Weekly Press Review – 13 November 2015

Environmental concerns have featured predominantly in the press this week.

A large glacier in Greenland has become unmoored and has started to crumble into the Atlantic Ocean.  The result could be an increase in water levels of up to 45 cm.

A research team from the University of California have been studying the glacier in question using satellite imagery.  According to research published in Science, the glacier is losing mass at a rate of five billion tons a year.

According to scientists the shape and dynamics of the glacier have changed dramatically over the last few years and it is now breaking up and calving high volumes of icebergs into the ocean, resulting in rising sea levels for years to come.

Senior author, Eric Rignot, said, “The top of the glacier is melting away as a result of decades of steadily increasing air temperatures, while its underside is compromised by currents carrying warmer ocean water.”

Also making headlines is the concern voiced by Italian scientist Sara Andreotti that great white sharks along the South African coast do not have enough genetic diversity to survive a lethal disease or major change in the environment and are therefore at higher risk of extinction.

Andreotti and her team conducted research over a four year period aboard a catamaran focusing on shark hotspots along the South African coast from Port Nolloth to Port Elizabeth.

Andreotti believes that future conservation measures need to take the low gene pool into account.  “A starting point would be to stop killing them legally, to stop the shark nets and baited hooks in Kwa-Zulu Natal that are designed to kill them.  The white shark population … is not as healthy as we thought,” says Andreotti.

Another perlemoen arrest has made headlines this week.  Two men were arrested on a small holding in Gordons Bay in possession of perlemoen with an estimated value of R1.5 million.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) was called in to count the perlemoen.  There were 81 fresh perlemoen and 13 160 dried perlemoen.  the two men will appear in the Strand Magistrates Court on Monday.

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