World’s first “shark sanctuary”

Palau to create the world’s first “shark sanctuary”, banning all commercial shark fishing in its waters.

We couldn’t agree more and applaud President Toribiong’s efforts to protect the remaining sharks in our ocean. Hopefully other nations will follow suit. In 2006, French Polynesia decreed shark fishing, and therefore shark finning, illegal in its waters for all sharks except the mako shark, see page 9 of Oceana’s Report: Fishy Business [2 MB PDF]). Making shark fishing/finning illegal is the first great step. Enforcement of that law is the next, and is often where conservation efforts fail. We hope this is not the case for either Palau or French Polynesia or those that follow (come on U.S.A.).

The President of the tiny Pacific republic, Johnson Toribiong, announced the sanctuary during Friday’s session of the UN General Assembly.

With half of the world’s oceanic sharks at risk of extinction, conservationists regard the move as “game-changing”. Continue reading

Ocean Policy Task Force Report

Obama Administration Officials Release Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Report – September 17, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC – Obama Administration officials today released the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Report for a 30-day public review and comment period. The Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, led by White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, consists of 24 senior-level officials from Administration agencies, departments, and offices. The report provides proposals for a comprehensive national approach to uphold our stewardship responsibilities and ensure accountability for our actions.

“This Interim Report represents a wide spectrum of views and considerations, not just from within the federal government, but from members of the public, local officials, stakeholders and experts from coast to coast,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “It delivers on President Obama’s request for recommendations that will move this country towards a more robust national policy for our oceans, coasts and the Great Lakes and recognizes that we have a responsibility to protect the oceans and coasts for the benefit of current and future generations.” Continue reading

The Solution to Pollution is Dilution?

I’ve worked as a consulting environmental geoscientist since 1993 installing and sampling monitor wells, yanking countless leaking petroleum and chemical storage tanks out of the ground, finding the sources of underground leaks from other tanks and pipelines carrying all sorts of chemicals, and remediating sites with hazardous chemicals that were contaminating the air, ground water, soils, sediments, and surface water — all in violation of various State and Federal environmental regulations. Needless to say I’ve been very busy. Continue reading

Check out this stag film… got your attention?

Though I know many of you are too young to know what a “stag film” is, and I’m showing my age, Google it if you’re over 18. And if you’re not, you can still check this out. Some good news for a change:

By Susan Cocking

Forest of staghorn coral thrives: A threatened species of staghorn coral is thriving off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, and it’s spreading quickly.

Dropping 12 feet below the ocean’s surface less than a mile off Fort Lauderdale’s beach-front towers, a diver might wonder if he or she somehow got magically transported to a remote coral reef in the Caribbean. Continue reading