It seems like any news we hear about our oceans these days is bad. This Thanksgiving, let’s focus on the positive. Here are three stories that caught our eye that give us hope for our oceans.
1- More marine protected areas
England named 27 marine conservation zones this week, of which 5 are offshore. This is a big step to protect the rapidly declining populations of fish, lobsters, oysters and seahorses. Scientists are not satisfied since they had recommended five times as many sites, but the way we see it every little bit helps. These zones will be multi-use so there will still be some potting allowed.
2- Stellar sea lions have been removed from the endangered species list.
Right in time for the 40th anniversary of the endangered species act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has removed the Eastern Stellar sea lion from the endangered species list. This is only the second time that an animal has been delisted , the last time being when the North Pacific gray whale was deemed recovered in 1994. It’s estimated that the population went from 18,000 eastern Stellar sea lions in 1979 to over 70,000 in 2010. As NOAA put it in their press release: “there are only two ways to get off the list: either go extinct, or recover.” We prefer the latter!
3- Shark fin soup is decreasing in popularity in China
Thanks to the efforts of NBA player Yao Ming and many other campaigns including one run by the Chinese government, there has been a decrease in demand for shark fin soup. Shark fin soup has traditionally been served to honor guests at weddings and large gatherings. The effects of shark finning, during which fins are removed and the sharks left to bleed to death or drown, are devastating to these too predators and their ecosystems. Whether sharks can now start to recover remains to be seen but we are happy to hear about consumers making wise choices!
Want more good news? Why not pick up a copy of Fish Meat, which has a nice, feel-good message at the end?
Have you heard any good news related to the oceans lately? We’d love to hear it!
All images from Wikimedia commons. Seahorse picture by Andrew & Wendy Mc from Birkenhead, England (Flickr), Steller sea lion photo by Rylee Isitt (http://www.flickr.com/photos/risitt/4295309801/), shark fin soup picture by Andrew Fung (20090128-070328) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons