Archive for Atlantic
www.independent.co.uk 26th June 2011
A new report by the Climate Change & European Marine Ecosystem Research on the effects of climate change on European seas has warned of the devastating consequences of decreasing salinity in the Baltic Sea. The report describes how climate change will increase precipitation around the sea causing it to become fresher through runoff. This would have disastrous effects on Baltic sea-life, which is already struggling against pollution and over-fishing. The report, which has collated 13 years worth of research from 17 marine institutes in Europe, also mentions the arrival of a new species of plankton in the North Atlantic, which has been extinct from the ocean for 800,000 years. The plankton comes from the Pacific and has been kept separated from the Atlantic by the Arctic ice. With the ice melting, the alien species of plankton threatens the very foundation of the North Atlantic food-web. A further indication of the Arctic melt was the sighting of a Pacific Grey Whale in the Mediterranean. Other effects of climate change include a possible increase of biodiversity in the Black Sea as Mediterranean species migrate to the warming waters there. Also, highly venomous jellyfish such as the Portuguese Man-of-War are spreading northwards through the North Atlantic as waters warm, forcing beaches to close and threatening young fish stocks.
www.telegraph.co.uk 17th November 2010
Researchers from Aberdeen University’s school of biological sciences have discovered that Great White sharks in the Mediterranean are closely related to those in Australia. This has led the research team to suggest that the sharks got lost somewhere around the Cape of Good Hope 450,000 years ago. Their disorientation may have been the result of the warm Agulhas Current, which sweeps down the east coast of Africa. Once pushed into the South Atlantic, the sharks would have ridden the colder Benguela Current up the west African coast. Several then made it to the Mediterranean by swimming past the Straits of Gibraltar. Once there, they were effectively trapped due to the regions numerous peninsulas and channels which effectively make the Straits a ‘giant lobster pot’. According to Dr. Cathy Jones, a shark specialist at Aberdeen University, “because white shark females return to the area where give birth, once they birth in the Mediterranean they become a fixture, shaping and rebalancing the ecosystem.” Four of the Mediterranean sharks were tested for the results. In the southern hemisphere, tagging of Great Whites has shown that they regularly make the journey between South African and Australia, where they usually give birth.
e360.yale.edu 27th September 2010
Quoted from source:
‘A coalition of European nations has established a series of protected areas in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean where fishing would be banned, the first network of protected zones outside of the territorial waters of individual states. At a meeting in Norway, the OSPAR Commission, a coalition of 15 governments in western Europe, targeted six ecologically sensitive areas — including seamounts and sections of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge — covering about 110,000 square miles (285,000 square kilometers). The areas are home to such critical species as whales, sharks, rays, and cold-water corals. Protective measures could include permanent fishing bans, restrictions on offshore drilling and mining, and even curbs on shipping. “This is a historic step,” said Erik Solheim, Norway’s Environment minister. “We will try to inspire other nations to do the same, like in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific and other oceans.” The only other marine protected area in the high seas is a 31,000 square-mile reserve off Antarctica, but the zones created by the European states represent the first network of marine protected areas outside of territorial waters’.
www.independent.co.uk 23rd September 2010
In the past 25 years, the eel population in Europe has declined by 95%. The main cause of such a radical decline has been man-made. Common eel species are born in the Sargasso Sea in the West Atlantic and they make the grueling journey across the ocean to grow up in the freshwater rivers and lakes of the UK, a distance of around 4000 miles. However, in recent years obstacles such as dams, concrete walls, sluice- gates, and tidal flaps have paid a heavy toll on migrating eel populations. Concrete has proved a particular barrier as older materials such as wood and stone often provided gaps through which the eels could make their way. In response to the species’ decline, the Sustainable Eel Group, an umbrella organisation representing conservationists and industry, and supported by the Environment Agency, has launched a review of English waterways to evaluate what obstructions can be removed and where eel friendly by-passes can be built. However, access to freshwater, although thought to be the main cause of the eel’s decline, is just one problem. Fishing and parasites have also been blamed for the reduction in numbers.