The Blog Aquatic » ocean http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:39:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Celebrating 2014’s Ocean Victories http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/12/29/celebrating-2014s-ocean-victories/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/12/29/celebrating-2014s-ocean-victories/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 14:00:48 +0000 Brett Nolan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9644

Photo: Tony Prince

This year was a great year for the ocean! We were able to make waves and accomplish some truly amazing things thanks to supporters and ocean lovers like you. From saving baby sea turtles to protecting the Arctic from reckless oil drilling, here are just a few of the major victories our ocean saw this year.

Gulf Leaders Protect the Gulf’s Deep Water

It’s been nearly 5 years since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, and Gulf leaders have proven they’re dedicated to restoring the Gulf’s shore as well as the Gulf’s deep water.  Mississippi, Alabama and Florida will invest in projects that protect dolphins and manatees, track the recovery of fish species like red snapper, and map the seafloor to inform sustainable fishing practices.

The U.S. Has Ambitious Plans to Protect the Arctic

In 2014, the eight-nation Arctic Council announced that the U.S. would assume the Council’s  Chair position for the next two years beginning in April 2015. As Chair, the U.S. hopes to focus on the impacts of climate change on the Arctic, encourage sustainable development in remote Arctic communities, and improve stewardship of the Arctic Ocean.

Smart Ocean Planning Gets Public Support from the Obama Administration

The Obama Administration publicly committed to completing smart ocean plans for the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions by the end of 2016. Smart ocean planning will make sure all stakeholders in these regions have a seat at the table. This will ensure valuable input from those who depend on the ocean for food, transportation, energy and recreation.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of the Ocean

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit that Shell brought against Ocean Conservancy and several other conservation and Alaska Native organizations. Shell received permits from federal agencies to drill in the Arctic years ago and preemptively sued Ocean Conservancy and other organizations to stop us from challenging the validity of those permits. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with us that Shell’s lawsuit was just an attempt to intimidate nonprofits and discourage them from opposing risky Arctic drilling.

Businesses Stepped Up to Protect the Ocean

Thanks to the hard work of ocean loving school children, Dunkin’ Donuts has agreed to phase out the use of Styrofoam cups. Hilton Worldwide also announced that they would no longer be serving or taking new orders for shark fin dishes.

Congress Invests in Our Ocean’s Health

Ocean lovers made sure that ocean and marine life were top priorities for Congress. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will receive $5.4 billion for their 2015 fiscal year budget. Ocean Acidification research will receive $8.5 million, a $2.5 million increase. Regional Coastal Resilience Grants, funds built to help communities deal with changes in marine ecosystems and economic shifts, will receive $5 million in funding. And attempts in Congress to weaken the National Ocean Policy were thwarted.

World Leaders Addressed Ocean Issues

We joined world leaders, scientists, and other ocean advocates at the Our Ocean Conference, hosted by Secretary John Kerry. Andreas Merkl, our CEO, spoke on a panel about the dangers of marine debris and how we can solve this problem together.

East Coast States Tackle Ocean Acidification

Maine and Maryland are leading the charge against ocean acidification on the East Coast. Both of these states have a rich maritime history. However, ocean acidification is threatening not only their way of life, but also their businesses and livelihoods. Maine and Maryland legislatures have formed a commission and taskforce to study the impacts of ocean acidification on each state’s coastal ecosystems and commercial shellfish industries.

The Gulf’s Iconic Red Snapper Gets a Major Boost

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council passed a measure called Amendment 40 that allows separate management of private recreational anglers and for-hire charter vessels that fish for red snapper. This is great news because it allows for better management strategies that are tailored to individual needs of fishermen. It also helps the red snapper’s long-term recovery.

We Protected Baby Sea Turtles with Your Help

We expanded our Preserve the Spirit: The Sea Turtle Protection Partnership thanks to generous supporters like you. This program had volunteers remove marine debris from beaches where sea turtles nest. These volunteers made beaches safer for baby sea turtles and provided us invaluable data on the threats sea turtles face.

International Coastal Cleanup Day 2014

We celebrated the 29th Annual International Coastal Cleanup Day in 2014. The report on what we found will be released in next spring. And we’ve already started planning big things for the ICC’s 30th birthday in 2015.

Thank you again for being a part of our amazing year. We look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in 2015!

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It’s Your Last Chance! Donate to Get an Ocean Conservancy Calendar http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/23/its-your-last-chance-donate-to-get-an-ocean-conservancy-calendar/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/23/its-your-last-chance-donate-to-get-an-ocean-conservancy-calendar/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:36:55 +0000 Marie Michelson http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9385

Photo: Ken Shew

Get your free 2015 Ocean Wildlife calendar in time for the holidays! If you donate by October 23, we’ll send you a free calendar featuring your favorite marine animals like whales, seals and sea turtles.

What are you waiting for? Today is your last day to donate and get this exclusive 2015 Ocean Wildlife calendar from Ocean Conservancy. Your support will help Ocean Conservancy pursue innovative solutions that will bring lasting, positive change for the ocean.

All of our success in this year is thanks to our supporters. All around the world, more than half a million people came out to clean their local beaches and shorelines for the International Coastal Cleanup. More than 25,000 people took our Last Straw Challenge and pledged to cut plastic straws out of their lives and help keep five million straws out of our ocean and landfills! We advocated for smart legislation that protects vulnerable marine life populations, like telling the U.S. government not to support Shell’s risky Arctic drilling. We accomplished so much. Please help us continue this momentum into next year.

As Ocean Conservancy enters its fifth decade of leadership for the ocean, we’re stretching our thinking even further, imagining the very best for our ocean, and pursuing innovative solutions that will bring lasting, positive change. We hope we can count on you to stand with us in our fight for a clean and healthy ocean.

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Beyond Nemo: How Are Dory and Bruce Doing? http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/22/beyond-nemo-how-are-dory-and-bruce-doing/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/22/beyond-nemo-how-are-dory-and-bruce-doing/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:00:34 +0000 Ivy Fredrickson http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9368

Photo: Matthew Potenski

Traditional fishery management has been a lot like the movie Finding Nemo, where fishery managers focus on the life of a single species of fish. But, as we saw in the movie, single species of fish do not live alone; they depend on habitat like anemones, they encounter predators like Bruce, and there are human impacts such as removing fish from reefs. Our current management system often fails to consider the bigger picture: the habitats that ocean wildlife require at each stage of life, their roles as predator and prey (Bruce’s attitude on fish as ‘friends not food’ doesn’t really hold true in the ocean), the natural variations in populations in different places and at different times, such as sea turtle migrations, and of course the critical and varied impacts of humans—climate change, pollution, ocean acidification, cultural uses, and demands for food and recreation.

In short, we need an ecosystem approach—a modern, big-picture system that maintains the overall health of the ocean ecosystem by explicitly considering the above. Ensuring the long-term viability of fish populations and communities that depend on them requires a greater focus on the fitness and resilience of the ecosystems that support productive fisheries.

The good news is that U.S. fishery managers are recognizing the need to consider the whole ecosystem. A new report by the NOAA Science Advisory Board takes stock of the shift toward ecosystem-based fishery management across the nation. The report found that the use of ecosystem science in fishery management varies greatly by region, and the last several years have proven to be a time of experimentation in the ecosystem approach. We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet.

For example, the Pacific Fishery Management Council—one of eight regional bodies who assist the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in developing and executing plans for managing fishing under the Magnuson-Stevens Act—has developed a Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the west coast. It establishes a comprehensive foundation for considering the condition of the California Current Ecosystem in fishery planning and management, and sets an example for modernizing fisheries management across the globe.

Similarly, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is embarking upon the development of a Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Bering Sea. Previously, the council developed a Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Aleutian Islands.

This new report is more important and timely than ever. The Ocean faces significant and numerous stressors, such as the impacts of global climate change, ocean acidification, invasive species, oil and shipping contaminants, and degraded water quality from land based pollution. The impacts of these stressors are becoming more apparent, demonstrating that a broader approach to management is required to ensure ocean ecosystems can support healthy fish populations and the people that depend on them into the future.

In addition to canvassing the existing state of ecosystem-based fishery management practices across the nation, the report also made recommendations for paving the way to an ecosystem approach:

  • Sharing is caring – There is much to be learned across Councils and regions. Opportunities to learn from others on science, analysis, and approach help everyone.
  • Invest in more than counting fish – Tools that help managers evaluate trade-offs, science that couples the social, economic, and ecologic, and next-generation ecosystem modeling are all needed.
  • Continue U.S. leadership – Export our growing success with ecosystem-based methods to other nations and to multi-national Regional Fishery Management Organizations.

An ecosystem approach isn’t easy. If it was, managers would have adopted it years ago. It is necessary though, and—as this report demonstrates—possible. There is no silver bullet or technological solution that can make it happen tomorrow, but there are proven ways to get there and it’s great to see NOAA stopping to check the map and compass.

We aren’t there yet, but we’re in the jet stream.

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Tidal Anatomy http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/20/tidal-anatomy/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/20/tidal-anatomy/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:11:09 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9354  

Photo: John Madere

This blog post was written by John Madere, an award winning photographer. 

I’m pleased to announce that the book launch and exhibition of my Tidal Anatomy portrait series opens at Site 109 in Manhattan on October 21. The images are the result of two years of photographing surfers from an unlikely perspective with my camera placed high above the surfer and beach.

The inspiration for this project came to me while walking along the shore in Montauk, New York, on a raw, windy day in the Spring of 2013. An unusually harsh winter had radically altered the beach, leaving behind arresting scenes of strewn rocks, stratified clay, decaying driftwood, driven sand, and man made debris.

Read more at JohnMadere.com.

 

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Celebrating Victories This World Oceans Day http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/06/08/celebrating-victories-this-world-oceans-day/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/06/08/celebrating-victories-this-world-oceans-day/#comments Sun, 08 Jun 2014 13:00:20 +0000 Brett Nolan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8438

Photo: Michele Hoffman Trotter

Happy World Oceans Day! While we continue to fight for a healthy ocean, today is the perfect time to reflect on recent ocean victories.

  1. More than half a million volunteers picked up more than 12 million pounds of trash in honor of International Coastal Cleanup.
  2. Maine and Maryland became the first East Coast states to enact legislation to combat ocean acidification.
  3. The National Research Council reported that 43 percent of overfished populations in the U.S. have been rebuilt already or will be rebuilt within a decade.
  4. Shell announced that it would not drill for oil in the Arctic in 2014.
  5. The red snapper population is on the rise, which is good news for the species and Gulf fishermen.
  6. In just four months, we removed over 7,000 items of trash from beaches where sea turtles nest thanks to your support.
  7. The 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tackled ocean acidification for the first time.
  8. Dr. Kathryn Sullivan was confirmed as the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  9. Hilton Worldwide announced they are eliminating shark fin dishes from their menus.
  10. President Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2015 invested heavily into the ocean’s health.
  11. The 9th Circuit Court ruled that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management must reassess its original, very low environmental impact analysis on drilling for oil in the Arctic.
  12. Ed Markey, an ocean advocate from Massachusetts, was elected to the U.S. Senate.
  13. Australia created its largest fully protected marine sanctuary.
  14. Virginia’s oyster business is seeing a much-needed boom, showing a healthy bay makes a healthy business.
  15. Twenty-five years later, sea otters have fully recovered after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
  16. San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of plastic water bottles.
  17. Indonesia created the world’s largest manta ray sanctuary.
  18. Supporters like you helped us defeat Congressman Bill Flores, a former oil executive, from gutting the National Ocean Policy. With your continued support, we can make a National Ocean Policy a reality.
  19. The National Research Council confirmed the major barriers to safely drilling for oil in the Artic including the lack of infrastructure, information and preparedness to deal with adverse environmental conditions.
  20. YOU stepped up to protect our ocean by following Ocean Conservancy today! Be part of victories like these next year!
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Don’t Forget the Ocean on Earth Day http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/04/22/dont-forget-the-ocean-on-earth-day/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/04/22/dont-forget-the-ocean-on-earth-day/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 12:00:36 +0000 Brett Nolan http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8035

As you celebrate Earth Day, don’t forget that over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is under the ocean—it makes up 99 percent of the living space on our planet, and is home to half of all species on Earth! More than 2.6 billion people depend on the ocean as their primary source for protein.

Even if your home is landlocked and you don’t eat fish, the ocean is a key part of your life. Did you know that half of all the oxygen in the atmosphere comes from the ocean? The ocean is so important to us; please join me in celebrating it today. And share the ocean love by sending an Earth Day ecard to your friends!

With serious threats from plastic pollution to ocean acidification facing this vital resource, Earth Day is also a great time to take action to protect the ocean!

You can write to your representative in Congress urging them to expand funding for ocean acidification research. By carrying a reusable bag, you can ensure a plastic bag never reaches a beach where sea turtles nest. Eat responsibly and locally caught seafood to satisfy your sushi craving. When you’re filling your boat’s gas tank, fill up only 90 percent of it. This will reduce the risk of spills from overfilling.

Other easy ways to protect the ocean:

  • Carry a reusable mug.
  • Print double-sided documents.
  • Use cold water to reduce energy and your utility bills.
  • Use a drying rack for your clothes.
  • Use cloth napkins.

As you plant a tree or stroll through a forest, please remember that so much of what we call home lies beneath the waves.

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Presenting Our New Solutions at the Camden Conference http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/20/presenting-our-new-solutions-at-the-camden-conference/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/03/20/presenting-our-new-solutions-at-the-camden-conference/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 11:01:34 +0000 Andreas Merkl http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7857

Last month, I was invited to speak at the Camden Conference in Maine. This conference brings experts from a number of disciplines together with policymakers, industry leaders and college students to discuss some of the biggest issues facing our world today. This year’s theme was “The Global Politics of Food and Water,” and I spoke about how the ocean sits at the nexus of these issues.

Right now, the ocean is in a period of uncertainty. Climate change and a growing population are changing the chemistry of the ocean and the life that calls it home. But instead of viewing the ocean’s changes in a negative light, I think we have an incredible opportunity to become better problem-solvers. We can break free from old resource management models to find new solutions for our changing ocean. We can effectively address these new complexities; it’s not too late.

You can watch my presentation, as well as those from others at the event, by clicking here.

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