Selected tags: ocean health

New Ocean Health Index Puts Focus on Fisheries

To manage anything well, you've got to measure it.  And you've got to make sure you are measuring the right things.  The new Ocean Health Index puts us on a path toward both of these goals.

The fact that the ocean scores only 60 out of 100 on the Ocean Health Index is good to know – it means that we humans are not doing a very good job in ensuring that the ocean provides the many benefits that it is capable of providing.  It's a little like finding out that your car is only producing 60% of its maximum power output, or that your garden is producing only 60% of the tomatoes that it could be producing.  You know that something is not right.

When you break the overall score down, it's clear that we are doing a particularly bad job getting food out of the ocean (score = 24 out of 100).  Although overall seafood production is up, most of it now comes from farms that feed fish that we don't eat a lot of (so – called forage fish like sardines and anchovies) to fish that we like to eat (like salmon and shrimp).  The problem is that the process of farming converts large amounts of forage fish into much smaller amounts of salmon and shrimp.  And the less forage fish we leave in the ocean, the less food there is for dolphins, albatrosses, sharks and the other wildlife that grace the ocean and enrich our existence.

The other way that we are getting it wrong on seafood production is that a lot of fisheries are not producing nearly as much as they could be, ironically because we've taken too much, too fast.  Fisheries are renewable resources, but in order to produce good yields over many years, it's critically important to leave enough fish in the water to produce the next generation.  Of the 30% of the world’s fisheries that have been assessed, it’s clear that we have been taking too much- resulting in high yields initially but low yields subsequently. Read More »

Posted in Catch Shares, EDF Oceans General| Also tagged , | Comments closed

Neuroconservation: Your Brain on Ocean

Roaring Ocean, Oregon Coast. Photo by Charles Seaborn.

The fate of the oceans is now in human hands, yet most of us ocean conservationists don’t know much about why people do things that harm the ocean, or how to motivate behavior that is good for the ocean.  As I note in my book, Heal the Ocean, the re-connection of people to the sea will be key to pervasive conservation and intelligent resource use.  But how can we do that?

I recently had the opportunity to learn about how humans relate to the ocean by moderating the Blue Mind: Your Brain on Ocean panel of scientists, futurists and communicators as part of the inaugural Bay Area Science Festival. We also explored how conservationists might be able to apply the insights of neuroscience, behavioral science, and psychology to improve conservation strategies and outcomes.

BLUEMiND Graphic from Inaugural Summit, June, 2011.

The panel line-up included marine biologist and research associate at the California  Academy of Sciences, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, who also has an economics degree from Duke University, and hybrid and communications expert Sarah Kornfeld. “J.”, as Dr. Nichols likes to be called, and Sarah hosted a groundbreaking conference in June at the Academy of Sciences called BLUEMiND to explore the response of the human brain to the ocean. Read More »

Posted in Catch Share Conversations, EDF Oceans General, Fishermen Voices, Marine Protection, Ocean Energy, Pacific, Seafood, South Atlantic| Also tagged , , , | Comments closed