Marine sanctuaries

Thanksgiving Revisited

Last week I recounted several of the things we have to be grateful for in the ocean and the maritime environment. While some may consider these accomplishments mere footnotes to be buried in a year of frantic activity, I urge you to regard them as important stepping stones to a better future not just for the ocean and the mariners who sail upon them, but for all of us. Why? Because the future of every soul on this planet depends on a healthy ocean and its fragile ecosystems.

With this in mind, I urge you to visit several of the sites below and learn more about the organizations that champion a better ocean. You don’t even have to join them though that would be better. At least by visiting them, you’ll learn a few things you can do to help make Mother Ocean a healthier and safer place for its children and the eight billion children of this planet.

… Greenpeace at www.greenpeace.org uses peaceful protests and communication to expose environmental problems and promote solutions.

… Coral Reef Alliance at http://coral.org/ promotes the health of coral reefs around the globe.

… Cousteau Society at http://www.cousteau.org/ is all about helping people understand and care for seas and rivers worldwide.

… Marine Conservation Institute at http://www.marine-conservation.org targets key ecosystems around the world and advocates for them.

… Wild Oceans at http://wildoceans.org seeks to curb overfishing and restore depleted fish populations. If you’re a weekend fisherman, you owe them a lot.

… SeaKeepers at http://www.seakeepers.org energizes the yachting community to protect the world’s oceans. Their motto is: “Research, Educate, Protect, and Restore.”

… The Ocean Project at http://theoceanproject.org partners with aquariums, zoos, and museums to promote ocean conservation.

… Waterkeeper Alliance at http://waterkeeper.org helps protect rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways worldwide. Like to swim in clean water? Check them out.

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A Lot To Be Thankful About

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Thanksgiving is almost upon us and not far beyond that Christmas and the end of another year on our Blue Planet. With all the dreadful news that has piled up on the threshold of our doorstep this year, there is some good news about the oceans for which we should indeed be grateful. Let me just cite a few things; they appear in no particular order.

… Incidents in piracy has dropped dramatically off the coast of Somalia. While it’s true, it has increased in other areas of the world such as the coast of West Africa and Malaysia, vigilance and cooperation are key to stunting its growth.

… One of the worst offenders of overfishing was caught earlier this year by the environmental group The Sea Shepherd. This after a 110 day chase on the high seas. When they were finally brought to justice, they were given hefty fines and even heftier jail sentences.

… The Suez Canal opened its second lane in September. The eight billion dollar project, done in just one year, is intended to speed up the trip for thousands of ships a year.

… Populations of fish are continuing to make a come-back according to PEW charitable trusts. Include among these groups the Goliath grouper. No-take reserves help fish come back more quickly. Support these areas whenever you can. We have a long ways to go, but it should buoy our hopes.

… The United States and Cuba after many years of acrimonious feelings have agreed to share scientific data and cooperate in marine conservation. Affected are the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Flower Garden Banks in the Gulf of Mexico, the Dry Tortugas, the Dry Tortugas and Biscayne National Parks, and the Guanahacabibes National Park. Sharks have also been targeted for protection. Put simply, without sharks, the rest of the marine ecosystem collapses pretty quickly.

… Both Chile and New Zealand have established marine sanctuaries, making them off limits to fishing. Chile’s is the Desventuradas Islands; New Zealand’s is a 239,000 square mile reserve in the Kermadec region.

…The Paris Climate Talks begin November 30, only a few days from now. Many countries have already prepared goals to reduce their carbon footprint and thus reduce global warming. The rising seas is an incredible threat to millions of peoples living on islands and coasts around the world. If they get displaced by rising seas, the refugee problem we have today will be but an inconvenience compared to what will come.

… The public has awakened to the dangers of micro-beads in thousands of beauty products. These beads are not only a threat to coral reefs and the creatures that feed off them but to larger fish, and eventually to humans who eat those fish. Furthermore, companies are listening to consumers and some have already pledged to phase out their use. Be part of the solution and let companies know you want healthier alternatives.

… Big oil has withdrawn its bid to drill in the Arctic. Because of its lust for huge profits, the prohibitive cost of doing business sent them packing, not a love for the pristine environment. Continue reading →