The US decided to allow a first-in-a-generation seismic search for oil and gas in the Atlantic ocean. This move was made in spite of protests claiming that these tests will use loud air gun blasts that will harm marine animals like whales, dolphins and other animals.
Canada lifted the mandatory speed restriction for vessels in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to make sure that ships can operate safely during winter. Transport Canada is not aware of any North Atlantic right whale deaths from vessel strikes this year and will ask vessels to voluntarily slow down if a whale is spotted in or near the shipping lanes.
The IMO announced the launch of a collaboration with the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Development Programme, aiming to address the negative environmental impacts of the transfer of aquatic species through ships. The GloFouling Partnerships project is expected to drive actions to implement the IMO Guidelines for the control and management of ships’ biofouling.
Until now, scientists believed the main source of biomass on the seafloor was the organic matter, as dead fish and plankton, that floated down towards the depths. However, now scientists from the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh discovered that bacteria in the deepest parts of the seafloor are absorbing CO2 and could be turning themselves into an additional food source for other deep-sea life.
Four weeks after the cleaning System 001 was first deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), the largest accumulation of ocean plastic, The Ocean Cleanup informed of some problems in the operation. The plastic is exiting the system once it is collected, so the Foundation is currently working on causes and solutions to remedy this.
In a letter delivered Monday to the Far East office of the Russian Federal Service for Overseeing Natural Resources, 25 whale and dolphin biologists from across the world noted that capturing is highly stressful to free-ranging orcas, leading to injuries, deaths, fractured social networks within pods and potential long-term population declines.
Scientists have used high-resolution satellite images to detect, measure and describe four different species of whales. This study is considered a big step towards developing a method to study whales in remote and inaccessible places, in order to help scientists monitor them an understand their behaviour.
On 8 November, AMSA signed a contract to commence operations with Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles (ROUVs) to investigate the containers lost from the YM Efficiency. The images of the ocean floor by the ROUVs will allow an assessment by salvage experts on whether the items can be brought to the surface safely and without causing more damage to the environment.
As part of its measures to protect endangered whale populations, Transport Canada will be working with multiple partners on the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) program which is looking at ways to reduce underwater noise in key areas where there are Southern Resident Killer Whales.
By using sound, many marine organisms can communicate underwater and understand information about their environment. However, underwater noise deriving from human activity, produces sounds that interfere with the ability of marine animals to hear the natural sounds in the ocean, concluding on a major and often deadly menace to ocean wildlife.
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