I have an exciting announcement about Oceana’s efforts to save the oceans and feed the world: The Wyss Foundation will provide up to $10 million in matching funds over the next five years to help Oceana rebuild fisheries in Peru and Canada.
I am writing to you today to inform you of leadership changes for our European campaigns for abundant oceans.
Xavier Pastor, our leader in Europe, will retire next year after more than four decades in ocean conservation. My colleagues and I spent the past several months searching to find his successor, among many excellent candidates. I can now announce that Lars “Lasse” Gustavsson will replace Pastor as the next Senior Vice President and Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.
Last month, President Obama finalized the expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument — the largest marine reserve in the entire world. First created by President George W. Bush in 2009, the reserve is centered around several islands and atolls in the central Pacific Ocean. The newly expanded reserve will protect an area three times the size of California from commercial fishing, dumping, and mining.
On behalf of Oceana and the ocean conservation community, I’d like to take a moment to celebrate this extraordinary presidential action.
Off the coast of California, deadly drift gillnets threaten some of our most iconic and amazing marine species, like the endangered sperm whale. These nets can entangle and drown open-ocean animals that swim into them. Last year, Oceana successfully pressured the government to put in place emergency rules to protect sperm whales from these deadly nets. Unfortunately, the government recently let these protections expire, violating two federal laws.
Last weekend I had the honor of recognizing award-winning actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio for his dedicated and generous support of ocean conservation. DiCaprio was Oceana’s guest of honor at our annual SeaChange Summer Party in Laguna Beach, California.
If you’re like most ocean lovers, you’ve probably spent a few nights this week tuning in to Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. But as we celebrate our collective love of sharks, we should also take a moment to reflect on the many threats that sharks face.
We all know that seafood is good for you, and that fish is high in heart-healthy omega-3s. And I’m sure you’ve also heard warnings about mercury levels in certain species of fish, especially if you or anyone you know is starting a family. But you might not know that the chlorine industry was a major source of mercury released to our environment.
Discarding fish is akin to throwing money into the ocean, yet the U.S. fishing industry wastes millions of pounds of seafood each year. Bycatch is not only wasteful, but kills countless numbers of marine creatures like dolphins, sea turtles, and sharks in the process.
I wrote to you a few short weeks ago about our tremendous victory in Oceana’s campaign to stop seafood fraud — at the U.S. State Department’s Our Ocean conference, President Obama committed to tackling seafood fraud and pirate fishing. As realistic as I often am about these conferences, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcomes of Our Ocean.
White sharks off the coast of California are in danger. This population of white sharks, occurring off California and Mexico, is genetically unique and isolated from other groups of white sharks across the world’s oceans.