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News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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AT RISK: The 8 Ocean Parks Threatened by Trump’s Executive Orders

Posted On April 28, 2017 by

In his first 100 days, President Trump announced two separate Executive Orders that put at risk special places on land and in the sea.

On April 28, 2017, he announced the Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy, which takes aim at America’s marine monuments and sanctuaries.

All marine monuments and sanctuaries established or expanded in the last 10 years are under review:

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Big News for Little Fish

Posted On April 27, 2017 by

I have another exciting update in the world of fisheries management.

Last year, I wrote about a ruling by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to protect forage fish in offshore waters on the West Coast. This was a BIG deal, and was made possible in part by the Ocean Conservancy activists and other conservationists who sent 100,000 letters to NMFS in support of these protections. I also mentioned our goal to secure a follow-up effort by California to take corresponding action to protect forage in nearshore waters.

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Why I Support the March for Science

Posted On April 21, 2017 by

Tomorrow, thousands of people around the world will take to the streets for the March for Science. It’s a strange concept—why is it important to come together and support science? To find out, I sat down with Ocean Conservancy’s President, Andreas Merkl, and asked why ocean science is so important to him, why he’s marching and why a British explorer and a Czech monk are his science heroes.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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My Vision for the Gulf

Posted On April 20, 2017 by

Together we can get to a Gulf that is restored, healthy and thriving once more.

April 20, 2017, marks seven years since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster began, taking the lives of 11 people and severely impacting the Gulf of Mexico.

As someone who grew up and works in the Gulf, I deeply appreciate all that we have accomplished over the last seven years.
Together, we saw the RESTORE Act bring much needed Clean Water Act fines back to the Gulf states, and a global settlement was reached where BP will pay $20.8 billion dollars over 15 years. We now have the opportunity to fix not only the damage from the oil disaster, but also undo decades of environmental problems like water quality impairments. In the past seven years, we invested in scientific research and solutions to restore the Gulf. As a result, we now know more about our wonderful and diverse marine ecosystem with scientists discovering new species in the Gulf.

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7 Reasons to Love the Gulf

Posted On April 18, 2017 by

The Gulf of Mexico is unlike anywhere else in the world. The people and environment of the Gulf combine to form a place with a rich culture tied to the ocean.

In recognition of this week’s seven-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, we’ve compiled a list of seven reasons to love—and protect—the Gulf of Mexico. From lip-smacking foods to iconic animals, here are seven reasons to love the Gulf:

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Growing Up on the Gulf

Posted On April 11, 2017 by

It’s been seven years since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster began, and we’re looking back on how the disaster has shaped our lives here on the Gulf Coast. We decided to revisit our 2015 interview with Cole Kolasa, one of the youngest contributors to our Postcards from the Gulf series. At the age of 19, Cole has already been advocating for our ocean for nearly a decade. As a member of SCUBAnauts International in high school, Cole has studied corals on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and he has watched the BP oil disaster unfold as he grew up. We’ve invited him to share his story with us again.

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International Arctic Fisheries Cooperation: Just in Time?

Posted On April 5, 2017 by


At the human level, cooperation is a way of survival in the Arctic. It’s how indigenous people have not only survived, but thrived, in what are extreme conditions to those of us from the temperate zone of the planet. Scaling up cooperation from families and communities to the level of nation-states is just as important for the Arctic and takes many of the same skills: listening to diverse views, learning from past mistakes, a precautionary approach to changing circumstance and a willingness to compromise.

I saw all these skills in play at a meeting of ten nations last month discussing how potential commercial fishing should be handled in the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO), the international waters surrounding the North Pole. This 1.1 million square mile area of ocean has been frozen year round for hundreds of thousands of years. Although still frozen in winter, up to 40% of the CAO has been open water in recent summers. Under international law, such high seas areas are open to commercial fishing unless countries come together to impose rules and management measures. Fishing hasn’t started in the area yet but history teaches that exploratory fishing will push into any untapped ocean, often before scientists have a chance to figure out baseline ecosystem conditions and the size of fish stocks. Scientists tell us this could be especially problematic in the Arctic Ocean where fish like Arctic cod are an essential conduit of life, transforming energy from plankton to the upper trophic level of seabirds, seals, whales and polar bears.

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