Category: Seas / Oceans


Could Dangerous Underwater Volcano in Caribbean Cause a US Tsunami?

PHOTO: View from "Hercules," a 5,000-pound submersible used by Robert Ballard and his team.
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A team of scientists is exploring the darkest corners of a huge underwater volcano in the Caribbean in hopes of better understanding the mysteries of earthquakes and tsunamis, ultimately saving lives.

Kick’em Jenny is a dangerous and active volcano sitting roughly 6,000 feet below the surface of the Caribbean Sea, and located off the coast of the island of Grenada, south of St. Lucia.

Robert Ballard, famous for discovering the Titanic 12,000 feet below the surface of the icy North Atlantic in 1985, set his sights on exploring the Kick’em Jenny to study its eruption history and learn more about how underwater volcanoes can pose a threat.

Ballard, the president of The Ocean Exploration Trust and the director of the Center for Ocean Exploration at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, said the Kick’em Jenny volcano has a history of explosive eruptions, which could have the potential to trigger tsunamis, the effects from which could be felt as far away as the northeastern United States.

 

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ScienceDaily: Your source for the latest research news

Undersea warfare: Viruses hijack deep-sea bacteria at hydrothermal vents

Date:
May 1, 2014
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
More than a mile beneath the ocean’s surface, as dark clouds of mineral-rich water billow from seafloor hot springs called hydrothermal vents, unseen armies of viruses and bacteria wage war.

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Credit: NOAA

[Click to enlarge image]

More than a mile beneath the ocean’s surface, as dark clouds of mineral-rich water billow from seafloor hot springs called hydrothermal vents, unseen armies of viruses and bacteria wage war.

Like pirates boarding a treasure-laden ship, the viruses infect bacterial cells to get the loot: tiny globules of elemental sulfur stored inside the bacterial cells.

Instead of absconding with their prize, the viruses force the bacteria to burn their valuable sulfur reserves, then use the unleashed energy to replicate.

“Our findings suggest that viruses in the dark oceans indirectly access vast energy sources in the form of elemental sulfur,” said University of Michigan marine microbiologist and oceanographer Gregory Dick, whose team collected DNA from deep-sea microbes in seawater samples from hydrothermal vents in the Western Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California.

“We suspect that these viruses are essentially hijacking bacterial cells and getting them to consume elemental sulfur so the viruses can propagate themselves,” said Karthik Anantharaman of the University of Michigan, first author of a paper on the findings published this week in the journal Science Express.

Similar microbial interactions have been observed in shallow ocean waters between photosynthetic bacteria and the viruses that prey upon them.

But this is the first time such a relationship has been seen in a chemosynthetic system, one in which the microbes rely solely on inorganic compounds, rather than sunlight, as their energy source.

“Viruses play a cardinal role in biogeochemical processes in ocean shallows,” said David Garrison, a program director in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the research. “They may have similar importance in deep-sea thermal vent environments.”

 

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Hmmmm,  alert the presses and  let  everyone  know  that in spite of the  facts that  :

Oil spills are  never  properly  cleaned up and the  side effects of  the  chemicals  and  toxins  left  behind linger  for  years.

Energy Companies  responsible  for the  spills are  never  truly  held  accountable  for  all the  damage  done  due to carelessness and  cost  cutting to fatten their  bottom line

Sea life , Coral Reefs, and  the  food chain  in  oil spill damaged  areas face  death at  every turn.  While the  culprits shrug their  shoulders and  say   “Oh Well”

Coastlines are negatively impacted.  Damaging  not  only the  ecology but the livelihood  of  those  who depend  on  a clean and healthy ocean to sustain themselves  and  their families.

The  Energy Companies walk away  after THEY feel they  have  done  enough when in  reality  they  fall  woefully  short  and the   corrupt  government taking   corporate  kickbacks   allows  them to  get  away  with  their  crimes  with a slap on the  wrist.

 

In spite of all this  destruction ……..Oil Spills create  jobs.

 

Would that  also be the case  for oil spills caused  by,

oh let’s say, pipeline leaks and  train derailments in populated  areas where  not only  people  are affected, but  their  ground water  and lands are  poisoned with chemicals and toxic oil that  can never  truly be completely removed?

Yes indeed, that  certainly  is worth  the  jobs   created  alright……NOT!!

 

~Desert Rose~

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Kinder Morgan: Oil Spills’ Economic Effects Are Both Good And Bad

The Huffington Post Canada  |  Posted: 05/01/2014 1:41 pm EDT  |  Updated: 05/01/2014 1:59 pm EDT

 

kinder morgan

There is at least something of a bright side to oil spills, pipeline company Kinder Morgan says.

In a recent submission to the National Energy Board, the company says marine oil spills “can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies” thanks to the economic activity generated by cleanup operations.

“Spill response and clean-up creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and clean-up service providers,” the company says.

The comments appear in a 15,000-page application to the NEB to triple the capacity of its Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries oil from Alberta to Port Metro Vancouver.

Environmentalists fear an increase in oil shipments through West Coast waters would increase the risk of oil tanker accidents.

Kinder Morgan’s submission doesn’t ignore the negatives; it points out that oil spills are devastating to fishing and tourism industries, and notes the negative impacts on human health, damage to property and harm done to “cultural resources.”

But it cites a 1990 research paper looking at the economic impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill to argue there are positive elements as well.

 

Read More Here

 

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It’s in the cards; spread of possible oil spill tracked by ‘drift card’ study

  • Apr 1, 2014 at 12:00PM updated at 2:33PM

Jennifer of Victoria and a friend show off a drift card that she found on Vancouver Island.  - Contributed photo/Friends of San Juans

Jennifer of Victoria and a friend show off a drift card that she found on Vancouver Island.

— image credit: Contributed photo/Friends of San Juans

Journal staff report

Conservation groups from Washington and British Columbia commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill by launching 650 ‘drift cards’ along Salish Sea oil tanker routes.

The event, organized by Friends of the San Juans in Washington state and by Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Georgia Strait Alliance in Canada, is part of a study mapping the path that an oil spill might take in the Salish Sea.

The cards were dropped at two locations: off Turn Point, Stuart Island, where Haro Strait intersects with Boundary Pass, and near Bird Rocks in Rosario Strait. They carry a simple message: This Could Be Oil.

This research responds to a sharp increase in fossil fuel export projects proposed in British Columbia and Washington state. The proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal at Cherry Point north of Bellingham and Kinder Morgan’s increase in tar-sands shipping from Vancouver, and other projects, would add an additional 2,620 ship transits per year to the waters of the Salish Sea, making the region one of North America’s busiest fossil fuel shipping corridors.Drift card

“The increased risk of a major oil spill in the Salish Sea is real,” said Stephanie Buffum, executive director of Friends of the San Juans. “Anyone with a cultural, environmental or economic interest in our region should get engaged with Coast Guard rulemaking; familiarize themselves with effects of cargo traveling through our waters; and ask decision makers to ensure diluted bitumen (oil sand) is classified as a petroleum product that is taxed to fund oil spill clean-up efforts.”

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Here are some of  those  job opportunities Kinder Morgan was referring to  :

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BP pipeline sprays ‘oily mist’ over 33 acres of Alaskan tundra

Published time: May 01, 2014 03:15

Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett

Reuters / Suzanne Plunkett

Alaska state officials confirmed Wednesday that an oily mist sprung from a compromised oil pipeline and sprayed into the wind without stopping for at least two hours, covering 33 acres of the frozen snow field in the oil well’s vicinity.

The discovery was at the BP-owned Prudhoe oil field on Alaska’s North Slope, the northernmost region of the state where a number of profitable oil fields sit beneath the tundra. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) revealed that BP officials found the mist during a routine inspection on Monday.

Initial reports said that 27 acres had been covered, although that figure was updated later on Wednesday. The cause is still under investigation, according to the Associated Press, but officials know that the mist was made up of a mixture of gas, crude oil, and water. They also reported that while the noxious mist was distributed over such a wide area by 30 mph winds, no wildlife was impacted.

BP spokeswoman Dawn Patience said the company is “still assessing repairs” and will soon know what, if any, long-term effects the spill could have.

The Prudhoe Bay region, like elsewhere in the North Slope, is home to a great number of migratory birds and caribou, as well as other animals, such as a massive porcupine herd. Clean-up efforts are expected to be complete before birds pass through the region again in the coming weeks.

The company was at fault in at least two oil spills in the same region since 2006. That year, an estimated 267,000 gallons of oil seeped through a quarter-inch sized hole in a corroded BP pipeline. That accident went unnoticed for five days, until an oil worker smelled the aroma of crude when driving through the area, according to Think Progress.

 

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Lynchburg, Virginia Train Derailment Sparks Fire, Fills Air With Plumes Of Black Smoke

Posted: 04/30/2014 2:57 pm EDT Updated: 04/30/2014 5:59 pm EDT

 

LYNCHBURG TRAIN

A CSX train derailed near downtown Lynchburg, Virginia around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, prompting evacuations and calls to avoid part of the city as flames and a plume of black smoke rose into the air. There are no immediate reports of injuries.

The City Of Lynchburg announced that the train was carrying crude oil and three or four of its 13 to 14 cars were breached.

“There is some spillage in the river of crude oil,” Lynchburg city spokeswoman LuAnn Hunt told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Richmond primarily draws its water from the James River, downstream from Lynchburg. Another official said the city is making plans to tap an “alternative water supply.”

The train’s tankers may be from a class of rail cars deemed an “unacceptable public risk” by a member of the National Transportation Safety Board in February. These black, pill-shaped cars, known as DOT-111s, have been involved in recent notable oil train derailments in North Dakota and Quebec.

“We are very clear that this issue needs to be acted on very quickly,” National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman told reporters last week. The Transportation Department is currently working on stricter standards for rail tank cars used to transport hazardous materials. “They aren’t moving fast enough,” Hersman said.

 

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Explosive Virginia Train Carried Fracked Bakken Oil, Headed to Potential Export Facility

Posted: 05/01/2014 1:50 pm EDT Updated: 05/01/2014 2:59 pm EDT

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Platts confirmed CSX Corporation’s train that exploded in Lynchburg, Virginia was carrying sweet crude obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin. CSX CEO Michael Ward has also confirmed this to Bloomberg.

Photo Credit: Erin Ferrell – ABC 13 News | Twitter

“Trade sources said the train was carrying Bakken crude from North Dakota and was headed to Plains All American’s terminal in Yorktown,” Platts explained. “The Yorktown facility can unload 130,000 b/d of crude and is located on the site of Plains oil product terminal.”

In January, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued a Safety Alert concluding Bakken crude is more flammable than heavier oils. Hence the term “bomb trains.”

At least 50,000 gallons of the oil headed to Yorktown is now missing, according to ABC 13 in Lynchburg. Some of it has spilled into the James River, as previously reported on DeSmogBlog.

A map available on CSX’s website displaying the routes for its crude-by-rail trains offers a clear indication of where the train was headed.


Map Credit: CSX Corporation

Formerly a refinery owned by Standard Oil and then BP/Amoco, Plains All American has turned the Yorktown refinery into a mega holding facility.

Yorktown may become a key future site for crude oil exports if the ban on exports of oil produced domestically in the U.S. is lifted. 

Yorktown: Future Oil Export Mecca?

In February, Plains CEO Greg Armstrong said on the company’s quarter four earnings call that Yorktown is ideally situated geographically to become an oil export mecca if the ban is lifted.

When asked by an analyst from Bank of America about the ongoing debate over lifting the crude oil export ban, Armstrong discussed how Plains could stand to profit from exports.

 

Read More Here

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Holding BP Accountable: Environmental Justice Struggle Continues in Gulf Region After 2010 Spill

 

 

Published on Oct 1, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – The oil giant BP is back in court for the April 2010 accident that caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, killing 11 workers and leaking almost five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday, the second phase of the trial began with lawyers accusing the oil company of lying about how much oil was leaking, failing to prepare for how to handle the disaster, and for not capping the leak quick enough. We’re joined in New Orleans by Monique Harden, co-director of Advocates for Environmental Human Rights and an attorney who specializes in environmental justice concerns in New Orleans. In the aftermath of the BP spill, Harden’s organization exposed how the oil giant had contracted with a claims processing company that promoted its record of reducing lost dollar pay-outs for injuries and damage caused by its client companies. We are also joined by John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority — East, which has brought a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies for destruction of the Gulf coastline, making the area more at risk from flooding and storm surges.

Democracy Now!, is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,200+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch it live 8-9am ET at http://www.democracynow.org.

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Deepwater Disaster BP Oil Spill Documentary

Published on Feb 24, 2014

BP oil spill redirects here. For the 2006 oil spill involving BP, see Prudhoe Bay oil spill. For other uses, see The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also refe.

BBC Stephen Fry And The Great American Oil Spill BBC Documentary on BP Oil Spill Disaster. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil sp.

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TAGS: Gulf Of Mexico (Body Of Water) Disaster (Quotation Subject) Oil Spill (Disaster Type) Beach Flip Ocean May Cry Thomas Engine Storm Start Back Front Tra.

Full documenary Channel.Please subscrible our channel to watch more videos. Deepwater Disaster BP Oil Spill Documentary . All our videos for just education.

Please Enjoy. Subscribe & Like too. Thanks. Cheers! Stephen Fry loves Louisiana. Four months after the BP oil spill, dubbed the worst ecological disaster in .

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, also called the BP Oil Spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill or the Macondo blowout. I dont Own the Video Footage or Images..

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On the three year memorial of the BP Oil Spill disaster I wanted to share with you one very important fact. BP has been lying to you! Due to decades of abuse.

Visit to find out how you can help! On April 20, 2010, the largest environmental disaster in US history began when the Deepwater Horizo.

A documentary that examines the April 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. News Feeds on the issue ht.

BP Oil Spill Timeline.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil spill, the BP oil disaster, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the Macondo blowout) began on 2.

Please read the description! What really happened with the cover-up of the Deep Water Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. Josh and Rebecca Tickell interv.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the BP oil disaster or the Macondo blowout) is an oil sp.

This video covers many environmental results of the BP Oil Spill, which originated from a rig explosion on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, placing an e.

Footage about the greatest oil disaster of all times (2010 Gulf) Watch at our Planet like it would be your Child! dont close your eyes! do your part!

 

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The 14,000 Oil Spills Nobody is Talking About | Brainwash Update

 

Published on Feb 11, 2014

Abby Martin goes over updates to the chemical spill in West Virginia and the coal-ash spill in North Carolina, exposing the human and environmental impact as well as the lack of accountability that accompanies tens of thousands of similar ecological catastrophes that occur in the US every year due to the US’ addiction to fossil fuel.

 

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WHALES AHOY


by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) April 18, 2014

Japan said Friday it would redesign its controversial Antarctic whaling mission in a bid to make it more scientific, after a United Nations court ruled it was a commercial hunt masquerading as research.

The bullish response, which could see harpoon ships back in the Southern Ocean next year, sets Tokyo back on a collision course with environmentalists.

Campaigners had hailed the decision by the International Court of Justice, with hopes that it might herald the end of a practice they view as barbaric.

“We will carry out extensive studies in cooperation with ministries concerned to submit a new research programme by this autumn to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), reflecting the criteria laid out in the verdict,” said Yoshimasa Hayashi, minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Japan, a member of the IWC, has hunted whales under a loophole allowing for lethal research. It has always maintained that it was intending to prove the whale population was large enough to sustain commercial hunting.

But it never hid the fact that the by-product of whale meat made its way onto menus.

“The verdict confirmed that the (IWC moratorium) is partly aimed at sustainable use of whale resources.

“Following this, our country will firmly maintain its basic policy of conducting whaling for research, on the basis of international law and scientific foundations, to collect scientific data necessary for the regulation of whale resources, and aim for resumption of commercial whaling.”

Hayashi, who had met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier in the day, confirmed a previous announcement that the 2014-15 hunt in the Southern Ocean would not go ahead.

Last month’s court ruling does not apply to Japan’s two other whaling programmes: a “research” hunt in coastal waters and in the northwestern Pacific, and a much smaller programme that operates along the coast, which is not subject to the international ban.

 

Read More Here

 

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SBS News

  • null

    (AP)
   
Hundreds of Japanese officials and pro-whaling lobbyists have eaten whale in defiance of a international court ruling that ordered the country to stop its Antarctic whaling program.
By

SBS with AAP
UPDATED 2:05 PM – 16 Apr 2014

The 26th whale meat tasting event in Tokyo was hosted near the nation’s parliament and was attended by lawmakers, officials and pro-whaling lobbyists.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told attendees that the country must protect its whale-eating culture.

“[Japan] has a policy of harvesting and sustainably using the protein source from the ocean, and that is unshakable,” Associated Press quoted Mr Hayashi as saying.

Meanwhile, a lower house MP criticised the arguments against whaling as emotional and not based on reason.

“Japan’s whaling is based on scientific reasons, while counterarguments by anti-whaling groups are emotional, saying they are against the hunts because whales are cute or smart,” the Japan Times reported Shunichi Suzuki of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party as saying.

 

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Japan ‘will continue whaling in Pacific’

Updated: 15:21, Friday April 18, 2014

Japan 'will continue whaling in Pacific'

Japan has decided to continue its whaling program in the Pacific Ocean, reports say, despite losing a United Nations court case on its other “research” hunt in the Antarctic.

If confirmed, the move will likely spark anger among environmentalists who hailed a ruling in March by the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Tokyo’s hunt in the Southern Ocean was a commercial activity disguised as science.

Japan has exploited a loophole in a 1986 moratorium that allowed it to conduct lethal research on the mammals, but has openly admitted their meat makes its way onto dinner tables.

Campaigners urged Tokyo to follow the spirit of the ruling, and not just its letter, which specifically referred to Japan’s hunt in the Antarctic, not its other research scheme in the northwest Pacific or its smaller coastal program.

But after the ICJ verdict, a government review has said the Pacific hunt should press ahead, public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News Agency reported on Friday.

The review suggests the Pacific mission should reduce its catch and focus more on carrying out research that does not involve catching whales.

A spokesman for the fisheries agency said he was unable to comment.

 

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LiveScience

Unusual Bacteria Gobbles Up Carbon in the Ocean

Debris in the Pacific Ocean, ocean currents

 

Underneath the floating debris in the Pacific Ocean.

Credit: NOAA – Marine Debris Program.

 

The finding may help researchers better understand how carbon cycling works in marine ecosystems.

“We found that an individual bacterial strain was capable of consuming the same amount of carbon in the ocean as diverse [bacterial] communities,” said study author Byron E. Pedler at the University of California, San Diego.

The researchers found the results surprising because of the immense diversity of molecules that constitute dissolved carbon in one form or another in the ocean, Pedler told Live Science.

Those molecules include both “young” carbon recently produced by phytoplankton — the tiny organisms that are the foundation of the marine food web, and really old carbon that is hundreds of years old. Some of this carbon consists of carbohydrates, but a significant portion of it “is simply uncharacterizable, in that even modern chemical techniques cannot determine what it is,” Pedler said.

 

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A photo of a fishmonger peeling the spine from a tuna.

A worker peels the spine from a tuna at New York’s Fulton Fish Market—the world’s largest after the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, Japan—on March 29, 2013.

PHOTOGRAPH BY JOHN MINCHILLO, AP

Brian Clark Howard

Published April 9, 2014

Do you know if the fish on your plate is legal? A new study estimates that 20 to 32 percent of wild-caught seafood imported into the U.S. comes from illegal or “pirate” fishing. That’s a problem, scientists say, because it erodes the ability of governments to limit overfishing and the ability of consumers to know where their food comes from.

The estimated illegal catch is valued at $1.3 billion to $2.1 billion annually and represents between 15 and 26 percent of the total value of wild-caught seafood imported into the U.S., report scientists in a new study in the journal Marine Policy.

Study co-author Tony Pitcher says those results surprised his team. “We didn’t think it would be as big as that. To think that one in three fish you eat in the U.S. could be illegal, that’s a bit scary,” says Pitcher, who is a professor at the fisheries center of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

To get those numbers, Pitcher and three other scientists analyzed data on seafood imported into the U.S. in 2011. They combed through government and academic reports, conducted fieldwork, and interviewed stakeholders.

The scientists report that tuna from Thailand had the highest volume of illegal products, 32,000 to 50,000 metric tons, representing 25 to 40 percent of tuna imports from that country. That was followed by pollack from China, salmon from China, and tuna from the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Other high volumes were seen with octopus from India, snappers from Indonesia, crabs from Indonesia, and shrimp from Mexico, Indonesia, and Ecuador.

Imports from Canada all had levels of illegal catches below 10 percent. So did imports of clams from Vietnam and toothfish from Chile.

Graphic showing percent of seafood imported into the U.S. that is illegal and unreported.

NG STAFF. SOURCE: P. GANAPATHIRAJU, ET AL., MARINE POLICY

In response to the study, Connie Barclay, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Fisheries, said, “We agree that [pirate] fishing is a global problem, but we do not agree with the statistics that are being highlighted in the report.” Barclay says data are too scarce to make the conclusions verifiable.

But, she adds, “NOAA is working to stop [pirate] fishing and the import of these products into the U.S. market.” She points to recent increased collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and improved electronic tracking of trade data.

Pirate Fishing

The U.S. is important to consider when it comes to fishing because it is tied with Japan as the largest single importer of seafood, with each nation responsible for about 13 to 14 percent of the global total, says Pitcher. Americans spent $85.9 billion on seafood in 2011, with about $57.7 billion of that spent at restaurants, $27.6 billion at retail, and $625 million on industrial fish products.

However, what few Americans realize, says Pitcher, is that roughly 90 percent of all seafood consumed in the United States is imported, and about half of that is wild caught, according to NOAA.

Pirate fishing is fishing that is unreported to authorities or done in ways that circumvent fishery quotas and laws. In their paper, the authors write that pirate fishing “distorts competition, harms honest fishermen, weakens coastal communities, promotes tax evasion, and is frequently associated with transnational crime such as narcotraffic and slavery at sea.” (See: “West Africans Fight Pirate Fishing With Cell Phones.”)

Scientists estimate that between 13 and 31 percent of all seafood catches around the world are illegal, worth $10 billion to $23.5 billion per year. That illegal activity puts additional stress on the world’s fish stocks, 85 percent of which are already fished to their biological limit or beyond, says Tony Long, the U.K.-based director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s Ending Illegal Fishing Project.

“The ocean is vast, so it is very difficult for countries to control what goes on out there,” says Long. He explains that pirate fishers are often crafty, going to remote areas where enforcement is lax. They may leave a port with a certain name on the boat and the flag of a particular country, engage in illegal fishing, then switch the name and flag and unload their catch at a different port.

 

Read More Here

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The oceans are vast and humans are small — as the monthlong hunt for a vanished Malaysian jetliner demonstrates. Think of the challenge, then, for law enforcement and fisheries managers in going after fleets of shady boats that engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. These criminals ply the seas and sell their catches with impunity, making off with an estimated 11 million to 26 million metric tons of stolen fish each year, a worldwide haul worth about $10 billion to $23.5 billion. Many use banned gear like floating gillnets, miles long, that indiscriminately slaughter countless unwanted fish along with seabirds, marine mammals, turtles and other creatures.

The danger that illegal fishing poses to vulnerable ocean ecosystems is self-evident, but the harm goes beyond that. Illegal competition hurts legitimate commercial fleets. And lawless fishermen are prone to other crimes, like forced labor and drug smuggling. The convergence of illegal fishing with other criminal enterprises makes it in every country’s interest to devise an effective response.

That’s the job of the Port State Measures Agreement. It is a treaty adopted by the United Nations in 2009 that seeks to thwart the poachers in ports when they try to unload their ill-gotten catches. Many countries have been unable or unwilling to enforce their own laws to crack down on poachers flying their flags.

 

Read More Here

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Oceana Report Sheds Light On Staggering By-Catch Problem In U.S. Fisheries

 

Posted: 03/20/2014 5:37 pm EDT Updated: 03/20/2014 5:59 pm EDT

 

 

 

 

 

That fish dish at your favorite neighborhood bistro may be hiding a gruesome secret.

“When you buy fish at a grocery store or restaurant, you might also be getting a side order of sea turtle or dolphin to go with it,” said Dominique Cano-Stocco, Oceana‘s campaign director of responsible fishing, referring to the large number of dead sea creatures tossed by fishermen each year.

According to a new Oceana report, United States fisheries discard about 17 percent to 22 percent of everything they catch every year. That amounts to a whopping 2 billion pounds of annual by-catch — injured and dead fish and other marine animals unintentionally caught by fishermen and then thrown overboard. This includes endangered creatures like whales and sharks, as well as commercially viable fish that may have been too young or too damaged to bring to port.

“By-catch is one of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. today,” Cano-Stocco said. “It’s one of the largest threats to the proper management of our fisheries and to the health of our oceans and marine ecosystems.” Due to underreporting, by-catch numbers are probably an underestimate, she explained.

Released Friday, Oceana’s report strives to highlight the need to document by-catch numbers and develop better management strategies to prevent the high level of unnecessary slaughter in our oceans.

shark

Bull shark trapped in fishing net

 

The report identifies nine of the worst by-catch fisheries in the nation. These fisheries — defined as groups of fishermen that target a certain kind of fish using a particular kind of fishing gear in a specific region — are reportedly responsible for more than half of all domestic by-catch; however, they’re only responsible for about 7 percent of the fish brought to land, the report notes.

Some of these fisheries reportedly discard more fish than they keep; others are said to throw out large amounts of the very fish species they aim to catch. California fishermen who use drift gillnets (walls of netting that drift in the water) to capture swordfish, for example, reportedly throw out about 63 percent of their total catch.

Between 2008 and 2012, about 39,000 common molas, 6,000 sharks, as well as hundreds of seals, sea lions and dolphins, were seriously injured or killed in the California drift gillnet fishery, Oceana notes.

bycatch

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Oil firm agrees to abide by EPA monitoring arrangements for five years, allowing it to bid for drilling contracts in Gulf of Mexico
BP

BP is still awaiting a US court ruling about whether it was grossly negligent over the Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

BP is closer to restoring its operations and reputation in the US after agreeing a deal with environmental protection authorities that it will enable the oil firm to bid for new drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico.

The British-based group had started legal proceedings against the US environmental protection agency (EPA) which had banned BP from new contracts on the grounds that it had failed to correct problems properly since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

BP said it had now dropped its law suit after resolving outstanding problems with the EPA but the firm will have to abide by monitoring arrangements with the agency for the next five years.

“After a lengthy negotiation, BP is pleased to have reached this resolution, which we believe to be fair and reasonable,” said John Mingé, head of BP America. “Today’s agreement will allow America’s largest energy investor to compete again for federal contracts and leases.”

Read More Here

 

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March 18, 2014

Huffpost Business

Government Declares BP a ‘Responsible’ Contractor: Workers and Taxpayers Beware

A scant five days before the Department of Interior opens a new round of bids for oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico, the EPA has blinked, pronouncing BP, the incorrigible corporate scofflaw of the new millennium, once again fit to do business with the government.

To get right to the point, the federal government’s decision that BP has somehow paid its debt and should once again be eligible for federal contracts is a disgrace. Not only does it let BP off the hook, it sends an unmistakable signal to the rest of the energy industry: That no matter how much harm you do, no matter how horrid your safety record, the feds will cut you some slack.

Back in 2012, the agency’s intrepid staff had finally gotten permission to pull the trigger on the company, de-barring it from holding any new U.S. contracts on the grounds that it was not running its business in a “responsible” way. Undoubtedly under pressure by the Cameron government and the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, BP’s most loyal customer, the EPA settled its debarment suit for a sweet little consent decree that will try to improve the company’s sense of ethics by having “independent” auditors come visit once a year.

To review the grim record: BP, now the third-largest energy company in the world, is the first among the roster of companies that have caused the most memorable industrial fiascos in the post-modern age.

  • Its best-known disaster, the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig moored in the Gulf of Mexico that BP had hired to develop its lease of the Macondo well, killed 11 and deposited 205 million gallons of crude oil along the southern coast of the United States — the worst environmental disaster in American history.
  • In a troubling precursor, another explosion killed 15 and injured 180 at the company’s Texas City refinery in July 2005. This incident happened even after the plant manager there had gone on bended knee to John Manzoni, BP’s second in command worldwide, to plead for money to address severe maintenance problems that jeopardized safety at that plant after a consultant surveying refinery workers reported that many thought they ran a real risk of being killed at work. Those fears were warranted, it turned out.
  • Also in 2005, 200,000 gallons of oil spilled from a BP pipeline on Alaska’s North Slope.

 

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missingsky102 missingsky102

 

Published on Mar 7, 2014

Fracking fluids dumped into the ocean
Environmentalists are trying to convince the EPA to ban the dumping of fracking fluids, in federal waters off the California coast. The Center for Biological Diversity claims that at least a dozen off shore rigs in Southern California are dumping wastewater right into the Pacific. RT’s Ramon Galindo has the story.
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RT’s Ramon Galindo talks about a recent legal petition by environmental groups in California calling for the Federal government to force an end to the practice of offshore fracking, and the dumping of hundreds of millions of gallons of fracking waste in the ocean every year.

Abby Martin calls out Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson for his blatant hypocrisy after filing a lawsuit against a fracking water tower being built near his property.

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Acidic ocean deadly for Vancouver Island scallop industry

 

CBC News

Posted: Feb 25, 2014 8:58 PM PT Last Updated: Feb 26, 2014 7:04 PM PT

High acidity levels in B.C.'s oceans mean millions of the shellfish die before they reach full maturity.

High acidity levels in B.C.’s oceans mean millions of the shellfish die before they reach full maturity.

The deteriorating health of B.C.’s oceans is impacting not only the province’s marine life, but also its economy.

 

Millions of shellfish are dying off before they can be harvested at Island Scallops, near Parksville, B.C., due to increased acidity levels in the ocean.

 

One-third of the workforce at Island Scallops — 20 people — are being laid off because the business has lost more than 10 million scallops before they were able to reach maturity since 2009.

 

“It’s obviously kicked our feet out from underneath us,” said CEO Rob Saunders.

 

Island Scallops

Island Scallops, near Parksville, B.C., is laying off 20 employees because high acidity in the oceans has meant the loss of millions of scallops.

 

He said low pH levels in the water appear to be the root of the problem.

 

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“Acidic Waters Kill 10 Million Scallops Off Vancouver”

 
By Kiley Kroh on February 26, 2014 at 11:16 am
 

 

A worker harvests oysters for Taylor Shellfish in Washington, another company grappling with the effects of ocean acidification.

A worker harvests oysters for Taylor Shellfish in Washington, another company grappling with the effects of ocean acidification.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File

 

A mass die-off of scallops near Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island is being linked to the increasingly acidic waters that are threatening marine life and aquatic industries along the West Coast.

 

Rob Saunders, CEO of Island Scallops, estimates his company has lost three years worth of scallops and $10 million dollars — forcing him to lay off approximately one-third of his staff.

 

“I’m not sure we are going to stay alive and I’m not sure the oyster industry is going to stay alive,” Saunders told The Parksville Qualicum Beach NEWS. “It’s that dramatic.”

Ocean acidification, often referred to as global warming’s “evil twin,” threatens to upend the delicate balance of marine life across the globe.

 

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Struggling shellfish farmers eye genomic research

Industry looks for answers to cope with rising carbon dioxide levels, increased acidity

 
 
 
Struggling shellfish farmers eye genomic research
 

High acidity is being blamed for a mass die-off of B.C. scallops.

Shellfish farmers are appealing to the federal and provincial governments to support genomic research in an effort identify oysters, mussels and scallops suited to withstand the west coast’s rapidly changing marine environment.

Oyster and scallop farmers from Oregon right up the coast of British Columbia are experiencing massive die-offs of animals associated with rising carbon dioxide levels and increasing acidity in local waters.

“We’ve been aware of these problems for quite a while and we just have to learn to operate our farms under new parameters,” said Roberta Stevenson, executive director of the B.C. Shellfish Growers Association. “Genomics offers us an opportunity to develop an animal that is more capable of adapting to this new pH level.”

Shellfish farms employ about 1,000 people in mostly rural parts of the coast and generate about $33 million in sales each year, Stevenson said.

 

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