Marine conservation

Leopard shark / Zebra shark

Rewilding program ships eggs around the world to restore Raja Ampat zebra sharks

The Shark Reef Aquarium on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada has been sending zebra shark eggs to Indonesia’s Raja Ampat. Researchers hope to release 500 zebra sharks into the wild within 10 years in an effort to support a large, genetically diverse breeding population.
A survey estimated the zebra shark had a population of 20 spread throughout the Raja Ampat archipelago, making the animal functionally extinct in the region.

Rewilding program ships eggs around the world to restore Raja Ampat zebra sharks More

Whale jumping

In move to protect whales, Polynesian Indigenous groups give them ‘personhood’

Indigenous leaders of New Zealand, Tahiti, and the Cook Islands signed a historic treaty that recognizes whales as legal persons in a move conservationists believe will apply pressure to national governments to offer greater protections for the large mammals. “It’s fitting that the traditional guardians are initiating this,” said Mere Takoko, a Māori conservationist who leads Hinemoana Halo Ocean Initiative, the group that spearheaded the treaty. “For us, by restoring those world populations we also restore our communities.”

In move to protect whales, Polynesian Indigenous groups give them ‘personhood’ More

Spotted owl

Biden administration restores threatened species protections in the U.S. dropped by Trump

Among the changes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reinstate a decades-old regulation that mandates blanket protections for animals and plants newly classified as threatened. That means officials won’t have to craft specific plans to shield each individual species while protections are pending, as has been done recently with North American wolverines in the Rocky Mountains, alligator snapping turtles in the Southeast and spotted owls in California.

Biden administration restores threatened species protections in the U.S. dropped by Trump More

Streets of Palau Koror and coves of coral reefs

Palau is the first nation to ratify treaty to protect high seas

Palau has become the first nation to ratify the high seas treaty, a legally binding international agreement that seeks to protect and manage ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction. Other countries, including Chile and the Maldives, are engaged in their ratification processes, pushing the treaty closer to becoming international law. The establishment of the high seas treaty has been under debate for nearly two decades, but U.N. member states finally reached a consensus to approve the treaty in March 2023.

Palau is the first nation to ratify treaty to protect high seas More

California coast

First ever U.S. Indigenous Marine Stewardship Area declared in California

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, Resighini Rancheria, and Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community designated the first ever Indigenous Marine Stewardship Area (IMSA) in the U.S. along the northern California coast.
The tribes plan to steward nearly 700 square miles of their ancestral ocean and coastal territories from the California-Oregon border to Little River near the town of Trinidad, California using traditional ecological knowledge and management practices.

First ever U.S. Indigenous Marine Stewardship Area declared in California More

Desert landscape at sunset

Mexico announces 20 new protected areas covering more than 5 million acres of land

Mexico’s government recently announced the creation of 20 new protected areas across 12 states and two coastal areas in the country, covering roughly 5.7 million acres. Officials introduced four new national parks, four “flora and fauna protection areas,” seven sanctuaries, two biosphere reserves and three “natural resources protection areas” under the protection of the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas.

Mexico announces 20 new protected areas covering more than 5 million acres of land More

Landfill. A lot of plastic garbage. Environmental problems.

Plastic bag bans in the U.S. have already prevented billions of bags from being used

Over the past several years, U.S. cities and states have passed hundreds of policies restricting the sale and distribution of single-use plastic bags. A new report – copublished by Environment America, U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, and Frontier Group – says these laws have largely succeeded in their goal of reducing plastic bag use. New Jersey’s ban alone has eliminated more than 5.5 billion plastic bags annually.

Plastic bag bans in the U.S. have already prevented billions of bags from being used More

Fjord

Norway moves aggressively to curb cruise ship emissions to protect fjords

Starting in 2026, only ships powered by alternative fuels will be allowed to visit Norway’s fjords. Lawmakers want to protect the unique natural environment and stop marine diesel oil and mass tourism from damaging the climate. Some ships are now powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), but that will no longer qualify as an acceptable fuel for cruise ships visiting the fjords of Norway.

Norway moves aggressively to curb cruise ship emissions to protect fjords More