SOS Hosts Sustainable Seafood Workshop in Miami

SOS Hosts Sustainable Seafood Workshop in Miami

Last week the SOS team, along with Tim Lycke of Incredible Fish and Jennifer Mata of Legend Seafood, hosted a workshop on sustainable seafood for chefs and servers at Soho Beach House in Miami. A few pics from the tour of the chilly Incredible Fish...
California’s Ocean Protection Network in Full Effect!

California’s Ocean Protection Network in Full Effect!

This is a historic day for ocean protection. The first statewide network of marine protected areas in the U.S. went into effect Dec. 19 along California’s 1,100-mile coastline. Strategic Ocean Solutions consultants had the opportunity to provide media relations and public outreach support for the California Marine Life Protection Act Initiative planning process. Watch our video below of the stakeholder-driven process in California’s north coast region. Designing a network of marine protected areas sounds like an easy task, however it isn’t. There are many people who rely on the ocean for enjoyment, work and food. These devoted fans of the ocean didn’t always see eye-to-eye, leading to moments of anger and frustration. As the La Times reporter Ken Weiss describes in his article: “The size of the network is exactly what filled auditoriums with red-shirted, shouting fishermen, angry at impending closures of favored fishing spots. The fight has continued in the courts. So far, none of the lawsuits has prevailed” “The American Sportfishing Assn., the Virginia-based trade group of the tackle and sport fishing industry, hired Sacramento lobbyists and public relations firms, and organized anglers by the busload to try to derail the process.” However, in the end there was compromise. In a Nov. 11, 2009 San Diego Union-Tribune article fishing reporter Ed Zieralski wrote: “The bottom line, and it’s always about the bottom line in fishing, is it could have been a lot worse for recreational and commercial anglers here yesterday when a state panel settled on a network of fishing closures for Southern California.” “While some were saying it was a dark day for fishing in the...
Plight of the Magellanic Penguin

Plight of the Magellanic Penguin

More than 700 dead penguins have washed up on Brazil’s beaches since June, including more than 500 this week along the Rio Grande do Sul coast in southern Brazil. According to today’s CNN report, the Brazilian Center for Coastal Studies concluded that these Magellanic penguins died of natural causes. I would disagree that these iconic seabirds, named after explorer Ferdinand Magellan, are dying from natural causes. Over the last decade, scientists have observed these seabirds traveling longer distances to find food. With their distinctive white bands that loops around their eyes and down the side of the neck, these birds typically migrate in the winter months from their breeding grounds off the coasts of Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands to the waters off southern Brazil, Uruguay, and Northern Argentina in search of food. However, human competition for their main food staples – anchovy, sardines, and squid– as well as changes in the ocean conditions due to climate change and oil pollution, are having a real effect on these animals’ ability to survive. Ocean Indicator Species All Washed Up at Rio+20 This June, along Rio de Janeiro’s famed Ipanema Beach, I witnessed a lone starved baby penguin, far off track in search of food, warmth and rest. This was a particularly interesting find, since the Rio+20 Earth Summit was happening only a few miles away. The juvenile penguin I saw was likely starving to death and headed ashore because it was cold and wanted to be more comfortable and rest, according to University of Washington Conservation Biologist Dee Boersma. “Penguins are good indicators of ocean health because they depend...
2012 Election Year Battle for Ocean Champions

2012 Election Year Battle for Ocean Champions

If the state-by-state battles being waged by GOP contenders are any indication, the 2012 political race is in full swing and there is a long and winding campaign trail ahead. However, not all political battles being waged in Washington are for the White House. Gaining political support for the ocean is on the radar of one prominent D.C.-based political advocacy organization this election year. The non-profit Ocean Champions helps elect Congressional officials who support healthy ocean policies. “For us, it all starts with getting the right guys into office,” said Ocean Champions’ Executive Director Mike Dunmyer. ”It doesn’t matter how good an advocate you are, if the guys you’re talking to don’t care about your issue.” They will be running their own political campaign this year to defend current ocean champions in Congress facing tough races, such as Congresswoman Lois Capps (D-CA) and Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME). So far, Ocean Champions’ efforts have helped elect 30 U.S. Congressional members. This election year they will be working to ensure that the current champions remain in office, while helping to elect 10 more. Ocean Champions is a non-partisan advocate for important ocean policy issues, such as fish conservation. Last year they worked to thwart attacks on the major U.S. law managing fisheries, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and are planning to continue the fight to protect the ocean conservation law from being dismantled in 2012. “Our intent it to keep the current version of Magnuson intact, thus protecting annual catch limits and other accountability measures,” said Dunmyer. In 2011 they worked to block the Republican-sponsored Jones Amendment, which would...

The 2011 ocean winners and losers

How did the world’s oceans fare in 2011? I examine the most notable ocean winners and losers of the year. Sharks had some good wins this year. In hopes of saving sharks from the high demand for shark fin soup in Asia — several U.S. states aided these ocean giants with much needed protection. Hawaii’s ban on shark finning took effect in 2011 and several West Coast states, namely California, Oregon and Washington, all passed laws this year banning possession and sale of shark fins from waters off their coasts. Along the U.S. East Coast, Florida also took a significant step to protect several species of hammerheads and the tiger shark from being fished out. On a national scale, President Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act in January to strengthen existing laws banning shark finning in U.S. waters. Across the pond, a delegation of international commissioners voted to protect silky sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, a good first step to protect the decline in sharks in international waters. Much more is need on an international scale to protect sharks and other long-distance swimmers, such as tuna and swordfish. According to shark expert and science blogger David Shiffman, several shark sanctuaries were established in 2011, including in Honduras, the Bahamas, and a nearly two-million square mile zone off the Marshall Islands, Guam and Palau. Speaking of ocean sanctuaries to protect marine life, Australia made news in late November by proposing the world’s largest marine reserve in the Coral Sea. This is an important step toward protecting ocean ecosystems and biodiversity. A scientific study published this year showed that ‘networks’ of...

Video: Pirate Fishing in the Global Oceans

This video by the Environmental Justice Foundation highlights the impacts on the ocean environment and human rights abuses from illegal pirate fishing operations in the world’s...