to recover from past hunting, and will be especially sensitive to the effects of ocean noise.

In recent years, shipping lanes overlapped with whale feeding grounds along North America’s east coast, where the Right whale population was suffering from regular boat strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.  In 2003, shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy were relocated away from whale feeding grounds, and boat strikes were reduced by more than 80%. 

Hopefully Dr. Rolland’s findings will instigate further studies of whale populations exposed to shipping noise all over our world oceans.  Relating stress hormones to ocean noise in marine mammals such as whales will be incredibly important in increasing human understanding of these animals and the importance of their vocalizations and migrating patterns. 

Without a doubt, whales have been vulnerable to man’s presence at sea for centuries, but as we now move towards a feeling of profound respect for these sentinels of the sea, the need for scientific studies and insightful findings is paramount.  Our oceans allow us to carry goods to every corner of the planet, but less we forget the deep blue belongs first and foremost to each marine species that calls it home. 

Citation: "Quieter oceans can make for less-stressed Right whales." Welsh, Jennifer. msnbc.com/science. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46312983/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.TzLGU-NWpBw. 8.02.12. "Whales stressed by ocean noise". BBC News-Science and Environment. Black, Richard. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16926005 7.02.12



January 9th, 2012

"An expired tradition gives way to hopeful sharks"

A sea-change for Singapore's younger generation

The prospects of a bright new year...A chance to set bigger goals, and insist on greater change.  For sharks, a bright future hangs in the balance, carefully shaped and stripped by a hugely destructive human practice.  Since shark fishing and finning have existed, the lucrative 'fins' (e.g dorsal, pectoral, and tail) have been the key ingredients in the long-standing Chinese tradition, 'shark fin soup'.  Shark fishermen have been targeting these top Apex predators for thousands of years, but until recently, the world has been relatively unaware of the disastrous potential of such a practice.  

When considering China's recent economic 'boom', enabling the middle-class to become more affluent, the consumption of shark fin soup, a dish historically reserved for the wealthy or for ones wedding dinner, has skyrocketed.  Finally, the 'moderate-earning' demographic could identify with the dish, and earn the status symbol bound to it.  Soon thereafter, the real trouble began for our world's sharks.

▼ Today, researchers estimate some 180 species of sharks are facing extinction, with a whopping 75-100 million animals killed each year in large part to meet the demand for shark fins.

The soup made from shark fins (which are solely used for texture) can sell for upwards of $100 per bowl, while the biggest fins, like those of the endangered Whale Shark, can fetch in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single fin.  Many third world countries, small islands struggling economically, and fishermen hoping to cash in on the shark fin trade, are setting out on our oceans and massacring a species that has survived  on earth for over 400 million years.  Outliving dinosaurs, ice ages, and shifting continents, the planet's sharks are now losing their fight for survival, and the very source of the problem is also the solution.  

A crucial shift

China, namely Hong Kong, and Singapore, are the two largest shark fin traders in the world, with Japan not far behind.  These three countries are also the biggest consumers of shark fin, and with legends, traditions, and cultural beliefs intact, sharks remain on the menu for millions of Asians.  

Fortunately, with time many of Asia's younger generations are growing up exposed to issues relating to ocean conservation, and are witness to a global movement towards nurturing and sustaining our oceans, rather than stripping them bare of their resources.   With respect to sharks, most societies are now slowly relinquishing their irrational fear of sharks, and learning about the vital role sharks play in regulating our marine ecosystems.  

'Finally, we are beginning to understand the priceless value of a live shark, and the immeasurable costs of a dead one.'

 

Recently, multiple large-scale grocers in Singapore have opted to discontinue the sale of shark fin in their stores.  These decisions were made following the persistent efforts of World Wildlife Fund-Singapore, and online social media controversy. 

The world's 2nd largest retailer, Carrefour, are the newest chain to pledge they will stop selling shark fins once their existing stocks run out.  Fair Price, run by the city-state's national trade's union, has said they will pull shark products by the end of the year.  This comes following a comment by an industry insider stating "screw the divers" on the company's Facebook page.   Ultimately, the employee was voicing his disregard for a group of conservation divers opposed to shark finning, but his crude words set off a wave of public outcry, and eventually led to Fair Price agreeing to remove shark fins from its stores.  

▲ It is now confirmed that in addition to Carrefour and Fair Price, Cold Storage, Fairmont Signapore, and Novotel Signapore Clarke Quay and the Mercury Roxy hotels will abandon the sale of shark's fin.

Many believe these environmentally sounds choices are the result of a steady change of attitude in Singapore's young population.  Shark fin soup is beginning to be seen as 'out of fashion' and youth are voicing their modern beliefs to their more traditional parents.  Perhaps the tide is really changing, and we will continue to witness a global tidal wave of awareness and desire to save our sharks.  One can only hope this will occur sooner than later. 

In the meantime, let's continue to spread the word about shark finning and the devastating effects this practice is having not only on these animals, but the oceans as a whole.  Our need for healthy oceans is far greater than our so-called insatiable desire for a tasteless broth.  We just have to truly believe this in order to help others, from all cultures, realize it too.  Spread this article, and any information from our website on shark finning.  Any measure of time spent thinking about sharks, our marine environment, and the wealth of beauty it brings to our lives,  will be instrumental in motivating me, you, and countless others to do something to help.  This is history in the making, don't miss out on caring and saving something so precious. 

 

Citation: "Carrefour to stop selling shark's fin too", N.G Kai Ling. Straights Times. www.wildsingapore.com. http://wildsingaporenews.blogspot.com/2012/01/carrefour-to-stop-selling-sharks-fin.html 7.01.12  "Tide turning against shark's fin, especially among the young", Jessica Lim & Siau Ming En. Straights Times. www.wildsingapore.com. http://wildsingaporenews.blogspot.com/2012/01/tide-turning-against-sharks-fin.html

November 29th, 2011

Is Global Warming on the Agenda?

Images © Face n Facts, Alexander Joe/AFP Getty Images

 

A look at this year's Climate Change Conference in Durban, S.A.

Over the next few weeks, representatives of governments from all over the world will come together to discuss Climate Change, and attempt to reach a united consensus on how to reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions.  With goals to 'find a workable way forward', past protocols will be debated, while the planned commitment to constrain greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep average global temperature rises below 2˚Celsius will be a hot topic of discussion.

Providing vital proof of our planet's warming, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated 2011 has been the 10th hottest year on record. Although masked by 'La Nina' weather effects, the WMO insists the earth is at its warmest on record.  The ocean-atmostphere phenomenon 'La Nina' is typically responsible for a reduction in sea surface temperatures across equatorial eastern central Pacific ocean.  A change ranging from 3-5 ˚Celsius can cause destructive weather patterns.  This years, La Nina was responsible for droughts in East Africa and Southern U.S., while South Africa, southern Asia, and north-eastern Australia experienced severe flooding.

Findings based in science and intricate research confirmed that this summer's Arctic melts were extreme, showing the lowest ice level ever recorded.

The WMO's Secretary General Michel Jarraud reiterates that "our science in solid, and it proves unequivocally that the world is warming and that this warming is due to human activities".

Given what we know about the global rise in atmospheric and ocean temperatures, not to mention the effects human activities have had on the earth's chemistry and natural balance, one would assume we owe our planet some payback.  Rational thinking and selfless intentions would surely bring about our powerful developed nations coming together to rectify or even improve on our dirty environmental footprint.  Unfortunately, uniting several country representatives with different intentions, priorities and concerns (or lack thereof) for our global climate results in agreements, oppositions, amendments of past commitments and lousy attempts at making new ones.

This year in Durban, clear missions to finalize past summit deals, discuss the implementation of a 'Green Climate Fund', and debate Japan, Canada, and Russia's refusal and failure to follow through with commitments of the Kyoto Protocol will keep participants in deep negotiations. 

Brazil and India have been vocal in their desire to delay treaty commitments, while the European Union and smaller developing nations are expressing a sense of urgency in reaching a global response to Climate Change. 

To accomplish a realistic approach to minimizing our global carbon emissions, self-serving powerful nations must put their own interests aside and truly engage in a plan to change the framework of wasteful government and industry.  Given treaties and agreements have been poorly enforced, top players such as Canada have gotten away with actually increasing their greenhouse emissions by 33% since last agreeing to reduce them under the Kyoto Protocol.

And so, with the opening of the annual conference on Climate Change, the biggest emitters are using stalling tactics, and leaving little room for any real reform to reduce emissions.  Here's hoping the earth, biosphere, and ocean's interests will fall somewhere on the list of priorities, and future generations will live to see the world's countries face our environmental truths and honor our opportunity to redeem ourselves before its too late.

 

References: BBC News 'Science and Environment', "Warm Blast Hits UN Climate Summit". Black, Richard. 29.11.11.,http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15941820.  BBC News 'Science and Environment', "Climate summit opens amid big emitters stalling tactics". Black, Richard. 28.11.11.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15894948.  Wikipedia "La Nina". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Ni%C3%B1a

 

November 27th, 2011

Eco-Odyssey's in the Amazon...and you can be too!

This month, two of our team members are in South America's unique state of 'Amazonas',  taking part in a month long adventure up river tributaries and within the depths of the rainforest. You can follow this incredible journey as we bring you daily updates on team locations, as well as logs, pictures, and more!

Check out our 'Current Expeditions' page and travel to the Amazon with us..

Link to our 'Logs and Blogs' section for first-hand entries from our jungle team, and journey straight into the rainforest by watching our  "Amazon: Life in Action" original video clip compiled from a 2006 expedition to the region. 

Expedition Logs

Multimedia Clips

 

☛ A multitude of things in our everyday lives are sourced from the Amazon, link to our 'Kids Section' and learn more!

Amazon Brazil Nut Trees

Hot Topics

 

 

November 12th, 2011

New-Zealand's worst environmental disaster: The latest update

On October 5th, the 47,000 ton cargo ship Rena ran aground on Astrolabe reef, off the north-east coast of the North Island.

Firmly pinned against the reef, Rena's toxic oil reserves began to leak out into the ocean, only 20 kilometres off the shores of Taraunga.  Of the hundreds of shipping containers aboard the vessel, 88 were lost at sea, broken and washing up as debris on nearby Motiti Island.

This incident has been a disaster of immense proportions for Taraunga residents, local wildlife and the marine environment. Over 350 tons of oil poisoned the surrounding waters and quickly collected on beaches from Matakana Island and Mount Maunganui to Maketu and Rabbit Island; just to name a few.

Local colonies of birds, penguins, seals have all been tainted by the effects of the oil spill, with rescue teams and environmental organizations quickly coming together to help the innocent victims.

The Greek based 'Costamare Inc.' and 'Costamare Shipping' managed the Rena cargo ship and publicly apologized for the incident. However, suspicions over the credibility of the Rena's captain, who ran the ship aground in the early hours of a calm morning at sea, has led to claims he may have violated section 65 of the Maritime and Transport Act by "operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger or risk".  Operating a vessel with the latest navigation systems facilitates recognizing the sea bed's topography, so should we assume this fatal collision was the result of negligence?

Today efforts to remove the remaining 1700 tons of oil from the Rena continue. Poor weather and big swells have halted the attempts of teams of Salvos working to pump the oil onto recovery ship, the Awanula.

Helicopters are assisting in retrieving debris from Rena's lost containers, and although clean-up efforts are still under way on mainland Taraunga, Salvos are hoping for calm weather and stable seas so they may successfully extract the final 20,000 litres of oil from the Rena's engine room storage tank.  If mother nature can cooperate, salvage efforts could be complete in a matter of days.

*Information was sourced from http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/5948629/Hopes-Rena-oil-to-be-cleared-in-days, and past new articles from Sky news New Zealand.

 

 

September 4th, 2011


Sea Shepherd saves Pilot whales from annual slaughter!

Mostly known for their efforts to save whales from Japanese whalers, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society works year round to help other marine species threatened by human exploits and disregard for international regulations and ethical boundaries.

The Faeroe Islands, a self governing territory belonging to Denmark, has been carrying out community organized Pilot whale hunts since 1584. Completely unregulated, these annual drive hunts round up and massacre hundreds of Long-finned Pilot whales only to uphold a cultural and historical tradition of Faroese whaling.

Sea Shepherd has deemed "Operation Faeroe Islands" the annual mission where they attempt to intercept and stop the Pilot whale slaughters during the hunting season. This year's expedition was particularly effective seeing the Danish police conceding to Sea Shepherd's presence in the islands and ordering a halt on all Pilot whale attacks under Sea Shepherd's watchful eye.

The summer months of July and August saw Sea Shepherd hold firm ground and prevent any killings of Pilot whales during the busy migration season. Some local Faorese youth came forth to express their opposition to the whale 'grinds', and Sea Shepherd was there to fuel discussion among locals while creating more global awareness of this cruel and outdated practice.

Eco-Odyssey appreciates powerful initiatives such as Sea Shepherd which can provoke change, protect the innocent, and lead the march to enforce international environmental laws.

Thank you Sea Shepherd team for successfully stopping the Japanese Antarctic whaling fleet dead in their tracks, halting the Pilot whale drive hunts, and continuing to defend our ocean treasures on the high seas!

For more on this story, please link to the Sea Shepherd news here: http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/2011/08/26/sea-shepherd-prevents-pilot-whale-bloodshed-in-the-faeroe-islands-1276

August 29th, 2011

Open for business

New shipping routes form as summer melts Arctic ice

The barren white terrain of the Arctic is now experiencing significant changes to its landscape.This summer season had caused solid ice shelves to melt into the surrounding Arctic ocean and subsequently open up new routes for vessels to use.

The European space agency claims their satellites could detect 2 major shipping channels in the Arctic region. Canada's North-West passage and Russia's Northern sea route are currently clear enough to accommodate tankers traveling across toward Thailand.

Shipping routes are obviously very important to industries trading goods around the world. New, shorter and efficient passages could mean bigger profits for trade; and given the natural waters of the Arctic are rich in resources above and below the surface, this is extremely appealing to oil and gas companies. There are natural resources still embedded deep in the sea floor after millions of years, and now the fight is on for which Arctic nation will claim these new open waters.


Major environmental concerns are fueling protest over the plans to explore and exploit the Arctic. Increased efforts to extract oil and gas from this region means this fragile polar region will be contributing to the global dependence on fossil fuels. The Arctic's frigid and hostile environment has kept humans limited in their endeavors to find more reserves, but now with Global Warming causing major ice melts and larger ice-free areas, the Arctic is opening itself up to the world. This could prove difficult for the Arctic to bare.

You can view the Arctic ice melting from space here ☟

The European Space Agency:http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMT7TRTJRG_index_1.html

BBC's online section also has more news on this topic:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14670433

August 20th, 2011

Keep on fishing and wasting...


The Global fisheries industry has failed to keep fish populations around the world from collapsing under constant human exploitation. The ocean is continually being stripped of fish, with the intent of removing as many animals as possible, as quickly as possible. With little consideration for species declining in population and entire ecosystems suffering the subsequent imbalance, the health of our world oceans is in serious jeopardy.

In the following article from the Guardian.uk, the topic of European fisheries is discussed by Richard Benyon, the fisheries minister at the Department for Environment (Food and Rural Affairs), advocates that regulating bodies such as those reforming the "Common Fisheries Policy" need to act in favor of restoring the oceans fish stocks. As corruption seeps into the politics and governments within Global fisheries, starting to actually move toward conserving fisheries proves to be the biggest challenge of all.

Please link here to read this insightful artcle: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/aug/12/fish-fight-united-against-waste

 

 

August 14th, 2011

Pesticides a threat to the historical "Great Barrier Reef" ?

A recent article from the BBC news-Sydney, reports that studies are showing a high concentration of Agricultural pesticides in the waters of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Farming along the north-east coast of Australia is extensive, and companies and farmers are claiming they need to protect their crops with pesticides to maintain productivity levels.

However, samples taken from the reef system show that some levels of chemicals are toxic to corals; thus posing a serious threat to the health of this ecosystem. The Australian government is faced with claims that some horticultural producers and sugar cane farmers are carrying out unethical practices and contributing to an increased danger of agricultural pollutants reaching the ocean. Cyclones and floods disrupt crops and aid in the pesticides flowing to the nearby sea.

Read more on this topic, full article found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-14516253

 

 

August 6th, 2011

The beautiful South-Western Australian coastline is not only stunning visually, combining luscious green lands with striking emerald fringing waters; but beneath the ocean's surface is where a rich web of life is found.

The majority of wildlife species calling this area home are part of a unique group of animals, some only found in this part of the world. Whales, seals, dolphins and multiple other species like the Blue Whale, need a healthy environment in order to thrive. Protecting the coastline and open ocean areas is crucial in making sure life can continue in these waters.

Federal environment minister Tony Burke is deciding this month on the number and size of proposed Marine Protected Areas "Sanctuaries" for south-west Australia, and the bigger and more limits we can impose on offshore oil drilling, fishing, and human exploitation, the better our wildlife will be.

We can be a part of this important decision and play a role in influencing the government's power in shaping our ocean environment. Please think about taking a moment to sign this petition intended for Mr.Burke, and be an active force for positive change!

Petition link: http://www.change.org/petitions/help-create-the-worlds-largest-marine-sanctuary-network-just-4-days-left?alert_id=ILLzkYqaEI_SrhImxaVwK&utm_medium=email&utm_source=action_alert

July 31st, 2011

The biggest environmental issues we face today are a serious cause for concern to some; while for others being an active voice for the planet simply does not factor into everyday life.


A recent article from the BBC 'science and environment' page explores the consequences of inaction. What will happen to earth and us if most people carry on to be detached and offer little input in how we can begin to fix some major problems?

Leaving thinking through solutions and making improvements to governments, politicians, and major world dominating industries means we are likely to see nature conceiding many more of its shrinking resources. Conservation is vital to our planet's survival, yet 'protecting' certain areas of land and sea needs to happen on a much larger scale, with 'reserves' and 'sanctuaries' being honored and respected.

To read the BBC's full article titled "Environment: The case against protection" please link here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14344384

 

July 21st, 2011

Concerns rise over Iceland's commercial whaling business, and the effects on the targeted Fin Whale.

A recent article posted by the BBC News 'scienceenvironment' section ties together Iceland's efforts to hunt Fin Whales with the Japanese trade markets.

The few remaining whaling countries of the world are connected in more ways than one, proved by the fact that Iceland exports most of its whale meat to Japan!

Both nations still standing firm that they are carrying out 'sound science', Japan and Iceland are both profiting from whaling and have commercial interests dominating their actions.

This week, the United States Commerce Secretary suggested measures regulating Iceland's export of whale meat be put into place, and a re-evaluation of the practice of whaling in Iceland be carried out. The U.S. President Borak Obama now has 60 days to respond and authorize sanctions which will govern trade of whale meat properly.

To learn more on this topic, please click to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14223673

 

July 14th, 2011

The International Whaling Commission is meeting this week to bring together the 89 countries, who as members will be participating in reviewing the current state of Whaling in the world.

Important issues such as Japan's current stance on the 2011 Whaling season, internal corruption allegations regarding the IWC and reforms on Aboriginal whaling laws, will be addressed and could mean change is on the horizon for whales and the world.

The annual IWC conferences bring together a vast array of countries who are either pro or against whaling, and aims to establish a sense of respect and ability to compromise from each side. The conference comes to an end on July 14th in Jersey, where this year's members gathered.

For more on the current issues surrounding the IWC and whaling, please link to the BBC science and environment pages for relevant articles:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14141261

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14079749

 

July 1st, 2011

One of the most breathtaking and pristine ocean meccas on earth has finally been accorded a WORLD HERITAGE LISTING by the United Nations cultural body, UNESCO.

Congratulations to Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range National Park for getting the natural significance they so rightfully deserve!

Covering an area of 6100 square Kilometers along the North West coast, Ningaloo remains the largest fringing reef in Australia, and one of only a few in the world growing on the west side of a land mass. Its unique location has allowed this isolated reef system to thrive with a vaste diversity of wildlife, and a virtually untouched surrounding environment. It is among the very few of its kind left in the world.

Hopefully, with the continued dedicated efforts of the local community and a national legislation protecting Ningaloo Reef and Cape Range National Park, we will see these spectacular natural wonders safe from over-development and neglect, thus enabling the protection of endangered species like Loggerhead Turtles and annual visitors: The Whale Sharks.

Click here to view the video link release by the Department of Environment, Australia:

Multimedia Clips

 

June 20th, 2011

"Dolohin Lovers Put Pressure On Signapore Resort To Release Captive Dolphins"

A petition currently holding over 85,000 signatures is putting pressure on the Signaporean resort 'Sentosa' to release over 25 captive Dolphins they have imported from the Solomon islands. A few of the dolphins have died as a result of this traumatic experience. Please connect to this link to read this article posted on CHANGE.ORG or to sign this petition: https://news.change.org/stories/dolphin-lovers-put-pressure-on-singapore-resort-to-release-captive-dolphins

June 15th, 2011

ECO Annual Conference: Resilient Environment, Resilient Communities

The conference will be held in Auckland from July 1st-3rd, and will focus on discussing ways in which New Zealand's unique  environment and biodiversity can be protected in our changing world...for more on this event go to:http://www.eco.org.nz/news/163/60/ECO-Conference-July-2011.html

 

June 8th, 2011

Happy World Ocean day!!

Wherever you find yourself today, take a moment to appreciate and think about our oceans and their importance and role on our blue planet.

Here in New Zealand nearly 1/2 of our ocean dwelling species are unique to this area, making our waters among the most significant areas of biodiversity.

Check out some of New Zealand's most progressive conservation groups working on issues surrounding our ocean's health, including threatened marine wildlife, Antarctica and the Ross Sea...

"Scoop" Independent News http://www.scoop.co.nz/

Environment and Conservation organisations of Aotearoa New Zealand http://www.eco.org.nz/

The Last Ocean Project: The Ross sea

http://www.lastocean.co.nz

 

February 23rd, 2011

Today, Stewart Island off the South Island of New Zealand saw 107 Pilot whales stranded on one of its remote beaches. Follow this link to read more about this sad and mysterious occurence...

http://planetark.org/enviro-news/item/61295





Did you know?

Grey Whales are worldwide travellers, embarking on the longest migrations of any known mammal.

They move between masses of ocean terrain for their annual summer feeding and winter breeding periods, stretching their journey from the Arctic to Mexico and back!

Part of the Baleen Whale family, Grey Whales filter the sea floor with the help of 'plates', looking for small Crustaceans and worms.

Of the two known populations, Grey Whales in the North-Western Pacific are CRITICALLY ENDANGERED, compared to their healthier counterparts in the Eastern North Pacific.

More Tips