Lifestyle

The cost of marine debris
August 12, 2014 03:53 PM - NOAA

Marine debris has many impacts on the ocean, wildlife, and coastal communities. A NOAA Marine Debris Program economic study released today shows that it can also have considerable economic costs to residents who use their local beaches. The study found that Orange County, California residents lose millions of dollars each year avoiding littered, local beaches in favor of choosing cleaner beaches that are farther away and may cost more to reach. Reducing marine debris even by 25 percent at beaches in and near Orange County could save residents roughly $32 million during three months in the summer.

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The Danger of Solar "Super-Storms"
August 5, 2014 01:45 PM - Winfield Winter, ENN

Watch out George Lucas fans, a Death Star may be in our horizons — and one would only have to look as far as our nearest stellar neighbor: the Sun. According to Mr. Ashley Dale of the University of Bristol, solar "super-storms" pose an imminent threat to the earth by disabling electricity and communication system — or worse. Thus, the celestial body that illuminates the world may very well be responsible for sending it into darkness. In this month's issue of PhysicsWorld, Mr. Dale writes: "Without power, people would struggle to fuel their cars at petrol stations, get money from cash dispensers or pay online. Water and sewage systems would be affected too, meaning that health epidemics in urbanized areas would quickly take a grip, with diseases behind centuries ago soon returning."

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SPOTLIGHT

Trawling: destructive fishing method is turning sea floors to 'deserts'

Morgan Erickson-Davis, MONGABAY.COM
Bottom trawling is a practice used by commercial fisheries around the world in which a large, heavy net is dragged along the ocean floor to scoop up everything in its path. Previous research has linked trawling to significant environmental impacts, such as the harvest of large numbers of non-target species, collectively termed "by catch," as well as destruction of shallow seabeds. Now, a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds this method is also resulting in long-term, far-reaching consequences in the deeper ocean and beyond. Trawling dates back to the 1300s, and it became widespread in coastal areas around the world after the industrialization of commercial fishing in the late-1800s. Bottom trawling targets commercially valuable species that live near the sea floor, such as cod, rockfish, and various kinds of squid and shrimp. Gear varies depending on the fishing outfit, but nets can be nearly as large as a city block and scoop thousands of fish and other marine animals in a single drag.

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