April 20 marked the four-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In the process of filming a short film about the aftermath of the spill, “Drill, Spill, Repeat?” Oceana staff met Dr. Bonny Schumaker, a former physicist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who now flies over the Gulf of Mexico looking for oil stemming from the spill. This is the first in a three-part blog series that highlights the many faces of the Gulf’s recovery. Stay tuned for more.
Earth Day has us contemplating our relationship with the blue planet in years to come. Last week, the latest report on climate change from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) laid down some stark truths for world: If we don’t make changes to the way we live off the planet’s resources right now, future generations will struggle immensely in order to effectively undo the damage that humans are causing in the present.
Last week, the Pacific Fishery Management Council rejected a proposal to expand the use of drift gillnets off California. The decision was paired with a request to extend emergency regulations to protect sperm whales from entrapment in drift gillnets until permanent protections go into effect. The meeting in Sacramento drew unusually high numbers of public comments, including more than 40,000 written comments from Oceana supporters alone. It's a step in the right direction when it comes to getting the destructive form of fishing gear out of California waters.
Today in the nation’s capital, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) released the final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) on allowing seismic airgun testing in the Mid- and South Atlantic. While it promises a few protections here and there for marine life in the Atlantic, we can’t support the idea at the crux of the review: a plan to move forward with the use of seismic airgun testing for oil and gas drilling.
It’s International Polar Bear Day! It’s a day created to bring awareness to polar bear conservation, and to simply take a moment to recognize the overall awesomeness that is the polar bear. Polar bears have many extraordinary physical abilities and are stunningly beautiful, so having an entire day of every year dedicated to them is a no-brainer.
On November 18, 2013, our team in the Pacific sent a letter to NOAA Fisheries requesting photos of marine life drowned in drift gillnets off the coast of California. We already knew that each year over a hundred marine mammals are killed by drift gillnets, mile-long fishing nets set below the water’s surface to catch swordfish and thresher sharks in the area. Animals big and small—whales, dolphins, sea turtles, sea lions—are caught in these walls of mesh and often drown, and Oceana wanted to bring forward any photographic proof of gillnets’ damage.
We humans have developed a few token signs of affection when it comes to love and finding that special person: buy some chocolates, wine and dine by candlelight, and romantic strolls by the beach. We probably think we know best when it comes to showing love, but there are a few creatures in our the oceans that might prove us wrong, and maybe even give us a few pointers. Meet a few ocean animals that are masters of the art of affection.
For seafood lovers in Maryland, and for many around the U.S., there’s one fact that rings true: there’s nothing like a good Maryland crabcake. That rich, lumpy goodness comes from the Maryland “blue crab,” callinectes sapidus, and the dish is a cultural and culinary staple for the entire state. So, naturally, some people will do anything to protect them.
We’ve been talking a lot this week about Vibrant Oceans, former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initiative. We’ve talked about our plan to work alongside Rare & EKO Asset Management to reform international fisheries management and to rebuild fish populations around the world. But we also need to discuss an equally important reason why this commitment is truly historic. By reforming international fisheries, the Vibrant Oceans initiative tackles an issue that affects not only the state of our oceans, but us. People. People everywhere.