Ocean “dead zones” along the Washington and Oregon coasts are threatening critical U.S. fishing areas. These oxygen-depleted regions, that loose virtually all of their marine life in the summer, are expanding, and new ones are appearing in the Pacific Ocean. Oceanographer Jack Barth of Oregon State University says these new ocean dead zones are different from most of the 400+ others known around the world. While the majority of those are caused by excess nutrients in river runoffs, his research is the first to tie these new dead zones to climate change. With support from the National Science Foundation, Bath is also using an impressive new tool, an unmanned underwater glider that provides round the clock monitoring of these zones.
Greenpeace is researching the world’s largest underwater canyons at the bottom of the Bering Sea using a Waitt Institute submarine. The Pribiloff and Zhemchug canyons are known as the “Grand Canyons of the Sea,” yet little is known about the diversity and distribution of life on the sea floor. Today, overfishing and destructive fishing methods like trawling are damaging these canyons and threatening the food supply for marine mammals, birds and Native communities who depend on the marine ecosystem.
Oceans campaigners at the Rio+20 Earth Summit have welcomes a ruling that the supermarket giant Intermarché made false claims about sustainable seafood. The French advertising authority told Intermarché they must pull all the offending advertisements relating to deep sea fish.
The final draft conference text on oceans delays action on protecting international waters – just as civil society groups vote it top priority in their session. The United States denies it blocked progress – the High Seas Alliance coalition issues a stern rebuke.
A triple-whammy of rising temperatures, increased acid levels and lack of oxygen is destroying the world’s oceans, according to scientists at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. Experts warn that small island states are being hit especially hard, with impacts on health, food and livelihoods.