Weekly Ocean News 19.04.23

April 19, 2024



New research shows juvenile great white sharks select warm, shallow waters and, for the second year in a row, over 100 hammerheads have gathered at one of Australia’s busiest beaches.

Climate change has the potential to shift the plant composition of whole ecosystems, increase the porosity of mussel shells and influence the behaviour of coral reef fish, who are predicted to reach smaller maximum sizes and start reproducing earlier.



There are declining fish populations in Brazil and Iceland. The landings of Icelandic vessels saw a decline of 77% in the last year, with Capelin landings declining by 26%.

The UK experienced some backlash this week with Brussels picking a fight over the UK ban on sand eel fishing and France protesting the UK ban on bottom trawling in MPAs. Conservationists have backed the ban, accusing the French government of hypocrisy for opposing it. A ban on bottom trawling in all MPAs would be ‘good for everyone’.



Speaking of banning bottom trawling in MPAs…Greece becomes the first European country to ban bottom trawling in all of the country’s MPAs!

The Dominican Republic formally commits to protecting 30% of waters and Our Ocean Conference saw over 400 pledges exceeding $10 billion in value. However, Angelo Villagomez, who spoke at the conference said “at this rate, raising the area of global ocean protection from 8% to 30% will take an additional 880 years”.



A deadly water mold is devastating what is left of St Helena’s endemic trees.

Our Ocean Conference saw world leaders call on nations to ratify the High Seas Treaty, the EU announced its key commitments and Tristan da Cunha became one of three MPAs to receive a Blue Park Award!

UK reaffirms commitment to Arctic security and prosperity.



Marine researchers have mapped the density of one of the most endangered whale species worldwide, the North Atlantic right whale, using new data to help avoid right whales’ harmful exposure to commercial fisheries and vessel strikes.  Similarly, the Greek project, “SAvE Whales” is using innovative technology to protect endangered sperm whales from collisions with ships in areas where re-routing of vessel traffic is not possible.

Europe lags behind in taking action to protect porpoises from dying as bycatch in fishing nets and RSPCA is rescuing the poor birds caught in fishing litter.


Climate Crisis

Hundreds of months-old emperor penguins have been observed, for the first time, to gather and jump off the top of an Antarctic ice shelf towering roughly 50 feet above the sea. Scientists theorises that the shift could be related to increasingly earlier seasonal thawing of the sea ice caused by climate change.

Dubai and Pakistan experience lightning and unusually heavy rain, as they face the impacts of climate change…but so do Indigenous peoples and local communities.

NOAA confirmed the 4th global coral bleaching event this week and some worry small-scale restoration work cannot save coral globally.

The Scottish government is to ditch its flagship target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030 and Switzerland is also facing scrutiny for failing to do enough against climate change. However, seven countries now generate all of their energy from renewable sources, and China wants to put solar panels out at sea to generate clean energy on a vast scale…but there are difficult waters to navigate first.

Steve Backshall describes River Thames pollution as ‘toxic’.



A newly developed ROV (remotely operated vehicle)-deployed system can make immediate repairs to small holes in nets used for aquaculture.

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