Blog Tags: California
I might play a blood-sucking vampire on “True Blood,” but in real life I’m a devoted animal lover and conservationist.
In the past few weeks, I’ve followed the proposed ban on the shark fin trade in California, and – in honor of Shark Week – I wanted to share a letter I recently wrote to California State Senator Paul Fong asking for his help to protect sharks:
Dear Assemblymember Fong and Members of the Legislature:
This is part of a series of posts about our Pacific Hotspots expedition. Today's highlights: octupuses, hydrocorals and nudibranchs!
California Leg, Days 4-5
Friday concluded the Monterey portion of the expedition, and we had high hopes and much enthusiasm for the last day. We successfully completed three fantastic dives exploring three unique habitats.
This section of the expedition involves two ROVs, a compact one able to capture footage in more shallow depths and one designed to dive much deeper. The crew is still making improvements to the larger ROV so we used the smaller one to document bottom habitat consisting of sand, boulders, and large white sponges inside Point Pinos reef; the pinnacles at Asilomar State Marine Reserve; and investigated marine life hiding within the ledges of the Monterey Shale Beds.
The strong swells we had been working against all week calmed a bit under the overcast sky. Special guests joining us today included scientists from the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, a reporter and photographer from the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper, and documentary filmmakers from Sea Studios.
Our dive within the newly established Asilomar State Marine Reserve was truly extraordinary. We were pleasantly surprised to see that this marine protected area contained such large pinnacles, equivalent in splendor and color to what we observed further south near Carmel earlier in the week.
This is the fourth in a series of posts about this year’s Ocean Hero finalists.
For more than two decades, Peter Wallerstein has been rescuing marine animals on the coast of California.
In 1985 he founded the Whale Rescue Team, which is now part of Marine Animal Rescue (MAR), a project of Friends of Animals. Peter started a 24-hour hotline for citizens to report stranded or injured marine mammals, and he has personally rescued more than 4,000 marine mammals and birds in Southern California, from stranded dolphins to whales tangled in gillnets.
Thanks to Peter’s persistence, Los Angeles County now has the only professional marine mammal rescue team in the U.S. that conducts hundreds of rescues each year, working 24/7 if needed. In April he conducted 86 marine mammal rescues, 120 for the year so far.
Now Peter is working to address the lack of adequate care facilities for marine mammals. After a decade of work, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has authorized MAR to design, construct and operate a second marine mammal care facility in Los Angeles County.
Chinese NBA basketball star Yao Ming hopes so. As center for the Houston Rockets, Ming is spreading the word to “Say no to shark fin soup” with his new ads sponsored by Oceana and WildAid.
Ming’s message is traveling through San Francisco by bus, including those on Chinatown routes to support legislation (AB 376) to ban the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins in California.
This is the second in a series of posts about this year’s Ocean Hero finalists.
Today’s featured finalist is Nancy Caruso, who was selected for her work to protect giant kelp forests in California. Nancy was inspired to become a marine biologist at age 10, and she has been involved in ocean conservation ever since.
After working on the Orange County Giant Kelp Restoration Project, Nancy started her own non-profit organization, Get Inspired!, which teaches students to grow giant kelp in classroom nurseries. Over the last nine years, Nancy has taught 4000 students to grow giant kelp, which is then planted in the ocean by the 250 volunteer scuba divers that she trained. In addition, this year Nancy started the only program in California to restock green abalone and white sea bass, also in classroom nurseries.
In 2010 Nancy started Kelpfest!, an annual festival with a mission to celebrate giant kelp forests. Thousands turned out in April for the second annual event in Laguna Beach, which included live music, a live underwater broadcast from the kelp forest just offshore, and a scale model of a kelp forest for people to walk through.
Oceanography legend Jacques Cousteau once said “The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” This spellbound wonder is certainly true for our fascination with the 7 species of sea turtles that have inhabited the world’s oceans for four million years and, sadly, which are all now threatened or endangered with extinction. These awe-inspiring ocean reptiles were the focus of the 31st Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology & Conservation in San Diego.
Actress and sea turtle advocate Rachael Harris (“The Hangover”) presented at our Friday reception. She shared a special connection she made with a green sea turtle named Esmeralda while touring a sea turtle rehabilitation center in Mexico with Oceana last year.
Harris was captivated by how expressive Esmeralda was despite her flippers being mutilated after becoming entangled in fishing line and being attacked by a dog while on a beach to nest. Harris’ enthusiastic support for sea turtle protections is shared by fellow sea turtle advocate Angela Kinsey (“The Office”). The two will storm the nation’s capitol in early May to educate Congress about why we need to get turtles off the hook and the need for more sea turtle protections throughout our nation’s waters.
Humpback whales flock to the California coast, searching for herring, krill, and other small tasty fish. But these small fish, also known as forage fish, are dwindling in numbers due to fishing pressure, pollution, and demand for feed in the agriculture and aquaculture industries, among other threats.
There is currently legislation pending in the California State Assembly that highlights the importance of prey fish and calls for a scientific approach to fishing for them. Right now there is no consistent state policy governing management of forage species, but with your help we can change that.
Today is the last day to speak up for these important creatures - Tell the California State Assembly to support better management of forage species.
California voters successfully defeated Proposition 23 that would have essentially repealed California’s landmark climate change legislation. The Wavemakers of California sent a strong message to Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro and the California Legislature that we want clean air, clean energy, and we want to protect our oceans.
Thanks to you, California can continue to move forward to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions-ultimately, keeping the world on the right path to reduce the impacts of ocean acidification and other climate induced effects including sea level rise, changes in species distribution, and loss of ocean habitats.
California’s Parks System faced collapse last year and the picture for the coming years looks grim.
Enter Proposition 21, a statewide ballot initiative that offers hope to help ensure our 278 state parks and beaches stay up and running and our wildlife and marine resources are protected. Prop 21 establishes a stable, reliable and adequate funding source through an $18 increase in the California vehicle registration fee. These funds will be directly deposited into a State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund and can only be used for operation of state parks and protection of ocean resources and wildlife.
A lot of cool charity events have taken place in our honor, but never has one been ping-pong themed. Until now.
This Sunday, at the 2010 PaddleJam in Hollywood, CA, celebs will showcase their table tennis skills while raising money for their favorite non-profits, including Oceana, Rock the Vote, Equality CA, The Humane Society, Ann and George Lopez Foundation and Habitat for Humanity. Celebrities attending include George Lopez, Jesse Williams of “Grey’s Anatomy”, and Zachary Levi of “Chuck.”
So if you live in LA, check it out! Here are the deets:
- Video: Leonardo DiCaprio Speaks up for the Planet at UN Climate Summit Posted Fri, September 26, 2014
- Live Action Role-Play for the Baltic Sea: Finding New Ways to Address Environmental Troubles Posted Mon, September 29, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Giant Cuttlefish Decline Remains a Mystery, President Obama Creates World's Largest MPA, and More Posted Thu, September 25, 2014
- Oceana Magazine: Q&A with Justin Winters, Executive Director of Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Posted Fri, September 26, 2014
- Seismic Surveys and Sharks: A Bad Combination Posted Tue, September 23, 2014