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Hakai Magazine is all about the coast, but other outlets sometimes share our fascination. Every week on Strand we round up our favorite coastal stories from around the web.
How to lead a nation that will be swallowed by the sea
by Brian Merchant for Motherboard
“Tong was first elected president of Kiribati in 2003 and will leave office next year. He’s tan, and his hair and mustache are a matching shade of peppered white. For a man at the forefront of the environmental apocalypse, he’s easygoing and quick to break out in a grin. Though he represents one of the globe’s smallest, poorest nations (its population is just over 100,000, and its GDP ranks 193rd in the world), Tong has become one of the most outspoken advocates for strong climate policy, for an obvious reason: If he doesn’t, the nation he has spent 12 years governing will cease to exist.”
Great white sharks are really spastic poopers (yes, we have video)
by Sarah Keartes for Earth Touch News
“While diving off the coast of Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, the crew aboard the Nautilus Explorer witnessed great white shark celebrity ‘Lucy’ releasing some majestic egesta. Underwater faecal tornadoes are something we’ve witnessed before, but this unique view allows us to see the full body spasm that’s triggered when a mammoth shark like Lucy needs to lighten her load.”
Say goodbye to bycatch: fishing smarter in the 21st century
by Angela M. Thomas for National Geographic
“What if I told you that by-catch is a major contributor to overfishing and poses a significant threat to the world’s oceans? Currently, in the United States, approximately 1 in 5 fish caught by commercial fishermen are by-catch. That’s 2 billion pounds of fish and other marine species wasted each year.”
Sometimes, a whale dies
by Jonathan Foley for The Macroscope
“This time it was a humpback whale. A ‘small’ one: a young male, only about 33 feet long. It washed up in the little town of Pacifica, California, just south of San Francisco. It was the third whale to wash up on the town beach this year.
Naturally, there was a bit of a scene on the beach. Locals, tourists, and camera crews were all there, asking questions. This year had seen a lot of unusual deaths of marine mammals, including extremely high losses of elephant seals, sea lions, and whales. Something was up in the ocean, and people were worried. They hoped the scientists had the answers. Of course, scientists had some answers, but even more questions.”
Japanese whaling ships depart for Antarctic hunt
“Japan says its whaling programme is for scientific research – one of the exceptions in which whaling is allowed under international rules.
But in 2014 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said its Antarctic hunt was not scientific and should cease.
Activists say the programme is inhumane and unsustainable.
Japan insists it is trying to prove the whale population is large enough to justify a return to whaling for commercial purposes, and says it has to kill the mammals to carry out its research.”