The Beacon

Oceana’s blog about the latest ocean news, policy and science.

Video: Oceana’s “Drill, Spill, Repeat” Documentary Wins Award at Sunscreen Film Fest

Oceana's "Drill, Spill, Repeat" video won an award

Fire boat response crews battle the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The 2010 BP oil spill disaster is discussed in Oceana’s documentary, “Drill, Spill, Repeat.” (Photo: US Coast Guard - 100421-G-XXXXL- 003 - Deepwater Horizon fire/ WikiMedia Commons)

The 2010 BP oil spill disaster killed 11 people and spewed over 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, damaging ecosystems, local economies, and lifestyles for many Gulf residents. It’s been nearly four and a half years since the spill, but its effects on marine life and Gulf fishermen still persist. 


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Ocean Roundup: Great Barrier Reef Health “Never Been Worse,” Coral Could Be New Substitute for Bone Grafts, and More

Coal ports and development threatens the Great Barrier Reef

The Ribbon Reef, located within the Great Barrier Reef. Reef health has been heavily compromised by development along the coast. (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Commons)

- A new report found that ospreys don’t carry “significant” amounts of pharmaceutical chemicals, despite widespread presence in waters and some fish. This was the first study that looked at bioaccumulation of chemicals in osprey food webs. EurekAlert


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New Shark Repellent May Keep Sharks from Becoming Bycatch

A new shark repellent may keep sharks from getting caught on longlines

A dusky shark (Carcharhinus obscurus). Overfishing has led to serious declines in dusky shark population numbers. (Photo: Richard Ling / Flickr Creative Commons)

It’s estimated that tens of millions of sharks die from incidentally being caught in fishing gear each year—more commonly known as bycatch—from longlines, trawls, and gillnets. Commercial pelagic longlines are particularly dangerous, dangling thousands of baited hooks into the water for extended periods of time, typically intending to catch swordfish, mackerel, and tuna.


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CEO Note: Wyss Foundation Paves the Way for Oceana to Rebuild Fisheries in Peru, Canada

The Wyss Foundation grant will help rebuild fisheries in Peru and Canada

An anchovy trawler in Peru. (Photo: Derek Law / Flickr Creative Commons)

I have an exciting announcement about Oceana’s efforts to save the oceans and feed the world: The Wyss Foundation will provide up to $10 million in matching funds over the next five years to help Oceana rebuild fisheries in Peru and Canada.


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Ocean Roundup: Baby Sea Turtles Tracked with Tiny Tags, Canada Restricts Large Area from Commercial Fishing, and More

Nanoacoustic tags can help track loggerheads

A baby loggerhead sea turtle hatchling. New nanoacoustic tags can now track sea turtle hatchlings. (Photo: Oceana / Cory Wilson)

- For years, scientists have used satellite tags to track adult sea turtles and learn more about their behavior, but technology didn’t exist to sufficiently study smaller sea turtle hatchlings. Now, scientists have used nanoacoustic tags to track baby sea turtles’ movements after West Africa during their first few days in the ocean. Science


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Bird Casualties from BP’s Gulf Spill Much Higher than Original Estimates

The BP oil spill had widespread effects on birds

An oiled gannet is cleaned at the Theodore Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in 2010 following the BP spill. (Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region / Wikimedia Commons)

In September, a federal judge found BP’s negligent and reckless behavior to be at fault for the 2010 BP oil spill, which killed 11 people and spewed over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.


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CEO Note: Introducing Lars “Lasse” Gustavsson, Oceana in Europe’s New Senior Vice President and Executive Director

Lars “Lasse” Gustavsson becomes new leader of Oceana in Europe

Lars “Lasse” Gustavsson, the new Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. (Photo: Elisabeth Ohlson)

I am writing to you today to inform you of leadership changes for our European campaigns for abundant oceans.

Xavier Pastor, our leader in Europe, will retire next year after more than four decades in ocean conservation. My colleagues and I spent the past several months searching to find his successor, among many excellent candidates. I can now announce that Lars “Lasse” Gustavsson will replace Pastor as the next Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.


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Ocean News: Sea Turtle Nesting in Florida Sees Steady Increase, 2014 Could Be Hottest on Record, and More

Sea turtle nesting in Florida has seen a steady increase

A leatherback sea turtle hatchling. Sea turtle nesting has increased in Florida in recent years. (Photo: Tim Calver / Oceana)

- New research shows that male bluefin killifish have varying colorations and markings on their fins to signal different messages. Even though most field guides show one fin of the killifish to be blue, researchers found they also came in yellow and red. Science Daily


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Photos, Video: Oceana Wraps Up Canary Islands Expedition after Discovering Vast Biodiversity

Oceana in Europe concluded their expedition to the Canary Islands

Diver into a volcanic arch in Roques de la Hoya, El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain, pictured during the Ranger Expedition to the Atlantic Seamounts in September 2014. (Photo: Oceana in Europe / Carlos Minguell)

Oceana in Europe recently concluded their month-long expedition to the Canary Islands, which documented a vast amount of biodiversity around the island of El Hierro. The expedition aimed to map and gather more information about seamounts north of Lanzarote, the easternmost Canary Island, and around Sahara, the southernmost point of the Spanish Exclusive Economic Zone, to help grow the body of knowledge about these areas and advance their protective measures.


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Ocean Roundup: Lionfish Being Fed to Reef Sharks, New Polymer Could Reduce Shark Bycatch, and More

Lionfish are being fed to reef sharks to help control lionfish numbers

A lionfish. Lionfish are being hand-fed to reef sharks in an effort to control lionfish populations. (Photo: Michael Aston / Flickr Creative Commons)

- New research shows that deep-sea microbes use vitamin B12 to break down toxic chemicals on the seafloor. Scientists that found microbes using this vitamin reduced the toxicity of dangerous polychlorinated biphenyals (PCBs), dioxins, and other dangerous substances. Forbes


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