The Weekly Dive Vol. 41

Dive into the latest edition of The Weekly Dive, where we bring you the big ocean news!

10-fold increase in MPAs over last decade. With several recent huge additions, 2.3% of the world ocean is now protected; though still low, this marks great progress. However measuring success in sheer area of protection is misleading. The importance of various habitats, and enforcement of protections are key issues. [The BBC]

Sierra Leone illegal pirate fishermen export to EU market. A new report says West Africa has the world’s highest incidence of pirate fishing, and that weaknesses in EU regulations could allow illegally caught fish to enter the European market. From fishing inside protected areas to attacking local fishermen, regulations must improve and pirate fishermen should be blacklisted rather than be able to earn money from their catch, the report says.  [The BBC] 

Australia seeks sustainable certification for shark finning operation. The Marine Stewardship Council is analyzing the Western Australian shark fin fishery, which exports to Asia. A sustainability rating will likely increase the demand and price for fins, which are wastefully harvested by dismembering living sharks and throwing back the body with most of the meat. The Fisheries Minister says the catch limits are strong and the shark population in the region is stable. [The Australian] 

Costa Rica bans shark finning. The new ban closes loopholes in a 2001 law. It bans finning as well as transportation and importation of fins; they have also invested in a radar system to improve enforcement. Subsistence shark fishing is still permitted. [The Huffington Post] 

Tsunami debris brings potential invasive species from Japan to North America. Foreign creatures transported to the North American west coast by Japanese tsunami debris have sparked fears that they could be harmful to local ecosystems. [Business Insider] 

Human causes behind most whale deaths in north Atlantic since 1970s. A study found that in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, entanglement in fishing gear was the most common cause of death for large whales over the last 40 years. Overall, 67% of fatalities were related to human causes. [The Huffington Post] 

Environmentalists and fishermen united against seismic testing for oil exploration. Amidst a similar debate on the West Coast, environmentalists and fishermen on the East Coast express concern over the possible approval next year of sonar tests by the oil and gas industry, which could disrupt or kill marine life. [The New York Times] 

Today also marks the return of the video editions of the Weekly Dive! What is a humpback whale calf's growth rate? Watch to learn this and more!

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