WiseOceans Happy Headlines September 2023

Monthly Marine Happy Headlines – September 2023

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 – England bans single-use cutlery, plates, trays, and more

Reported by BBC News this month is the good news that England will be banning several single-use plastic products.

Annually, over 5 billion single-use plates and pieces of plastic cutlery are used in England with the vast majority of these unable to be recycled. To biodegrade naturally takes hundreds of years in landfill sites. As such, the UK government has said that this ban will help part of a wider goal to eliminate avoidable plastic waste by 2042. 

Items that will no longer be available include plastic cutlery, balloon sticks, and polystyrene cups.

Whilst the news is a welcome step in the right direction for most, councils have warned that many firms are not ready for the change and some environmental campaigners have criticised the government for not introducing wider restrictions on plastic products.

Headline 2 – The European Union and 76 Nations sign the High Seas Treaty

This month marked a positive step forward for ocean health, as the European Union and 76 (currently) states have signed the High Seas Treaty.

The ‘high seas’ refers to areas of ocean beyond national boundaries, and actually equates to a huge >66% of our planet’s oceans! Despite this area being so vast, less than 1.2% of it is currently protected. Therefore at present, countries can exploit them at will, but current regulations are poorly managed, and enforced. 

“We must not under-estimate the opportunity before us. Ocean temperatures have hit record highs, marine life – and all our lives – are under unprecedented pressure. To survive, it is critical that the new High Seas Treaty enters into force as soon as possible so that we can accelerate international action to restore planetary health and defend the lives and livelihoods of billions of people worldwide.”

Rebecca Hubbard, Director of the High Seas Alliance
Happy Headlines - High Seas Treaty, Dolphins in open ocean

Headline 3 – USA announces $82 Million for endangered North Atlantic right whales

Shared by NOAA Fisheries is the positive news that the department of Commerce and NOAA announced next steps to conserve and recover endangered North Atlantic right whales with $82 million in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate and conservation investment in history. 

With North Atlantic right whales on the brink of extinction this funding provides an unprecedented opportunity to address the primary threats to the species, including entanglement and vessel strikes.

Headline 4 – For the first time in 100 years 10,000 native oysters have been deployed into the Firth of Forth

For the first time in 100 years 10,000 native oysters have been deployed into the Firth of Forth as part of the groundbreaking Restoration Forth project, part-funded by the ScottishPower Foundation.

The project will create a new oyster reef in the famous estuary, providing a vital habitat for many other species including fish, crabs, sea snails and sponges. Oysters also filter water and improve water clarity allowing plants like seagrass to photosynthesise and grow – all helping improve marine biodiversity.

Headline 5 – Extremely rare sperm whale birth caught on camera

As seen on CBC, this month included the news that whale scientists have captured the sights and sounds of a baby sperm whale birth for the first time. Read their article for more insight into the ‘surreal’ experience and for the opportunity to watch rare footage. 

Happy Headlines - Sperm whale birth

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