YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
The French Navy is equipping a new long-range, zero-emission air force to protect remote areas of the Indian Ocean: 250 albatrosses. The seabirds will be fitted with tiny transceivers that will pick up radar signals from rogue trawlers plundering the oceans. Vessels fishing illegally usually switch off their automatic identification system (AIS) to avoid being tracked by satellite, but they cannot navigate safely without emitting low-level radar signals, which the birds' transceivers can detect as they fly overhead. The devices, weighing less than 60 grams, will be mounted on the albatrosses' backs and scientists will also use them to track the birds and analyse their feeding habits.
The island nation of Palau is set to become the first country to impose a widespread ban on sunscreen to protect its vulnerable coral reefs. The government has signed a law restricting sunscreen and skincare products with ten reef-harming chemicals. Researchers believe these ingredients are toxic to marine life, and can make coral more susceptible to bleaching.
The Seychelles has launched the world's first sovereign ‘blue bond’ – a financial instrument designed to support sustainable marine and fisheries projects. Valued at $15 million over 10 years, proceeds from the bond will be used to support the expansion of marine protected areas, improve governance of fisheries and drive the Seychelles' blue economy.
Malaysia has established a multi-agency special task force to curb overfishing in its waters. Illegal fishing by sea-poachers has not only costs the country over a billion US dollars in lost revenue annually, but also causes damage to marine resources and ecosystems. As one official said, “our seabeds are being stripped and the country is being plundered.”
A worrying new study suggests the oceans have absorbed far more heat than previously thought. The new ocean temperature estimates, if proven accurate, could be another indication that the global warming of the past few decades has exceeded conservative estimates and has been more closely in line with scientists’ worst-case scenarios.