Monthly Archives: September 2014

World’s Largest Protected Area Declared in U.S. Waters

By Courtney Mattison “The United States does not have an Amazon basin, but it has the watery equivalent, a paradise of turtles and sharks, seals and dolphins, coral reefs and giant clams, frigate birds and boobies.”[i] Last Thursday, the environmental community rejoiced as President Obama announced that the U.S. would protect this natural treasure by expanding the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and creating the largest protected area anywhere on Earth. Building upon the 83,000 square miles of U.S. territory designated for protection by President George W. Bush in 2009, Obama’s executive action increases the reach of this cluster of remote Pacific reserves southwest of Hawaii to 491,000 square miles – three times the size of California and six times larger than the monument’s previous size.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Juvenile Lionfish

A juvenile lionfish seems to pose for this first-place photograph taken by Steven Kovacs during a night dive in Roatan, Honduras. Before 1985,  US divers had some travelling to do if they wanted to see a Lionfish in the wild. But now, most likely as a result of releases by private aquarium owners, Lionfish have spread and have caused native fish populations in a wide area of the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to decline by up to 80 percent. For example, in the Bahamas between 2008 and 2010 Lionfish succeeded in reducing the biomass of 42 other fishes by an average of 65 percent. By 2013, Lionfish had spread throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, reaching densities well above those in their native Indo-Pacific habitat and, unlike most invasive species, have shown no signs of slowing down.…
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Speaking Up for the Ocean During Climate Week NYC

By Courtney Mattison Climate Week is in full swing and started out with a spectacular series of events in New York City last weekend, many of which related to the ocean. While the ocean was not (to many conservationists’ surprise and dismay) a focal point of the UN Climate Summit with world leaders yesterday, it has received the attention it deserves for absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2) and bearing the brunt of climate change at numerous independent events. On Saturday night, the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS) illuminated the 30-story United Nations Headquarters with a magnificent architectural-scale public light display of inspiring imagery ranging from macro footage of undulating coral polyps to a vast landscape of the aftermath of an oil spill. The visual effects were dynamic, constantly morphing and pulsing into one another with music and creating an experience that was at times haunting and at others uplifting.…
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Toasting to Sylvia Earle at the Explorers Club

A giant brass bell tolled in a dark mahogany stairway as explorers young and old chanted “Earle – Earle – Earle – Earle,” their candles flickering. Dr. Sylvia Earle led guests to their seats in front of a roaring “Great Fire of Exploration” and took her seat at the front of the room. This ritualistic procession is not an everyday occurrence at the Explorers Club – New York’s legendary gathering place for researchers of land, sea, air, and space. Friday night’s tribute ceremony marked a very special opportunity for the club to honor Dr. Earle as one of its most beloved and accomplished members – and the first woman to receive this distinction, paving the way for female explorers in the Explorers Club and beyond.…
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Help Save the Canary Islands from Dangerous Deep Sea Oil Exploration

by Courtney Mattison A major environmental campaign is reaching a tipping point in Spain and making waves around the globe, and you can get involved. After years of prolonged opposition in and out of court by environmental and political groups, in August the Spanish government granted permission to Spanish oil giant Repsol and its partners to conduct exploratory drilling for oil and gas in the waters surrounding the Canary Islands, an ecological hotspot and popular tourist destination. An extraordinary group of activists, celebrities, governments, universities, scientific committees, tour operators, foundations and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) including WWF, Greenpeace and Oceana are uniting in the fight against this controversial prospecting project as Repsol prepares to begin drilling in upcoming months. This opposition movement is ramping up its efforts with an international campaign – Save Canarias – to protect the Canary Islands from oil spills and other potentially catastrophic threats associated with underwater hydrocarbon exploration and drilling.…
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10 ways you can make a difference RIGHT NOW!

“I have lots of heroes — anyone and everyone who does whatever they can to leave the natural world better than they found it.” ~ Sylvia Earle         CHANGE one personal behavior! For example, reduce your seafood consumption — or give it up all together. Or, when it comes to plastic apply the Three R’s: REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. Learn how you can be part of the solution and go for it!   DONATE to Mission Blue! Your tax-deductible contributions support public outreach, scientific expeditions and direct appeals to policy makers to build a global network of Hope Spots to restore the ocean. Your support is what keeps us afloat!   JOIN the Mission Blue newsletter! Don’t worry we won’t overload your inbox.  …
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Our Lonely Home in Nature

By Alan Lightman The tornadoes that devastated parts of the South and Midwest this Spring, just weeks after a deadly mudslide in Washington, demonstrated once again the unimaginable power of nature. After each disaster, we grieve over the human lives lost, the innocent people drowned or crushed without warning as they slept in their beds, worked in their fields or sat at their office desks. We feel angry at the scientists and policy makers who didn’t foresee the impending calamity or, if forewarned, failed to protect us. Beyond the grieving and anger is a more subtle emotion. We feel betrayed. We feel betrayed by nature. Aren’t we a part of nature, born in nature, sustained by the food brought forth by nature, warmed by the natural sun?…
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Innovators turn ‘Ocean Plastic into Something Fantastic’

Last weekend in New York City, iconic denim brand G-Star RAW unveiled RAW for the Oceans – the much-anticipated collection for Spring/Summer 2015 made from “Bionic Yarn,” an “eco-thread of fibers” created from recycled plastic bottles gathered from the ocean. This eco-fashionable clothing line sprung from a collaboration between Bionic Yarn, the Vortex Project, Parley for the Oceans and the curatorial expertise of musician and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams. A surreal undersea ambience. Image © Parley for the Oceans. G-Star RAW, Bionic Yarn and Parley for the Oceans hosted a star-studded guest list for Ocean Night during New York Fashion Week on Friday at 23 Wall Street. Guests appeared on the blue carpet before entering a dim and surreal environment reminiscent of a moonlit scuba dive. …
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A Story of Poachers, Corruption, Compassion, Community and Conservation

By Joseph Ierna Jr. / Ocean CREST Alliance Today a global struggle effecting the health of our communities, our economy, and the very life-sustaining health of our oceans is the ugly reality of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities or, as called in the Bahamas, poaching. Since our encounter with hundreds of poachers on Cay Sal Island Bahamas on July 2nd, crawfish season opened August 1st and the legal Bahamian fishermen are just returning from their first month of trips. The numbers of poachers they are seeing are astounding, while the numbers of crawfish they are catching are the worst in a decade. Our oceans are dying.  “If tings don’t change soon Joe, I’ll be changing my occupation,” says Scott Harding, a 35-year veteran craw fisherman based on Long Island, Bahamas.…
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Coral Bay in St. John is Threatened by a Mega Marina

Click here to support The Fund for Coral Bay by Save Coral Bay We’ve received lots of inquiries from residents and lovers of St. John and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the past weeks regarding a mega marina called Summer’s End that is pending approval for construction in Coral Bay. There is great concern for the environmental impact of the project on the local reefs and species (such as the endangered Green Sea Turtle), as well as belief that the regulatory bodies and government officials whose job it is to safeguard these habitats have vested interests in seeing the construction go through. We encourage our community to form their own opinions regarding this mega development in the pristine waters of St.…
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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle