OWOO Staff Writers
Welcome to the latest edition of The Weekly Dive, where we keep you updated on the top ocean news from around the world with some fun stuff mixed in as well. With that, dive in to this week’s news!

It’s in the bag – Seattle votes to ban plastic bags! The city also agreed to charge a 5-cent fee for paper bags. The decision joins a growing wave of bag bans around the world, including a recent ban in Portland! [The New York Times]

Gulf of Mexico fishermen call the 2011 shrimp season the “worst in recent memory.” Official data has yet to be released on this year’s shrimping season in the Gulf, and it will take even longer to conduct scientific studies to demonstrate the cause – but many shrimpers suspect last year’s oil spill as a likely factor in this year’s lower-than-usual yields. [Daily Comet]

“Cooking” up a plan to prevent deep-sea mining. In a previous Weekly Dive, we highlighted the Cook Islands’ move to create a nation-wide shark sanctuary. Nearly half of this area will also include a marine park with more comprehensive protections. The park is set to formally open in August 2012, and would cover approximately .6 million square miles or 1 million square km. It is intended to both boost eco-tourism and, perhaps more importantly, protect marine habitats from risky deep-sea mining being explored by the country. [Science and Development Network]

Questions “bubbling up” as researchers study the Arctic seafloor. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that can be released from the ground as permafrost melts. Researchers found vast regions of the Arctic seafloor covered in “fountains” spouting methane bubbles into the atmosphere, but will need to do more studies to determine potential effects. [The Independent]

Underwater with Anderson Cooper: On the Dec. 18th segment of 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper explored Cuba’s “Gardens of the Queen” reef, shining a spotlight on the importance of marine protection. Watch Cooper dive in with sharks and groupers and interview local experts on how the isolation of this reef positively contributes to its health. [60 Minutes; The Huffington Post]

The ultimate BLUE gift guide. Check out “Ten Gifts to Give the Ocean” for ways to give back to the ocean this holiday season! [Mother Jones]

Happy holidays from the OWOO crew!


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