The Arctic Council was established in the 1990s to monitor environmental matters like climate change and pollution in the Arctic. It is made up of eight permanent members (Norway, Russia, Canada, US, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden) that make the decisions and now has accepted six European countries as ‘permanent observers’ that have no decision making powers. As climate change continues and the Arctic begins to open up to shipping and oil and gas exploration, more and more countries are interested in joining the council. At a recent meeting, the permanent members accepted India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, but deferred a decision on the EU. To learn more, check out this article: Arctic Council unlikely to deal directly with climate change.
After supporting the “Happy Hearts Love Sharks” campaign — a contest run by the Hong Kong Shark Foundation aimed at encouraging newlyweds to leave shark fin soup off the menu at their wedding banquets — Fiji’s international airline, Air Pacific, has been accused of transporting shark fins from Pacific islands to Hong Kong. It turns out that supporting the anti-shark fin soup contest was simply a good stunt for public relations but doesn’t seem to reflect the company’s values at all.
Scientists have recently revealed a new species of ichthyosaur, a dolphin-like marine reptile from the age of dinosaurs. This new species is proving to be crucial in our understanding of the evolution and extinction of ichthyosaurs. Until now, it was thought that ichthyosaurs declined gradually during the Jurassic period until there were almost none left. Now, scientists know that many ichthyosaur groups survived well into the Cretaceous period, making their fossil record very different from other marine reptile groups. For more info on ancient marine life, check out this article: New Sea Monster Found, Rewrites Evolution?
For the very first time, a grey whale has been seen south of the equator. The north Pacific grey whale has been extinct in the Atlantic since the 18th century. This sighting could mean that the population is recovering or that climate change is disrupting their feeding habits.
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