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  • Amelia

Remember the sun shines....2020 A positive review

In uncertain times when it feels as though the world we knew and loved has gone forever, it is important to remember that there are still amazing things happening everywhere. We may be wondering if we will ever be able to go exploring again, spend time in the water, be with our friends and family and it is hard in the gloom of winter to remember that these times will come again.

So, here at Yemaya HQ we thought we would share some of the positive highlights (in no particular order) of 2020 that help us to keep our mojo when the skies are black, the horizontal rain is unrelenting and it is hard to put a smile on your face.

Simply, WOW!

In April a 150ft long siphonophore was spotted off the coast of Western Australia. The siphonophore, which is potentially the longest organism in the sea, was described as “… an incredible U.F.O” by senior research scientist Dr. Nerida Wilson of the Western Australian Museum.

A tiny Island makes a giant impact

The tiny Atlantic island Tristan da Cunha which is part of the UK overseas territory, established a new marine protected area which will be the fourth largest sanctuary of its kind in the world. As one of the most remote inhabited islands on Earth, the community of 250 people has made a significant contribution to marine wildlife conservation by banning bottom-trawling fishing, deep-sea mining and other harmful activities from its water.

Alaska Eskimo Commission Credited with Bowhead whales recovery

A bowhead whale breaches. Photo: Olga Shpak

Despite the increasing temperatures in arctic waters, the bowhead whale numbers have rebounded and are nearing pre-commercial whaling numbers in US waters. This remarkable recovery is attributed to the constant efforts and work of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commissions. Their unrelenting fight against offshore oil drilling and other harmful activities combined with sustainable management and stewardship has brought a major victory for animal and ocean conservation.

Coral Reef taller than Empire State Building Discovered

Whilst undertaking a 3D seabed mapping exercise of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Schmidt Ocean Institute made a dramatic discovery. A detached reef of more than 500 metres tall was found, taller than the Empire State Building in New York.

The base of the blade-like reef is 1.5km-wide and rises to 500m to its shallowest depth of only 40m below the sea surface. This newly discovered detached reef adds to the seven other tall detached reefs in the area, mapped since the late 1800s, including the reef at Raine Island–the world’s most important green sea turtle nesting area.

14 Countries launch a new plan to achieve a sustainable ocean economy

A mixed group of 14 countries— known as the Ocean Panel — have pledged to implement strict measures that will see them sustainably managing 100% of their ocean waters by 2025. Some of these goals include; creating sustainable fishing industries, scaling up new industries such as commercial farming of seaweed and taking a precautionary approach to seabed mining.

Sea Otter Numbers Recovering

Sea otters were on the verge of extinction but now the population in Canada is recovering. On Vancouver Island alone the population is over 5000 and with more sea otters the number of destructive sea urchins is being kept at bay allowing local kelp forests to recover.

Read the full story: University of British Columbia

Photo by James Thompson.

The Benefits of Lockdown

If we needed proof of how our actions directly impact on wildlife here is an amazing story. The endangered Hawksbill Turtles have returned to the Island of Koh Samui in Thailand to nest during lockdown after decades of staying away. The global pandemic is keeping millions of tourists away from the world’s beaches and sea turtles have taken the opportunity to take back their traditional nesting grounds. Let’s hope that protection of our marine life becomes a top priority once the tourists return.

Read the full story: The Guardian

New Discoveries with the Galapagos Marine Reserve

This year a staggering 30 new deep-sea animals have been discovered within the Galapagos Marine Reserve. The invertebrates were found on seamounts up to 3400m deep, and include fragile bamboo corals, octocorals, sponges, a brittle star, squat-lobsters and sea fans.

Read the full story: Charles Darwin Foundation

Scotland making its mark in Marine Conservation

This is good news closer to home. A new deep sea marine protected area is to be established off the west of Scotland. It will be Europe’s largest MPA covering over 100,000 sq km and 30% of Scotland’s seas. Reaching depths of 2.5km, it will safeguard vulnerable habitats and species, like deep sea sharks and coral gardens.

Read the full story: The Scottish Government

Image by Marine Scotland.

And finally...

A rescue dog’s poop-sniffing skills are helping to save endangered killer whales. Eba almost died as an abandoned puppy but now works as a Conservation Canine helping marine biologists study Southern Resident Orcas off the coast of Washington State, USA. She can smell their poop, or ‘scat’, up to a mile away. Once collected and analysed, it gives vital information on the health of the orcas.

Read the story: University of Washington

Image by Conservation Canines.

Do you have a great conservation win to share? Let us know! Drop us an email or give us a tag @yemayacollections on social media!

And if you want to feel closer to the ocean during lockdown, check out these podcasts....

A fun, unfiltered (and occasionally tipsy) ocean podcast about the sea. Hosted by tropical marine biologist and salt-lover Mads St Clair Baker. She brings some cheerful oceany-goodness into your daily life – and proves that it’s not all doom and gloom for our blue planet.

Amy Parker, a Sea Champion with the Marine Conservation Society, talks about trying to be plastic free and all things sea. She interviews people on the front line of marine conservation, from projects around the UK’s coastline. With every episode she asks what listeners can do to help protect these wonderful creatures and habitats.

Hear true stories of marine research from Joe Nickelson and Hayley Rutger, Mote Marine Laboratory scientists and their partners. Their aim is to help listeners become more ocean-savvy through fun and educational conversations.

Join Andrew Lewin, @Craken_McCraic and @DrScarlettSmash over a few (or more) drinks during a pub happy hour as they gossip about the hot topics of the ocean world of that week. Plus, learn about the challenges of attaining a marine biology or conservation career.


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