Coiba National Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and marine reserve, Coiba National Park is found in the Gulf of Chiriqui in the western region of Panama. Immersed in the Tropical Eastern Pacific, it forms part of the Tropical Eastern Pacific Marine Corridor (CMAR).

$20 billion in marine biodiversity commitments announced at ocean conference

At the start of the event, US White House climate envoy and former secretary of state John Kerry said that the meeting was “so incredibly important because it is a conference that is focused on action, not on talk. It’s about real commitments and real solutions.”

Huge sums

Nearly $6 billion in US commitments spread across 77 projects to protect the high seas in 2023 was announced by Kerry, including technical cooperation to foster “green shipping corridors.”

Map of the Mediterranean Sea
Map of the Mediterranean Sea

EU countries to establish large marine protected area in the Mediterranean

“An agreement is being finalized with France, Spain and Cyprus for a large protected area in the extra-territorial waters of the Mediterranean, which is a great contribution to the 30×30 goal,” said Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, the Italian environment and energy security minister at the Valore Natura conference in January 2023.

Humpbacks in the South Pacific
Humpbacks in the South Pacific. Home to some of the largest reservoirs of biodiversity on the planet, which support abundant fisheries, marvelous deep-water coral ecosystems and diverse marine life, the high seas are also throughways for whales, sharks and other migratory species.

High Seas Treaty: Historic agreement to protect international waters reached at UN after 20 years of negotiations

The legal framework provides a crucial mechanism in setting up vast marine protected areas (MPAs) in the high seas. The historic treaty plays a critical role in the enforcement of the 30x30 pledge that countries had made in December 2022 at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada. The 30x30 target aims to protect a third of the sea (and land) by 2030.

The announcement by conference president, Rena Lee of Singapore, was met by a standing ovation from delegates, who had worked long days and nights to finalize the deal.

White shark at Guadalupe
White shark at Guadalupe. Are they now going to be poached?

Closure of Guadalupe Island for divers cause of great concern for the sharks

This action expands on the 2022 closure of the Guadalupe Island Biosphere Reserve by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP), the federal agency tasked with managing Mexico’s protected natural areas.

They also closed the island to cage diving in 2021 and the pandemic closed down operations in 2020.

Fresh shark fins drying on sidewalk
(File photo) Fresh shark fins drying on sidewalk

Maldives backpaddles after outcry over lifting shark fishing ban

Shark fishing was completely banned in the Maldives in 2010 so when the country announced plans to discuss legalising the practice again, it created a massive backlash from the international community.

Sharks have always been a valuable tourist attraction in the small island nation and the declining status of shark fisheries, exacerbated by unresolved conflicts with other stakeholders led to the declaration of total shark fishing ban in 2010. With the shark fishing ban in place, sharks are now caught as bycatch in the Maldivian fisheries.

South China Sea row: Hague Tribunal rules in favor of Philippines, China to ignore decision

South China Sea: International Tribunal backs Philippines in case against China

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including reefs and islands also claimed by others. The Permanent Court of Arbitration said there was no evidence that China had historically exercised exclusive control over the waters or resources.

Gozo coastlne

British diver charged with involuntary homicide by Maltese authorities

Brighton (UK) coroner, Veronica Hamilton-Deeley, concluded the deaths on June 17 last year were the result of diving accidents, after hearing from witnesses and medical experts. However, the Maltese authorities accuse Mr Martin, 55, of Rustington, West Sussex, of being 'negligent in his obligations'.

Aerial View of Gibraltar
Aerial View of Gibraltar

Controversial Gibraltar artificial reef 'teeming with life'

According to Gibraltar’s department of the environment, an artificial reef protested by Spain is now “exploding with life”. Initiated two years ago, the 70 concrete blocks sunk near Gibraltar airport’s runway are already home to a large range of marine species from octopuses to triggerfish.

Japanese Tuna Scandal Deepens

In what Australian officials called an outrageous fraud, Japanese fishers probably used a series of disguises for the overcatch and international investigations have found.

The fishers described southern bluefin tuna as a different species and evaded any inspection on shore, underreported the amount of the fish they caught, and imported it as different tuna either transhipped at sea from foreign vessels or in containers. In a review that the Japanese government has vetoed from public release, investigators found the fraud extended to consumer markets.