Starting this month, we thought we'd begin sharing our favourite news - the stories that give us hope for the future of our ocean, the excitement of knowing there is still plenty to be discovered and the gratitude for being able to share the planet with awesome people that share our passion for conservation. Here are our top pieces of uplifting ocean news from the past month, from Cape Town and beyond.
South African whales are having a bumper year
In a recent survey carried out by Jean Tresfon, 1 346 southern right whales were spotted. That's more than triple the number that was counted at the same time last year, and an all-time record for southern right whale sightings on our coast.
A tiny new seahorse was discovered - and it's adorable!
This pygmy seahorse has been dubbed the "Japan Pig" by scientists from the California Academy of Sciences. Hippocampus japapigu was discovered living on the rocky ocean around Japan in an area commonly frequented by divers - proving that new species can be hidden right under our noses.
We rescued a seal disguised as a shark!
On 11 August, the Aquarium was called to assist a seal that appeared to have a broken fin. Little did we know this was actually a seal that had been tangled in a line from which someone had hung a shark fin to sun-dry! The seal was uninjured (although we think he might have lost some seal street cred). We, unfortunately, have no way of knowing if the shark fin originated from legal fisheries or poaching.
And in case you missed it - we pulled off another epic seal rescue. Check out the video.
South African woman swims 100km for ocean conservation
Sarah Ferguson swam 100km through the waters of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa's largest marine protected area, to raise awareness of the issue of plastic pollution in our ocean - more than 350kg of plastic pollution enters our ocean every second.
WWF South Africa turns 50!
For 50 years the World Wildlife Fund has been one of South Africa's premier conservation organisations. As you may well know if you are a Two Oceans Aquarium follower, their WWF SASSI programme is the leading authority on information about sustainable fisheries in South Africa, but what else have they been up to? Capetown ETC has compiled an amazing list of WWF South Africa's milestones.
Giant coral reef discovery in the Atlantic Ocean
A team of scientists discovered a 140km long coral reef off the Atlantic coast of the USA. This alien-looking deep-sea reef likely plays a key role in the entire region's ecology
Even more South African businesses taking action to stop single-use plastics
With the entire globe finally responding to the call to reduce or eliminate single-use plastics, such as nationwide bans in New Zealand and Dominica and city-wide bans in places like Mexico's Tijuana, we thought we should bring you the good news from closer to home.
- Tsogo Sun announced that it is banning single-use plastic straws at all its locations - that's more than 100 hotels that aren't sucking!
- A survey of businesses on the Cape Peninsula conducted by Waste Reduction Far South found that of 110 establishments surveyed, more than half do not offer plastic straws, and up to 10% have eliminated disposable plastic bags, styrofoam containers and condiment sachets entirely. Five businesses were identified as being "naked", i.e. no disposable plastics on offer at all: La Sal (Fish Hoek), Stag Coffee (Fish Hoek), Southern Grind (Heron Park), The Green Room (Kommetjie) and Tiger's Milk (Muizenberg).
- The SA Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa dropped a huge hint that talks are underway to phase out plastic microbeads in South Africa.
- Spar in the Eastern Cape has reduced their sale of single-use plastic shopping bags by 1.2 million over the past 5 months, following their announcement to phase out these bags completely as soon as possible.
- 31 local celebrities pledged to stop using disposable shopping bags from July onwards.
- Woolworths has pledged to phase out plastic shopping bags by 2020 and have only reusable or recyclable packaging by 2022.
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