Happy Headlines WiseOceans

Monthly Marine News – January 2024

Welcome to our newest feature, Monthly Marine Happy Headlines! Each month, we spotlight several marvellous marine discoveries, spreading ocean joy around the globe. From conservation success stories to empowering community action, the discovery of new species, and ground-breaking research articles, join us for some ocean joy!

Headline 1 – Palau and Chile have become the first countries to ratify the high seas treaty

The high seas treaty, also known as the BBNJ (biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction) agreement is a legal framework for governing the two-thirds of our world’s oceans known as the ‘high seas’. Despite it’s vast size, only 1% is currently protected. As such, a debate for such legal framework has been ongoing for a considerable time, over two decades in fact! In March 2023 UN member states finally reached a consensus to approve the treaty and in September 2023 it opened for state signatures. Around 85 countries have signed the agreement

Following signing, countries can ratify the treaty, this makes it international law. Paula has become the first nation to do this, closely followed by Chile. It is Maldives is also engaged in their ratification process. 

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. Then, in September, it opened for state signatures. As of this month, 85 countries have signed the agreement.

Headline 2 – Humpback whale spotted in Cornwall, United Kingdom

Scientists, and Cornwall Wildlife Trust, have confirmed that three separate humpback whales have been spotted off the coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom. More and more individuals are being seen in UK seas every year and sightings have increased significantly in the last five years in Cornwall, with at least 30 sightings recorded so far this winter. Learn more about humpback whales here.

Headline 3 – Four new octopus species discovered off Costa Rica

With an estimated 80% of the ocean currently unexplored, we undoubtedly still have lots to learn about our oceans! 

One particularly exciting discovery made recently was the identification of four new octopus species. The discovery was made during a study of the seamounts off Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast. The team, led by Dr. Beth Orcutt also discovered  two major octopus nurseries, a skate nursery and three hydrothermal springs, along with even more potential new species. Read more here.

Headline 4 – Silky sharks proven to have special regenerative capabilities

Shared by Melissa Cristina Márquez, a marine biologist who writes about the latest, exciting research on sharks worldwide, is the revelation that silky sharks may be able to regenerate tissue! Scientists shared their research which showed that a shark with a previous dorsal fin injury later managed to restore almost 90% of its original dorsal fin size!

While limb regeneration is well-documented in other marine species, dorsal fin regeneration in sharks remains a rare occurrence.

Headline 5 – The European Parliament has voted in favour of anti-greenwashing legislation

Excellent news coming in from the European Parliament as it has been announced that Parliament has given its final green light to a directive that will improve product labelling and ban the use of misleading environmental claims.

The directive was officially adopted 17th January 2024 and it seeks to protect consumers from misleading marketing practices and help them make better purchasing choices.

Enjoyed Happy Headlines – December 2023?