Call Me Fishmeal

Posted by: Mike Mishler

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First of all, Yay! Go Obama, and go Ocean Champions.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Not too long ago I was in our local grocery store looking for something to make for dinner. I wanted to grill hamburgers, but this little old guy cut me off and then just stood there staring down at the various cuts of meat like he was waiting for a message from above. I waited, trying to be polite, and still he just stood there. After a few minutes I decided we would have fish for dinner. Wandering over to the seafood counter I was already planning for a nice salmon, but all I found were fish with . Apparently, farm fish need to have color added to make them look like what we think salmon should look like. Hmm, maybe if I grill them with a nice Coppertone and basil marinade.

As I’m standing in front of the fish counter I start thinking about A Seafood Snob Ponders the Future of Fish an article I read in the New York Times. The author, Mark Bittman writes that by mid-century, depleted stocks of wild fish might mean we’ll all be eating farm fish unless we make an effort to preserve our fisheries and as Bittman puts it’ll broaden our appetites by learning to like things like mackerel and other . . . Wait a minute, the cat appears to have a problem with that.
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The thing is we are already moving on to the fish that used to be considered trash fish. My sister-in-law laughs whenever she sees tilapia on restaurant menus because in the Philippines that was considered poor people food.

Bittman notes that scientists think there may still be time to prevent, or at last slow down a fisheries collapse but it will take more than not eating the big fish. It also means changing what we do with the smaller fish like “herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines that big fish eat. Right now aquaculture and agriculture are the biggest consumers of smaller fish turning them into fishmeal used to feed pigs, cows, and farmed fish. Of course this is less than efficient. According to Bittman it takes an average of 3 kilograms of forage fish to produce 1 kilogram of farmed salmon.

So as I’m standing there thinking about big fish eating little fish, choosing farmed or wild salmon, and why the heck cows are eating fishmeal, (That might explain the way leather jackets smell) when I hear a cough behind me.

Hey buddy, you gonna stand there all day?

It’s the old man. Apparently the voices told him to go with fish instead of beef.

Date Posted: November 24, 2008 @ 12:29 am

Embrace The Messenger

Posted by: Denise

Raising teenage sons has it’s challenges. (understatement!). I think the greatest challenge is trying to figure out if anything I say to them is .
Just last week, I asked a Park Ranger at Yosemite to “please tell my kids stop free-climbing that overhanging, 15′ boulder”. (And, for all you parents out there going all ‘judgie’ on my lack of parental grit… don’t act like you haven’t done this).

It was the beloved Jim Leher who delivered the exclamation point to my prolonged discourse on the evils of plastic bottles. The boys overheard this story and slowly walked a bit closer to the TV. They even listened without doing their practiced, and perfected, Al Gore, ‘MANBEARPIG’. And, for a nano-second, once the story was over, they actually gave me the ‘got it’ look. They would never admit this, of course. However, I did notice them grabbing their refilled water bottles, at last Saturday’s XCountry Meet, instead of accepting the customary plastic bottle handout sponsors foist upon runners.

Now, if Mr. Leher could please tell them to rinse out their wetsuits…

Date Posted: November 18, 2008 @ 10:04 am Comments Off

Exciting Night for a New Champion

Posted by: Mike Dunmyer

On Friday night I had the honor of representing Ocean Champions at ‘s victory party.  Mr. Kratovil was declared the winner of Maryland’s 1st District last Tuesday, beating Republican Andy Harris by just over 2,000 votes.  As you can imagine, the energy in the room was tremendous, fueled by the excitement of winning such a hotly contested race and by the anticipation of great achievements over the next two years.  The event was a veritable who’s who in Maryland politics, with Governor Martin Malley, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Senator Ben Cardin, and incumbent 1st District Representative and longtime Ocean Champion attending, among others.

A short time after I got there, I had a chance to talk with Mr. Kratovil and congratulate him on his victory.  When I introduced myself as a representative of Ocean Champions, he immediately thanked me for all that we had done for him on his campaign.  I also met with Tim McCann. Tim was Mr. Kratovil’s Finance and Campaign Director and now will become his Chief of Staff in Congress.  I let both know how happy we were that they’d won, and that we looked forward to working with them in Congress.

Before leaving, I took the opportunity to thank Wayne Gilchrest for all that he’d done for the Chesapeake Bay.  Mr. Gilchrest was the first candidate Ocean Champions ever endorsed, and he was a great champion throughout his time in the House.  It’s a shame to see him go, but as our endorsement suggests, Ocean Champions is confident that Mr. Kratovil will be strong on the Bay and the oceans.

After watching Mr. Kratovil through his campaign, and now meeting him in person, I can see the sense of purpose and conviction he has, and his idealism comes through as genuine.  I believe Maryland’s 1st District has made a wise choice, and as a result, a new Ocean Champion will soon begin his first term as a rising star in the Democratic Party.

Date Posted: November 17, 2008 @ 10:26 am Comments Off

ALERT: Ocean Champ Sighting

Posted by: Denise

Yesterday, on a crisp, fall morning in Yosemite Valley, fortunate spectators from as far as Tokyo, Germany and Spain, were able to catch a rare glimpse of the land-elusive Ocean Champion.  As many of you may already know, an Ocean Champion is rarely captured on film more than 50 miles from shore.  Enthusiastic spectators marveled at this awe inspiring phenomenon.  Fumbling for his camera, one bewitched onlooker gasped, “Divine.  Simply divine!”

Further proof that the Ocean Champion population is expanding, and thriving, in natures splendor.  Perhaps you, too, have been lucky enough to gaze upon an Ocean Champion?

Date Posted: November 13, 2008 @ 9:47 am Comments Off

Don’t Dream Its Over

Posted by: Maureen Wilmot

Yesterday, while watching sea otters in the Monterey Bay, I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with colleagues about the technology of the election.

And it was pointed out that the technology is moving so fast,  computers and the web will soon be considered passe

compared to the applications on people’s iPhones. Frankly, I am stilled enamored with

For me, what intrigued me the most about the technology and viral communication, was the ease for anyone to post a political ad on youtube. You did not need to be Sarah Silverman or Ron Howard with access to studio cameras and million dollar media outlets, (though they did produce some funny videos). Anyone could produce a video and distribute it online at low or no cost; like the couple who sang a parody to the tune of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.

I mean, how many of us spent numerous hours watching and sending youtube videos to friends and family during the election?


I kinda miss that daily link I had with the cadre of election hounds. And I know that many are also missing the daily dose of political humor.  I know this because someone sent me a funny youtube video about the void in people’s lives now that the election is over.

So, in the spirit of community service, I am collecting the best youtube videos from the campaign and packaging it for my friends who are suffering from P.E.W. (post election withdrawal) This way, if they get the urge to relive the heady days of the campaign, they can pull up this file and watch the videos over and over again,  kinda like reruns of M*A*S*H.

Feel free to send me your ideas to include in the package.

Date Posted: November 12, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

Posted by: Maureen Wilmot

I spent the last week before the election volunteering for the Obama campaign in the swing state of Virginia. There was no shortage of volunteers in the Arlington office in Northern Virginia,  young and old, white and black, Australian, German, British, Danish, a white-haired man from Baltimore drove down one evening in the rain and headed out canvassing with a young man from Manchester England. I spent one evening going door to door in an Arlington neighborhood with a young man from Berlin and woman from London who came over to help out with the Obama campaign. I met a 70-year old woman from Idaho at the airport on my way home who had been in Virginia for two weeks volunteering for the Obama campaign. She felt she could be of more use in a swing state than in Idaho. People were engaged in the process and felt that they were making a difference.

It was an exhausting and exhilarating week of knocking on doors, making phone calls, and waiting for the results. (And for all of you that were sick of getting calls from the Obama camp, you’ll be happy to know that as I sat at the phone bank one afternoon, I too received a call on my cell phone from an exuberant Obama volunteer reminding me to vote on Tuesday!)

On Monday evening, I headed back to my friends house where I was staying and anxiously waited for Election Day. I had the opportunity to check emails from home and read the blog that wrote from her post in Rwanda where she is a veterinarian for the Mountain Gorilla project. She too was waiting, not for the results of US election but for news about the safety of her staff and the gorillas that were in the path of the Tutsi rebels and Congo government armies.

Her blog was in stark contrast to my upbeat week. And it emphasized the fantastic role of the peaceful political process in this country. Whatever your beliefs or causes you can voice it in the process. Whether you are trying to save the oceans or cut taxes, it only works if you jump in and get involved. But hey, Ocean Champions members know that.

Date Posted: November 7, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

Posted by: Patrick Collins

After showing the Ocean Champions flag at the environmental election night celebration, Maureen Wilmot, Mike Dunmeyer and I headed over to the big Dem election watch/celebration bash at the Hyatt on Capitol Hill.

Of course, we hadn’t rsvp’d, but once we mentioned our affiliation with Ocean Champions, the gates opened and we were directed inside, a modest testament to the growing respect and appreciation for our organization and what it does.

People were certainly in a good mood, and there was an incredible amount to celebrate, but the atmosphere seemed to be imbued with a real sense of the hard work ahead. But this was with the “insiders” and others associated with politics, Washington, and the machinery of campaigns, elections, and government. I got a real sense of some of the sheer exuberance as I jumped in a cab at 1:00 a.m. to head home from the Hill (I couldn’t keep up with Maureen and Mike any longer – Lord knows when they stopped celebrating).

As we drove up Mass Ave, through downtown and turned up Connecticut Avenue, every street was filled with groups of people wildly celebrating – cars honking, people cheering – it reminded me of being in Mexico City after a World Cup soccer victory. Not bad for an uptight, button down town in the early morning hours of a work night.

You know, this could be good.

Date Posted: November 6, 2008 @ 10:05 am

Posted by: Jack Sterne

We’re still watching results in a couple of close races, but once again we had a solid Election Night.  We endorsed 34 candidates (28 House & 6 Senate), 26 WON, 6 lost, and 2 are still too close to call.  Big wins include two new Senators — in North Carolina and in New Hampshire. We’ve never won a Senate race against an incumbent, and these are huge.  Close wins in the House include (D), who will take over the House seat of retiring (R), a great ocean champion.

Tough losses include , running for the Senate from Maine.  While we also lost two close House races against entrenched incumbents — who was trying to unseat Rep. Henry Brown in SC and trying to defeat Rep. Brian Bilbray from California — the good news there is that we put these two incumbents on notice that we’ll go after them if they don’t pursue policies that are beneficial to their ocean districts. We made some really smart plays that will pay off in a new Democratic administration, and we helped keep in place a really solid Republican, (R-IL) in a swing district.  We’re very well set up to have a great deal of influence in this new day in American politics.

On a bizarre note, Alaska, appears poised to re-elect a convicted felon, Sen. Ted Stevens (R), to the U.S. Senate (although this is one of those races that’s too close to call).  As many of you know, Alaska was home for the last ten years (we recently moved back to Oregon).  I knew Alaska was weird, but I’m stunned by this one.  (D), who Ocean Champions endorsed, was a great candidate, but I guess the loyalty to “Uncle Ted” was just too much to overcome.  If anyone wonders why we moved, you have your answer.  Just the fact that this one is even close tells you all you need to know.  I have little doubt, though, that had Palin not been on the Presidential ticket, Stevens would not have been competitive.  She brought all the cretins in Alaska to the polls, and they apparently wanted to stick with Stevens.

On a more positive note, in the other race that’s too close to call, it looks like (D) is going to squeak out a victory over state Sen. Andy Harris (R) and avenge the loss of ocean champion (R-Md.) to Harris in the primary.  It hasn’t been called yet, but Kratovil has a lead of about 1000 votes, with just absentee ballots left to be counted.  This will be a great victory if it holds up.

Congratulations to the Ocean Champions team, particularly Dave and Chris, for all their hard work on this election.

Date Posted: November 5, 2008 @ 9:17 am

Posted by: Jack Sterne

While Ocean Champions doesn’t get involved in Presidential politics (it would take a whole other post to explain all the reasons, but it really comes down to only playing where we can make a difference), I have to go there for a minute and relay my person experience.  For the last three days, I went down to North Carolina to work on voter turnout and voter protection for the Obama campaign.  I picked North Carolina for a lot of reasons:  a state in the Deep South, where I grew up (actually next door in South Carolina) and the symbolism that having such a state go for an African-American candidate would represent. Because I’m a lawyer, they sent me out to be a poll observer in Bladen County, one of the poorest counties in the country, with a large African-American population.  I was privileged to work side-by-side with a number of old-timers who could remember when they couldn’t vote because of the color of their skin, folks like the 106 year-old woman that Obama referenced in his speech last night.

To see the excitement of people who knew what it meant to be disenfranchised at just the opportunity to vote for a black man for President was truly humbling.  Here in rural America, they had just as much riding on this election as anybody in the country.  They turned out their county, and it went for Obama, and today they must be overwhelmed.  Congratulations, Bladen County — it truly is a new day in America, and you have been part of history.

Date Posted: @ 8:43 am Comments Off

Posted by: Chris Laughlin

MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT!  To quote David Wilmot, Ph.D. in his recent video:  “We must get our ocean champions elected.  Our ocean health is dependent upon their election, as we are dependent upon the health of our oceans.”

GET OUT AND….

Date Posted: November 3, 2008 @ 4:58 pm Comments Off