Rising seas, tsunamis, troubled and disappearing marine life, polluted waters and the occasional piece of good news, too, I promise! Please e-mail any stories I may have missed.


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SPOTLIGHT: It's time to cleanup Chesapeake Bay!

Feds' bay cleanup plan: step forward or back? (Baltimore Sun, Nov. 10, 2009)
So the Obama administration has finally unveiled its plan for jump-starting the Chesapeake Bay restoration, and even environmentalists who had called for a stronger federal hand in the cleanup couldn't agree on the showing so far. Some smelled waffling in the feds' resolve to crack down on stubborn farm and storm-water pollution.

U.S. calls for more action to restore Chesapeake Bay (Baltimore Sun, Nov. 10, 2009)
The Obama administration unveiled a new strategy Monday for restoring the Chesapeake Bay that calls for stiffer controls on farm and urban runoff, but Republicans in Washington criticized legislation that would give the federal government more regulatory authority to clamp down on pollution in the nation's largest estuary.

EPA drafts Chesapeake Bay cleanup strategy (NPR, Nov. 9, 2009)
Monday, the Federal government announced the outlines of a new effort to help restore the seafood and wildlife in the nation's largest estuary: the Chesapeake Bay.

State of the Ocean: Week of Nov. 8

Panel backs no-fishing zones off Southern California coast (LA Times, Nov. 11, 2009)
A state blue-ribbon panel unanimously approved landmark fishing restrictions Tuesday for Southern California, creating a patchwork of havens for marine life designed to replenish the seas while leaving some waters open for anglers.


Researchers explore growing ocean garbage patches (NYT, Nov. 10, 2009)
Aboard the Alguita, 1,000 miles northeast of Hawaii — In this remote patch of the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from any national boundary, the detritus of human life is collecting in a swirling current so large that it defies precise measurement.

Tuna demand threatens to wipe out albatross (Environmental News Network, Nov. 9, 2009)
Appetite for tuna is threatening to drive rare birds including the albatross to the edge of extinction. A new study by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) warns that the method used to fish tuna is killing rare birds in unprecedented numbers and threatening to wipe out certain species like the albatross altogether.


United States pushes for strong measures to protect bluefin tuna (NOAA, Nov. 9, 2009)
Dr. Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator issued the following statement urging the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to heed the scientific advice and adopt measures that will end overfishing in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean and put bluefin tuna on the path to recovery. The ICCAT is scheduled to meet this week in Brazil.


Week of Nov. 1, 2009

Can oceans survive the human appetite for seafood (NPR, Nov. 6, 2009)
Faced with declining fish stocks, many nations are looking for sustainable ways to have their fish — and eat it too. But how much fishing is too much? Oceanographer Sylvia Earle discusses this and other topics in her book The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean's Are One.


Op-ed: The real damage to our ocean, sea and gulf ecosystems (Naples Daily News, Nov. 2, 2009)
Along with Barney T. Bishop, CEO of Associated Industries of Florida (guest commentary, Daily News, Oct. 19) most Floridians acknowledge the value of the oceans to our state as an important source of industry, resources and recreation. We all agree that our state’s economic future is linked to healthy oceans and coasts. But these economic benefits are in turn dependent on a healthy ocean ecosystem. There is abundant evidence in our polluted beaches, overfished stocks and coastal erosion that our exploitation of ocean resources has already damaged Florida’s oceans and coasts. In contrast to Bishop, many citizens think that our growing use of the sea must be balanced with stewardship for future generations, especially in the current economic climate.


Week of Oct. 25, 2009

Dead fish drifting in Indonesia after oil leak (AP, Oct. 30, 2009)
Thousands of dead fish and clumps of oil have been found drifting near Indonesia's coastline more than two months after an underwater well began leaking in the Timor Sea, officials and fishermen said.


Op-ed: The thin green line: Does shipping need a sea change (San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 30, 2009)
This morning's oil spill in the bay, nearly two years to the date from the infamous Cosco Busan incident, is a stark reminder of the environmental hazards posed by shipping. The Panamanian oil tanker vessel spilled bunker oil, which powers most ships. It is the gunky stuff literally from the bottom of the barrel of oil. It contains high concentrations of sulfur and is 1,000 times dirtier than the diesel fuel that trucks use. Some green groups have called on the shipping industry to use cleaner fuel. Biofuels would be great, but even more refined fossil fuels would be a start.


Op-ed: Cleaner shipping (Anchorage Daily News, Oct. 29, 2009)
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed ambitious air pollution limits for U.S.-flagged oceangoing vessels -- cruise ships, container ships, tankers -- within 200 miles of any coast in most of North America, including a large swath of Alaska.


Woman tackles 'Great Garbage Patch' (CNN, Oct. 29, 2009)
She learned how to sail at age 4 and spent almost half her life running an international yacht chartering business in Sausalito, California. But about two years ago, Crowley dove into a new project: helping to clean up the world's oceans. She set sail on a monthlong voyage into the North Pacific Gyre, parts of which are known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


Multiyear Arctic ice is effectively gone (ABC News, Oct. 29, 2009)
The multiyear ice covering the Arctic Ocean has effectively vanished, a startling development that will make it easier to open up polar shipping routes, an Arctic expert said on Thursday.


Tuna ban 'justified' by science (BBC, Oct. 29, 2009)
Banning trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna is justified by the extent of their decline, an analysis by scientists advising fisheries regulators suggests.


Ocean acidity may cause shellfish decline (UPI, Oct. 27, 2009)
U.S. scientists say they have discovered ocean acidification might be contributing to global shellfish declines.


NOAA and partners announce South Atlantic Alliance (NOAA, Oct. 26, 2009)
Representatives from NOAA and the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, announced the formation of a partnership to better manage and protect ocean and coastal resources, ensure regional economic sustainability, and respond to disasters such as hurricanes. The announcement was made during the annual meeting of the Coastal States Organization in Charleston, S.C.

NOAA and FDA to combine resources on seafood inspection (NOAA, Oct. 26, 2009)
NOAA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration unveiled an interagency agreement today to strengthen seafood inspection and improve seafood safety and quality.


Japan, Netherlands agree to ensure maritime safety over anti-whaling (Kyodo News, Oct. 26, 2009)
Japanese and Dutch leaders agreed Monday to ensure maritime safety with regard to a campaign by antiwhaling activists aboard a Dutch vessel targeting a Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.

'Freezer plan' bid to save coral (BBC, Oct. 25, 2009)
The prospects of saving the world's coral reefs now appear so bleak that plans are being made to freeze samples to preserve them for the future.


Week of Oct. 18, 2009

Ocean task force delays decision on South Coast Marine Protected Area plan (San Clemente Times, Oct. 23, 2009)
The Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force, a governor-appointed advisory group, this week reviewed three marine protected area plans for coastal waters between Point Conception and the border with Mexico. After three days of meetings and six hours of public testimony, the Task Force decided to wait for further scientific analysis before recommending a preferred alternative. They will meet again on November 10 in Los Angeles.

'Dead-zone' microbe measures ocean health (CBC News, Oct. 22, 2009)
Canadian and U.S. researchers have mapped the genome of a microbe that lives in ocean "dead zones," areas of low-oxygen water that are expanding because of climate change. Researchers at the University of British Columbia and the U.S. Department of Energy say the microbe, called SUP05, is the most abundant organism in these oxygen-minimum zones and plays an important role in their ecosystems.


Changing Arctic affecting air, ocean and everything in between (NOAA Press Release, Oct. 22, 2009)
Despite the fact that summer 2009 had more sea ice than in 2007 or 2008, scientists are seeing drastic changes in the region from just five years ago and at rates faster than anticipated. The findings were presented today in the annual update of the Arctic Report Card, a collaborative effort of 71 national and international scientists.


Fishermen contest plans for Calif. ocean reserves (AP, Oct. 22, 2009)
There's nothing pacific about the ocean off Southern California these days. A battle over how to establish marine reserves along the coast has roiled the waters with the competing interests of environmentalists, fishermen and seaside businesses.

Oceans ambassador calls for use study in Arctic (AP, Oct. 22, 2009)
The United States must move forward with science research to make good decisions about how to manage human activities in the Arctic Ocean, the ambassador for oceans and fisheries said Wednesday.


Japan catches 59 whales off northern island (AP, Oct. 19, 2009)
Japan said Monday it has caught 59 whales — one short of the maximum allowed by international guidelines — under a research program that critics say is a cover for commercial whaling.

Maldives leader turns stuntman (AFP, Oct. 18, 2009)
Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed, who staged the world's first underwater cabinet meeting at the weekend, is emerging as the global stuntman in the battle against climate change.