Ocean Champions is the only political voice for ocean health. We take a non-partisan approach in working with
the U.S. Congress to ensure ocean health through electoral and legislative action.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Posted by: Maureen Wilmot

Part of my job is to scout the news and find articles about the oceans. Not a bad gig - to read the paper while drinking my morning cup of coffee. (I am NOT on a coffee break – I’m working)

This week, these three articles caught my attention.

The Good.
We’ve all seen the predictions about over fishing, pollution and habitat destruction leading to the collapse of the world’s fisheries. Well, Ken Weiss’ article in the Los Angeles Times reporting on the recent study that found sharing the catch is good for fisherman and fish.

Steve Gaines, a marine ecologist at UC Santa Barbara and his colleagues studied 50 years of data on more than 11,000 fisheries worldwide and found where fishermen were given individual quotas or share catches, the fisheries were less likely to collapse.

This method gives fishermen exclusive rights to a portion of the catch and can preserve fisheries and help stocks recover. While there still needs to be set catch limits for the overall fishery, share quotas changes the incentives of trying to out fish each other and switch to longer-term conservation. While this is not a fix for all the fishery related problems, it is a step in the right direction.

The Bad.
Ok, one step forward and two steps back. reporting on the release of the Congressionally mandated National Research Council report ran in several papers around the country. This study found that current “efforts to reduce and prevent ocean debris are inadequate and likely to worsen.”

The report recommends Congress to designate a lead agency to address problems like derelict fishing gear, ship waste and abandon vessels. We’ll let our ocean champions know to get moving on this. In the meantime, expect to see more photos of Hawaiian monk seals tangled in fishing nets and stomach contents of marine birds.

The Ugly.
Actually, this one is scary ugly.
The Telegraph in the United Kingdom ran an article about Russia threatening to seize swathe of Arctic. Where once Russia’s leverage in the world depended on its military might, now it is relying on laying claim to the vast reserves of oil and gas lying under the Arctic Ocean.

It seems with the polar ice caps melting due to global warming (which is caused by burning fossil fuels), has opened areas in the ocean for oil and gas drilling. My, my, my – isn’t that ironic.

“Vladimir Putin, now Russia’s prime minister, has said global warming is good for Russia – melting its vast icy territories to reveal previously inaccessible oil and gas reserves.”

So let me get this straight: drilling for oil in the oceans so that we can burn more fossil fuels which leads to polar ice melting which makes oil in the Arctic Ocean more accessible to Russia to drill for oil and then we must buy oil from Russia because we spent time drilling for oil instead of investing in alternate energy sources than fossil fuels is good for national security?

Ok, after that run on sentence I now do NEED a coffee break.

Date Posted: September 25, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

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Ocean Champions is the only political voice for ocean health. We take a non-partisan approach in working with the U.S. Congress to ensure ocean health through electoral and legislative action.

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