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Dying Oceans

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The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare. It was the smell that really got to diver Richard Vevers.

The Great Barrier Reef: a catastrophe laid bare

The smell of death on the reef. “I can’t even tell you how bad I smelt after the dive – the smell of millions of rotting animals.” Vevers is a former advertising executive and is now the chief executive of the Ocean Agency, a not-for-profit company he founded to raise awareness of environmental problems. After diving for 30 years in his spare time, he was compelled to combine his work and hobby when he was struck by the calamities faced by oceans around the world. Chief among them was coral bleaching, caused by climate change.

His job these days is rather morbid. Images of new bleaching on Great Barrier Reef heighten fears of coral death. The embattled Great Barrier Reef could face yet more severe coral bleaching in the coming month, with areas badly hit by last year’s event at risk of death.

Images of new bleaching on Great Barrier Reef heighten fears of coral death

Images taken by local divers last week and shared exclusively with the Guardian by the Australian Marine Conservation Society show newly bleached corals discovered near Palm Island. Most of the Great Barrier Reef has been placed on red alert for coral bleaching for the coming month by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Its satellite thermal maps have projected unusually warm waters off eastern Australia after an extreme heatwave just over a week ago saw land temperatures reach above 47C in parts of the country.

According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, sea surface temperatures from Cape Tribulation to Townsville have been up to 2C higher than normal for the time of year for more than a month. New Arctic Battlelines Drawn as Industry Exploits Fragile Seas. Rapidly melting Arctic ice has opened up enormous swaths of this pristine and ecologically significant landscape to dangerous industrial threats.

New Arctic Battlelines Drawn as Industry Exploits Fragile Seas

And as officials meet this week to hammer out new rules that could potentially protect the region, environmental groups are warning that the area known as the "Arctic Galapagos" is already in grave danger. Scientists have reported that the Arctic is currently warming at nearly double the global average rate, which is one of the key factors driving an unprecedented level of ice sheet loss. In a troubling development, this January saw a record low for sea ice extent. These newly-open waters have seen a surge in industrial activity, including fishing and shipping, which heretofore have been left largely unregulated, according to green groups.

Sea Levels Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Over 2000 Years. Oceans Could Hold More Plastic Than Fish By 2050, Report Says (VIDEO) A new report claims if the rate of plastic pollution in oceans continues to increase, plastic garbage could outweigh fish by 2050.

Oceans Could Hold More Plastic Than Fish By 2050, Report Says (VIDEO)

Presidential Task Force Takes Bold Steps to Address IUU Fishing & Seafood Fraud. WASHINGTON - Today, the Presidential Task Force on Combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud released a proposed rule aimed at tackling these problems in the United States.

Presidential Task Force Takes Bold Steps to Address IUU Fishing & Seafood Fraud

The rule, which is open for public comment for 60 days, proposed new requirements for seafood, including requiring traceability at the first point of entry into U.S. commerce for a select number of species considered “at risk” of IUU and seafood fraud. Oceana argues, however, that the new rule is missing critical components to stop IUU fishing and seafood fraud, and that full-chain traceability for all U.S. seafood is a must to ensure that it is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled.

Who Really Needs A Super Yacht Anyway? Coral reefs rival tropical rain forests as Earth's most abundant ecosystems.

Who Really Needs A Super Yacht Anyway?

Despite only covering 0.2% of the ocean floor, nearly one million distinct species of fish, invertebrates and algae can be found among the world's reefs. As a result of this cornucopia of life, it is commonly said that coral reefs are one of our most accurate indicators of the health of the wider ocean. And this is something of a worry because, well, our coral reefs are in a whole world of trouble. Battered for decades by warmer ocean temperatures, an acidifying ocean, haphazardly dropped anchors, irresponsible recreational diving operations and the widespread practice of dynamite fishing and bottom trawling, it is estimated that 27% of the ocean's coral reefs are already gone. A further 32% are at risk of being lost by 2050. Plastic waste in Pacific Ocean washed up on Hawaii beach - in pictures. Massive Coral Bleaching Event Is Sweeping Across The World's Oceans.

For the third time in recorded history, a massive coral bleaching event is unfolding throughout the world’s oceans, stretching from Hawaii to the Indian Ocean.

Massive Coral Bleaching Event Is Sweeping Across The World's Oceans

Sunscreen contributing to decline of coral reefs, study shows. A common ingredient found in sunscreen is toxic to coral and contributing to the decline of reefs around the world, according to new research.

Sunscreen contributing to decline of coral reefs, study shows

Oxybenzone, a UV-filtering chemical compound found in 3,500 brands of sunscreen worldwide, can be fatal to baby coral and damaging to adults in high concentrations, according to the study published on Tuesday in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. Global Collaboration Needed To Halt Ocean Acidification. Published in partnership with MintPress News.

Global Collaboration Needed To Halt Ocean Acidification

AUSTIN, Texas — New research maps the growing impact of ocean acidification and identifies the regions worst affected, while scientists and world governments are collaborating more and sharing ways to slow or reverse its progress. Food chain collapse predicted in world’s oceans. This photo taken on September 22, 2014, shows fish swimming through the coral on Australia's Great Barrier Reef (AFP Photo/William West) The world’s oceans are teeming with life, but rising carbon dioxide emissions could cause a collapse in the marine food chain from the top down, researchers in Australia said Monday.

Food chain collapse predicted in world’s oceans

The first-of-its-kind global analysis of marine responses to climate change forecasts a grim future for fish. Our taste for 'aquatic bushmeat' is killing the sea. Don't miss stories. Follow Raw Story! Climate Scientist Warns Sea Levels Are Rising Faster Than We Thought. Limiting climate change to 2°C is not going to protect us from devastating sea level rise, a new report has found. According to the research, freshwater from land-based ice sheets melting into the oceans is inducing feedback that is accelerating the melting of ice shelves — a loop that indicates sea level rise will continue and could be devastating at much lower temperature changes than previously thought.

The study, authored by well-known climate scientist James Hansen and 16 other researchers, will be published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics this week. The research explains that there is an “amplifying feedback” as polar ice melts, because as more freshwater enters the ocean, it traps warmer sea water, which melts more ice.