The Scanner - Oceana USA
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2009-09-18 00:00:00

The Scanner

Happy last Friday of summer, everybody. Here’s some great news to start your weekend — a victory for deep-sea coral, responsible whale watching, Obama’s ocean plan and more….Last night the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved a plan to protect more than 23,000 square miles of known deep-sea coral from North Carolina to Florida from destructive fishing gear. This is believed to be the largest contiguous distribution of pristine deepwater coral ecosystems in the world, and Oceana and others have been working toward this victory for five years. …Nine rehabbed sea turtles (some of whom I met in June) from the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail Island, NC were released back to the ocean, one sporting a satellite tracker. …NPR reported on a new “DNA barcode” tool that could help stem the illegal trade in threatened and endangered species. They’ve already identified illegal imports of whale, dolphin, crocodile and monkey.…NOAA launched a new Whale Sense program to encourage whale-watch tour operators from Maine to Virginia to practice responsible viewing and discourage harassment. The U.S. has the largest whale watching industry in the world. …The Obama administration called Thursday for a comprehensive national system for regulating the use of federal waters along the nation’s marine and Great Lakes shores, including a National Ocean Council. The oceans, coasts and Great Lakes have previously been governed by more than 140 laws and 20 federal agencies, each agency with different goals and missions. …Turns out the great white shark evolved not from the Megalodon shark but from a less mythical, small-toothed relative of mako sharks. (And in other cool ancient creature news, scientists say the T-Rex was preceded by its Mini-Me, raptorex.)