Environment

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Sailors competing in the Volvo Ocean Race are attesting to the growing amount of trash found in the ocean. They’ve reported plastic debris getting stuck on their rudders and keels, slowing down their boats. That was the catalyst for a summit focused on ocean debris during the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Newport.

Sailor Dee Caffari, with Team SCA, has been sailing for 10 years, but she notes the trash has been most prominent along the new routes in this race around the world. What’s most heartbreaking, Caffari said, is witnessing the negative impact trash has on marine creatures.

Hans-Petter Fjeld / Wikimedia Commons

In regional news, the Gulf of Maine Atlantic salmon, known as the “king of fish,” is one of eight marine species most at risk for extinction in the near future. The fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just announced a new campaign to beef up efforts to help these endangered species survive.

NOAA Fisheries biologist Tara Trinko Lake said the Atlantic salmon were once abundant as far south as Connecticut, but they started to decline in the late 1800s from dams, overfishing, and pollution.

Ed Hughes / Audubon Society of Rhode Island

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island is leading free daily birds walks this month, during the height of spring migration, all over the state from North Smithfield to Coventry to South Kingstown.

At this time of year, male birds are sporting bright colored plumage to attract mates. Jeffrey Hall, the organization’s senior director of advancement, points out that trees aren’t lush with leaves yet. 

Three beluga whales spotted in Narragansett Bay are healthy adult males, likely from the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada. 

(Video courtesy of Matt Jarbeau)

Courtesy of Northeast Fisheries Science Center / NOAA

Oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb all the carbon emissions humans release into the air. And it could impact the Atlantic seaboard’s scallop industry, which brings in hundreds of millions of dollars. A team of researchers is working to predict just how bad the damage might be.

Researchers with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy unveiled a computer program that analyzes data on changes in the ocean, the scallop population, and the economy.

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