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The Perfect Protein: By the Numbers

A few clear steps could provide hundreds of millions of hungry people around the world with a nutritious, protein-rich meal of wild seafood, like this mackerel 

In a recent interview with Coast magazine, Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless discussed his new book, The Perfect Protein. While the phrases “saving our oceans,” and “feeding the world,” may feel nebulous and, frankly, overwhelming, Andy used this interview to break these overwhelming ideas down into clear, straightforward points. 

"So, if you go into McDonald's and you're choosing between a fish filet sandwich and a hamburger, you can make a decision that has a bigger impact on the world, and yourself, than people appreciate," says Sharpless. "If you eat the hamburger, you're eating enough grain to make more than 200 taco shells and you're consuming enough fresh water to fill more than 10,000 glasses. If you eat the fish filet sandwich, you're not." 


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Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless's New Book, The Perfect Protein, Released Today!

The Perfect Protein Trailer from Oceana on Vimeo.

We're thrilled to announce that today is the launch of Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless's new book, The Perfect Protein! As the CEO of Oceana, Andy is dedicated to the protection of our world’s oceans. Over the years, however, he realized that the work Oceana does to save the world’s oceans was not just helping to preserve the oceans’ biodiversity; it was also resulting in more food for people. In other words, it’s a win-win: When we adopt practices that conserve and protect our oceans and the creatures in it, we also create stocks of healthy, nutritious protein for the people of our world.


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Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless Discusses His New Book, The Perfect Protein

Nine billion of us are estimated to be on the planet by 2050, and the demand for food will increase by 70 percent above today’s levels. If land and fresh water are already under strain, how in the world are we going to feed a population that grows by 220,000 mouths every day? Well, the ocean conservation measures you champion as an Oceana supporter can, believe it or not, help make a huge difference. You can find out how in my new book, The Perfect Protein, which can be pre-ordered now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Indiebound.


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Oceana CEO Slams Seismic Testing in USA Today

Today Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless wrote an op-ed in USA Today, "A Deaf Whale is a Dead Whale", about seismic airgun testing. As you may know by now, the Department of the Interior is currently reviewing a proposal to search for oil and gas deposits in a huge expanse of the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Delaware to Florida, using seismic airgun arrays.

Andy explains the brutal physics of the operation, which, if approved could wreak havoc on the ocean ecosystem, injuring an estimated 138,500 whales and dolphins:

In seismic airgun testing, a ship tows a seismic airgun, which shoots extremely loud blasts of compressed air through the ocean and miles under the seafloor to help locate oil and gas deposits. These airguns must be incredibly powerful in order to penetrate the water and the earth's crust and then bounce all the way back up to the surface. In fact, the sound generated by seismic airguns is 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine.

All this, he says, while alternatives remain untapped that are both enviromentally and economically more sound (no pun intended).

Using seismic airguns to explore for oil and gas is a destructive step in the wrong direction for ocean-based energy. It is bad for whales and dolphins, fisheries and our economy. We have much better options for energy development in the Atlantic Ocean such as offshore wind, which could supply well over 50% of the East Coast with reliable, clean electricity. Additionally, offshore wind exploration is much less damaging than exploration for oil, and its development will create three times more jobs and power 26 million more homes.

Help Oceana fight this proposal. Add your photo to our facebook petition and spread the word.


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Oceana CEO Tells CCTV How to Restore the Oceans

Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless dropped by the Chinese CCTV studios recently to talk China, responsible fisheries management and how it could bring the world's oceans back to a state of abundance in just 5 years. As he points out, 11% of world's ocean fish are caught in Chinese waters.

"I think this is the world's biggest conservation problem that we can fix. It's a source of food that the planet needs to manage and can be turned around very rapidly. So for me it's a really exciting problem because it's fixable."

As Andy says, restoring the oceans will take three steps: setting and enforcing scientific quotas, protecting habitat and reducing bycatch, the accidental killing of non-targeted species. Every year more than 16 billion pounds of fish are caught and thrown away as bycatch.

Check out the video!


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Oceana CEO: World's Fisheries are in Crisis

Editor's note: A new study from researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of Washington shows that most of the world's fisheries are overexploited but could be improved considerably through conservation measures. The following is Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless' response to that study.

"This study finally lays to rest the question of whether or not the world’s fisheries are in crisis – they are. As the authors report, more than half of the world’s fisheries are in decline. And as they point out, worst hit are small scale fisheries which are critical for feeding hungry people all around the world. 

We believe that this report provides a clear call to action. We need to quickly put in place responsible management measures in the countries that control most of the world’s wild seafood.  As the study finds, putting in place these measures would allow depleted stocks to recover to sustainable levels and could result in future catches that are up to 40 percent larger than are predicted if current unsustainable fishing practices continue.

We know from past experience all around the world – including in the “assessed fisheries” described by the authors – that putting in place better fisheries management allows fisheries to rebound. And we agree with the authors’ prescription for these measures – science based quotas and habitat protection. We do believe that they (and the world’s fishery managers) should place a great emphasis on reducing bycatch which is critical to the future of our wild fish stocks.

One other critical point not covered in this study is that putting in place these management measures does not take an international treaty. Just 25 countries control 75% of the world’s fish catch and can – through their own legal systems – put in place the policies that can allow fisheries to recover.

The world has a moral obligation to act on the findings of this study as it would enable the sea to feed 400 million hungry people living in major fishing nations and would help offset the projected dramatic increase in demand for protein from a world population that is forecasted to rise to 9 billion people by 2050."


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Andy Sharpless at Ideacity 2012

Watch live streaming video from ideacity at livestream.com

Did you know that the world’s oceans have the power to feed millions of hungry people? It’s true, but only if we make sure that we’re using them sustainably.

Our CEO Andy Sharpless spoke about this at the Ideacity conference in Toronto on June 15th. The three-day conference brought together artists, activists, scientists and more in “Canada’s Premier Meeting of the Minds.”

Here’s a video of his presentation, where he emphasizes the importance of national action and responsible management in ensuring that we don’t deplete wild fish populations. Seafood offers many benefits—it’s healthier than red meat, doesn’t take up land or produce greenhouse gases, and creates jobs in major fishing countries.

Learn more about Oceana’s Save the Oceans , Feed the World campaign and sign the petition today. 


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Video: Andy Sharpless on Fish and World Hunger

Did you know that protecting our oceans could be an answer to world hunger? A few weeks ago our CEO Andy Sharpless gave a talk at TedxSF about how saving the oceans can help feed the world.

We think it’s a fantastic, thought-provoking presentation, please watch and pass it on:


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The Real Reason for High Gas Prices, Redux

Oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. © Oceana/Soledad Esnaola

Editor's note: This post by Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless was originally posted last May on Politico.com. We think it couldn't be more relevant right now, especially considering that many media outlets are now making similar arguments to the one we've been making since last year - that gas prices aren't tied to offshore drilling.

Why do we take terrible risks to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere along our coasts?

Most people would say we drill to protect ourselves from big fluctuations in gasoline prices that are caused by major upheavals in the Middle East.

Their argument is that the more oil we can produce domestically, the lower the price we’ll pay at the pump. It’s not that they like the sight of oil wells off our beaches. The main reason they argue for more offshore oil drilling is they think it will save money — especially since gas prices approached $4 a gallon recently. (See: A chart of U.S. gas prices here.)

This idea is not only intuitively appealing. It is repeatedly and unambiguously promoted by important government officials from both the Democratic and the Republican parties. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) defended legislation that would expand offshore oil drilling, saying “this bill would do more to lower gas prices at the pump than any other plan.” Meanwhile, Sarah Palin criticized President Barack Obama, saying, “His war on domestic oil and gas exploration and production has caused us pain at the pump.”

Former President George W. Bush, who had private-sector oil industry experience, said it could “take pressure off gasoline prices over time by expanding the amount of American-made oil and gasoline.” And Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, insists, “Gas prices are closing in on $4 per gallon … because of the de facto moratorium on drilling permits.”

Pundits, like Steve Doocy of Fox, endorse the argument, saying that the solution to rising gas prices is to “just poke a hole in the ground.”

Yet during the past two years, the amount of oil pumped in the U.S. has been going up, not down — as one might infer from all these comments. So this strongly stated argument to increase domestic oil drilling is wrong.

Examine the facts. The Energy Information Administration data show the price at the pump closely mirrors the international price of oil, not the percentage of oil coming from imports. (A chart comparing the U.S. gasoline prices and the percent of oil we import can be found here.)
 
Now, consider the price of unleaded gasoline at the pump compared with the international price of crude oil (See: A chart comparing U.S. gasoline prices and international crude oil prices here.)

Which do you think does a better job of explaining the changes in the price of gasoline at the pump? Your common-sense reading of the charts is correct. The price of gasoline at the pump is not statistically correlated with the share of U.S. consumption of imported oil, but it is highly correlated with the international price of imported crude.

This seemingly counterintuitive result is consistent with how the world’s oil markets actually operate. Ask yourself this question: When BP or any other big oil company finds oil in the Gulf of Mexico, does it sell it to us at a discount because we were kind enough to let them drill in America?

No, it doesn’t. It sells it all over the world at the price set in the international oil market. As an international commodity, oil is priced on an international basis — according to global supply and demand. Global demand is the reason the price is going up now. The world’s economies are recovering from the slump of the past few years and the developing economies, like China, are increasing their demand.

Meanwhile, offshore drilling is simply too risky for our beaches and fisheries. Want proof? Oil company shareholders insist on having a law limiting their liability in the event of a disaster.

I don’t think these risks are worth it. You might disagree. But if you do, remember: Anyone who tells you we should do offshore oil drilling to lower our price at the pump doesn’t care about the facts.


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