Estuary Enigma
Hakai Magazine’s beat is global—you’ll read stories from the coasts of Kenya to Costa Rica to Canada. Our writers and reporters are international, too. This makes awards season a bit difficult for us. We often miss out on entering coveted national awards in places like the United Kingdom, the United States, and even Canada, where we’re located, because our writers are the wrong nationality or we’re based in the wrong country given a particular award’s criteria.
But, as we all know, the environment does not recognize artificial boundaries. The Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) acknowledges that fact and their awards are open to outlets around the world. The competition is fierce. Some of the most vaunted legacy publications enter them—the New York Times for instance—as well as fearless start-ups speaking truth to power like Ripples Nigeria.
This year, we are thrilled that our peers recognized the passion and hard work that went into our editorial package “Big Fish: The Aquacultural Revolution.” The series took silver in the explanatory reporting category. When the SEJ emailed me with the news, I was over the moon, and very grateful for the small but mighty team that consistently delivers excellence to our readers every single week of the year. In case you missed it the first time, you can read the series here.

Jude Isabella
Editor in chief
This Week’s Stories
The Ingenious Ancient Technology Concealed in the Shallows
Fish traps have a long history around the world, and a vast network in a Vancouver Island estuary reveals generations of ecological wisdom.
by Brian Payton • 3,500 words / 18 mins
For Artificial Coral Reefs, Time Is Not Enough
Researchers hoped that, given long enough, artificial coral reefs would grow to match natural reefs. But an examination of a 200-year-old artificial coral reef shows that’s not necessarily the case.
by James Urquhart • 600 words / 3 mins
The Language of Bears
New research reveals a curious connection between British Columbia’s Indigenous language families, and the genetic variability of bears.
by Gloria Dickie • 800 words / 4 mins
Guiana Dolphins Are Unintended Victims of Venezuela’s Economic Crisis
With sky-high inflation rates and crumbling social support, impoverished Venezuelans are increasingly targeting the struggling species.
by Fanni Szakal • 900 words / 4 mins
What We’re Reading
Would you foster a sea star? To avoid the extinction of the sunflower star, scientists are raising poppyseed-sized babies in captivity in hopes of reintroducing the species to places it once inhabited. The predator, which can have up to 24 arms, can grow to about one meter across and was common in the northeast Pacific before sea star wasting disease drastically reduced the population. (NPR)
Farther north, in Alaska, humans came to the aid of a much larger sea creature. On July 29, a six-meter killer whale washed up on the rocky shores of Prince of Wales Island and got stranded above the tideline. Locals and officials stepped in to keep the whale hydrated for about six hours until the tide rose high enough for it to swim back out to open waters. (Anchorage Daily News, TikTok)
A geologist working in the Northwest Territories has come across what appears to be a sponge-like fossil in slices of 890-million-year-old rocks where prehistoric reefs have been preserved. The discovery could call into question when animal life began on Earth, but not everyone agrees. (New York Times, Nature)
According to an international team of geologists and geophysicists, the island of Iceland did not form over a volcanic plume but is instead the last visible tip of the sunken continent Icelandia, which may have stretched from Scandinavia to Greenland some 10 million years ago. If true, there could be implications regarding countries’ claims to fossil fuels found beneath the seafloor. (Live Science)
A legal battle over public beach access in Nova Scotia has prompted a conversation about how these conflicts could become more common as sea levels rise and coasts are developed or erode. (CBC)
According to landscape architect Kate Orff, deploying green infrastructure such as wetlands, dunes, and, in the case of New York City, oyster reefs, could be the key to reducing the impacts of rising sea levels on coastal cities. (New Yorker)
Binge listen to our five-part podcast, The Sound Aquatic, on our site or subscribe now through your favorite podcast app.
n. the action of a dashing against or striking upon. If your ship hits another moving ship, that’s a collision. But if it strikes a stationary ship, a bridge, a dock, or other fixed object, it’s an allision. (With thanks to gCaptain.)
A Bit of Fun, Just for the Halibut
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