Saturation diving, destroying the world with Bitcoin mining, deep-sea mining, Arctic shrinkage, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: May 21, 2018

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

The Levee (A featured project that emerged from Oceandotcomm)

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A new Gulf oil spill, opposition to deep-sea mining, DIY drop cameras, and more! Massive Monday Morning Salvage: October 30, 2017

I’ve been away for 2 weeks, so it’s a super-massive edition of the Monday Morning Salvage!

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Sampling SMS under the sea Photo: Nautilus Minerals

Jetsam (what we’re enjoying from around the web)

Hey, Andrew, how about you give us at least *some* good news today? Ok, fine.

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A shark for all floods, Crowdfunding scams, old fish, bold fish, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: September 18, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

  • The fight for our Marine National Monuments isn’t over. We finally know *some* of the contents of Zincke’s monument review memo, and it’s not great. The DOI wants to see commercial fishing return to the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll Marine National Monuments. Longline fishing in these regions has historically been conducted by foreign fishing fleets which have been documented using slave labor. Many ecologists believe that maintaining these protected zones serve as a refuge that boost populations of many important commercial fish and improve the overall health of the fishery.
  • Here’s the good news: Any change to monuments created under the Antiquities Act must be approved by congress. You’ve got a lot of reason to call you representatives this week, so why not add “I opposed the reintroduction of ecologically and economically destructive commercial fishing to the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll Marine National Monument.” to your script?

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • Hero Shark, the shark who shows up to every flood, ostensibly to save us all from our own hubris, has a long a fascinating history. “Shark in flooded street” wasn’t even the first time that photo was used for fake news.

Photo by Thomas P. Peschak.

GOES-16.

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Unflappable Mola Molas, a Cousteau biopic, sharkcats, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: August 21, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

  • “Thirty years ago, I discovered a new world. I wanted to conquer it when I should have protected it. It’s not too late.” An uncompromising Jacques Cousteau biopic starring Lambert Wilson? Yes, please!

Jetsam (what we’re enjoying from around the web)
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It’s #JacquesWeek! Also, lots of other ocean things happened last week. Monday Morning Salvage: July 24, 2017

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Wailing about whaling – the 2014 International Whaling Commission meeting

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A humpback whale in Antarctica (photo credit: Chris Parsons)

 

Earlier this year the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Japan’s so-called “scientific whaling” in Antarctica (the JARPA II research program, to give its official title) was illegal. Article VIII of the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling allows the lethal take of whales for scientific research purposes by “special permit.” The ICJ ruled, however, that the Japanese program was in violation of this provision, because JARPA II was not bona fide scientific research but was instead de facto commercial whaling.

The Japanese Government initially stated that it would abide by the ICJ’s decision and discontinue JARPA II, but then later announced it would conduct a new research program in the Antarctic (JARPA III?). This sudden turnabout was less based on science or market forces than politics, no doubt – sales of whale meat in Japan have been declining and there is currently a warehoused surplus. It may have also been influenced by NGOs (specifically Sea Shepherd) publicly claiming to have “defeated” the Japanese Government and forced them to end the Antarctic hunt (for the record, Sea Shepherd was not involved in the ICJ court case at all, and can claim no responsibility for the outcome). For the fiercely proud and nationalistic Japanese politicians, to have a small NGO – which they have labelled a “terrorist organization” – beat them would be politically untenable.

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Explainer: An end to Japan’s “scientific whaling” program in Antarctica

Early this morning, the International Court of Justice declared that Japan’s scientific whaling program in Antarctica violates the International Whaling Commission moratorium, and ordered Japan to stop.  This is big news for the marine conservation community, but like many legal policy decisions, it can be difficult to determine exactly what it means. I asked marine mammal biologists, conservation activists, and policy experts to help explain it.

What is the International Court of Justice (ICJ)? The International Court of Justice is essentially the judicial branch of the United Nations. Any of the 192 United Nations member states may submit a case against any other state.

What is the International Whaling Commission (IWC)? The International Whaling Commission is a regulatory body that was founded in 1946 as a result of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling treaty. The 88 member nations (any nation can join) regulate whaling and whale conservation issues.

What is “scientific whaling?” Scientific whaling refers to intentionally killing a whale for the purpose of scientific research. According to marine mammal researcher Jake Levenson, this is permitted by Article 8 of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. According to Levenson,  “In the 1940’s [when this rule was made,] we didn’t have many of the tools we have now to study whales, so at the time it was thought to be appropriate to kill whales for scientific purposes.” Several experts I spoke to noted that this was never intended to be a large-scale program. Here is a list of some of the scientific research that resulted from the program.

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Is Whale Wars a waste of money?

Portobello Road

Lindsey Peavey is  a PhD student in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She is a marine ecologist whose research seeks to find a sustainable balance between human resource use and species conservation.  You can follow her work on Twitter (@lepeavey) and her blog, turtlesinthedeep.org.

Last December, I sat down to enjoy a pizza pie and draft beer with my friend Neal, a 6-foot, 5-inch, 280-lb. (think offensive lineman), die-hard conservative republican. He was giddy with excitement to talk with me about one of his favorite TV shows, Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars.” Knowing that I’m a tree hugger by nature and a marine biologist by trade, he thought an hour of “Save the whales!” camaraderie was ahead. He was shocked when I let out a long sigh and confessed, “I’m not a fan of Whale Wars.”

Neal was completely deflated. He demanded to know why I didn’t like the show. Shouldn’t I, of all people, be Sea Shepherd’s No. 1 fan? I offered my gripes: It’s outrageously expensive to operate a vessel like Sea Shepherd’s SSS Steve Irwin in the extremely volatile and dangerous environment of intercepting Japanese whaling vessels in the Antarctic — on the order of tens of thousands of dollars a day. Although funds are available to support these operations, the return on investment is unclear. How many whales are actually being saved?

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