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News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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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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The Gulf Through the Eyes of a Child

Posted On April 16, 2017 by

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 Calvin Love, my son, and one of the youngest contributors to our Postcards from the Gulf series. Calvin was six years old at the time of that first interview, and has since moved from his home on the bayous of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to the salty air of the Alabama Gulf Coast where he is now able to more frequently enjoy the natural beauty of the Gulf of Mexico. We’ve invited him to share his story with us again, to understand how his perspective has changed over these years.

Matt Love: We last talked with you two years ago. What’s changed in your life since then?

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Seven Gulf Animals Worth Protecting

Posted On April 14, 2017 by

It goes without saying that all Gulf animals are worth protecting. But we couldn’t share them all. So like a mother’s abundant, yet somewhat hierarchical, love for her batch of offspring, our list of seven Gulf animals exists with a twinge of favoritism.

In recognition of next week’s seven-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, we’ve compiled a list of seven incredible Gulf animals. From ocean Einsteins to bus-sized carnivores, here are seven Gulf animals worth protecting:

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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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How to Tell the Difference Between Squid and Cuttlefish

Posted On April 7, 2017 by

The octopus is one of the most well-recognized animals in the sea, but what about their lesser-known cousins? Squid and cuttlefish may not get as many Hollywood roles as their eight-armed relatives, but they’re equally as interesting. Take a minute to explore these tentacled invertebrates—and learn how to tell them apart.

Let’s start with what they have in common. Both squid and cuttlefish are part of class Cephalopoda, which is a type of mollusk that also includes octopus and nautilus. Unlike other mollusks, like clams and snails, most cephalopods have lost their hard outer shells. Cephalopods get their name from the Greek word meaning “head-feet”, because their arms encircle their heads. Both squid and cuttlefish are known as ten-armed cephalopods because they have eight short arms and two long tentacles (as opposed to eight-armed cephalopods like octopuses).

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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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Support Research to Stop Ocean Pollution

Posted On April 3, 2017 by

Science does not lie. It’s unbiased and based on what is. And the science shows there’s no doubt about it: ocean pollution is a big problem.

Scientists have recorded nearly 700 species of marine wildlife that have been affected by marine debris. With an estimated eight million metric tons of plastic waste entering the ocean every year from land, that means marine species will be living in an ocean that could contain one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish by 2025!

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