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Pew Charitable Trusts;
The transshipment of catch, which allows fresh fish to get to market sooner, is a vital but largely hidden part of the global commercial fishing industry. Transshipment involves hundreds of refrigerated cargo vessels, or carrier vessels, roaming the oceans, taking in catch from thousands of fishing vessels and transporting it to shore for processing. While transshipment touches a wide range of seafood products, most is made up of bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack tuna. Salmon, mackerel, and crab also account for a substantial portion of transshipped products.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS);
The supply of nutrients is a fundamental regulator of ocean productivity and carbon sequestration. Nutrient sources, sinks, residence times, and elemental ratios vary over broad scales, including those resulting from climate-driven changes in upper water column stratification, advection, and the deposition of atmospheric dust. These changes can alter the proximate elemental control of ecosystem productivity with cascading ecological effects and impacts on carbon sequestration. Here, we report multidecadal observations revealing that the ecosystem in the eastern region of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG) oscillates on subdecadal scales between inorganic phosphorus (Pi) sufficiency and limitation, when Pi concentration in surface waters decreases below 50–60 nmol⋅kg−1. In situ observations and model simulations suggest that sea-level pressure changes over the northwest Pacific may induce basin-scale variations in the atmospheric transport and deposition of Asian dust-associated iron (Fe), causing the eastern portion of the NPSG ecosystem to shift between states of Fe and Pi limitation. Our results highlight the critical need to include both atmospheric and ocean circulation variability when modeling the response of open ocean pelagic ecosystems under future climate change scenarios.
The oceans are warming and coral reefs are bleaching with increased frequency and severity, fueling concerns for their survival through this century. Yet in the central equatorial Pacific, some of the world's most productive reefs regularly experience extreme heat associated with El Niño. Here we use skeletal signatures preserved in long-lived corals on Jarvis Island to evaluate the coral community response to multiple successive heatwaves since 1960. By tracking skeletal stress band formation through the 2015-16 El Nino, which killed 95% of Jarvis corals, we validate their utility as proxies of bleaching severity and show that 2015-16 was not the first catastrophic bleaching event on Jarvis. Since 1960, eight severe (>30% bleaching) and two moderate (
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);
The report card, which is accompanied by 13 detailed supporting reviews, summarises current scientific understanding of climate change impacts on the region's marine environment. The document is intended to help Pacific Islanders and decision-makers to understand and respond to the likely impacts of marine climate change. The accessible report card format highlights what action is already being taken in the region and what further responses are needed. The reviews provide further information on each of the topics.
Ocean plastic can persist in sea surface waters, eventually accumulating in remote areas of the world's oceans. Here we characterise and quantify a major ocean plastic accumulation zone formed in subtropical waters between California and Hawaii: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP). Our model, calibrated with data from multi-vessel and aircraft surveys, predicted at least 79 (45–129) thousand tonnes of ocean plastic are floating inside an area of 1.6 million km2; a figure four to sixteen times higher than previously reported. We explain this difference through the use of more robust methods to quantify larger debris. Over three-quarters of the GPGP mass was carried by debris larger than 5 cm and at least 46% was comprised of fishing nets. Microplastics accounted for 8% of the total mass but 94% of the estimated 1.8 (1.1–3.6) trillion pieces floating in the area. Plastic collected during our study has specific characteristics such as small surface-to-volume ratio, indicating that only certain types of debris have the capacity to persist and accumulate at the surface of the GPGP. Finally, our results suggest that ocean plastic pollution within the GPGP is increasing exponentially and at a faster rate than in surrounding waters.
Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS);
A small but influential local NGO based in Indonesia is helping nations across the Indo-Pacific Ocean implement programs to promote the sustainable use and aquatic wonder of their coastlines.
The Coral Triangle Center (CTC), a local NGO headquartered on the Indonesian resort island of Bali is at the forefront of a major international movement to protect coral reefs and fish from destruction or extinction.
The NGO's name comes from the roughly triangular shape of a 5.7 million square kilometer area of the Indo-Pacific Ocean formed by the coastlines of six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste. The nations are scrambling to regulate the use of coastal waters and teach the 120 million people who depend on them for their livelihoods and the millions more who come as tourists how to protect ecosystems that are under siege from many threats. Since its founding in 2011, the CTC has been a leader in a campaign marked by growing urgency over the sustainable use of marine resources.
Pew Charitable Trusts;
Ancient Polynesians used the sun, stars, and ocean swells to navigate the Pacific, the largest ocean on Earth with nearly half the world's marine waters. From west to east, they explored and settled a significant portion of the Pacific. Known as the Polynesian Triangle, this enormous swath of ocean has Hawaii at its northern point, while Easter Island and New Zealand mark its eastern and western boundaries, respectively. Pacific Island communities remain deeply connected to the ocean and uniquely attuned to the need to protect it. Embracing this tradition, Global Ocean Legacy, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and its partners, is collaborating with communities and governments across the Pacific to create a conservation legacy: the protection of 4 million square kilometers (1,544,400 square miles) of ocean waters by 2016 through the establishment of large, highly protected marine reserves. Around the world, Global Ocean Legacy works with local communities and indigenous peoples, fishermen, scientists, governments, and the business sector to honor and conserve critical ocean environments. Together, we are establishing the world's first generation of great marine parks.
Pew Charitable Trusts;
The Pacific, Earth's largest ocean, is a complex ecosystem that supports life both at sea and on shore. Protecting this biodiversity is vital, which is why The Pew Charitable Trusts takes a comprehensive approach to ocean conservation in the Pacific region. Our goals include securing sustainable management for tuna populations, ending illegal fishing, protecting sharks, conserving biodiversity on the high seas, and ensuring a lasting ocean legacy by safeguarding some of the most special places in the ocean. Although there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to marine conservation, effective options are available that, with the right mix, can help create and sustain a healthy ocean. In every region, catch limits and gear regulations are essential management tools for fisheries. Closing off large areas to commercial activities can protect biodiversity, regenerate life, maintain a healthy balance within the ecosystem, and build resilience to change. New technologies can help fisheries managers with limited resources fight illegal fishing more effectively and monitor the health of coastal and marine ecosystems more efficiently. Equally important is the closing of loopholes in domestic and regional regulations that allow illicit fishing to go undetected and undeterred. The economic, environmental, and food security that comes from a vibrant ocean requires strengthened fisheries management, elimination of illicit practices, and designation of new sanctuaries and marine reserves. Pew is working with countries across the Pacific to put in place the necessary measures needed to help shape a sustainable ocean future that best secures the region's short- and long-term needs. These are critical pieces needed to complete the ocean puzzle.