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Caribbean Nations Must Think Bigger and Act Boldly and Soon to Sustain Ocean Resources

I was honored to be asked to speak at the Caribbean Challenge Initiative’s Summit of Political and Business Leaders, which took place in the British Virgin Islands May 17th and 18th. (See AP story for an overview of the event.) I spoke from the heart, and here is what I said: At the risk of…

The Bottom Line: Changing Course for America’s Oldest Fishery

“The fish just aren’t there.” This simple observation from Cape Cod fisheries manager Tom Dempsey to the Associated Press sums up the challenge of decreasing cod populations. Recent scientific studies estimate that cod populations are at or near record lows. But this serious problem has not stopped the New England Fishery Management Council from proposing…

Overfishing in Indonesia? What Do You Mean: I Don’t See Any Fishers!

Yes, I am lucky. I have been able to sail the waters of Eastern Indonesia over nearly 20 years, and I have dipped underwater, swimming around some incredible lagoons, reefs, and seamounts. When people ask me where to see some remote coasts I say, go anywhere east. Staring at a coastline from a boat anywhere…

Coming Soon: My Adventures in Ocean Conservation

Hi. My name is Ayana. I’m a marine biologist, and I’m thrilled to join National Geographic’s stellar group of ocean bloggers. Big shoes to fill. My plan is to use this space to share stories of what I have begun to call my “adventures in ocean conservation.” As Director of Science and Solutions at the Waitt…

Insanity Caused By Eating Bluefin Tuna

Recently, the owner of several sushi restaurants in Japan paid nearly $1.8 million U.S. dollars for a single bluefin tuna.  Last year this same individual paid what was then a record price—about $ 740,000. With this year’s fish the man outdid—not to say outbid—himself. But presumably other bidders were pushing the price into orbit before…

A Key tool for Saving our Oceans

Over the past 20 years, scientists have been assembling compelling data that show the world’s oceans are in deep trouble. Once-abundant species are disappearing, habitats are being destroyed, and fisheries are collapsing across the globe (Jackson et al. 2001, Lotze et al. 2006). For example, studies estimate that biomass of tunas and billfish have decreased…

Species Missing in Action: Rare or Already Extinct?

    If we think for a minute about species driven to extinction during the course of human history, chances are most of us will come up with names of large, terrestrial species like the dodo, the mammoth or the Aurochs. And there are good reasons for that: in the past 500 years alone hundreds…

Worldwide Overfishing is Worse Than We Thought

Nobody likes bad news, and this is enough to make an ocean lover cry.  A new study found that overfishing is worse than previous studies have suggested. What changed to reveal this sad conclusion?  New methods allowed scientists to estimate the status of fisheries that were previously “status unknown.” Since these unknown fisheries make up…

Fish on Fridays: Innovations to Increase and Stabilize Fishing Profits

The following piece was originally published by the Center for American Progress. Earlier this week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its annual report on the state of U.S. fisheries and overall, the news was fairly positive. U.S. fishermen caught 10.1 billion pounds of fish in 2011, up nearly 20 percent from 2010. They…

Today We Have a Lovely Sharkfin Soup to Go With Your MSC-Certified Lobster

  Where do you go to foster dialogue and partnerships leading to an environmentally, socially sustainable seafood marketplace? Why, Hong Kong of course – the epicenter of demand-driven ocean destruction! A strange location for the 10th International Seafood Summit? No, actually it’s a brilliant and timely move on the part of SeaWeb, the conference organizers.…

Fresh Piracy Off West Africa Highlights Link to Overfishing

  A few years ago a scientific survey was released that mapped out where fisheries were being depleted around the world.  This was about the same time that pirates from Somalia achieved a large degree of prominence by seizing a cargo ship full of tanks, with news reports bemoaning how global shipping lanes brought cargo…

Trust Me, I’m a Local Fisherman

The race for the moral high ground in sustainable fishing is heating up here in the US. Things started getting hot back in April when supermarket chain Whole Foods announced it would stop selling seafood not certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council or red-listed by either the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program…

The Bottom Line: A Small ‘Catch’ in Recent Fisheries Coverage

Last week, the New York Times published a blog and an editorial recognizing the progress made in the management of U.S. ocean fisheries. Overall, more than 100 newspapers across the country have covered a promising new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that I discussed in my most recent blog post. I want to follow up to make an…

The Bottom Line: A Short Season for Big Fish

This year’s purse-seine fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea kicked off this week, but don’t blink or you might miss it. On Tuesday, May 15, large commercial purse-seine vessels with massive nets set out to catch literally tons of tuna by encircling entire schools of breeding bluefin. The season officially ends June 15,…

The Bottom Line: Fishing for Giants

The newest reality TV stars aren’t college kids thrown together in a group house, or a couple who race around the world to win a million dollars. They are the men, and occasionally the women, who do the jobs that many of us didn’t even know existed: the axmen from the Pacific Northwest, the ice-road…