News from issue 156 Oct/Nov – local

News 156

Local

New Zealand Abstain on Marine Protection Vote at WCC

The World Conservation Congress held in Hawaii overwhelmingly passed a motion urging governments to set aside 30 percent of marine environments as protected areas by 2030.

New Zealand abstained from the vote. Forest and Bird delegate Karen Baird said the move was shocking and cowardly and WWF branded the New Zealand Government’s refusal to support the motion as out of step with marine science and the 96 percent of Kiwis who want more of New Zealand oceans protected.

Skipper Fined $25k for Fishing in Prohibited Area

The crew of Extreme Limits seen hauling fish from the long line inside the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve.

The crew of Extreme Limits seen hauling fish from the long line inside the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve.

An ocean conservationist instrumental in setting up the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve has welcomed the more than $25,000 fines and costs imposed on a commercial fisherman caught fishing in the prohibited area.

Wade Doak said the sentencing of Ty Thomas McQuarrie in the Whangarei District Court on Friday vindicated Northlanders who over the years have been concerned about fishing in the area which resulted in a near-depletion of fish stocks.

NZHerald; read more: http://tinyurl.com/j33bd3n

Ocean between New Zealand and Australia a ‘Hotspot’

The ocean between New Zealand and Australia is a global ‘hotspot’, one of the fastest-warming ocean regions on the planet at four times the global average. What does this accelerated warming mean for the coastal environments of both countries and the marine species that live there?

Oceanographer Moninya Roughan’s research aims to understand the effect of one of the strongest influences on ocean conditions in this region, the East Australia Current. The data should help scientists better understand what drives change in this part of the ocean. Measurements over the past 70 years show that over the past century, surface temperatures off the coast of Tasmania have risen as much as 2.28°C.

University of Auckland; read more: http://tinyurl.com/hnab4wa

Marine Species Richness not Highest at Equator

New research indicates that zones closest to the equator have less species diversity than previously thought. A research team from the University of Auckland has reviewed 27 previously published studies and used the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) to mine data on 65,000 marine species. As well as analysing fossil records of 50,000 species from the Paleobiology database.

Species included within the study ranged from marine mammals, microscopic plankton and algae, to seabed-living invertebrates. Despite contrasting ecology, all showed an unexpected decrease just south of the equator (-5° to -15° latitude). Analysis of the fossil marine species showed that the number of species has shifted as continents drifted, but has never peaked at the equator. Present peaks are in the northern tropics (Caribbean and Philippine-Indonesian regions) with a smaller peak in the southern tropics; that is, peaks at -20° to -30° and +10° to +35° latitude.

Further research by the team aims to see if the peaks have been moving further apart due to climate change.

University of Auckland; read more: http://tinyurl.com/hq92xot

Queensland Setting Catch Limits for Endangered Sharks based on ‘Dodgy Data’

The Queensland government is allowing commercial fisheries to catch endangered sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, with a quota based on data that was useless for managing the shark numbers, according to an independent peer reviewer. Shark experts and WWF are calling for an observer programme, which was axed by the previous government in 2013, to be reinstated so that better data on shark catches can be collected.

The Queensland Government allows commercial fishers on the Great Barrier Reef to catch 600 tonnes of sharks and rays each year. Among the sharks allowed to be caught are scalloped hammerhead and great hammerhead sharks – both of which are listed as endangered.

Under an international treaty, which Australia signed in 2014, those species of hammerhead shark were protected. But, two months after signing the agreement, Australia opted out of the protection of five shark species, including those two types of hammerheads.

The Guardian; read more: http://tinyurl.com/zelbcng