Oceans: not as healthy as they should be

The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to scientists of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO). Ocean life is "at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history".

Over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised, experts can confirm. The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.

"The findings are shocking," said Alex Rogers, IPSO's scientific director and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University. "As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had individually realised.

"We've sat in one forum and spoken to each other about what we're seeing, and we've ended up with a picture showing that almost right across the board we're seeing changes that are happening faster than we'd thought, or in ways that we didn't expect to see for hundreds of years."

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Dana Point Strands Beach: forget the keys

The Surfrider Foundation won an important victory today when Judge Joan M. Lewis ruled in favor of open beach access at the Dana Point Strands Beach. Specifically, she ruled that the City of Dana Point’s severe beach access restrictions are unlawful because the record put forth by the City was "entirely lacking in evidentiary support for declaring a nuisance and that the City acted arbitrarily and capriciously in making such a declaration."

"We are very pleased to see Judge Lewis rule in favor of the public interest at Strands Beach, instead of allowing the private development to lock out beachgoers from the main accessway at this beautiful beach," says Surfrider Managing Attorney Angela Howe. "Surfrider Foundation brought this lawsuit to defend public beach access – a right that is sacred in California."

From the beginning, Strands Developer Headlands Reserve LLC intended to provide a private beach for residents who purchase the multi-million dollar homes. In October 2008, the developer attempted to get out of building a central stairway to the beach, telling the California Coastal Commission that the Mid-Strand access stairway was "geo-technically infeasible." The Commission saw through the excuse and required that the stairway be built. The case at hand was a result of the locked gates and restrictive hours installed at that central Mid-Vista stairway.

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Whales: humans love you

Talk about a happy ending. Last week, a pod of more than 100 pilot whales were discovered moving back and forth along the Loch Carnan coastline in South Uist in the Western Isles, Scotland, showing signs of distress.

The pod of pilot whales, about 20 of which had severe head injuries, was spotted late Thursday night as the mammals attempted to beach themselves on the rocky shore of a remote Scottish island. Dozens of healthy whales had also followed them into the shallow water raising fears that up to 100 of the animals could strand themselves.

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