This is a guest blog post from Jennifer McCann, Director of U.S. Coastal Programs at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Coastal Resources Center and Director of Extension Programs for Rhode Island Sea Grant.
In Rhode Island and beyond, coastal communities are working on plans to manage the ocean’s resources in ways that generate new industries, support job creation, and provide food and services to an ever-increasing population.
This film is the first in a series that explores this effort with ocean practitioners from around the world and provides an overview of economic issues related to ocean planning. Over the coming weeks, I’ll share the remaining three films in the series, which focus on offshore renewable energy, fisheries and the environment.
Beach season begins this weekend and invariably this time of year brings with it flashy stories of shark attacks. All too often we hear about encounters with sharks in ways that make them sound far more common than they are, and make them sound like devious, intentional actions taken against people by sharks. In this video for CNN, Ocean Conservancy Board Member Philippe Cousteau separates the myths from facts and explains what’s really happening when sharks and people meet.
A fisherman adds a red snapper to the pile on a dock in Destin, Florida. – Photo: Tom McCann
As fishermen, scientists, policymakers, and other ocean experts from around the country gather in Washington this week to discuss the future of fisheries in America, Ocean Conservancy and The Pew Charitable Trusts are releasing a joint report highlighting many of the stories that show how fisheries management is succeeding.
The Washington Post covered the report over the weekend, focusing on our belief that while fisheries management is working, we must also let it keep on working if we’re going to face global challenges like ocean acidification and climate change:
More complex problems loom, ones that cannot be solved area by area, experts say. “What we need to pay greater attention to is a changing world and a changing climate and what repercussions that will have,” Chris Dorsett, director of the Ocean Conservancy’s fish conservation and gulf restoration program, said in an interview.
Humpback whales stay near the surface of the ocean during migration and prefer shallow waters near the coastline. Credit: NOAA
Few things beat the sight of whales migrating off the California coastline. And with increased research and recent changes in shipping practices, whales will be able to travel a bit more safely in 2013.
In a move that improves business and protects marine life, the International Maritime Organization has agreed to shift shipping lanes located off the California coastline and thereby reduce whale strikes. Findings published in this month’s issue of Conservation Biology emphasize the benefits of this agreement, which will enhance the protection of endangered whales and increase maritime safety.
These changes follow the plan announced last summer to reroute shipping lanes outside the San Francisco Bay and establish a real-time whale monitoring network to decrease whale strikes and improve shipping operations. With a spike in whale strikes outside the San Francisco Bay in 2010, researchers collaborated with NOAA, the US Coast Guard and the maritime industry to evaluate current shipping lanes and confirmed that the busy lanes overlapped critical feeding grounds and designated marine sanctuaries.
As you may know, all sea turtles in U.S. waters are on the Endangered Species List as either threatened or endangered. Since January 2010, NOAA has observed an increase in marine turtle deaths in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Sea turtle deaths can occur for a number of reasons, including disease, exposure to biotoxins or pollutants, ingestion of marine debris, vessel collisions, and fishery interactions. The proposed rule would have required turtle excluder devices (TEDs) on all shrimp trawling vessels, including boats that fish in-shore and in shallower waters than those currently required to use TEDs. These in-shore boats, known in the fishing community as skimmer and butterfly trawlers instead have to comply with “tow-time” restrictions, or limits to how long they can keep their nets submerged under water while fishing. Turtles drown when trapped in the nets too long.
NOAA has since withdrawn this proposed rule for multiple reasons, but primarily because the current design of TEDs did not seem to protect turtles effectively.
Ocean Conservancy’s Dennis Takahashi-Kelso and Board Member Philippe Cousteau tour Bay Jimmy, LA. and the surrounding marsh affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
This post originally appeared on CNN.com from Ocean Conservancy Board Member Philippe Cousteau. Explorer, social entrepreneur and environmental advocate, Philippe Cousteau is a special correspondent for CNN International. He is also the co-founder and president of the leading environmental education nonprofit EarthEcho International.
My grandfather Jacques Cousteau and my father Philippe dedicated their lives to revealing the ocean’s wonders and helping us understand our connection to this vast expanse of water. Their work inspired generations and filled people with awe.
Times have changed and so have circumstances and perceptions about the ocean. In recent years, the focus has been on the very serious challenges the ocean faces and the impact these challenges are already having on our daily lives.
With boating season around the corner, it’s hard to not get excited for all the fun and excitement you’ll have on the water this year! While boating can be loads of fun, it’s important to remember that you’re playing in someone else’s backyard. Ocean Conservancy and Good Mate have come up with a green boating guide that you can use as a reference point to make sure that you do your part to help keep our oceans (and the organisms that live in them) healthy.
Green boating is something that both boaters and marinas can take part in, which is why we’ve created two separate guides. They cover everything you need to know in order to make your boating ventures more ocean-friendly, including information on how to properly handle your trash, reduce oil pollution, maintain equipment safely, interact with wildlife, and how to prevent water contamination. Need some green boating literature to keep handy on your boat too? No problem, we’ve got you covered there too with a printable brochure.
Check out the guides and let us know if you have any other green boating tips or suggestions!