Fishing nations agree to slight reduction in Atlantic tuna quota

Fishing nations agreed on Saturday to a slim reduction in quotas for catching giant Atlantic bluefin tuna, whose stocks have plunged as fishermen strive to meet demand from sushi lovers. Ignoring calls from conservation groups for deep cuts, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) said its 48 member states, meeting in Paris, had set a 2011 quota of 12,900 tones, down 600 from this year. An Atlantic bluefin can grow to the size of a horse and fetch as much as $100,000 in markets such as Japan, but stocks have plunged by more than 80 percent since 1970s, according to western scientists.

Sea Turtles rescued on Cape Cod

More than two dozen rare sea turtles who were cold, hungry and lost were rescued over the Thanksgiving holiday after having washed ashore on Cape Cod, a spokesman for the New England Aquarium said on Friday. The Kemp's ridley species of turtles are being treated at an animal care center south of Boston for hypothermia, dehydration, and malnourishment, aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said. "These animals are very sick," he said, noting at least half of them are suffering from pneumonia and all have bacterial infections. Thanks to strong northwest winds earlier this week, the charcoal black turtles weighing between two and eight pounds were washed onto beaches along the upper arm of the Cape, a favorite seaside vacation spot in Massachusetts.

International Tiger Conservation Forum is over, now the hard work begins

The International Tiger Conservation Forum concluded in St Petersburg this week, with the heads of governments of the 13 Tiger Range Countries (TRC) adopting a declaration designed to help save the wild cats from extinction. The prime ministers declared that they will "strive to double the number of wild tigers by 2022." The worldwide tiger population has declined from 100,000 to just over 3,000 over the past century. The International Tiger Summit, hosted by the northwestern Russian city of St. Petersburg which ran from November 21-24 had heads of governments discussing a plan to double the animal's population in 12 years. The plan will require up to $350 million in funding from the international community.

Polar Bears get a Thanksgiving present this year

More than 187,000 square miles (approximately 120 million acres) along the north coast of Alaska were designated today as "critical habitat" for the polar bear as a result of a partial settlement in an ongoing lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Greenpeace against the Department of the Interior. This designation under the Endangered Species Act is intended to safeguard those coastal lands and waters under U.S. jurisdiction that are vital to the polar bears’ survival and recovery. The habitat rule comes at a critical juncture for the polar bear. The Interior Department is under court order to reconsider by Dec. 23 elements of its 2008 decision to list the polar bear as "threatened," rather than the more protective "endangered" — a decision that could affect whether the Endangered Species Act can be used as a tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the primary threat to the species. At the same time, the Interior Department is also considering whether to allow oil companies to drill for oil in the polar bear's newly designated critical habitat in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas off Alaska.

Offshore Wind Power to Take Flight Off Atlantic Coast

On the heels of yesterday’s good news about progress for offshore wind energy in Massachusetts, today the Obama Administration announced a major new initiative to accelerate the development of clean, offshore wind power along the Atlantic Coast. The Interior Department, (DOI), Governor O’Malley of Maryland and the President of the Offshore Wind Development Coalition, Jim Lanard, made this encouraging announcement for renewable energy in America today. The primary announcement - over the next 60 days the administration will identify wind energy areas, (WEA), that are most promising for potential offshore wind development. They have been working with many eastern states, state-based task forces and stakeholders to determine these areas and identify what they believe will be the best places for siting this renewable energy source.

Pterodactyl Flight

Pterodactyl are not giant birds and indeed if they were, they might not even be able to fly based on standard theories of flight. Some have proposed that they vaulted and then glided on the winds. These ancient reptiles that flew over the heads of dinosaurs – were at their best in gentle tropical breezes, soaring over hillsides and coastlines or floating over land and sea on thermally driven air currents, according to new research from the University of Bristol. Pterodactyls) were too slow and flexible to use the stormy winds and waves of the southern ocean like the albatrosses of today states the research by Colin Palmer, an engineer turned paleontology PhD student in Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences.

Historic tiger summit closes with plans to secure more financial backing

St. Petersburg, Russia: The historic International Tiger Conservation Forum ended today with crucial plans to discuss further financing options for the Global Tiger Recovery Programme approved at the meeting, kick-starting new efforts to double the number of wild tigers.

US Probes Lead in Kids’ Drinking Glasses

Federal regulators launched an investigation on Monday into lead levels in themed drinking glasses depicting comic book and movie characters, declaring them children's products subject to stricter standards than those intended for adult collectors.

Egypt’s factory farming boom threatens social strife in a hungry country

Increasing demand for meat in the land of the Pyramids is leading to more intensive farming, with serious consequences for food prices, the environment and animal welfare, reports Joseph Mayton in Cairo.

Ethiopia and Egypt trade strong words over Nile river

Egypt said it was "amazed" by Ethiopia's suggestion on Tuesday that Cairo might turn to military action in a row over the Nile waters, saying it did not want confrontation and was not backing rebels there. Egypt, Ethiopia and seven other countries through which the river passes have been locked in more than a decade of contentious talks driven by anger over the perceived injustice of a previous Nile water treaty signed in 1929. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told Reuters on Tuesday that Egypt could not win a war with Ethiopia over the River Nile and that Cairo was supporting rebel groups in an attempt to destabilize the Horn of Africa nation.