Remembering R. Aidan Martin

It’s never easy to lose a friend or a loved one. But in this case, not only do we lose our friend, but we lose an incredibly talented and passionate marine biologist and conservationist who dedicated his life to teaching others about the magnificence of sharks and rays and the importance of protecting them.

Aidan (aka Rick) passed away suddenly in his home in Vancouver on February 13. We were shocked and saddened by the news and feel a deep loss as Aidan was a recent, but important part of the MarineBio family. He signed onto our Board of Advisors as Director of Elasmobranchs in late November 2006 and we were thrilled to have such a talented scientist with a passion for conservation on board. Continue reading

Microchips and fish (and whales and turtles)

Closing the gap between science and conservation:

Sea Creatures to Be Tracked Electronically
February 12, 2007 — By Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press

OTN.jpgWASHINGTON — In a modern update of “fish and chips,” researchers are planning a worldwide effort to track the movement of sea creatures tagged with tiny electronic devices.

Following pilot testing in the north Pacific, the Ocean Tracking Network will expand to the Atlantic, Arctic, Mediterranean and Gulf of Mexico.

Details of the expansion were scheduled to be announced Monday at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Continue reading

US Congress working to protect the ocean?

OCEANS 21: Coming To Rescue An Ailing OceanA call to action from the Ocean Champions website:

OCEANS 21: Coming To Rescue An Ailing Ocean

We are entering a new era of ocean conservation. As Ocean Champions had hoped, the new 110th Congress is already off to a great start for protecting our oceans.

Representative Sam Farr (D-CA) one of our Ocean Champions in Congress, introduced the OCEANS-21 bill (HR-21) earlier this month, setting the stage for the establishment of a comprehensive national oceans policy with guiding principles for use and management of U.S. coasts, oceans and lakes. Ocean Champions, we have been working with members of Congress to adopt key recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission. The OCEANS-21 bill would make many of these recommendations into law. The bill adopts the key recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commision to develop a holistic ocean health plan. This bill, unlike past ocean legislation, treats the disease, not the symptom.

Please ask your member of Congress to co-sponsor this vital legislation and help us build a better future for our oceans.

OCEANS-21, if passed into law, would implement a comprehensive ecosystem-based management plan that addresses current and future ocean and coastal challlenges, such as overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction.

This is indeed a very exciting time for those who care about protecting our oceans because we are now seeing the positive results of our electoral victories from last November’s elections. The OCEANS-21 bill and the principles it carries are vital to the future of our oceans because it mandates that the government adopt a holistic ocean health plan, something that is long overdue. In the past, Congress has passed laws that addressed one or a few important ocean issues, but nothing this comprehensive.

Can you hear me now?

dolphins.jpgWhen David was diving in southeast Florida almost exactly 2 years ago, he was thrilled to see a pod of dolphins, which he was told were a rare sight in the area in February. A few days later he was disturbed to see a more common sight — a submarine conducting sonar testing. After he returned home, we learned that a number of dolphins had stranded in the Florida Keys, a relatively short distance from where he was diving, a few days after he saw them. Continue reading

Panel Issues Bleak Report on Climate Change

Columbia Glacier 1980New York Times
Science / Environment

Panel Issues Bleak Report on Climate Change
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL and ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: Paris, February 2, 2007

In a bleak and powerful assessment of the future of the planet, the leading international network of climate change scientists has concluded for the first time that global warming is “unequivocal” and that human activity is the main driver, “very likely” causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950.

They said the world is already committed to centuries of warming, shifting weather patterns and rising seas, resulting from the buildup of gases in the atmosphere that trap heat. But the warming can be substantially blunted by prompt action, the panel of scientists said in a report released here today. Continue reading