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Microplastics were present in all 13 samples taken from Scapa Flow in Orkney, off the northeastern coast of Scotland, despite its remoteness and Orkney’s small population. In fact, the samples had similar microplastic levels to some of the UK’s most industrialized waterways. Photo credit: Heriot-Watt University.

A Scottish academic is calling on government officials to do more to address the occurrence of microplastics around beaches and shores. Dr. Mark Hartl, associate professor of marine biology at Heriot-Watt University says that although he supports plastic bag tax and deposit return schemes - more should be done to protect natural marine habitats.

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IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim (L) and H.E. Mr. Kyaw Zwar Minn, Ambassador of Myanmar to the United Kingdom (R) at IMO Headquarters.

The IMO treaty ensuring that adequate compensation is available to persons that suffer damage caused by oil spills, when carried as fuel in ships’ bunkers, has been ratified by Myanmar. The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (BUNKER) applies to damage caused on the territory, including the territorial sea, and in exclusive economic zones of States under the Convention.

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The Northern Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale is the only year-round resident baleen whale in the northern Gulf of Mexico. They are found primarily off Florida, in an area known as De Soto Canyon. Map courtesy of the Marine Mammal Commission, an Independent Agency of the U.S. Government (map adapted from LaBrecque et al. 2015).

The latest Critically Endangered list from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) includes the Gulf of Mexico whale, a subspecies of Balaenoptera edeni. According to IUCN, this mammal is at risk of being the first baleen whale to go extinct since the Atlantic grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus) three centuries ago.

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On 31 January, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy an Executive Order directing the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to fully implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act (OWEDA) and begin the process of moving the state toward a goal of 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy generation by the year 2030.

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A community meeting in Napoleonville, Louisiana, on the Bayou Bridge pipeline on 8 February, 2017, where residents voiced opposition to the project. Photo courtesy of Emily Kasick.

Representing the interests of people who use, visit, study and rely on the Atchafalaya Great River Swamp, several groups have asked a Louisiana federal district court to vacate a recent decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) that would allow the controversial Bayou Bridge pipeline to be constructed through the Atchafalaya Basin and through hundreds of Louisiana’s streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands and bayous.

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The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has announced that the maximum civil penalty rate for Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act violations will increase from $42,704 to $43,576 a day for each violation. This legislatively mandated increase is contained in a final rule which came into effect on 18 January 2018.

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