The Weekly Dive Vol. 8


Dive into the latest edition of The Weekly Dive, where we bring you the big ocean news - along with the video update!

Costa Concordia – an environmental tragedy? The cruise liner’s downfall in a Mediterranean marine park last week not only lost human lives, but has been described by scientists as an “ecological timebomb.”  The biggest concern is the possibility of an oil spill in the fragile habitat with work in progress to remove oil from the ship. While the full environmental impact of the wreck is still being assessed, the incident highlights the cruise industry’s environmental record, which has been called inconsistent at best – the biggest issue being dumping of raw waste at sea. [The Guardian]

New proposal to save the whales is making waves.  Though commercial whaling is outlawed, the number of whales killed each year has reportedly doubled since the 1990s. A new article published in Nature is proposing cap-and-trade regulations on whale catches, arguing that a market approach would decrease whale deaths and break a stalemate in negotiations between whaling and anti-whaling nations. Whale activists, however, argue against putting a price on whales or lifting the moratorium on whaling. [Science Daily]

A “fintastic” start to the Chinese New Year. Ahead of the biggest season for shark fin soup sales, the Shangri-la hotel group announced it would no longer serve the dish. Shark populations remain threatened, however, as many restaurateurs have yet to follow suit and demand for fins remains high. [The Guardian]

One step forward for oil drillers, two giant steps back for the Arctic Ocean. Royal Dutch Shell cleared another hurdle to building Arctic oil wells after the Environmental Protection Agency rejected challenges brought by environmental and Alaska Native groups to drilling permits under the Clean Air Act. [The New York Times]

Huge new demand is wiping out manta rays. Demand has jumped in Asia for the gill rakers of manta and mobula rays, which have been purported to have beneficial medicinal properties. However, a report quotes practitioners of Chinese medicine saying the gill rakers, filters for feeding on tiny prey, have no healing properties, and points to traders simply creating a market. [The New York Times]

Whale song falls silent. A new study reveals humpback whales stop singing as a result of marine acoustic testing taking place at distances of more than 200 miles away. It’s been known that sonar has an adverse effect on whales at close range, but this is the first data showing its impacts can carry over long distances. This study adds to mounting evidence that anthropogenic noise pollution interferes with marine mammals’ means of communication, navigation, finding food and detecting predators. [CNN]
 
Disturbing: footage of shark finning – and its aftermath. Dan Rather reports on shark finning. The footage exposes how extensive the finning industry is, and how tragic the repercussions are for the ocean.

And now presenting the Weekly Dive video edition four! This week we cover bag bans, a cool shark app, and cetacean facts!

 

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