Marine conservation

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A US Coast Guard icebreaker cuts a swathe through the icy the Southern Ocean earlier this year, on its way to rendezvous with a stricken fishing vessel. Allyson Conroy/US Coast Guard/Wikimedia Commons

35 years on, is the deal to protect Antarctica’s oceans working?

On the eve of a summit in Chile to discuss the protection of marine life in Antarctic waters, much still needs to be done to guard against overfishing, climate change and other threats.
Hefty problem: a local council was left with a huge clean-up bill after a dead whale washed up in Perth last year. AAP Image/City of Stirling

Dead whales are expensive – whose job is it to clear them up?

Dead whales can cost beachside ratepayers a lot to clean up. The alternative is to tow them away before they wash up - but the legal question of who does the job is far more complex than it sounds.
Kelp covered landscape in Western Australia. Dan Smale

Marine heatwaves threaten the future of underwater forests

Western Australia’s marine environment is unique. Two world heritage areas, the largest fringing coral reef in Australia, and more than a thousand kilometres of underwater forests, supporting incredible…
After mass bleaching in 1998, more than half of coral reefs in the Seychelles have slowly recovered. Nick Graham

Obituaries for coral reefs may be premature, study finds

Coral reefs are the poster child for the damage people are doing to the world’s oceans. Overfishing, pollution and declining water quality have all taken their toll on reefs around the world. Perhaps the…
Open wide: don’t be fooled by the appearance of a Leatherback’s mouth, they eat only jellyfish. Tom Doyle

This summer at the beach, watch out for the world’s biggest turtle

Going to the beach this summer? If you’re in southern Australia, keep your eyes peeled for the world’s largest turtle, the leatherback. If you do, you can report sightings to researchers at Deakin University…
Young Steller sea lions in Prince William Sound, Alaska. NMFS Permit 14336. Markus Horning

Autopsies from space: who killed the sea lions?

A decade ago, we set out to unravel deep ocean crime scenes we weren’t even sure existed. The crime? Endangered Steller sea lions were rapidly disappearing in parts of Alaska. Their numbers dropped by…
Marine parks need to be big enough to safeguard wide-ranging species, like the sharks being studied here. Manu San Felix/National Geographic Pristine Seas Expedition

Now is our chance to deliver on the 30% ocean protection target

Top scientists, senior government managers, industry representatives, conservationists and even some nations’ presidents are currently in Sydney for the World Parks Congress. This major international meeting…
NSW is considering a marine park for Sydney Harbour. But have we learnt from our past mistakes? Peter Hindmarsh

Marine parks for fish and people: here’s how to do it

As thousands gather for the World Parks Congress in Sydney, there are growing calls for a new marine park in Sydney Harbour. New South Wales’s Labor opposition has promised, if elected, to establish the…
About 18% of the world’s seagrass stocks have disappeared over 20 years. Richard Unsworth

For the love of cod, let’s save our disappearing seagrass

Seagrass is one of the most important coastal habitats where young ocean-going fish such as Atlantic cod can grow and develop before setting out on the journey of life. But these critically important habitats…
Coral reef ecosystem off Palmyra Atoll part of newly expanded Marine National Monument. Jim Maragos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Pacific Remote Islands protection not just a drop in the ocean

This fall, President Obama signed a proclamation that created the biggest marine reserve in the world. By extending the protective boundaries around Wake Island, Jarvis Island and Johnston Atoll from 50…
Apollo Bay in Victoria. Australia’s coastal towns are vulnerable to changes in the surrounding seas. ccdoh1/Flickr

Your coastal town’s climate score? There’s a website for that

Australia’s coastal towns, many built around fisheries and tourism, are particularly vulnerable to climate change. South east and south west Australia are marine hotspots — they are warming much faster…
Only recently discovered, the Burrunan dolphin is now in need of urgent conservation action. AMMCF

Small and isolated dolphin populations are under threat

The Burrunan dolphin, Tursiops australis, has only recently been discovered but is already under threat due to its small and isolated populations. Our team of researchers from the Australian Marine Mammal…
Not the sort of coastal effects you can sweep under the rug. Jian Feng

China’s economic explosion is ravaging its coastal ecosystems

The speed and scale of China’s rapid economic growth has led to widespread degradation of its densely inhabited coastlines, according to an analysis of 60 years of social, economic and environmental data…

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