Fishing for Energy Removing Traps to Save Local Fish

Flora Real:

In Barnegat, New Jersey, the Fishing for Energy program under the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is starting a campaign to clean up old fishing supplies that have been abandoned or lost throughout the bay. These things, if left in the water, harm local fish and other creature populations because they get trapped inside of them and die which in turn affects the local fishing community. Debris near the surface could be a hazard because they could damage the hulls of passing boats.

Things like crab traps are commonly lost because they become detached from the buoy that marks their location and are simply left by the fishermen because it is nearly impossible to find. Traps like these pose a threat to the survival of the diamondback terrapin, which has seen noticeable decline in population. With an additional growth in a gender disparity of the fish, their numbers are declining rapidly.

The Fishing for Energy Program has begun to collect and recycle thousands of debris and gear that they have found in order to protect local wildlife. To find the trash, the team uses boats equipped with side-scan sonar. They have set up containers in Waretown for fishermen to throw away their unwanted tools for free and plan to set up more in other towns along the bay. The garbage is then sent to a waste disposal plant were it is burned for energy.

Marine Life Population Down by Half

Andrea Gonzalez:

Recent studies reveal a major decline in marine life. From 1970 to 2012 marine biodiversity has gone down by 49%, and some fish species declining by 75%. The report also includes declines in corals reefs, mangroves, and sea grass. Which are all a vital part  to marine food webs. Coral Reefs provide a home to over 25% of marine life and provide 850 million people with the economic, cultural, and socail benefits. The loss of coral reefs would cause devastating consequences for marine wildlife and humans. Sadly, the cause of the decline is due greatly to human activities. Such as, overfishing, climate change, and marine life habitat destruction. The report highlights ways to reverse the decline, through protecting marine life habitats, regulating and improve fishing practices, making fish stocks more sustainable and finding a way to redirect financial support towards these changes. Although there is a way to fix the decline, the change must start now. Brad Ack, senior vice president for oceans at WWF, stated “Stopping black market fishing, protecting coral reefs, mangroves and other critical ocean habitats, and striking a deal in Paris to slash carbon pollution are all good for the ocean, the economy, and people. Now is the time for the US and other world players to lead on these important opportunities.”

Overall, I feel this article relates to Floridians especially because we are constantly surrounded by marine life and it is our duty as global citizens to keep our ocean’s wildlife safe.

World Wildlife Fund. “Ocean’s wildlife populations down by half.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2015. <>.

Melt of Key Antarctic Glaciers “Unstoppable”

Antarctica's Twaites Glacier

This article describes how a massive portion of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, that was once home to some of the fastest-growing glaciers on the continent has since retreated and melted to the point that it is “unstoppable,” two new studies have found. The entire ice sheet worries scientists because it has enough ice to raise sea levels up 10 to 13 feet. This is because the ice is bound to land and would displace the water, kind of like what happens when you put ice cubes into a glass of water. The main concern is the glacier’s grounding line, which is the point where the glacier meets the ocean and floats atop of it. Because thanks to climate change, most of the water in the area is warmed up due to high winds pushing warm water to the South Pole, which will melt the ice faster. Essentially, the circulation of water is quickly removing the ice from Antarctica and into the ocean. The studies have been done by the University of California, Irvine, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

– Sean Sabogal-

Up to one third of honeybee colonies dies per year in Europe

The first major Europe-wide survey of honeybee colonies have found that up to one-third of the colonies are lost every winter. In recent years, bumblebee population decline has received large public attention. Parasites, insecticide use and changed farming practices are to blame. The European Union Reference Laboratory did the study, and found that in 7 out of the 17 member states exceeded the acceptable death rate of 15%. But some researches say the acceptable death rate should be 10%, which would make two thirds of the countries studied to have unacceptable death rates. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that the United States had a colony death rate of 31% and has exceeded 30% for five of the past seven years, so it is a way bigger problem here. In Europe, according to University of Reading in the UK, one-quarter of all European honeybees are threatened with extinction but the death rates are slowing down. This is because of good research and political intervention, such as planting new flowers, so Europe is on the right track.

– Sean Sabogal –

As Temperatures Climb So Does Malaria

Increasing temperatures are now found to be increasing the size of the malaria infected areas, pushing the disease father uphill. Malaria infects about 300 million people per year and it can occur judging on the temperature, rainfall, vectors, parasites, human movement, standard of human health or economics. That would mean that in order to stop the disease scientists would have to try to eliminate all those types of causes, but they have trouble figuring out which ones actually cause it the most. Recent research suggests that temperature only plays a minor role on the mosquito-borne illness or that it wouldn’t cause an increase of the disease in different parts of the world. But another research project found that the Plasmodium parasite that causes it reproduces faster when it’s warmer and that the Anopheles mosquito that infects people with it thrives in higher temperatures. They also found a pattern that the occurrence of malaria infections going uphill into communities increases in hotter times of the year, but decreases in colder times. The main problem is that with climate change, cities that are settled in the mountains, like most in Asia, South America and Africa, will see more malaria problems.

– Sean Sabogal –

Global Warming Freezes Penguin Chicks

The article talks about the new dangers for the penguin chick. They usually are in danger from predators or not having enough food, but now they have to deal with climate change. The research for this information was done for over thirty years on a specific penguin colony. They found that increased rainfall and extreme heat due to climate change are killing chicks. Down-covered chicks are too big to receive their parent’s protection from the harsh weather, but are not old enough to have waterproof feathers. During storms these penguins get soaked because the water touches the skin and they die of hypothermia. They can’t protect themselves from the heat waves either, because in order to cool down they would have to jump in the water, which wouldn’t work without their feathers. Chicks that struggle to find food have even more trouble with this. And since more storms are appearing during their breeding season, more deaths are expected.

– Sean Sabogal –

Polar Bears Hunt on Land as Ice Shrinks

Scientists have found polar bears are now shifting to more land-based food, because of climate change and the melting ice caps. According to the study done at Hudson Bay, polar bears were shown to be more slightly flexible when dealing with climate change than was previously assumed. They were found to be eating snow geese, eggs and caribou. Even though, polar bears usually eat seals or other marine mammals. When the ice melts they eat mushrooms or berries. Yet, the reduction of the ice sheets are disrupting their hunting patterns and they are now a threatened species. It is unclear whether the new food can compensate for the calories lost from the seals, especially since the bears need it for hibernation. It’s also unclear if it will improve the population of polar bears. Overall, scientists overall see no logic in pushing the polar bears to areas that clearly don’t support such large animals, just because people refuse to address the issue.

– Sean Sabogal –