20121013 KAOHSIUNG : TAIWAN  Frozen bigeye tuna are loaded onto a truck at Dong Gang Wholesale fish market, Dong Gang, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 13 Ooctober 2012.

Seafood Giants Commit to Stamping Out IUU Seafood

If it’s true that change starts at the top, then efforts to clean up the global fishing industry may be in for a boost. In a joint statement issued last week, CEOs from the world’s eight largest seafood companies committed to leading the fight against IUU fishing and slavery on the oceans while contributing to sustainability solutions.

The first of ten points outlined in their agreement is to: Read more

Commercial fishermen sort Baltic Sea cod catch before unloading in the port of Jastarnia, Southern Baltic Proper, Poland.

A New Angle on Baltic Sea Cod = Upheaval for the Fishery

Last month, the EU Fisheries Council of Ministers slashed next year’s catch quota for the Western Baltic Sea cod by 56 percent. It was a bold move that has fishermen concerned for their livelihoods and scientists concerned for the sustainability of the stock. Though unprecedented, Read more

Photo: Whit Welles/ Creative Commons

Whaling off the map

Are whaling vessels that operate without using aids to avoid vessel collision putting the safety of biodiversity and people at risk?  

This week the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has convened in Slovenia. The gathering marks the 30th anniversary of the commission’s moratorium on commercial whaling. Read more

To study their movements in relation to marine protected areas, satellite tags were affixed to the dorsal fins (left) of great hammerhead sharks, Sphyrna mokarran (top right), tiger sharks Galeocerdo cuvier (bottom right); Credit: Dorsal fin – Frank Gibson; Credit: Hammerhead and Tiger shark – Neil Hammerschlag, Ph.D.

Remote Tracking to Improve Shark Conservation

Usually when you want to protect something, you have to know where it is. That sounds like common sense, but when it comes to protecting highly migratory species in the oceans, scientists, conservationists and resource managers are often flying blind. Marine animals such as sharks, turtles, whales and large mid-ocean fish like tuna often traverse thousands of miles of ocean every year making them hard to keep an eye on. Read more

Tagged Mako Shark (NOAA)

Tracking Fish and Ships

Where do sharks and boats cross paths? What about sea turtles and whales? If we knew this, maybe we could reduce the number of vulnerable marine animals that end up entangled  or accidentally caught in fishing gear.

After years of monitoring large pelagic sea life with remote tracking devices, researchers have started to build a picture of where certain species travel throughout the year. Together with our fishing vessel maps, we have a real opportunity to minimize the deadly encounters between humans and marine life. Read more

An octopus hides out while a squat lobster stands on guard beneath a vase sponge at a newly identified rocky reef off Santa Barbara Island. (Oceana)

Diversity Expedition Update

Last week we reported on an expedition to survey diversity in the deep sea off the coast of Southern California. The goal of the expedition was to document on video the diversity of deep sea diversity in the area and demonstrate the need to close the waters of the Southern California Bight to bottom trawl fishing which destroys seafloor habitat. The team is back, and according Goeff Shester, California Campaign Director and scientist for Oceana, it was a great success. Read more

Blacktip-reef-shark_-Kydd-Pollock-USFW Pacific

Rush Hour in the Sanctuary

Way out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on a sanctuary off limits to fishing activity, scientists are learning the habits of marine life uninterrupted by humans. In a recent study, they’ve found that sharks commute in and out of the lagoons of Palmyra on a daily basis. Rush hour according to the researchers appears to hover around sunset, Read more

Deep water seamounts are rich with diversity. Courtesy NOAA.

Video Expedition Hopes to Capture and Protect Deep Sea Diversity off Southern California

Once considered to be a cold, dark desert nearly devoid of life, the deep sea is now known to support more species of marine life than the shallow reefs of the tropics. A menagerie of corals, sponges and undiscovered creatures—some of them previously unimaginable, others known only from the fossil record, lies hidden in near complete darkness beneath hundreds, or thousands, of feet of water. Read more