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Carl Safina, host of Saving the Ocean on PBS, is author of several books including "Song for the Blue Ocean," "A Sea in Flames," and "The View From Lazy Point." His writing has won the Lannan Literary Award, the John Burroughs Medal, National Academies Book Award, and the Orion Book Award, and he has received MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim fellowships, among other honors. He is founding president of the Blue Ocean Institute, and co-chairs the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.

Caught by Accident: Global Hotspots of Unintended Catches

By Carl Safina and Rebecca Lewison You might have heard that fishing gear accidentally catches sea animals that fishermen are not trying to catch. Certain nets set for mackerel and lines set for swordfish catch leatherback turtles; lines set for tuna catch sea turtles in some places, albatrosses in others. But what’s the big picture…

Australia Authorizing Destruction of Great Barrier Reef

By Carl Safina and Elizabeth Brown When Captain Cook almost literally stumbled upon Australia’s Great Barrier Reef—it reached upward and clenched his ship—its size awed him. When the first orbiting astronauts looked down on their home planet, the Great Barrier Reef’s size awed them too. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest structure made…

Listening to Sperm Whale Sonar

Amazing. A few years ago in the Gulf of California, we found ourselves surrounded by a pod of female sperm whales sleeping peacefully like massive logs in a calm sea. One, followed closely by a seemingly protective companion, had a baby so new that it still trailed an umbilical cord as it swam with tail…

Fishermen In Palau Take On Role of Scientist To Save Their Fishery

By Carl Safina and Elizabeth Brown The island nation of Palau is a legendary tropical coral paradise, with perhaps the most farsighted fisheries management in the Pacific. Palau has protected its reef fishes from the export business that has destroyed fish populations on many reefs for the limitless demand in China. That’s why Palau remains…

What Are Killer Whales Saying?

People who are listening to the killer whale calls in my previous posting are asking whether we have any idea yet of the meaning. Answer: not as language, but we do know some things. What we don’t know: We don’t know if they have words or language. We think they have signature calls (names) and…

Killer Whale Calls

The following audio was recorded in early October in Haro Straight off San Juan Island in Washington.  There were about 20 whales or so – if you close your eyes, you can picture the backdrop of a jungle just as easily as the ocean. A hydrophone was used to capture the sounds, and although it…

Killer Whales in Washington State: Serial Problems

We were just chatting in Ken Balcomb’s kitchen when out of the computer speakers’ white-noise static came a single whistle that stopped all conversation. They were coming! Moments later the kitchen was full of squeals, squeaks, whoops, buzzes—. At the windows with our binoculars, we confirmed that a familiar group of “resident” or fish-eating killer…

Kitchen Killer Whales

I was just standing on researcher Ken Balcomb’s kitchen porch looking out at Haro Strait, from Washington toward Vancouver Island, Canada, watching killer whales going by. Cool enough, but these were not the usual “residents” who hunt salmon. They were “transients;” mammal eaters. One way we knew: We’d been listening to the nearby hydrophones set…

Whale Whisperer Don Pachico Mayoral is Gone

Don Pachico Mayoral, the first man to make physical contact and develop friendly relationships with some of the gray whales of Baja, Mexico, is gone.  A stroke took him on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. He was 72.  I met Don Pachico on the shore of San Ignacio Lagoon a couple of years ago while filming…

GYRE Expedition – Day 5- Bearing Witness; Witnessing Bears. Act 2 (Wednesday, June 12)

A mile down the beach and a mile out on the flat more-or-less, another mother trails three cubs from clam-hole to clam-hole. When she spots a big dark male headed her way from half a mile away, she moves off, in a hurry and a worry, frequently glancing over her shoulder and occasionally breaking into…

GYRE Expedition – Day 5- Bearing Witness; Witnessing Bears. Act 1 (Wednesday, June 12)

 In the “morning” of the never-ending daylight, as the sun has swung round to the east and climbs the sky once more, we awaken in our windowless cabins. We’ve spent the short night at anchor in Hallo Bay. We head shoreward, trying to beat a dropping tide. We partially succeed. Enough of the half-mile mudflat…

GYRE Expedition, Day 4 – Landing in Hallo Bay (Tuesday, June 11)

We spent several morning hours steaming west across Shelikof Strait to Hallo Bay in Katmai National Park, and landed the skiff on a rocky ledge at one end of a long bite of black beach backed spectacularly by the snow-peaked Alaska Range and Hallo Glacier. The highest peaks, piled in snows, leap from sea level…

GYRE Expedition, Day 3- Late Afternoon (Monday, June 10)

ODILE’s Magic Desktop Lab – Odile Madden has brought two amazing pieces of equipment from the Smithsonian. One looks like a microscope stand without the microscope. The other looks like a little hand-held vacuum cleaner. Both fit on a desktop, and they’re incredible. The first shoots laser beams and the second generates x-rays. What you…

GYRE Expedition, Day 3 (Monday, June 10)

In late morning we head toward Wonder Bay on Shuyak Island. On the way we run across a huge, nearly blond Brown Bear foraging on the beach. The world’s largest Brown (Grizzly) Bears live in this area and nearby Kodiak. As we approach, it gets concerned enough to amble away, easily hopping over some heavy…

GYRE Expedition, Day 2 – afternoon (Sunday, June 9)

  A lost shipment of fly swatters has recently made an appearance on various beaches. We found one yesterday and today Kate has found three more fly swatters. She adds them to her pack. After lunch we go ashore at a place named Red Buoy Beach. Guess why it’s called that. There’s sparse trash here,…