BP Oil disaster clean up site in the Gulf of Mexico.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the tragic BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil well blowout took 11 lives and likely forever changed the rich marine ecosystem of the Gulf. After 87 days and over four million barrels of oil released, the spewing well was finally capped, but not before it killed thousands of birds and other marine life and caused additional hardship for fishermen and coastal communities during an already-struggling economy.
Looking back a year later on the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, efforts to fully restore the environmental and economic health of the Gulf and its coastal communities continue. As EDF’s Chief Oceans Scientist, Doug Rader, explains in the Austin Statesman, “A full year after the blowout, we are still struggling, as a society, to assess the ecological and human costs from our nation’s worst oil disaster, to understand how to heal – or offset – the worst damage, and to limit future risks associated with America’s offshore energy industries.”
Read Doug Rader’s full opinion article as well as recent EDF press releases on pending legislation for the Gulf of Mexico restoration.
Diane Regas on Twitter
Like many organizations diving into the world of tweets, blog posts, status updates, and friend follows, EDF uses the power of social media to share information with supporters, policymakers, members, peer organizations, reporters, and opponents in order to further the conversation around important environmental issues that impact out world and our lives. In addition to our blog EDFish and new Catch Shares Net, you can find updates on some of our work and insightful comments on key news articles and opnion pieces by following Diane Regas, EDF Oceans' Vice President, on twitter.
Today, Diane posted a series of six tweets all on the transition to sectors catch share management in New England's groundfish fishery.
- DianeRegas: 1 of 6: Boston Globe positive on New England catch share. Work in progress—toward a healthy fishery. http://bit.ly/9JjxRw
- DianeRegas: 2 of 6: Providence Jrnl ++ on NE catch share. "It’s past time to put it into effect." http://bit.ly/9A5jMX
- DianeRegas: 3 of 6: Portland Press Herald + on NE catch share. “The old rules created the wrong incentives for fishermen.” http://bit.ly/beGgsa
- Diane Regas: 4 of 6: AP story clear on NE catch share. Published across the country, tells story of last several years. http://bit.ly/dC7fkd
- Diane Regas: 5 of 6: GDT negative over NE catch share. Hot rhetoric scares fishermen, ignores data and undermines civil discourse. http://bit.ly/bjYG9x
- DianeRegas: 6 of 6: Atlantic Monthly positive on NE catch shares. Headline (cap & trade) off—but summary is helpful. http://bit.ly/dkxDdA
In addition to following Diane Regas on twitter, you can also find EDF Oceans throughout the social media landscape. Here are some of the key pages and tweeters to follow:
EDF Facebook Page (facebook.com/EnvDefenseFund)
EDF Oceans on Twitter (@EDFOceans)
Tim Fitzgerald, Sr. Oceans Policy Specialist on Twitter (@hawaiifitz)
Dan Whittle, Cuba Program Director on Twitter (@Dwhittle12)
Ryan Ono, Oceans Research & Outreach Associate on Twitter (@RyanOno)
Phoebe Higgins, Project Manager – Pacific Coast Region on Twitter (@PhoebeHiggins)
Tim Fitzgerald, EDF Senior Oceans Policy Specialist
Now or Never Radio, a web-based radio show on the environment, recently interviewed Tim Fitzgerald about catch shares and the currently failing fisheries management system of "days at sea" (see segment titled "To Sea or Not to Sea"). While Tim expounds on the ability of catch shares to end overfishing and improve fishing jobs, Now or Never also interviewed Gary Hall, a gill net fisherman from Block Island, Rhode Island who acknowledges overfishing as a result of conventional fishery management, but he's skeptical of catch shares. Hall expresses that he and other fishermen want to move from their current frustrations and challenges so that fishermen can become profitable again. The bottom line is that catch shares can achieve just that.
Tim Fitzgerald, EDF Senior Oceans Policy Specialist
Yesterday, Tim Fitzgerald, EDF's Senior Oceans Policy Specialist and Marine Scientist who leads our sustainable seafood work, appeared on the Kojo Namdi Show with Casson Trenor to discuss sustainable sushi and ask the question to listeners, "how well do you know your sushi?"
With the recent defeat of a proposed ban by the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species on the export of the overfished Atlantic bluefin tuna, how to make responsible choices at the sushi bar is a timely discussion. Japan imports approximately 80 percent of the world's bluefin tuna to satisfy the country's love of this prized fish for sushi, which can sell for more than $150,000 per fish, so their ardent opposition to the ban was no surprise.
Aside from bluefin tuna, other species of fish used for sushi are also unsustainably sourced. Tim and Casson went on to discuss with Kojo and the audience that while it's helpful for restaurant owners and consumers to be knowledgeable about the best fish to select, real success in restoring overfished species will occur from industry change and effective fisheries management. Listen to the show.
Cover of NOAA report, Our Living Oceans - 6th edition.
In NOAA's newly released 6th edition of Our Living Oceans: Report on the Status of U.S. Marine Resources, catch shares (referred to as Limited Access Privilege Programs – LAPPs) are raised as one solution to the over-harvesting of fisheries. Citing the successes of established catch share programs, Our Living Oceans reports that the Alaska halibut fishery has seen healthy stocks with near record levels of total catch since the implementation of its catch share program.
Recognizing some challenges of implementing catch shares, the report rightly points out that policies set during the design of a catch share can address those challenges and concerns.
"Additional rules or special programs built into the LAPP either at implementation or after implementation can often mitigate any potential negative impacts."
Cuba lies just 90 miles from the tip of Florida. The two areas share a large expanse of ocean – and the huge array of biodiversity contained within it. That’s why EDF staffers are in Cuba this week to discuss ways to eliminate overfishing, protect coral reefs, conserve coastal areas, and tap potential ocean energy in our shared backyard.
Already, in September, EDF hosted a Cuban delegation in a move towards creating greater scientific exchange between the two countries. “The U.S. and Cuba share many ecological resources, but have different ways of managing them," says EDF’s Dan Whittle. "Fishing, coastal development, and offshore oil and gas exploration in Cuba can have impacts in the U.S., and vice-versa. The sooner we work together to manage shared resources and find solutions to common problems, the sooner we'll see benefits for the people, the environment and the economy in both countries."
We'll have a follow up post to report on the trip when our scientists return.
Here's a fun quiz from Planet Green that "tests your smarts on ocean science, fishing, climate change effects and more." Take this quiz and test your oceans IQ!
Big news comes from the U.S. Southeast, where the regional fishery management council voted last Thursday to protect what is likely the planet's largest deepwater coral ecosystem, covering nearly 25,000 square miles, stretching from North Carolina to Florida.
This final action culminates ten years of active collaboration between scientists (including EDF Oceans Chief Scientist, Doug Rader), managers, environmentalists and fishermen to protect this recently discovered world treasure. While rulemaking in the U.S. Department of Commerce will extend into next year, the vote last week was a major conservation milestone. In combination with the establishment of national marine monuments in the distant Pacific in January, this action truly establishes 2009 as the year of the oceans!
The Charlotte Observer
Photo courtesy of Steven Ross