How Well Do You Know the Oceans?

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!

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SAFMC Protects Deep Water Corals

Deep water corals off the southeastern U.S.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!

Recent Press:

The Charlotte Observer

Orlando Sentinel

TCPalm (Florida)

Photo courtesy of Steven Ross

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U.S./Cuba History in the Making

EDF Staff with Cuban delegates in Washington, D.C.Last week marked the beginning of a sea change in U.S. and Cuba cooperation on the environment. Our Oceans team invited and secured visas for a delegation of Cuban scientists to come to the U.S. for meetings with EDF and other partners. EDF has been working in Cuba for almost a decade to protect coral reefs, conserve mangroves and other vulnerable coastal ecosystems, and to conduct scientific research with our Cuban partners.

During this historic visit, EDF staff and our Cuban guests discussed future opportunities to collaborate, both in Cuba and the U.S. Of paramount importance are new projects aimed at protecting and sustaining fish populations and other shared resources in the Gulf of Mexico, northern Caribbean, and Atlantic.

Staff from our Climate and Air program and Land, Water and Wildlife program made presentations on their work and initiated discussions on possible collaborations on climate change and agricultural runoff. On Friday, the delegation traveled to Sarasota to meet with scientists from the Mote Marine Lab. Scientists from EDF and Mote are involved in a tri-national collaboration on marine sciences and conservation with our partners from Cuba and from Mexico.

Despite years of political separation, Dan Whittle, director of EDF’s Cuba Project says, “The environment knows no borders, and the resources we share are so important. We see the environment as the one issue that can bring the two countries together.”

Denise Stetten, manager of the Latin America and Caribbean Oceans Program at EDF says, “The spirit of the meetings was extremely positive and several important projects for collaboration emerged. We will be sure to follow through with those ideas and continue to build on our foundation of cooperation.”

News coverage of the visit:

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We Seek Your Expertise; EDF Releases Catch Shares Design Manual for Public Comment

Draft Catch Shares Design Manual - For public commentEffective design of a catch share program is the critical piece that can make all the difference in how the needs of a fishery and its fishing communities are met under catch shares management. Catch Shares Design Manual: A Guide for Fishermen and Managers provides information and recommendations to fishery managers and stakeholders on specific catch share design elements as they relate to conservation, economic, and social objectives.

EDF developed this manual to provide a roadmap to catch share design, drawing on the experience of hundreds of fisheries in over a dozen countries and expertise from over 30 fishery experts from around the world.

While the Manual is comprehensive, it is not prescriptive: It is a series of questions whose answers help guide and inform the catch share design process.  Detailed discussions of various design elements are coupled with tools (including charts, check-lists, and case studies) to outline and highlight options.

Today, we release the draft of the Manual and ask for your constructive feedback and comments. We seek your expertise to make the document even better and will incorporate comments into the final version to be released later this year.  We hope you will contribute to this document.  Please go to www.edf.org/catchshares to provide your review before September 30.

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EDF’s Dan Whittle on Environmental Protection Collaboration with Cuba

Dan Whittle, Southeast Regional Director for EDF Oceans program.Dan Whittle, EDF’s Cuba Program Director, recently wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times in response to their article on the collaboration between the U.S. and Cuba.  Dan explains how U.S./Cuba cooperation is greatly needed when it comes to not only dealing with weather conditions such as hurricanes, but also environmental protections for coral reefs and fish populations among other environmental concerns.

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SeafoodSource.com Suggests Seafood Buyers Consider Catch Shares for Sustainability

Lisa Duchene, SeafoodSource’s contributing editor, shared her commentary a few days ago with the publication’s audience of commercial seafood buyers. “Does your sustainable seafood purchasing policy address ‘catch shares?’ Maybe it should,” writes Duchene.

Of course, EDF agrees. Quoting the critical study by Christopher Costello and Steven Gaines published in the journal Science, Duchene states the facts pointing toward well-designed catch shares as the sustainable solution to rebuilding our nation’s fish stocks.

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