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“If you're overfishing at the top of the food chain, and acidifying the ocean at the bottom, you're creating a squeeze that could conceivably collapse the whole system.” - Carl Safina.

Humans have an uncanny ability for destruction. This isn’t intentional. It’s somehow hardwired into us. In fact, the very skills that have allowed us to survive for thousands of years are often the same ones that lead to our destruction. We’re seeing this more and more in recent decades.

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Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announces amendments to the Fisheries Act that would restore lost protections and incorporate modern safeguards to protect our fish and their habitat for generations to come.

From coast to coast to coast, Canadians have signaled their strong passion for protecting the fish and fish habitat that play such a vital role in our environment, our communities and our livelihoods. Now, Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard have announced amendments to the Fisheries Act that would restore lost protections and incorporate modern safeguards to protect our fish and their habitat for generations to come.

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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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Proposed cuts include a reduction in funding for fishery enforcement. Photo credit: NOAA.

NOAA’s FY 2019 budget request under the direction of the Trump Administration includes $4,562,711,000 in discretionary appropriations, which amounts to a $1,075,798,000 reduction from NOAA’s FY 2018 Appropriations level.

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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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Stretching from the California-Oregon border down to Mexico, California’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) network includes 124 marine parks and protects roughly 16% of the state’s waters. These MPAs function as a network, sheltering precious marine life and fragile habitats, while also allowing biological exchange between the protected sites.

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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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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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