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Marine Life & Conservation

A Reaffirmation of Hope at the Seattle Aquarium

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I was sitting on Sennen Beach in Cornwall a few days ago talking with an old friend. Old in that I have known him a long time as well as old in that he is 80 this year. We were looking at the spectacular bay in front of us with its huge array of different blues from the water. There were quite a few small groups of gulls rafting on the mirror still water. The occasional Gannet would make a dive into the clear water to catch any unwary fish.

I mentioned how sad it was to see so few birds the last few years. My friend, who had first come to the beach in the late 1970’s recalled the hundreds of Gannets that would fish constantly for the huge shoals of Sand Eels that darkened the shallow waters with their great numbers. He talked about the shoals of Mullet that would share the same waters and the small beach anchored nets that would occasionally be hauled in to give an abundance of sea food to local families. He mentioned the 150 or so Dolphins that would regularly fish and play in the bay. How they loved to plough through and over the waves when the wind was strong and the sun was full. He talked about the great Basking Sharks coming into the shallows among the summer holiday makers to feed on the plankton……He talked then about how most of it was gone. We, people, had simply killed it. There are still the occasional three or four Dolphins that come to visit. The Basking Sharks also appear occasionally. The fish though are not to be seen.

We can sit and read articles like this and just say to ourselves, ‘What a shame’, or we can try to do something about saving what is left, perhaps even bringing species back from the edge of extinction. If nothing else, at least we can help by putting our names to petitions that support other people’s actions. It doesn’t matter if the issues are the other side of the world; we are all on the same planet and in the end actions, taken somewhere, will finally have an effect on you, wherever you are. Take a moment to look at the petition at the end of this post from MISSION BLUE – The Sylvia Earle Alliance.

http://mission-blue.org/2013/05/a-reaffirmation-of-hope-at-the-seattle-aquarium/

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In a fantastic event last night at the Seattle Aquarium, Sylvia Earle and Greenpeace’s Phil Radford announced the Bering Sea Canyons as the official 19th Hope Spot. The event attracted a large turnout and impassioned speeches in defence of the new Hope Spot. Moreover, a bonafide airship was in play to promote the event!

The Bering Sea isn’t just chilly…it’s also super cool: these 770,000 square miles of tempestuous waters off the coast of Alaska and Siberia are home to immense populations of fish, seabirds, marine mammals and ancient corals, as well as the Bering Sea Canyons, the largest and deepest submarine canyons in the world — larger than the Grand Canyon. This rich ecosystem has supported indigenous tribes for thousands of years and currently provides over half the seafood caught in the United States.

If half the total US catch sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. Sadly, under this enormous commercial pressure, the Bering Sea is in decline. Since the 1960’s, the region has seen steep declines in top predators — i.e. whales, sea lions, seals — with some populations dipping by over 80 percent of historic levels. Moreover, trawling nets are decimating ancient corals and sponges in the deep canyons, which are critical to the ecosystem and are hundreds to thousands of years old.

[youtube id=”bfFeOvnGbY4″ width=”100%” height=”auto”]

The Bering Sea was a rich ecosystem of harmony, and now it faces collapse due to the pressures of industrial fishing. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is the steward of these precious waters and, as such, they must protect the sensitive habitats, so the Bering Sea can continue to be a flourishing ocean ecosystem into the future. With the global ocean in a general decline, the preservation of the Bering Sea as a Marine Protected Area — or Hope Spot — is critical.

Please join your voice in this cause. Sign the Greenpeace petition to help protect the Bering Sea Canyons and reach out to support in any way you can.

Jeff Goodman is the Conservation editor and also the Underwater Videography Editor for Scubaverse.com. Jeff is an award winning TV wildlife and underwater cameraman and film maker. With over 10,000 dives to his credit he has dived in many different environments around the world.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Our Seas urge Scotland to bring back Inshore Limit

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Our Seas call on Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the Scottish Government to follow their own policies and stop the chronic destruction of our seabed by urgently reinstating a coastal limit on bottom-trawl and dredge fishing. Sign the petition here.

Scottish coastal seas have been driven into decline due to decades of mismanagement. Destructive bottom towed fishing gear has had free access to over 95% of our inshore waters since the 1980’s, to the detriment of habitats, biodiversity, fisheries, and communities.

In 1889 a law was passed to protect fish stocks and small boats by banning trawling (except by sail) from within three nautical miles of the shore. Catastrophically the law was removed in 1984 against a backdrop of the industrialization of fishing technology, breaches of the Three Mile Limit, and declining offshore fish stocks.  Access to the inshore appeared to improve catches for a short while, but inevitably led to the rapid decline of fish stocks as seabed habitats – vital nurseries and shelter for many species – were destroyed.

See the trailer of their film The Limit below:

Our Seas are asking you to sign their petition to Bring Back the Fish and Bring Back Scotland’s Inshore Limit. You can sign the petition by clicking here.

For more information about the work of Our Seas visit their website by clicking here.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Exhibition: Protecting UNESCO Marine World Heritage through scientific research

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From now until 30 October, the photo exhibition “Protecting UNESCO Marine World Heritage through scientific research” features 21 photographs at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, as well as a digital edition.

Exceptional photographs highlight how innovative marine experts and scientists take the pulse of the ocean by exploring ecosystems, studying the movement of species, or revealing the hidden biodiversity of coral reefs. Scientific discoveries are more important than ever for the protection and sustainable conservation of our Marine World Heritage. This memorable exhibition comes ahead of the launch, in 2021, of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (“Ocean Decade”). The exhibition was jointly developed by UNESCO and the Principality of Monaco.

The 50 marine sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, distributed across 37 countries, include a wide variety of habitats as well as rare marine life still largely unknown. Renowned for their unmatched beauty and emblematic biodiversity, these exceptional ecosystems play a leading role in the field of marine conservation. Through scientific field research and innovation, concrete actions to foster global preservation of the ocean are being implemented locally in these unique natural sites all over the world. They are true symbols of hope in a changing ocean.

Since 2017, the Principality of Monaco supports UNESCO to strengthen conservation and scientific understanding of the marine sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. This strategic partnership allows local management teams to benefit from the results obtained during the scientific missions of Monaco Explorations. The partnership also draws international attention to the conservation challenges facing the world’s most iconic ocean sites.

The exhibition invites viewers to take a passionate dive into the heart of the scientific missions led by Monaco Explorations in four marine World Heritage sites: Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Philippines), Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary (Colombia), Rock Islands Southern Lagoon (Palau), and the Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems (France). It is also an opportunity to discover the work of a megafauna census; the study of the resilience of coral reefs and their adaptation in a changing climate; the exploration of the deep sea; and the monitoring of large marine predators through satellite data.

To visit the Digital Exhibition click here.

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