The Weekly Dive Vol. 5

New year means new MPAs for Southern California. California South Coast Marine Protected Areas will take effect January 1st. The new network of 50 MPAs and two special closures will cover about 354 square miles or fifteen percent of state waters between Point Conception and the Mexico border. Happy New Year, ocean! [CA Department of Fish and Game]

The true meaning behind farmed seafood eco-labels… A recent review of farmed seafood eco- standards and certifications reveals they offer only a modest environmental benefit when compared to conventionally farmed fish. Generally, organic certifications performed the best, demonstrating the highest standards, but some labels did not even meet the industry average. [The Vancouver Sun]

Hopping in with hammerheads. Join Richard Pyle, OWOO partner scientist and ichthyologist, and the coolest fish nerd we know, as he writes a series of blogs for The New York Times Green blog about his recent trip with the OWOO crew in Cocos Island. The latest installment documents his observations during an incredible dive with sharks and manta rays. [The New York Times]

Research shows oil is even more toxic in wildlife than expected. Researchers found that embryos of Pacific herring absorbed the oil, which then induced phototoxicity, causing them to disintegrate when exposed to sunlight. Previously, this had only been demonstrated in a laboratory setting and was not incorporated into prior studies or discussions on the effects of oil spills on marine ecosystems. [The Los Angeles Times]

Taking a stand against pirate fishing. Efforts are increasing to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which undermines livelihoods and sustainability efforts by plundering up to 22% of world fisheries production. A joint declaration in September by the EU and US to close their markets to illegally-caught seafood is a great step forward.  [The Huffington Post]

Meet Siku – chief polar bear ambassador. As seen in this week’s featured video, the little month-old polar bear is simply too cute! The cub, whose name means “sea ice,” is being raised by humans after his mother was unable to produce enough milk. Scientists hope Siku will become an ambassador of wild polar bears, and inspire people to protect them. With all this early publicity, he’s off to a good start!


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