For the first time in a century, humpback whales have returned to the waters of New York harbor. These are not rare sightings, either. The whales are showing up in enough numbers that a company is taking tourists out into the harbor to see whales with a backdrop of Manhattan skyscrapers.
Invasive species have been a problem for quite some time. Over the years, we have grappled with – among other things – invasive plants from Japan, zebra mussels from eastern Europe, and Asian fungus that kills off ash trees in our forests.
The world’s smallest porpoise is in real trouble. According to scientists, there could be as few as 30 vaquitas remaining on the planet. We highlighted the plight facing this species in detail last month.
Back in June, we talked about The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch foundation founded in 2013 by an 18-year-old named Boyan Slat, which is developing technologies to rid the oceans of the vast collections of plastic that have been accumulating over the past 50 years.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Parks and this year the largest protected area anywhere on Earth has now been created. Twice the size of Texas, the marine park also has the longest name among National Parks: it is the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea. They can grow more than 40 feet in length, weigh up to 47,000 lbs, and have a lifespan of about 70 years. They can be found cruising in the open waters of tropical oceans. But despite being enormous, whale sharks are no threat to humans. The docile beasts, which feed almost exclusively on plankton, have often been referred to as “gentle giants.”
Farming, forestry, mining and recreation are the primary vocations in rural America. In coastal areas like Maine, fishing joins the list. And for Maine, commercial fishing has long been a major engine for the economy.
The regal blue tang is one of the most common and most popular marine aquarium fish in the world. In the U.S., they have been ranked as high as the 10th most imported fish species out of over 2,000 that enter the country. Apart from aquarium hobbyists, millions of people now associate blue tangs with the character Dory in a couple of popular animated films.
Installing solar arrays on the surface of bodies of water is an idea that is catching on around the world. Such installations are especially attractive in places like Japan, where land resources are scarce. In the UK, there are a couple of these so-called “floatovoltaic” projects underway – one outside of London and one near Manchester.
Most recent news about coral reefs around the world has been bad news. There has been unprecedented coral bleaching in places like Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The effects of climate change – including warming temperatures and rising seas – as well as the recent El Niño event have led to damaged reefs across the globe.
The world’s first floating wind farm is being built 15 miles off the northeast coast of Scotland. The Hywind pilot park, expected to come online late next year, will generate enough power for 20,000 homes. The location will take advantage of average local North Sea wind speeds in excess of 20 miles per hour.
Most people listening to this have seen a saltwater aquarium before, and many of those likely owned one at some point. Maybe you still do. The bright coral and even brighter fish can be found in offices, restaurants, hotels, and homes all over the world.