SOS Plans High-Impact Ocean Events

SOS Plans High-Impact Ocean Events

Highlight: LA Waterkeeper Making Waves Event: Celebrating 20 Years of Protecting  Los Angeles Waterways SOS planned and executed LA Waterkeeper’s 20th anniversary event, Making Waves, surpassing the fundraising goal of $250,000 by $80,000. It’s hard to write about our Making Waves 20th Anniversary celebration and feel like I am doing the event justice.  In short, in raising $330,000 this was easily our most successful event ever! The silent auction tables were overflowing with insanely cool items ranging in value from restaurant gift certificates to international luxury vacations.Over 300 supporters, volunteers, LA Waterkeeper board members and staff, and community leaders all came together to show how much they care about clean water and what LA Waterkeeper does to protect LA’s water.  .  A live call for support far surpassed our goal of $20,000 for 20 years by raising over $30,000. – LA Waterkeeper Highlight: SOS Organizes Ground-Breaking West Coast Ocean Summit SOS has led the collaborative effort in developing a West Coast-wide intergovernmental ocean partnership. The first step of building this partnership was the first West Coast Ocean Summit which brought together over 150 participants, including leadership from West Coast Tribes, representatives from the Governors’ offices of California, Oregon and Washington and state and federal agencies. Regional ocean health priorities were shared and regional ocean coordination and collaboration opportunities were discussed. SOS managed and oversaw all aspects of the Summit, including organizing the collaborative planning team; developing the agenda; conducting communications and outreach; drafting outreach and conference materials including a website and final summit report; coordinating logistics and travel; managing contractors, overseeing budgets and finances, and on-site event management.   Highlight: The Venice...
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...
A High-Seas Escape

A High-Seas Escape

It wasn’t an emigrant looking for economic freedom lying there on a Florida beach, but instead plastic trash hightailing it out of Chavez’s Venezuela. Is this a sign of a bigger problem offshore? This transatlantic ocean cruiser found washed ashore in the Atlantic waters off North Palm Beach, Florida, was a plastic soda bottle produced by Pepsi-Cola of Venezuela (producto de Pepsi-Cola Venezuela C.A.). Along its northerly journey out of the Caribbean Sea, it likely drifted north into the Gulf of Mexico through the Yucatan Straits, between Mexico and Cuba, before hitching a ride in the Florida Straits and onto the Gulf Stream. Along the way it picked up oceanic passengers, namely gooseneck barnacles looking for a suitable oceanic drifter to call its home. By the looks of it after finally washing ashore, the bottle had quite an adventurous tale to tell. Today, plastic bottles and other unsightly plastic trash inhabit all oceans on Earth and originate from every distant corner of the planet. Our global plastic problem has gained some worldwide notoriety, most notable in the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” in waters off California and Japan where our plastic world is piling up in the middle of the ocean. Although data is scare on the extent of the global marine litter problem, the United Nations Environment Programme says that despite the raising global attention to the issue, our global marine litter problem is mounting with “some 8 million items of marine litter entering the oceans every day and “over 13,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square kilometre of ocean surface.” This recent Bolivarianism defector that washed...
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...
Protecting International Marine Diversity Gains Votes in Rio+20 Oceans Dialogue

Protecting International Marine Diversity Gains Votes in Rio+20 Oceans Dialogue

Philippe Cousteau, grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, opened the Rio+20 Oceans Dialogue today as moderator of a panel of 10 international ocean experts sitting on stage alongside 10 recommendations critical to advance global ocean management. “Oceans are considered too big to fail, but in fact they are failing,“ said panelist Richard Delaney of the Global Ocean Forum at the start of the public discussion organized by the Brazilian government. Each panelist acknowledged the myriad problems facing the oceans – from ocean acidification, unsustainable and illegal fishing to land- and marine-based pollution – with an eye toward sending a strong message to the United Nations delegates charged with producing a final political document on June 22 at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. We are drawing down on our natural assets,” said Her Deepness Dr. Sylvia Earle. “We now have the knowledge and need to take action while we still have time.” All panelists emphasized the urgent need to utilize science and technology to help mitigate the negative environmental impacts that are degrading the oceans. Others conveyed the need for a strong international global framework to protect the high seas and its biodiversity, which is the 68% of ocean areas not under national jurisdictions or currently protected by international policies. The global blue economy is losing 10-20 million tons of fish a year from ocean mismanagement, according to British Columbia University professor Ussif Rashid Sumaila. His recent study shows that ocean conservation’s return on investment is $3-7 per dollar spent. “The economics are there, we just need the political will,” said Sumalia, who considers fish as an...

Rio+Ocean: Is our global ocean better protected 20 years later?

World Oceans Day 2012 comes less than two weeks before the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. The conference, referred as Rio+20, brings together world leaders to strengthen international policies to achieve sustainable development through a green economy and improve international coordination for sustainable development. The first major commitments toward environmental sustainability were made 20 years ago at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. This event is a follow up to the Earth Summit and a major opportunity for ocean advocates to enforce the environment commitment made twenty years ago. Hundreds of events across seven theme areas will be taking place during the two-week period leading up to the official UN meeting. These events, sponsored by governments and NGOs, are designed to communicate the critical environmental issues that need to be included in the final policy document adopted by the UN delegates. “Oceans” is one of the seven priority areas being highlighted at Rio+20. The ocean protection measures adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit by UN member countries are laid out in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, as well as the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Here is how the ocean commitments made through the Convention on Biological Diversity are doing: Aichi Biodiversity Target 6 By 2020 all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are legally and sustainable harvested to avoid overfishing and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits. In 2012: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 85% of the world’s marine fish stocks are over exploited. Illegal, unregulated, and...