Overfishing

Despite the ubiquitous nature of fish, many populations are declining due to industrial fishing practices of the 20th and 21st centuries.

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Freshly cut dorsal fin from a scalloped hammerhead shark held by fisherman with knife.

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Shark Finning: Sharks Turned Prey

A fisherman holds a freshly cut dorsal fin from a scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini). Every year, humans kill an...
Orange roughy and various marine species, bycatch, on the deck of a research trawler

Rough Going for Orange Roughy

Orange roughy and bycatch on the deck of a research trawler off the east coast of Tasmania. Credit: Stephen McGowan, Australian Maritime College, 2006/Marine Photobank In the dark, cold waters 600 meters (nearly 2000...
An underwater photo of Southern Bluefin Tuna swimming above a fish farm net.

Tunas and Marlins Officially Classified as Threatened

The Southern Bluefin Tuna ( Thunnus maccoyii ) is listed as "critically endangered" on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species . If its population continues to decline, the species faces the possibility of...
two men each hold a ceramic vessel at the archaeological ex

Archaeologists Study Early Whaling Community in Quebec, Canada

For over a decade, Smithsonian's Arctic Studies Center archaeologist, William Fitzhugh, has been investigating an early European whaling site at Hare Harbor in Québec, Canada . The site has revealed important contact and trading...

Reef Sharks Repelled by People

Large numbers of grey reef sharks were observed at Jarvis Island, an uninhabited Pacific island, during the 2010 Pacific RAMP expedition of the NOAA Ship Hi'ialakai . Credit: NOAA Reef sharks rarely get any...
David Barouh displays fresh fish for sale at Seattle’s Pike Place Market

Sustainable Seafood

As a consumer, you can choose what kinds of seafood to buy. Some species are in good supply and make excellent choices. Others have declined dramatically due to overfishing or environmental factors. Choosing those...
A whale shark swims with a diver off the coast of East Africa.

The Big Five of the Ocean: Exploring the Waters of East Africa

A whale shark swims with a diver off the coast of East Africa. Credit: Caine Delacy When we think "Africa," we think of the "Big Five"—lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinos—that crisscross the African...

Field Notes from the East African Coast

Traditional fishing techniques now involve monofilament nets, with snorkelers diving down to ensure the bigger fish don't get away. Credit: Caine Delacy We began this journey three months ago, a team of scientists and...
Sunset over a fishing net.

Technology and Sea Turtles

Sea turtles may have survived the planetary changes that killed the dinosaurs, but now they are threatened by fisheries. It's estimated that some 4,600 sea turtles are killed by fishing nets and hooks every...
A Hawaiian petrel in flight

4,000 Years of Marine History through the Eyes of a Seabird

A Hawaiian petrel flies over part of its North Pacific feeding grounds. Credit: Photo courtesy of Jim Denny Most people have never heard of the Hawaiian petrel , an endangered, crow-sized seabird that spends...

Helpful Herbivores

Convict surgeonfish are the roaming sheep of the reef but, instead of noshing on grass, they feed on algae. Credit: Michael Webster When snorkeling in the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA) in West...
Freshly cut dorsal fin from a scalloped hammerhead shark held by fisherman with knife.

Shark Finning: Sharks Turned Prey

A fisherman holds a freshly cut dorsal fin from a scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini). Every year, humans kill an estimated 100 million sharks. Removing sharks in large numbers can have ripple effects that...
A juvenile Kemp's ridley sea turtle emerges from the nest

Taking the Temperature of the Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle

Kemp's ridley sea turtles ( Lepidochelys kempii ) often emerge from their nests during the day, which is a rare (and dangerous) thing for sea turtle hatchlings! Credit: Terry Ross ( Flickr ) The...

Shark Girl: Changing Shark Fear to Fascination

Madison Stewart, known to many simply as “shark girl,” is an inspiring young woman with a passion to protect the creatures most people fear: sharks. She’s been diving with sharks since the age of...

From Despair to Repair

Sit down with two veteran marine scientists, Dr. Nancy Knowlton and Dr. Jeremy Jackson, who fell in love with each other and the reefs of the Caribbean 40 years ago. Those reefs are now...
This queen parrotfish scrapes algae from Caribbean reefs with its parrot-like beak.

From Despair to Repair: Protecting Parrotfish Can Help Bring Back Caribbean Coral Reefs

Sit down with two veteran marine scientists, Dr. Nancy Knowlton and Dr. Jeremy Jackson, who fell in love with each other and the reefs of the Caribbean 40 years ago. Those reefs are now...
The Charles W. Morgan tallship

History and Modern Science Collide for the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan

The Charles W. Morgan sailing en route to Newport on June 15, 2104. Credit: Courtesy of Mystic Seaport. Traveling aboard the Charles W. Morgan , a 173-year-old whaling ship on its 38th Voyage, I’m...

Good-Bye Gillnet, Hello Shark Recovery!

A thresher shark was killed after becoming stuck in a gillnet. Credit: Brian Skerry Imagine that you're a shark swimming beneath the surface, minding your own business, when—smack!—you swim right into a net. Entangled,...
A pile of bycatch species.

Bycatch: The Cost of Catching What You Don’t Want

When people go out fishing, they often have something specific in mind, but it's very difficult to catch only what you're looking for. Pulling a net through the water or across the sea floor...

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