Recently, the Canadian government released the Final Report of the National Advisory Panel on Marine Protected Area Standards. This report is a set of guidelines and goals for the creation of new marine protected areas in Canada, and comes as Canada is hoping to greatly increase the number and quality of MPAs. I reached out to MPA experts and environmental nonprofits to ask what they think.
Cuttings (short and sweet):
- Follow Dr. Toby Daly-Engel’s shark research lab on twitter!
- Cod catch at an all-time low, but a rebound could be near. By Patrick Whittle, for the Associated Press.
- Right whale died from fishing gear. From CBC News
Cuttings (short and sweet):
- Watch how goblin sharks feed
- Follow the Sawfish Conservation Society on twitter!
- Sturgeon survives kidnapping, stabbing, and wildfire. By Amelia Templeton, for Oregon Public Broadcasting
- UK coast haven for seabirds becomes a marine protected area. From The Guardian.
Fog Horn (A Call to Action)
- Hurricane Harvey has passed, but its impacts will continue to be felt for years to come. There’s lots of great organizations to donate to, but in the immediate aftermath,it’s often best to donate to local relief programs that already have a ground team in place, rather than national groups that will take weeks to build up their infrastructure. I’m a fan of the Texas Diaper Bank and Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies, both of which serve communities that tend to be particularly vulnerable during natural disasters.
- Gratuitous self promotion! The OpenCTD and Oceanography for Everyone has been selected as a finalist in National Geographic’s Chasing Genius Challenge! Please help me win the People’s Choice award by voting for the OpenCTD. Visit http://www.natgeochasinggenius.com/video/776, create or sign into your Chasing Genius account, and click the yellow star to vote on my video. Thank you!
Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)
- It will take months, if not years, to fully understand the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, which already looks to be the costliest storm in US history. These drone videos give you some idea of the sheer scale of the damage. The Washington Post has an interactive map to help visualize what the equivalent deluge would look like around the world: What the Harvey deluge would look like where you live.
Cuttings (short and sweet):
- Watch thousands of blacktip and spinner sharks close to Florida beaches, courtesy FAU Elasmolab.
- Follow Madeline Cashion, a UBC Marine Conservation Ecology graduate student, on twitter!
- New research shows that fish may evolve rapidly to take advantage of marine protected areas. By Randy Shore, for the Vancouver Sun.
On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.
Three weeks ago, an armed, irritable, and ill-prepared posse of privateers laid claim to the Deepwater Horizon National Marine Sanctuary in the Gulf of Mexico. Their demands–access to the infamous 30-year-old borehole, as well as new fishing quotas and deregulation of the GoMex Tuna Mariculture industry–are as bizarre as they are indefensible. Gulf oil production has slowed to a crawl. Even if the notorious Macondo Deep were reopened, an act that geologist from within the offshore oil and natural gas industry admit would be catastrophic, there would still be no demand for their crude.
Deregulating tuna mariculture would also be an industry disaster, as federal regulations on the import of foreign tuna is the only thing keeping their sea pens afloat. And you can’t raise quotas on fish that no longer exist.
These privateers are just the latest in the oft-parodied march of Entitlement Militias–cranky young men with few marketable skills who, unable to succeed in the free market, demand vast, and vastly disproportionate, government handouts, paradoxically under an anti-government or anti-federalist banner. Often, they take federal property by force (more accurately the illusion of force, as, historically, they have, to a man (and it’s always men) folded like paper dolls at the first hint of confrontation). Read More
The Society for Conservation Biology’s International Congress for Conservation Biology took place from July 21-25th in Baltimore, Maryland. Over 1,500 scientists and conservationists from more than 60 countries participated. Below are selected tweets from the symposium on very large marine protected areas.
Earlier today, the Marine Conservation Institute and Mission Blue released SeaStates, the first ever national ranking of how well different U.S. states and territories protect their ocean resources. The full report is available online and is an important read, but can be summarized in 5 words: “Most states aren’t doing enough”.
The gold standard for the protection of marine resources is no-take marine reserves, areas of the ocean where no fishing or oil/gas extraction is permitted. Decades of research on marine reserves worldwide have shown that they usually have more fish, bigger fish, and more species of fish than environmentally similar areas (often adjacent to the reserve border) where fishing is allowed. In other words, when you don’t kill fish, more of them are alive.
In response to the partisan gridlock in Washington DC, a group called Americans Elect hopes to “open up the political process”. This organization, founded by heavy hitters from both parties, is using the internet to allow anyone registered to vote in the United States, regardless of political affiliation, to nominate candidates for President of the United States. An online convention in June, which every registered Americans Elect user can participate in, will determine the nominee. who will be on official ballots in every state alongside Barack Obama and the Republican nominee (probably Romney but we’ll see).
Additionally, any registered Americans Elect user can propose a question. The top questions, as voted on by all other Americans Elect users, will have to be answered by any potential candidate. These top questions, and the Americans Elect candidates’ responses to them, will undoubtedly attract national media coverage. Presently, most of the top questions are about the economy and foreign policy. None focus on the oceans.
I have submitted a series of marine conservation questions, and I need your help to get them enough votes to earn them “top question” status and get marine conservation into the national political conversation! If you are registered to vote in the United States, please consider registering for Americans Elect and voting for these questions.
Sharks consistently rank near the top of lists of American’s greatest fears. In reality, they have much more to fear from us than we do from them. Because of our actions, many species of sharks are on the verge of extinction. A recent International Union for the Conservation of Nature Shark Specialist Group report shows that fully 1/3 of open-ocean species of sharks are in danger of extinction in the next few decades. Many shark species have had population declines of over 90% in the last few decades.