The Blog Aquatic » ocean protection http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Sun, 17 Aug 2014 13:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Leadership in a Time of National Division http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/11/07/leadership-in-a-time-of-national-division/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/11/07/leadership-in-a-time-of-national-division/#comments Thu, 08 Nov 2012 00:34:51 +0000 George Leonard http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=3462

Credit: George H. Leonard

After a year-long campaign, the voters have spoken and President Obama will lead the country for another four years. But while the Electoral College was decisive, the popular vote was essentially split; as a group, the American people remain deeply divided over many critical issues facing our nation – from health care to national defense.

This week, while national attention has been focused on politics at the highest level, fishery managers along the west coast quietly demonstrated unity and leadership by voting to advance important protections for forage fish – the small and often forgotten fish that form the base of the ocean food web.

Why is this such a big deal? Because as in politics, fisheries management is often divisive and making progress requires leadership. When our officials take important steps to better protect the ocean we should give credit where credit is due.

Today, the California Fish and Game Commission and yesterday, members of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, signaled commitments to policies that will help ensure enough forage fish remain in the ocean for the many predators, like whales, dolphins and seabirds, which are dependent upon them. When fully implemented through new regulations, these protections in the Pacific could be a model for the nation and an important first step in moving toward comprehensive ecosystem-based fishery management. That has my community – the conservation community- celebrating.

But it’s not just conservationists applauding the forward thinking leadership on forage fish. This week’s pair of votes shows that a genuine consensus has emerged that “little fish” have tremendous value to people as well as bigger fish, supporting fisheries and ocean related jobs that provide over $20 billion worth of economic activity throughout the region. That is why groups voicing support for forage fish protections included seafood businesses, tourism operators like whale watching boats, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen, as well as conservation organizations up and down the coast.

In fact, California’s new policy was crafted by fishing and conservation interests (including Ocean Conservancy) working collaboratively, based on their shared interest in ensuring a healthy and productive ocean for all. But don’t get me wrong; there is more work to be done, including finalizing these commitments and getting them implemented in the water.

Resolving the differences that will likely emerge during these processes won’t be easy.  But like crossing the political aisle, when leaders put aside differences and seek common ground, progress can be made. In the long run, a healthy ocean depends on having more examples of the kind of leadership displayed by fishery managers this week on forage fish.

Our nation’s elected officials could learn a thing or two from those on the west coast who care about forage fish. There are benefits to working together.

Indeed, leadership matters.

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Are U.S. Ocean Protections at Risk? http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/05/08/are-u-s-ocean-protections-at-risk/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/05/08/are-u-s-ocean-protections-at-risk/#comments Tue, 08 May 2012 15:24:25 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=410 It’s common sense–tourists are more likely to go to a clean beach. Offshore energy companies need the latest data and maps to make the most accurate plans for successful development. Right now, Federal ocean programs are spread across more than 20 different agencies that often work independently of each other.

That’s why we need a common sense National Ocean Policy that coordinates these different ocean programs in order to both use and protect the ocean in the best possible ways. But some lawmakers are attacking the policy with extremist rhetoric.

Our Government Relations Director Emily Woglom recently weighed in on the benefits of the National Ocean Policy and the misleading attempts to block it.

You can help by calling your Representative today and asking him or her to vote against any attempt to block the National Ocean Policy.

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