Angela Pozzi – Bandon, OR.
Angela is the founder, director and lead artist of the Washed Ashore Project: Art to Save the Sea, a non-profit organization dedicated to collecting plastic debris from local beaches and using it to build incredible sculptures of ocean creatures. Angela and her volunteers are responsible for removing nearly 10 tons of trash from local beaches since 2010, and her sculptures have been exhibited across Oregon, California and Alaska to educate the public about marine creatures, plastic pollution, and the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Leah Meth – New Haven, CT.
Leah, a Masters student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, spearheaded the youth-driven Shark Stanley Campaign, which advocated for the passage of shark and manta ray protections at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Bangkok. The campaign, which was accompanied by an educational book titled The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends, began as a small group of students and grew to include an international network of over 50 organizations. Together they collected nearly 10,000 photo petitions from supporters in 135 countries. The petitions were presented to CITES delegates in March of 2013 and contributed to the passing of the protections for sharks and manta rays.
Kurt Lieber – Huntington Beach, CA.
A longtime ocean advocate and diver, Kurt founded the Ocean Defenders Alliance in 2002 to clean up abandoned and discarded fishing gear from California’s coastal waters. If not removed, this ghost gear can snare and kill sea birds, fish, and marine mammals and damage essential marine habitat. To date, Kurt’s organization, comprised of a network of hundreds of volunteer divers, has removed 22,000 lbs of nets, 20,000 lbs or marine debris and over 200 traps from our seas.
Dr. Neil Hammerschlag – Miami, FL.
Neil is the Director of the University of Miami’s R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, which gives high school students, especially those from underserved populations, the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through “full immersion” shark research. Over 2,000 students from 40 countries have participated in shark tagging and diving expeditions. Dr. Hammerschlag was recently instrumental in protecting sharks in Florida waters when he testified for new regulations that would prohibit the recreational and commercial harvest of tiger sharks and three types of hammerhead shark. The protections went into effect on January 1, 2012.
Jean Beasley – Topsail Island, NC.
In 1997, Jean established The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in memory of her daughter, who led a local effort to protect turtles before losing a battle with Leukemia at age 29. To date, Jean and her volunteers have rehabilitated and released over 300 turtles back into the wild, fought for (and won) stronger regulatory protections in North Carolina, and worked to educate the public about the threats that sea turtles face in the wild.
A new study published Sunday in Nature Climate Change finds that ocean acidification could cause the Southern Ocean Antarctic krill population to crash by 2300, meaning dire consequences for whales, seals, penguins, and the entire ecosystem it supports. In addition to devastating ecosystem effects, a collapse in krill populations could have serious economic implications, as the species represents the region’s largest fishery resource.
Sure, it may not be as dramatic as the fiery shots of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but this image still makes us sick to our stomachs -- An oil and gas well in the Gulf of Mexico has been leaking natural gas into the ocean for the last four days. The well, which was reportedly being closed up after 15 years of inactivity, began leaking after a "loss of well control event" at 9:45 a.m. on Monday, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
Did you know that only about 6% of all U.S. species protected under the Endangered Species Act live in the oceans?
On Monday, the conservation group WildEarth Guardians asked the federal government to grant protection for 81 additional marine species. Those currently listed are mostly “charismatic mega-fauna,” such as dolphins, whales, seals, and sea turtles. This organization seeks to add species of sharks, corals, fish, and other threatened and endangered sea life to the list of marine species protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Yesterday, Oceana released the results of a six-month study on European Union (EU) subsidies to the fishing sector since 2000, and the results were shocking. Our report showed that 4.9 billion euros in subsidies were granted in the form of “state aid” for the fishing sectors, with most of this €4.9 billion ($6.3 billion) fueling overfishing and environmentally harmful practices. Our estimates show that of this €4.9 billion, only 1% can be identified as beneficial to the marine environment. To add insult to grave environmental injury, despite the EU’s commitment to transparency, we found that information on how tax payer money is being spent and allocated to these fishing subsidies is both scarce and unclear.