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The Kulluk, one of Shell's oil drilling rigs  for the Arctic.

Last week, the top Federal prosecutor in Alaska announced that Shell’s primary Arctic offshore oil drilling contractor, Noble Drilling, had pled guilty to committing eight felony offenses in connection with Shell’s botched attempts to drill in the Arctic Ocean in 2012.  As its operator pleads guilty for the 2012 drilling mess, Shell is already gearing up to drill again with the same operator and an even bigger and dirtier drilling plan.

A U.S. Navy vessel, with a research ship and pod of orcas in the foreground.

Echolocation, the location of objects by reflected sound, is a mouthful. It is also something of a miracle.

For marine mammals, it’s how they communicate with each other, how they avoid perils, and how they locate food. Without healthy, functioning ears and sound-making systems, they are lost.

A blueback herring.

River herring spend most of their lives in the Atlantic Ocean. They are anadromous fish species, which means they return to spawn in coastal rivers in the spring. But these small fish are in big trouble. Based on analysis by the National Marine Fisheries Service, their populations have declined more than 98 percent from their historic level.

Bluefin tuna

Imagine meeting a 40-year-old fish that weighs 1,500 pounds and can accelerate faster than a sports car. Bluefin tuna are a top-of-the-food-chain fish and certainly one of the most impressive creatures in the ocean. Bluefin are also one of the most lucrative fish species to catch.

Buyers in the Japanese raw fish (sushi) markets set new records each year for the amount of cash they are willing to pay, and a worldwide fleet of fishers is eager to collect this cash.

Ahi tuna tends to have high levels of mercury.

When browsing your local seafood counter, there’s a good chance you don’t consider how toxic the tuna or swordfish may be. 

For most people, mercury exposure from eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Yet, you may be unknowingly exposing your family to harmful mercury levels, depending on the type of fish you feed them, the serving size and how often your family consumes seafood.

Atlantic trawler.

Scientists and fishermen agree that the industrial midwater trawl fleet is taking a toll on many species on the Atlantic Coast. The massive nets of these vessels kill millions of river herring and, increasingly, the juveniles of some commercially important groundfish such as haddock. Unfortunately, an important action to rein in this damage is facing a substantial delay.

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