YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
R.I.P. PLASTIC BAGS
Globally, we use two million plastic shopping bags around the world every single minute, and only 5% are recycled. The rest end up littering our streets or being dumped in landfill, where they can easily be carried away by the wind. But the tide is beginning to turn. Governors in Maine and Vermont signed bills into law this week that ban single-use plastic bags, making them the fourth and fifth states in the US to pass such legislation. Nations like Kenya have gone even further, banning bags at the national level.
To support these global efforts – including the New York State plastic bag ban which takes effect in March 2020 – Parley has unveiled a limited-edition series of Artist Edition Ocean Bags and teamed up with the New York City Department of Sanitation foundation to remove bags and other plastic litter from beaches and waterways across the city. After the cleanup events, some of the collected plastic items will be cleaned, processed and turned into Ocean Plastic®
READ MORE ABOUT THE NEW BANS
Working with Sea Shepherd, members of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, including Tribal Parks Guardians and members of the Clayoquot Sound Indigenous Salmon Alliance, recently boarded and inspected open net pen salmon farms in their territories for the first time. Supported by the Sea Shepherd vessel Martin Sheen, the team deployed underwater cameras to document the state of the farmed salmon inside the pens. Video footage revealed the presence of never-before-recorded juvenile wild salmon inside the open net pens. Wild herring and other wild fish species were also recorded as well as jaundiced, emaciated and deformed farmed fish.
Some damage caused by plastic waste is dramatic and well known: every year, plastic is an accomplice in the deaths of millions of marine birds, mammals, turtles, and fish. But as new research suggests, plastic pollution may soon have far more insidious effects. A study led by Renjith VishnuRadhan, a postdoctoral researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, outlines ways in which plastic may affect the physical processes in the ocean. Even a thin coating of plastic, VishnuRadhan and his colleagues write, could prevent solar radiation from penetrating into the ocean’s depths, with consequences from the surface to the seafloor.
Marine biologists for the first time have recorded singing by one of the rarest whales on the planet, the north Pacific right whale. Only about 30 of the species remain after whalers nearly wiped out the slow-moving whales, which remain buoyant after they are killed. Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) used moored acoustic recorders to capture repeated patterns of calls made by male north Pacific right whales. Researchers detected four distinct songs over eight years at five locations in the Bering Sea off Alaska’s south-west coast.
Scientists have identified a very strange hybrid whale that was the offspring of a narwhal mother and a beluga father. Belugas and narwhals are the same size, share the same Arctic waters, and are more closely related to each other than to any other species. Individuals from both species have been found swimming among each other’s pods before, but this is the first confirmed ‘narluga’. In the late 80s, an Inuit subsistence hunter found and kept a strange whale skull. In the intervening decades, researchers have developed better DNA analysis tools, allowing for the discovery.