AltaSea: Trending – February 15, 2018

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


Undersea cruise: Humanity’s first visit to the Antarctic seafloor finds it ‘carpeted with life’ (USA Today)

A visit from a Greenpeace submarine to one of the most remote regions on our planet — the seafloor of the Antarctic Ocean — revealed a stunning underwater world that was “carpeted with life.”

“Our first dive in the Antarctic Ocean was amazing,” said John Hocevar, a Greenpeace marine biologist who piloted the submarine. “I really didn’t know what to expect, but we saw so much life, it was very diverse.

Sea level rise is real and accelerating: PNAS study (DW)

A new report in the US-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal released Monday, says sea level rise is accelerating and could reach 66 centimeters (26 inches) by the end of the century.

The projected rise is in line with UN estimates and would be enough to cause significant problems for coastal cities.

According to the report, the past annual rate of sea level rise — about 3 millimeters (.1 inch) per year — may more than triple, to 10 millimeters per year by 2100.

A Nearly Invisible Oil Spill Threatens Some of Asia’s Richest Fisheries (New York Times)

A fiery collision that sank an Iranian tanker in the East China Sea a month ago has resulted in an environmental threat that experts say is unlike any before: An almost invisible type of petroleum has begun to contaminate some of the most important fishing grounds in Asia, from China to Japan and beyond.

It is the largest oil spill in decades, but the disaster has unfolded outside the glare of international attention that big spills have previously attracted. That is because of its remote location on the high seas and also the type of petroleum involved: condensate, a toxic, liquid byproduct of natural gas production.


Australia to Deploy New Research Drones (The Maritime Executive)

Australia’s research body CSIRO will be deploying new unmanned ocean surface drones, Saildrones, for the first time in Australian waters.

The cooperation with San Francisco-based ocean technology start-up Saildrone will expand CSIRO’s network of marine and climate monitoring systems around Australia, collecting more information about sea-surface temperature, salinity and ocean carbon.

The Saildrones are solar and wind powered and can be at sea for up to 12 months at a time where they can be tasked to assist in science missions including conducting stock assessments, uploading data from subsurface sensors or responding to marine emergencies. They can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world and are equipped with both automatic identification systems (AIS) and ship avoidance systems to alert and avoid other ocean users.

Innovative restoration of coral reefs helps protect Caribbean islands (ScienceDaily)

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz and the Nature Conservancy have measured the protective role of coral reefs and field-tested a solution that reduces coastal risks by combining innovative engineering with restoration ecology.

Working in Grenville Bay, Grenada, the researchers showed that degradation of coral reefs is directly linked to shoreline erosion and coastal flooding in parts of the bay. The study, published February 1 in the Journal of Environmental Management, also evaluates one of the first uses of reef restoration as natural infrastructure specifically designed to reduce risks to people and property.

Marine debris removal pilot program earns Port of San Diego nod (The Log)

A one-year pilot program proposing to remove marine debris from the Port of San Diego’s waters earned the support of the port district’s Board of Port Commissioners, Jan. 9.

Zephyr Debris Removal’s project would, according to port district staff, demonstrate a “skimming vessel for marine debris removal.”

Commissioners specifically approved a resolution to fund Zephyr Debris Removal’s one-year pilot program for up to $100,000.

The marine debris vessel is one of four pilot project proposals for the Port of San Diego’s “blue economy” incubator, which were approved by the Board of Port Commissioners. The other proposals approved by the port district, as part of it second round of consideration, will focus on the development of oil sensor technology, an ocean monitoring platform and offshore aquaculture infrastructure.


Sustainable seafood champion Ned Bell inspires cooks to ‘dive deeper’ with creative recipes (Calgary Herald)

From dulse, dark chocolate cookies to geoduck nachos, chef Ned Bell is on a quest to entice Canadians to eat more sustainable seafood. The time to push our palates past the “big four” – cod, salmon, shrimp and tuna – is long overdue, he says.

The health of the world’s oceans is suffering due to overfishing and climate change. Factory ships are designed to scrape the ocean floor, indiscriminately scooping up tons of fish at a time.

“My mission is to champion the small-scale fisheries that dot North America,” the Chefs for Oceans founder adds. “And get people to dive deeper into the conversation of what does a healthy ocean look like? What does responsible seafood look like?”

In Fight Over Science Education in Idaho, Lawmakers Move to Minimize Climate (The New York Times)

When Idaho lawmakers scrubbed all mentions of human-caused climate change from the state’s education standards last year, they faced a swift backlash from teachers, parents and students who said that censoring science would leave students disadvantaged, jobs unfilled and the state unprepared for the future.

The Idaho House Education Committee approved a revised set of standards that included some discussion of climate change. But the committee cut a section on the environmental impact of nonrenewable sources of energy and removed supporting content for standards that contained multiple references to human-driven warming.


LA Harbor International Film Festival (LAHIFF)

2018 marks the 15th Anniversary of the LA Harbor Film Festival (LAHIFF), a San Pedro based film festival that will take place from March 15-18, 2018 at the Warner Grand Theatre, 478 W. 6th Street, San Pedro, CA. 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. 

An annual educational program of LAHIFF is “Read the Book, See the Movie.” Through the generous support of its sponsors, LAHIFF has been able to donate thousands of books to local students so that they can first read the book and then attend a field trip to the historic Warner Grand Theater to watch a movie on which the book was based. This year’s installment is the classic, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” The program will include AltaSea executive director, Jenny Krusoe, who will give a talk to the students about Dr. Robert Ballard’s career in ocean exploration.       

For more information click here.

Palos Verdes Whale Of A Day 2018 Celebration (City of Rancho Palos Verdes)

The Whale Of A Day 2018 festival will be held on Saturday, March 10, 2018, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This is a great opportunity for Palos Verdes home owners and their neighbors throughout the South Bay to celebrate these monumental marine mammals.  This annual event is co-sponsored by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and the docents of Los Serenos de Point Vicente.  This festival celebrates the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale from its summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas in Alaska to its winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja.  As of today the season count from the Point Vicente Interpretive Center is 470 whale sightings.  If you are looking for a great adventure for the whole family, stop by the Point Vicente Interpretive Center and participate in the free “Whale Of A Day” activities.  For more information click here.

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