Hakai Magazine

Coastal science and societies

Many Indian fishermen only have small boats, so when the weather turns it can become incredibly dangerous very quickly. Photo by Alex Robinson/JAI/Corbis
Many Indian fishermen only have small boats, so when the weather turns it can become incredibly dangerous very quickly. Photo by Alex Robinson/JAI/Corbis

Stories from the Seven Seas

A weekly roundup of coastal news.

Authored by

by Colin Schultz

Article body copy

Hakai Magazine is all about the coast, but other outlets sometimes share our fascination. Every week on Strand we collect our favorite coastal stories from around the web.

Fishermen’s messaging service saves lives, boosts income in east India

by Leslie Gevirtz for Reuters

“Deaths of fishermen are common along this coastal belt of Odisha state, where calm seas can suddenly turn violent and swallow flimsy boats like his, leaving families back home to grieve fathers, sons and brothers lost at sea.

But a new state-run voice messaging mobile service for fishermen, which provides weather updates, ocean status forecasts and locations of where to scout for a fish, is trying to change this. It already has more than 200,000 subscribers.”


Russia stakes new claim to expanse in the Arctic

by Andrew Kramer for The New York Times

“Under a 1982 United Nations convention, the Law of the Sea, a nation may claim an exclusive economic zone over the continental shelf abutting its shores. If the shelf extends far out to sea, so can the boundaries of the zone. The claim Russia lodged on Tuesday contends that the shelf extends far north of the Eurasian land mass, out under the planet’s northern ice cap.

Russia submitted a similar claim in 2002, but the United Nations rejected it for lack of scientific support. So this time, the Kremlin has offered new evidence collected by its research vessels.”


Hunt is on for 33 slave ships off coast of Papua New Guinea

by Mark Townsend for The Guardian

“In November, an investigation by Associated Press discovered hundreds of forced labourers, mainly from Burma, on Benjina. Some were filmed trapped in a cage, and many of those interviewed said they had been abused or had witnessed others being beaten—or in some cases killed.

Almost all described being kicked, beaten or whipped with toxic stingray tails if they complained or attempted to rest. Despite working 20- to 22-hour shifts and being forced to drink unclean water, they were either paid a pittance or went unpaid.

The discovery by AP led to at least 300 men managing to escape but, before help arrived at the island, boats loaded with slaves fled the region for new fishing grounds—some to the island of Ambon, others apparently to the Dog Leg.”


Arctic’s melting ice shrinks shipping routes

by Paul Brown for Climate News Network

“The paper estimates that trade between north-west Europe and China, Japan and Korea will increase by 10% as a result of the opening of the route, but that this will happen gradually.

Since 90% of world trade by volume is carried by ship, the distance between ports is a vital consideration. The northern route reduces the distance from Japan to north European countries by 37%, from South Korea by 31%, China 23%, and Taiwan 17%.”


Galápagos penguins find a cool refuge in a warming world

by Jason Goldman for Conservation Magazine

“I’ve often wondered whether the Galápagos are so intensely cherished in the scientific community because of something inherently interesting about the biodiversity there, or whether it’s simply an accident of where the HMS Beagle happened to stop, delivering Charles Darwin onto its shores. Islands are biodiversity wonderlands in general, after all, and there is perhaps as much interesting wildlife to find on California’s Channel Islands or on the Seychelles. But it turns out that there is something unique about the archipelago: it lies precisely on the equator. And despite its location firmly in the center of the tropics, it’s home to a variety of species we typically associate with colder habitats, like penguins and fur seals. And that’s all thanks to a quirk of its geography.”


Concern over Scottish marine protected areas

by David Miller for BBC

“Fishermen’s leaders have warned the creation of Marine Protected Areas around Scotland’s coast could result in a modern-day ‘clearance’ that would devastate small fishing communities.

Environmentalists have described the claims as ‘exaggerated.’”


How a piece of a Boeing 777 drifted 2,300 miles

by Laura Parker for National Geographic

“In retrospect, the absence of any physical evidence from the crash shouldn’t have been that much of a mystery. By the time the search shifted to the Indian Ocean 10 days after the jet disappeared, the flaperon was already on its way and riding the current towards Africa.

‘A very large anti-clockwise rotating current sweeps right up the west coast of Australia and into the tropics, where it heads west,’ says Matt Jolly, a New Zealander who traverses those currents as captain of the Braveheart, a 130-foot expedition ship. ‘It is these very same currents and winds that the sailors of old used in the spice trade, making use of this superhighway to get from Europe to the East Indies and back again.’”