Go fishing online for eco-friendly seafood

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is a British nonprofit that is helping consumers select ocean-friendly seafood on its website http://www.fishonline.org. Visitors can search fish species by name and retrieve an overview or detailed information on each species including a rating based on its stock status, fisheries management, and the environmental impacts of the fishing methods used. Detailed reports include additional information on the area and method of capture as well as the stock from which the fish is derived (only applicable to North-East Atlantic stocks). Continue reading

Is the U.S. doing its part?

OK, clearly the Bush administration is not making global warming a priority. But, in terms of protecting the ocean and its resources — there seems to be more being done than I thought. I recently began following-up on US ocean policy and spent some time browsing around the Council for Environmental Quality’s Committee on Ocean Policy website, which details the work being done by the US government to protect US waters. I was curious to see what work had been done by the US in response to the report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. To my surprise, the US is addressing the issues as outlined in the report including resource protection, transportation, ocean resource use, science, education, mapping, and other topics.

To meet the challenges raised by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, President Bush issued an Executive Order on December 17, 2004, declaring that it shall be the policy of the United States to: Continue reading

Good news for a change!(?)

NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has established a large marine protected area (MPA) in Alaska called the Aleutian Islands Habitat Conservation Area covering 279,114 square nautical miles. This is more than twice the size of the MPA recently established in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The new MPA off the coast of Alaska is now the largest marine in the world. The NMFS recently announced similar habitat protection measures off the coast of Washington, Oregon, and California. Continue reading

Thinking outside the net

The Nature Conservancy in partnership with Environmental Defense has developed an innovative way to make sustainable fishing a win-win situation for both conservationists and fishermen. By purchasing federal trawling permits and trawling vessels from fishermen in California, the Conservancy will provide the fishermen with the income necessary to find an alternate and sustainable way to make a living while protecting 3.8 million acres of ocean off California’s central coast from bottom trawling. This will allow degraded bottom habitats and fish species off the coast of central California to recover. For years fishermen have dragged large weighted nets along the ocean bottom, which damage the habitat and scoop up species not targeted by the fishermen that gets tossed back (usually dead) into the ocean as bycatch. Continue reading

First do no harm – oceans in the ER

The following is an article published in the LA Times by Larry Crowder, director of the Duke University Center for Marine Conservation at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. His makes excellent points that we should do no harm to the ocean and that big changes – at the international level are needed to protect the oceans.

Hawaiian monk seal, Monachus schauinslandiAugust 6, 2006

Healthcare for the Oceans

There’s only one way to save the seas — a scaled up, big-picture effort.

MOST OF US surf, swim and fish without concern for the health of our oceans. But as the Los Angeles Times series “Altered Oceans” made clear, all of that is at risk. The oceans are now afflicted with chronic problems caused by human activities. Like our own bodies, the seas suffer when we put too much into them and expect too much out of them. Continue reading

Should humans interact with wildlife at aquariums?

Twice recently, stories have appeared in the news about humans being bitten by animals at human/animal interaction exhibits. In one instance, almost a dozen people were bitten by sharks at a shark petting exhibit in Newport, Kentucky. Shark petting!? Granted these aren’t tanks full of bull sharks, and the concept of shark petting certainly dispels the myth that sharks are mindless maneaters, but do humans really need to pet sharks? Do the sharks enjoy being touched? I doubt it.

At $eaworld in Orlando a young boy was bitten by a dolphin. Everyone wants to pet dolphins, or swim with dolphins – we all do. So $eaworld stated that they plan to send the dolphin off for some behavior modification – the poor thing was probably only defending itself against relentlessly poked and prodded and teased with fish. I think humans need to modify their need to interact with animals that belong in the wild. I had the privilege of interacting with dolphins last year in Honduras (see photo), they were friendly and curious – and I was in their environment. So they were free to check me out and free to take off when they wanted. I would much prefer that experience over being one of thousands of people lining up to “pet” dolphins in captivity.

If the animals are in need of veterinary care and rehabilitation, then I’m all for keeping them in captivity until they can be returned to the wild. But it just seems unnatural to me to keep them as puppets for entertaining humans.