oceans

HBarrison / Creative Commons

The northeast congressional delegation is rallying in support of a comprehensive management plan for the Atlantic Ocean -- the nation's first coordinated strategy for federal waters. 

The first time he encountered a tiger shark in the water, marine ecologist Neil Hammerschlag was in the Bahamas conducting research. His team was on a boat and hadn't seen many sharks, so when someone yelled, "Tiger shark!" he grabbed his snorkel gear and camera and jumped into the water.

"One [tiger shark] moved right in toward me and came close," Hammerschlag tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "It opened its mouth, and I was looking through its mouth down its gut and seeing its gills from the inside."

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

In the port town of Tanmen, on China's southernmost province of Hainan Island, I met 35-year-old Wang Zhenzhong. He's done pretty well for himself. He graduated from college in Beijing and he runs his own business, selling handicrafts related to the town's maritime culture. He likes to play the guitar.

Like many folks here, his ancestors were fishermen. But one thing that makes Wang different from his neighbors is that he and his family are in possession of something very ancient and very rare.

An international tribunal in The Hague has invalidated China's claims in the South China Sea in a first-ever ruling. The decision has been rejected by Beijing.

The disputed waters are claimed by China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and other countries. But China has been the most aggressive in staking out its claim — marking a "nine-dash line" around the bulk of the islands and waters, and building up artificial islands within the disputed region.

(Fisheries and Oceans Canada/World Register of Marine Species

The state's largest natural oyster bed has been shut down. That's due to several illegal harvests which culminated last week in a boat chase.

Milan Boers / Creative Commons

A plan to improve management facets of the ocean and coasts of the northeastern U.S. states is headed for its final public hearings in Rhode Island and Maine.

U.S. Coast Guard / Vincent Reubelt

When something's gone wrong at sea, boaters have typically relied on flares: hand-held torches that can be waived at night to ensure rescuers quickly home in on a distressed vessel. The Coast Guard is now trying to take the fire out of the flare, and develop a distress signal that doesn't require any pyrotechnics. 

Russia launched the world's biggest, most powerful icebreaker on Thursday in St. Petersburg.

The Arktika is 568 feet long and powered by two nuclear reactors. It can break through ice 13 feet deep, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly reports.

The ship set forth early, ahead of its planned 2017 launch, according to Sputnik News and the shipyard where the Arktika was built.

Leif Anderson / Flickr

Animal rights have come a long way over the last century, providing, of course, we're not talking about fish. While other vertebrates have slowly been recognized as social, feeling, even sentient beings, fish remain good for three things: owning, catching and eating.

rickpilot_2000, Wikimedia Commons

Two men have died and a woman and child had to be taken to a hospital after a party of four people set off from the beach at Hammonasset State Park Sunday evening.

Threats of 3-5 inches of rain — and the possibility of 8 inches in some places — have people in northwest Florida bracing for flooding from Tropical Storm Colin. The storm is forecast to hit the area Monday afternoon and then move north along the East Coast.

Naval Submarine Base New London

For a century, Groton, Connecticut has been home to the Naval Submarine Base and Training School. It’s turned into an economic staple for the region with the presence of manufacturer Electric Boat. The state is celebrating one hundred years as the "Submarine Capital of the World." This hour, we discuss the history of the submarine industry and how it fares today. Even after all these years, the vessels continue to play an important role in U.S. military strategy.

She sails by the memory of the stars.

Her bones are lashed together with 6 miles of rope. Her twin wooden masts are lowered and outstretched only by the power of muscled arms. And once fully extended, the red, V-shaped sails announce who she is.

She is the Hokule'a, Hawaii's famous voyaging canoe, built in the double-hulled style used by Polynesian navigators thousands of years ago to cross the Pacific.

Attention, New Englanders: You may see a seal pup on the beach this weekend, and you may be tempted to take a selfie with it. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is asking that you please resist that urge.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

From floods to fires --  burst pipes to a man overboard, when something goes wrong on a commercial fishing vessel -- crew members at sea need to act fast. But how do they prepare? 

Eric Heupel / Creative Commons

Most New Englanders are no strangers to lighthouses. 

Ever stood on the coastline, gazing out over the horizon, and wondered what's on the other side? Pondered where you'd end up if you could fly straight ahead until you hit land?

Turns out the answer might be surprising. And even if you pulled out an atlas — or, more realistically, your smartphone — you might have trouble figuring it out. Lines of latitude won't help, and drawing a path on most maps will lead you astray.

A video of a porcupinefish trapped in a net in Chaloklum Bay, Thailand, being freed by snorkelers who happened upon it got lots of traction last week.

NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, 2013 Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition Science Team

The fight to grant permanent federal protection to three areas off New England's coast continues, despite a setback for conservationists at one of the spots. 

Sean McMahon/Yale University

Fossils of a sea creature found in the state of Illinois in 1958 have puzzled scientists for decades. But recently a Yale-led team of paleontologists were able to identify the 300-million-year-old animal, known as the Tully Monster.  

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Tons of sand traveled from Cape Cod to the shoreline of a beach in West Haven. It’s part of a project to build a spot for recreational beach-goers and protect millions of dollars of buried coastal infrastructure. 

"Raise your hand if you have ever determined your location on the planet using the stars," Lt. Daniel Stayton tells his class at the U.S. Naval Academy.

A young officer halfheartedly puts up her hand. Another wavers. The rest of the class of 20 midshipmen sits stone-faced.

lutrus / Flickr

Researchers with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth said a new video system will help provide data to better inform management of New England's beleaguered cod population.

Kit4na / Creative Commons

A new climate change study looking at the northeast Atlantic Ocean points to a stressful future for some of the region's most iconic species. 

Tambako The Jaguar/Creative Commons

Six seals have been spotted on the North Shore of Long Island, off Centre Island.

An executive director of the Riverhead Foundation said seals are more typically seen on the East End. Most seals live in cold waters off Maine, Nova Scotia, and Massachusetts.

Less than 24 hours after reports of their detention emerged, 10 U.S. Navy personnel have been freed by Iran. The sailors left an Iranian naval base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday morning, along with the boats they were operating when they were taken into custody.

"There are no indications that the sailors were harmed during their brief detention," the Department of Defense says, confirming the release of nine men and one woman.

Block Island has been dubbed one of “the last great places” in the western hemisphere. It has a shoreline largely untouched by development. But on the northwest corner of island, storms have been washing away at the bluffs, unearthing what used to be the island’s landfill.

International Whaling Commission / iwc.int

A whale’s majesty can be glimpsed during a whale watching trip anywhere the regal mammals roam. But the chances of that vision being marred are increasing as more whales become entangled in fishing gear.

University of Rhode Island scientists are turning to salt marshes to better understand the relationship between climate change and sea level rise.

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