YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
 

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NEW ZEALAND BANS BAGS

The government of New Zealand has announced a ban on single-use plastic bags, which will come into effect over the next year. Retailers in the country will be given six months to stop providing lightweight plastic bags, or will face fines. The move is timely, with a recent study finding that seabirds are more at risk of dying due to plastic there than anywhere else in the world.

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MARINE HEATWAVE

In a summer of worldwide heat waves, even the oceans are breaking temperature records, reports the New York Times. Off the San Diego coast, scientists earlier this month recorded the highest seawater temperatures since daily measurements began in 1916. 

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GENTLE TOUCH

A team of roboticists and marine biologists from Harvard University have created a sampling hand that’s soft and flexible enough to handle fragile organisms. As Prof Rob Woods explains, "when interacting with soft, delicate underwater creatures, it makes the most sense for your sampling equipment to also be soft and gentle."

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SEAHORSE HOTSPOT

Greek divers are campaigning to protect a unique site in a remote gulf in the country's north-eastern waters where seahorses – a protected species ravaged by pollution and overfishing – are thriving. Having already restored their habitat with ropes and synthetic plants, the team is now seeking broader protection for the tiny creatures.

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IS CLIMATE CHANGE MAKING RED ALGAE BLOOM?

Red tide is killing Florida's southwest coast. Fish, manatees, sea turtles — some of them endangered — and nine dolphins have washed up dead on the beaches, and all of them are confirmed or suspected to have been poisoned by the algal bloom. Is climate change making things worse?

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OFF LIMITS

The French overseas territory of New Caledonia has announced the highest possible levels of protection for some of the world’s last unspoiled coral reefs. All types of extraction, including commercial and industrial fishing, have been banned in the Chesterfield, Bellona, Entrecasteaux, Pétrie and Astrolabe coral ecosystems. 

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