The Beacon: Emily Fisher's blog
Update on 1/28/11 -- here's the clip of Wyatt!:
Remember 7-year-old artist and ocean conservationist Wyatt Workman? We spotlighted him back in November when he held an art show that raised $2,400 for Oceana.
Well, he didn’t stop there. His total has now climbed to nearly $3,500 (!), and he’s starting to get noticed in a big way. Today he’ll be appearing on the Nate Berkus Show to talk about his artwork, book, and claymation movie. You can catch the show today at 2 pm PST (5PM EST) on NBC, Wyatt’s segment will probably be at the end.
You can learn more about Wyatt and check out his artwork on his website. Oceana and the oceans thank you, Wyatt!
Here’s a little gem for you today, sent over to us from our friend Sara Bayles at the Daily Ocean.
Inspired by Sara’s beach clean-ups in Santa Monica, CA, mother of three Danielle R. started doing her own clean-ups in Wrightsville Beach, NC. She and her kids focus on collecting and counting the cigarette butts they find on the beach, and Destin Cretton created a short film about Danielle (and Sara). The film was chosen as a winner in the Brita FilterForGood Film Project, and will air on the Sundance Channel.
As you’ll see when you watch it, it’s astonishing just how many they find in a short amount of time. In just nine days, they collected almost 3,000 cigarette butts.
Celebrity Brit chef Gordon Ramsay spread fear into the hearts of cooking contestants on the popular reality TV show “Hell’s Kitchen.” Now he’s got a new adversary: the illegal shark fin trade.
In his new documentary “Shark Bait,” he investigates the ugly reality behind shark fin soup. His investigation into shark finning led to a swim with bull sharks, and even a confrontation with heavily armed Costa Rican gangsters, he told the UK’s Daily Mail.
“It’s a multibillion-dollar industry, completely unregulated,” he said.
Take a look for yourself. Here's Part 1 of “Shark Bait”:
Almost nine months after the oil gusher began in the Gulf of Mexico, this morning the presidential commission investigating the Deepwater Horizon disaster released its final report.
The commission concludes that the oil industry was plagued by systemic problems that could lead to another accident unless major reforms are enacted by the government and the drilling companies. The panel placed blame on all three companies responsible for the well – BP, Transocean and Halliburton – and the government regulators responsible for overseeing them.
The panel also outlined its recommendations for regulations and practices to prevent another spill, including an increase in the budget and manpower at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, lifting the current $75 million cap on corporate liability for damages from an oil spill, and significantly strengthening the oil-spill-response capabilities in the Arctic before any new major drilling is allowed there.
Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless had this to say about the report, (you can read his full statement here):
“The Commission…correctly concluded that the Deepwater Horizon disaster was not an isolated incident; but was indicative of a systemic failure of the oil industry and the federal regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing it.
While some of you may be sticking to New Year’s resolutions to make sustainable seafood choices in 2011, not everyone is following suit.
Namely, Legal Sea Foods CEO Roger Berkowitz, who is hosting a dinner later this month with the New England Culinary Guild featuring what he calls “blacklisted” seafood, such as black tiger shrimp, Atlantic cod and Atlantic hake, which are all on the Monterey Bay Aquarium guide’s “avoid” list.
This provocative stab at sustainable seafood designations has taken some heat, not surprisingly. Jacqueline Church and Miriam at Deep Sea News both did some digging into the company’s claims and the science that Legal is trumpeting as “outdated.”
Earlier in the week we heard from 2009 Ocean Hero finalist Emily Goldstein, and today, a fun update on Sara Bayles, a 2010 finalist whose near-daily beach cleanup efforts are documented on her blog, The Daily Ocean.
Now Sara and her husband, Dr. Garen Baghdasarian, have a new and exciting adventure on the horizon. This spring, the ocean conservation power couple will join The 5 Gyres Institute on a 4,680-mile research expedition across the South Pacific from Chile to Tahiti to study the effects of plastic micro-pollutants on plankton. They will, of course, be blogging the trip as they collect water samples and other crucial data.
Editor’s note: Guest blogger Emily Goldstein was a finalist in Oceana’s first annual Ocean Heroes contest in 2009 for her work to convince thousands of people and dozens of large companies to reduce their energy use, saving 16 million pounds of CO2.
Polar bears stand for everything that is wild and free, ruling over the Arctic as the creature we all associate with the North Pole. They are the apex predators in the Arctic, admired for their power and majesty. But the polar bear has recently become well-known for another, more deadly reason: they have become victims of climate change. Their world of ice is melting away, threatening their very existence.
In November I traveled to a remote town in northern Canada to talk with scientists about the polar bear’s perilous situation. Churchill is a village near the Hudson Bay, where ice first begins to form each year. This was my third visit there, but each time I go I feel even more privileged to be able to experience the world of the bears. The first time I looked into the eyes of a polar bear, I knew that I had to do something to save these amazing creatures from extinction.
In a culmination of years of work by Oceana and our allies, Congress has ended shark finning in U.S. waters with the passage today of the Shark Conservation Act.
This morning the U.S. House approved the Senate version of the Shark Conservation Act (passed yesterday), which now goes to President Obama to be signed into law.
Shark finning is the brutal practice of slicing off a shark's fins, often for use in shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy. The shark -- sometimes still alive -- is thrown back into the water to bleed to death. In addition, without the fins attached, many sharks can’t be identified, which further impedes management.
Sharks have been swimming the world’s oceans for more than 400 million years and as apex predators, they play a vital role in maintaining the health of ocean ecosystems. But due to their slow growth rate and low level of reproduction, sharks are especially vulnerable to pressure from human exploitation. Many shark populations have declined to levels where they are unable to perform their roles as top predators in the ecosystem.
This is an enormous victory for sharks and for the oceans. Huge thanks to all of you who have taken action over the years to help make this happen! You can thank your Representatives and Senators for protecting sharks, too.
Yet another victory today, if you can believe it. In a last minute vote, the U.S. Senate passed the Shark Conservation Act, which will end shark finning in U.S. waters.
Each year, commercial fishing gear kills more than 100 million sharks worldwide – including tens of millions for just their fins, for use in shark fin soup. Landing sharks with their fins still attached allows for better enforcement and data collection for stock assessments and quota monitoring.
The Shark Conservation Act improves the existing law originally intended to prevent shark finning, and it also allows the U.S. to take action against countries whose shark finning restrictions are not as strenuous. The passage of this bill signals the U.S.’s ongoing commitment to shark conservation.
Only one step stands in the way of this bill becoming law -- it returns to the House for one final vote to accept the Senate’s version of the legislation. We’re almost there…
Thanks to all of you who helped us -- and the sharks -- get this far!
It’s that time of year when “best of” lists abound, so what better reason to sing the ocean’s greatest hits of 2010?
Raise your eggnog glasses high for these ocean victories that we helped accomplish this year, with your generous support and enthusiasm:
- The Obama Administration reinstated a ban on offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast -- and that was after months of pressure by Oceana and more than 100,000 (!) of you said it was time to Stop the Drill.
- After pressure from Oceana and our allies, the Chilean government halted the construction of a coal-fired thermoelectric plant near Punta de Choros, a marine reserve home to Humboldt penguins, bottlenose dolphins, and blue whales.
- Two big bottom trawling victories: the U.S. banned bottom trawling in a 23,000 square mile area off the Southeast Atlantic coast, home to the largest area of pristine area of cold-water corals in the world. And in Belize, we helped pass a ban on all trawling in the country’s waters.
- Disabled Killer Whale Survives with Help from Its Pod Posted Tue, May 21, 2013
- Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless Discusses His New Book, The Perfect Protein Posted Wed, May 22, 2013
- Happy World Turtle Day! Posted Thu, May 23, 2013
- Washington Passes Legislation to Fight Seafood Fraud Posted Fri, May 24, 2013