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.
Several months ago, I wrote to you with big news about Oceana’s future: Oceana is one of the recipients of a $53 million joint grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, called the Vibrant Oceans initiative, which seeks to restore ocean abundance and fisheries in Brazil, the Philippines, and Chile.
I am now pleased to report back that we have hired two leaders for our work in Brazil and the Philippines — Dr. Monica Brick Peres and Attorney Gloria Estenzo Ramos.
Earlier this month, I had the honor of recognizing former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg for his dedicated support of ocean conservation. Mr. Bloomberg was our special guest at Oceana’s annual New York City Gala, hosted by Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, and Susan and David Rockefeller.
Yesterday marked the four-year anniversary of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Although several years have passed, the people, wildlife, and ecosystems of the Gulf are still struggling to recover from this disaster.
The political world, recently, spent much time speculating about what former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would do next after leaving office. And, I have very good news to share—one of Mayor Bloomberg’s new goals will be to help save the oceans and feed the world.
Oceana and two other groups will be joint recipients of a historic and innovative $53-million, five-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to restore fish populations in three of the world’s largest fishing nations: Brazil, Chile, and the Philippines. “Data shows the world’s severely threatened fish populations can rebound if fishing is properly managed,” noted Mayor Bloomberg in a press release about the grant. “The investment we are making now will help bring more life back to our oceans—and protect them for future generations.”
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.