Also by Willie

Why do whales strand on beaches?

Posted by Willie — 26 January 2016 at 12:19pm - Comments
Sperm whales washed up on skegness beach
All rights reserved. Credit: Lee Swift
Sperm whales washed up on a Skegness beach

Shocking and sad images have been all over the media in the past few days as some massive sperm whales have washed up dead on British beaches. Normally humans and these deep water leviathans live far apart, so it’s understandable that we are surprised and distraught to encounter them like this. But why does it happen? And what can you do?

New Year's plastic resolution: 5 simple ways to help the ocean.

Posted by Willie — 7 January 2016 at 11:22am - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Poldhu Beach Watcher/BBC News

The New Year’s storms have brought a lurid, unmissable reminder to UK beaches, with thousands of bright pink detergent bottles being churned up by the sea. As waves of highly-visible plastic trash hit British beaches, it’s a timely reminder of a much bigger problem: we are turning our oceans into plastic soup. It’s been estimated recently that about EIGHT MILLION TONNES of plastic ends up in the ocean each year.

Cheap seafood costs too much in human suffering

Posted by Willie — 14 December 2015 at 12:09pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Dita Alangkara/Associated Press
Children and teenagers sit together to be registered by officials during a raid on a shrimp shed in Samut Sakhon, Thailand.

About 8 years ago, I had the joy of doing a live news interview from a fish processing factory in Grimsby. Being in a fish processing factory in Grimsby was fine, it was wearing a hair net on national TV that wasn’t.

The story being discussed was seafood brand Young’s decision to ship UK-caught shrimp all the way to Thailand and back, a move that was ‘better’ in terms of CO2 emissions, and cheaper for consumers.

But what price do we pay for cheap seafood?

Seven Deadly Fins

Posted by Willie — 30 October 2015 at 3:01pm - Comments
Seven deadly fins - scary creatures from the deep sea
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace
Which ocean creature sends a shiver down your spine?

If you go down in the deep today, you might get a big surprise. At Hallowe’en the usual ghosts, ghouls and monsters are all-too-familiar. But if you want a real fright, you really need to see what’s lurking in the sea. 

So, prepare yourself as we introduce you to seven of the spookiest, kookiest and most sinister denizens of the deadly deep, deep sea.

Big Blue Love for Big Blue Live

Posted by Willie — 21 August 2015 at 1:42pm - Comments

Something amazing is happening in Monterey Bay, California. The bay is a marine sanctuary, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The bay is home to an amazing array of wildlife: everything from cute, cuddly sea otters to prehistoric pelicans, from massive kelp forests to gigantic blue whales. But the big news is that BBC is kindly bringing all of this right into your living room with a massive live TV event called Big Blue Live.

The next UK government promises to be an ocean champion

Posted by Willie — 20 April 2015 at 10:23am - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Enric Sala/ Nat Geo

Here’s a prediction: the next UK government will do great things for global marine protection.

At this stage in a general election campaign it’s sometimes hard to find something that politicians wearing differently coloured rosettes can agree on, but with an unprecedented bunch of manifesto commitments, there’s a growing certainty that the next UK government will be an ocean champion.

Krill-gotten gains to fund Antarctic research

Posted by Willie — 24 February 2015 at 11:42pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace
Adelie penguins eat so much krill it can turn their poo pink. They'd probably like us not to eat any.

Scientific research and conservation need more cash. That’s sadly usually true. It’s especially the case in the Antarctic where research is expensive but absolutely essential given the massive environmental changes happening there.

But although new streams of funding should welcomed for Antarctic research, it’s also important to question where that funding comes from. After all, there’s just a sliver of a chance that some seemingly good PR is actually a mind-bogglingly cynical act of greenwashing.

Challenging the UK government to lead the world in ocean protection.

Posted by Willie — 10 February 2015 at 4:02pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Enric Sala/Nat Geo

If I said to you that the UK government was responsible for rare sea turtles, endangered sharks, tropical coral reefs and quite possibly more penguins than any other country, you might think I was talking about some aquariums or zoos. It’s certainly not what you think about in UK seas, especially at this grey time of year (though of course we do have visiting turtles, many shark species, cold water corals, and puffins as penguin-wannabes). But across the world the UK has ‘overseas territories’. They are relics of a turbulent past when flags were planted across the world, and mostly, these days, they are islands – like Bermuda, Pitcairn, and Ascension. So, in turn, the amazing wildlife in the seas around these islands is effectively ‘British’.

Last chance to save the vaquita?

Posted by Willie — 24 November 2014 at 1:59pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: via Twitter
Image of a vaquita model

The vaquita is a beastie with some remarkable claims to fame:

For the oceans - every week is Shark Week!

Posted by Willie — 7 August 2014 at 1:50pm - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace / Alex Hofford

‘Shark’:  it’s an evocative and symbolic single syllable. Just the sound of the word conjures up a host of associated images, usually to do with menacing fins, teeth, and a certain cinematic soundtrack.  #SharkWeek ramps up the public awareness around sharks, but it’s also a chance to reconsider and revalue these iconic, and undoubtedly awesome, ocean creatures.

About Willie

Hi, I'm Willie, part of the Greenpeace UK biodiversity team. I work mostly on oceans and fishy issues.

Twitter: @williemackenzie

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