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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy


About Janis Searles Jones

Janis Searles Jones is Ocean Conservancy's President. A respected expert in the marine conservation field, Janis has provided Congressional testimony and is a frequent speaker at conferences all over the United States. She also authored chapters on sustainable use of ocean resources in "Ocean and Coastal Law and Policy" and "Ecosystem-based Management for the Oceans."

Tsunamis are unavoidable; trash choking our ocean is not

Posted On July 16, 2012 by

A 66-foot dock that washed up in Oregon was identified and confirmed as tsunami-related debris. Credit: NOAA

As Interim President and CEO of Ocean Conservancy and a resident of the Pacific Northwest, I watched with concern the news of a large Japanese dock landing in Oregon after being washed away by the devastating 2011 tsunami in Japan. In the Tacoma News Tribune, I explain why we should be concerned about the tsunami debris heading our way and what we can do:

While it is still too soon to know exactly how big a problem this debris will be for U.S. shores, the International Pacific Research Center estimates that 5 percent or less of the approximately 1.5 million tons of debris in the Pacific Ocean could make landfall.

To prepare for what might come, we should prioritize baseline monitoring, modeling and outreach in communities. Ocean Conservancy has been working closely with the Obama administration, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as they ramp up response efforts.

In addition to monitoring and volunteer cleanups, we also should be advocating for the resources that may be needed to deal with the aftermath of a disaster of this magnitude.

While natural disasters are inevitable, trash choking our ocean is not. Read the full story here.


Taking Calculated Risks to Protect What We Love

Posted On June 20, 2012 by

Nick Mallos

Two weeks ago, I was awakened on a Saturday morning by an urgent message from one of Ocean Conservancy’s scientists, Marine Debris Specialist Nick Mallos.

Nick had spent the past three weeks in Japan surveying tsunami damage and participating in cleanups along the coast. The next morning, he was scheduled to depart on the Algalita/5 Gyres Tsunami Debris Research Expedition heading to Maui along the path of the tsunami debris.

But Nick had suddenly become seriously ill and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital. “I’m so sorry to let you down,” he wrote, “but I won’t be able to join the expedition.”

His words were immediately heartbreaking and terrifying. It was my first day and first test as Interim President and CEO. I assembled a crisis team of staff, who stayed up around the clock to do everything we could to take care of Nick from thousands of miles away.

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