What are Marine Protected Areas? (Protect Planet Ocean)

A marine protected area (MPA) is essentially a space in the ocean where human activities are more strictly regulated than the surrounding waters – similar to parks we have on land. These places are given special protections for natural or historic marine resources by local, state, territorial, native, regional, or national authorities. Authorities differ substantially from nation to nation.

Scientific findings and management experience clearly indicate that MPAs can be powerful tools to help manage, protect and sustain valuable marine resources and the people and economies that depend on them.

The most dramatic changes have generally been observed in marine reserves (the most strictly protected type of MPA). Dramatic increases in the abundance, diversity, biomass, and size of fishes, invertebrates, and seaweeds – particularly species that were previously heavily exploited – have been observed.

A Rare Albino Dolphin Has Been Spotted Off the California Coast (Atlas Obscura)

Albino animals are rare to find in the wild, but albino sea creatures are an even more elusive sight. So imagine the excitement of the lucky whale watchers who recently caught a glimpse of a pure white dolphin swimming in the open ocean.

The young dolphin was spotted in California’s Monterey Bay by members of a Blue Ocean Whale Watch boat tour.  The animal was identified as a Risso dolphin, and according to one of Blue Ocean’s co-owners, this isn’t the first time this specific dolphin has been spotted in the area.

The Black Sea Turned Turquoise, Thanks to a Phytoplankton Bloom (The New York Times)

The Black Sea isn’t black, and it’s not usually turquoise either. But a huge bloom of phytoplankton has illuminated it — and the connected Bosporus and the Golden Horn of Istanbul — with beautiful swirls of milky blue-green. This aquatic artwork appears every summer, but this year’s bloom is one of the brightest since 2012, according to Norman Kuring, a NASA scientist. It’s so bright, it can be seen from space.


The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Could Start Shrinking (PRI’s The World)

A Dutch inventor aiming to clean up vast ocean “garbage patches” of plastic Thursday unveiled a radical design breakthrough, enabling his ambitious project to start two years early.

Boyan Slat’s innovative scheme seeks to use ocean currents to help gather up an estimated five trillion pieces of plastic — everything from bottles, to plastic bags, flip-flops and other detritus — from the planet’s waters.

After years of research, including the first-ever detailed aerial survey of the largest garbage patch lying in the Pacific between Hawaii and the Californian coast, his Ocean Cleanup scheme has radically overhauled its plans. Slat now hopes to begin deploying the first clean-up system within the next 12 months, instead of in 2020 as first promised. He also hopes to be able to remove 50 percent of the Pacific patch within five years, compared with initial estimates of 42 percent within a decade.

Initial ideas to deploy a 60-mile long V-shaped barrier, tethered to the seabed, to catch the plastics have been ditched. The idea is that “to catch the plastic, act like plastic,” Slat told hundreds invited to a special presentation in Utrecht, and revealing the first system is already in production in California.

The Wild West of Deep-Sea Mining (Hakai Magazine)

In the coming years, a new gold rush will begin. Deep beneath the ocean’s waves, from scalding hydrothermal vents to the frigid stretches of the abyssal plain, ocean processes have deposited vast quantities of valuable minerals on the seafloor. Now, the convergence of technological development and political will has placed this ore within reach. But like the gold rushes of old, the deep-sea-mining industry is emerging on the frontiers of society, far from legislatures and law enforcement.

Officially, the nascent deep-sea-mining industry is governed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA), an intergovernmental organization established in 1996 by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The authority’s critical task is to coordinate its 168 member nations in establishing and enforcing regulations for the developing deep-sea-mining industry.

But the ISA’s teeth are just coming in, says Duncan Currie, a legal advisor to the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, an advocacy organization. At the moment, the authority still hasn’t created an enforcement agency. In addition, “they won’t and they can’t force countries to comply with ISA regulations when drafting their own laws,” says Currie.

Batteries that “drink” seawater could power long-range underwater vehicles (

The long range of airborne remotely operated vehicles helps them perform critical tasks in the skies. Now MIT spinout Open Water Power (OWP) aims to greatly improve the range of unpiloted underwater vehicles (UUVs), helping them better perform in a range of applications under the sea.

Recently acquired by major tech firm L3 Technologies, OWP has developed a novel aluminum-water power system that’s safer and more durable, and that gives UUVs a tenfold increase in range over traditional lithium-ion batteries used for the same applications.

The power systems could find a wide range of uses, including helping UUVs dive deeper, for longer periods of time, into the ocean’s abyss to explore ship wreckages, map the ocean floor, and conduct research.


Spanish speakers set sail from San Pedro on ‘cruising classroom’ (Daily Breeze)

The 110-foot-long tall ship Exy Johnson sailed this weekend from the harbor at Ports O’ Call along the Palos Verdes Peninsula coast as part of a unique Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s program for Spanish speakers. 

The high school students aboard were treated to the coastal sights as well as educational activities conducted bilingually by a team of high school docents from Amino Leadership charter high school. We are proud of the work our partner, LAMI does for underserved youth.

The goal: raising awareness about the need to stem storm drain run-off pollution from trash that ends up on the local coastline to the detriment of sea life.


Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre Returns

On June 24, 2017, the Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre will preview a new work, Beyond the Waterfront, with a one-night only public performance on our wharf. The performance marks the first time immersive art has come to the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s twin Tall Ships in San Pedro and a new collaboration among HDDT, LA Opera, Los Angeles Maritime Institute, and marine research incubator, AltaSea. An after-performance reception will be held at the Whale and Ale, 327 West 7th Street, San Pedro.

A dance opera story of sirens and sailors on the ships and the wharf, Beyond the Waterfront pays homage to the late Leonard Bernstein with a multi-sensory work that tackles themes of collaboration, sustainability, and the influence of humanity on environment.

For tickets and more information click here.

Movie at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

On Sunday, June 25, from 1:00-3:00pm, join the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for a free screening of THE SMOG OF THE SEA, a documentary from filmmaker Ian Cheney that chronicles a research expedition through the Sargasso Sea. Stay after to hear Captain Charles Moore speak about his recent voyage to the South Pacific Gyre!

After years of hearing about ocean “garbage patches,” the crew of the 5 Gyres SEA Change research expedition is stunned to learn they is actually a “fog” of microplastics—trillions of barely visible shards—permeating the world’s oceans. How do you stop a fog? Using sparkling underwater cinematography, an original score by Jack Johnson and shipmate Simon Beins, and live-action footage of the crew’s research, THE SMOG OF THE SEA makes an artful call to action for rethinking single-use plastic.

Tickets are free online.

Marine Mammal Care Center SEAL DAY 2017

Marine Mammal Care Center Los Angeles presents SEAL DAY 2017 on Sunday, June 25 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Admission and parking is free!!! Visit with the seal and sea lion patients and learn how they are rehabilitated by staff members. There will be lectures, educational booths and vendors plus games and crafts for the kids.

More information available online.

Arts District Summer Soiree

On Sunday, July 9th, 2017 from 3:30 – 6:00pm, the San Pedro Arts District is planning the second annual Summer Soiree and Art Sale, a fundraiser to increase mural artwork on Gaffey Street. The Summer Soiree will be held at the Deco Art Deco Penthouse at 521 West 8th Street in San Pedro.

The San Pedro Arts District will be recognizing the many contributions of AltaSea Board Chair, Camilla Townsend, and others.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 310-732-0010.

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