A monthly round-up of news and trends important to the AltaSea community.


Fourth National Climate Assessment (U.S. Global Change Research Program)

Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities. The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States and are projected to intensify in the future—but the severity of future impacts will depend largely on actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the changes that will occur. Americans increasingly recognize the risks climate change poses to their everyday lives and livelihoods and are beginning to respond.

Climate-related risks will continue to grow without additional action. Decisions made today determine risk exposure for current and future generations and will either broaden or limit options to reduce the negative consequences of climate change. While Americans are responding in ways that can bolster resilience and improve livelihoods, neither global efforts to mitigate the causes of climate change nor regional efforts to adapt to the impacts currently approach the scales needed to avoid substantial damages to the U.S. economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.

Mining the deep ocean will soon begin (The Economist)

Diva Amon, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, spotted her first whale skull in 2013, during an expedition to the Clarion Clipperton Zone (ccz) in the tropical Pacific. It sat on beige silt, some 4,000 metres beneath the sea’s surface, and was entirely covered in a black coating. Her find was twice notable. First, the skull’s coating meant it was millions of years old, for it was made of the same slowly accumulating metallic oxides as the potato-like ore nodules that are drawing miners to the area. Second, the discovery highlighted how little is known about the deep ocean. Dr Amon’s whale skull, and others like it, raise questions about the trade-offs between the economic gains of mining the seabed and that mining’s environmental consequences.

Dead sperm whale found in Indonesia had ingested ‘6kg of plastic’ (BBC News)

A dead sperm whale that washed ashore in a national park in Indonesia had nearly 6kg (13 lbs) of plastic waste in its stomach, park officials say.

Items found included 115 drinking cups, four plastic bottles, 25 plastic bags and two flip-flops.

The carcass of the 9.5m (31ft) mammal was found in waters near Kapota Island in the Wakatobi National Park late on Monday.

The discovery has caused consternation among environmentalists.

“Although we have not been able to deduce the cause of death, the facts that we see are truly awful,” Dwi Suprapti, a marine species conservation co-ordinator at WWF Indonesia, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Sea scallops suck up billions of plastic particles (National Geographic)

Sea scallops caught off the coast of England are capable of ingesting billions of tiny plastic particles, which disperse throughout the body to the kidney, gill, muscle and other organs.

This all takes place within six hours.

These findings are the latest in a growing collection of studies that confirm an ever-expanding roster of wildlife eats microplastics and smaller particles known as nanoplastics. That research, in turn, has raised questions—so far unanswered­—about potential effects on the food chain, and to human health.

One of Los Angeles’ Early Women Marine Scientists: Sarah P. Monks (AltaSea)

Los Angeles Harbor, in San Pedro Bay, has long drawn scientific researchers, from its days as a 19th century muddy tide flat to today’s industrial complex of man-made channels and wharves.  A marine biological laboratory was established on Terminal Island as an outpost of the University of California and operated for the summers of 1901 and 1902.  As it was a teaching laboratory, it attracted women students and researchers.

One woman associated with the laboratory and who made contributions to the advancement of biology was Sarah P. Monks, an instructor at the Los Angeles Normal School (which later became UCLA).


The Kampachi Company Receives Investment from Sustainable Ocean Fund (Business Wire)

The Kampachi Company announced today the closing of an equity investment from the Althelia Sustainable Ocean Fund (SOF), a new fund managed by Mirova Natural Capital dedicated to making pioneering impact investments that align ocean resource development and conservation goals.

The SOF’s investment in The Kampachi Company’s operation in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico will help fund sustainable offshore production of King Kampachi, a sashimi-quality marine fish that will be marketed to restaurants and retailers in Mexico, the United States, Japan, and Europe.

This is the first investment funded by the SOF, which is the new Althelia Funds vehicle investing in scalable, impact-aligned businesses to drive improvement in ocean ecosystems.


Virtual reality could serve as powerful environmental education tool (ScienceDaily)

Utter the words “ocean acidification” in mixed company, and you’ll probably get blank stares. Although climate change has grown steadily in the public consciousness, one of its most insidious impacts — a widespread die-off of marine ecosystems driven by carbon dioxide emissions — remains relatively unknown.

Enter virtual reality. In a new study, published Nov. 30 in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers at Stanford and the University of Oregon discovered that VR can be a powerful tool for improving environmental learning gains and attitudes. The researchers found that experiencing a simulation of ocean acidification’s effects spurred meaningful gains in people’s understanding of the issue.

“I believe virtual reality is a powerful tool that can help the environment in so many ways,” said study co-author Jeremy Bailenson, the Thomas More Storke Professor of Communication. “Changing the right minds can have a huge impact.

Meet the future of Canada’s sustainable aquaculture industry (SeaWestNews)

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) has unveiled its National Youth Council, to showcase the growing presence of young people in the sustainable future of farming the oceans.

The Council members convened their first face-to-face meeting at Canada’s Farmed Seafood Policy Conference 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario today.

“Seafood farming is a young and growing sector for Canada. We are delighted to be attracting top-caliber young people to create a strong and sustainable future. The diversity and strength of these young people is a testament to a bright future for our sector,” said CAIA Executive Director, Timothy Kennedy.

CAIA established this National Youth Council to connect young professionals in Canada’s aquaculture sector, to propose and develop ideas for the flourishing of the sector, and to be ambassadors for the sector.


16th Annual LAHIFF (LA Harbor International Film Festival)

March 14-17, 2019

Warner Grand Theatre (WGT)
478 W. 6th St., historic downtown San Pedro, California

The LA Harbor International Film Festival (LAHIFF) showcases film and video that reflects the harbor and all that it embraces – shipping and commerce, fishing, sailing, water sports, sea life and the area’s rich ethnic and cultural influences – to create a cinematic bridge between the people of the region and the people of the world.  For more information on this year’s festival, click here.

Whale Fiesta (Cabrillo Marine Aquarium)

January 27, 2019

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM 

Join Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for tons of FREE fun as they celebrate the migration of the Pacific gray whale and the beginning of whalewatching season! It’s a family day filled with activities and exhibits for all – games, arts and crafts, puppet shows, marine awareness organizations, expert guest lecturers and festive music. For those with a competitive edge, enter the Duct Tape Whale Sculpture Contest! 

Whale Fiesta is a FREE event sponsored by the Port of Los Angeles.

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