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Heading out on the water this Summer? Watch for manatees

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manatee

As National Safe Boating Week approaches, Save the Manatee® Club is urging boaters, and anyone that enjoys Florida’s waterways, to respect and protect the defenseless manatees that inhabit our shared waterways. From May 18 to 24, leading up to Memorial Day Weekend, the campaign aims to raise awareness about recreational boating safety and the importance of safeguarding imperiled manatees during the summer boating season. This week also emphasizes the importance of encouraging boaters to enroll in a boating safety course.

Manatees are semi-migratory marine mammals that are commonly found in shallow estuaries, bays, rivers, canals, and coastal areas throughout Florida and neighboring states. With some manatees venturing as far west as Texas and as far north as Massachusetts, collisions between these gentle giants and watercraft have become distressingly frequent. Boat propellers and high-speed collisions pose significant threats to manatees, often resulting in severe injuries or even death.

Save the Manatee Club is calling on all water enthusiasts to follow essential manatee safety tips to ensure the well-being of the imperiled manatee:

  • Obey Speed Zone Signs: Familiarize yourself with and adhere to posted speed limits to prevent collisions with manatees.
  • Reduce Glare with Polarized Sunglasses: Wear polarized sunglasses to enhance visibility and spot manatees below the water’s surface.
  • Recognize Manatee Signs: Learn to identify signs of manatees in the area, such as swirls or flat spots on the water caused by their movements.
  • Respect Manatee Sanctuaries: Keep a safe distance from posted manatee sanctuaries and avoid pursuing or harassing these marine mammals, as it is illegal and can disrupt their natural behaviors.
  • Report Distressed Manatees: In Florida, promptly report distressed, injured, tagged, or orphaned manatees to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922). Outside of Florida, report sightings to the appropriate state agency or rescue organization. A list of agencies to contact is available at savethemanatee.org/report.
  • Protect Seagrass Beds: Avoid boating over seagrass beds and shallow areas where manatees may be feeding. Stick to deep water channels while remaining vigilant, as manatees also utilize these channels during their travels.
  • Dispose of Fishing Line Responsibly: Anglers should properly dispose of or recycle used fishing line to prevent entanglement hazards for manatees.

“Each year, National Safe Boating Week provides an excellent reminder for all of us to be aware that we share our waterways with vulnerable manatees,” emphasized Patrick Rose, Aquatic Biologist and Executive Director of Save the Manatee Club. “With the recent Unusual Mortality Event on Florida’s East Coast claiming an alarming number of manatees’ lives, it is more crucial than ever to prevent preventable deaths caused by watercraft collisions. By following manatee-safe boating guidelines, such as obeying speed zones and remaining vigilant for manatees, everyone on the water can contribute to the protection of these gentle giants.”

Save the Manatee Club offers a range of free materials to help safeguard manatees and raise awareness about manatee-safe boating practices. Shoreline property owners and park or marina managers can order aluminum dock signs to alert others about the presence of manatees in their areas. Boaters and paddlers can request packets containing a safety tips card, a waterproof boat banner, and a decal to display on their vessels, providing the number to report manatees in distress. To view and request these materials, visit savethemanatee.org/resources. Save the Manatee Club will also be hosting a live webinar for National Safe Boating Week on Tuesday, May 21st at 6pm EST. To register, visit savethemanatee.org/register.

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The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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the ocean cleanup
  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

the ocean cleanup

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

the ocean cleanup

Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

the ocean cleanup

The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

www.theoceancleanup.com

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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Book Review: Plankton

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Plankton: A Worldwide Guide by Tom Jackson and Jennifer Parker

This is a book that jumps off the shelf at you. The striking front cover demands that you pick it up and delve further, even if you may not have known you wanted to learn more about the most diminutive life in our ocean, plankton!

Small it might be. Much of the imagery in the book has been taken under huge magnification. Revealing stunning beauty and diversity in each scoop of “soup”. There is lots to learn. Initial chapters include interesting facts about the different vertical zones they inhabit, from sunlight to midnight (the darkest and deepest areas). I loved finding out more about the stunning show that divers oft encounter on night dives – bioluminescence.

The black water images are wonderful. So this is a book you can have as a coffee table book to dip in and our of. But, these tiny organisms are also vital to our very survival and that of all the marine life we love. They provide half the oxygen produced on our planet. They are also responsible for regulating the planets climate. And for a shark lover like me – they are food for charismatic sharks and rays like the Basking Shark and Manta Ray, along with a huge number of other species. This book contains great insight into their biology, life cycles, migration, and how the changes in currents and sea temperatures affects them.

This is a book that is both beautiful and packed with information about possibly the most important group of organisms on our planet. Anyone interested in the ocean should have it one their shelves.

What the publisher says:

Plankton are the unsung heroes of planet Earth. Passive drifters through the world’s seas, oceans, and freshwater environments, most are invisible or very small, but some are longer than a whale. They are the global ocean’s foundation food, supporting almost all oceanic life, and they are also vitally important for land-based plants, animals, and other organisms. Plankton provides an incomparable look at these remarkable creatures, opening a window on the elegance and grace of microscopic marine life.

This engaging book reveals the amazing diversity of plankton, how they belong to a wide range of living groups, and how their ecology, lifestyles, and adaptations have evolved to suit an enormous range of conditions. It looks at plankton life cycles, the different ways plankton feed and grow, and the vast range of strategies they use for reproduction. It tracks where, how, and why plankton drift through the water; shares perspectives on migrations and population explosions or “blooms” and why they happen; and discusses the life-sustaining role of plankton in numerous intertwined food webs throughout the world.

Beautifully illustrated, Plankton sheds critical light on how global warming, pollution, diminishing resources, and overexploitation will adversely impact planktonic life, and how these effects will reverberate to every corner of our planet.

About the Authors:

Tom Jackson is a science writer whose many popular books include Strange Animals and Genetics in MinutesJennifer Parker is a zoology and conservation writer and the author of several books. Andrew Hirst is a leading expert on plankton whose research has taken him around the world, from the Antarctic to Greenland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691255996

Published: 9th April, 2024

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