The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered species in the U.S. and the rarest of all the large whales. Commercial whaling reduced their population to just a few hundred individuals, and the species is still struggling to recover. Their migration route along the East Coast and habit of feeding at the surface puts them at great risk of being struck and killed by ships. Now the government is planning to allow potentially deadly oil and gas exploration right along the whale’s migration route.
The New Year promises to bring many exciting changes here at Oceana. The first among many exciting pieces of news is that Oceana recently hired a new Vice President to lead conservation efforts in our Belize office—Janelle Chanona.
Janelle, a long time anchor for Channel 5 in Belize, most recently ran her own media and production company. She has advised several environmental groups in Belize (including Oceana). She is a graduate of St. Johns College in Belize, of Loyola College in Baltimore in the United States and received a Master’s degree with distinction from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. A passionate diver, she is a frequent visitor to Belize's barrier reef, the largest such reef in the Western Hemisphere.
Everyone here at Oceana is eagerly looking forward to a new year of campaigning for our oceans. But before we set off, I’d like to look back at our accomplishments throughout 2013. Just a few months ago I marked 10 years of working for Oceana, and I can easily say that it was our most successful year yet. I’d like to call out a few of our many victories in particular…
Sweeping fisheries reforms in Europe
Conservation is an international challenge, especially when it comes to our oceans. Earlier this month the presidents and CEOs of 24 leading conservation organizations, including Oceana, send a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urging him to incorporate fisheries subsidies reform into the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
You might not have heard, but sharks are in trouble from an unlikely source—our own federal government. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the government agency tasked with managing our nation’s fisheries, is taking steps to undermine state laws that protect sharks.
Last month, the International Whaling Commission released a report that, for the very first time, established a firm connection between a sonar mapping tool used for offshore oil and gas exploration and the deaths of marine animals.
In 2008, about 100 “melon-headed whales” stranded in a shallow lagoon in northwestern Madagascar. Despite their name, melon-headed whales are actually a type of dolphin, found in deep oceans near the equator. They’re similar in size to a bottlenose dolphin, with dark grey coloring and a large, rounded head. At least 75 dolphins—three-quarters of those stuck in the lagoon—eventually died from dehydration, starvation, and sun exposure in the shallow waters.
Wednesday night I had the honor of being on stage with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and HBO CEO Richard Plepler at Oceana’s Partners Award Gala in Los Angeles. The gala honors individuals who make outstanding contributions to the cause of protecting our oceans.
I have some wonderful news out of our European offices that I’d like to share with you. Last Wednesday, the European Parliament took a tremendous step forward in restoring the health of our oceans and our fisheries. They voted to significantly limit harmful subsidies that enable overfishing, leading to the collapse of any of Europe’s fisheries.
After 16 days Congress has finally ended the government shutdown. But while thousands of workers are able to return to work, our oceans will continue to suffer from Congress's misguided bickering.
Yesterday I partnered with actor and ocean activist Ted Danson to discuss just how harmful the government shutdown was for our oceans. In an editorial for the Huffington Post, we revealed how the shutdown affected critical ocean research, and how it could continue to impact fisheries management through next year.
After we posted our blog, “The Washington Post is Wrong About Farmed Salmon," we got a lot of questions about wild salmon feed ratio versus the feed ratio for farmed salmon. One commentator even suggested that because wild salmon eat at ratios higher than one to one, it might be better for the ocean if we switch to eating farmed salmon (instead of wild) because it would save more wild fish.