Ocean Victories

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“With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.” – Sylvia Earle

The ocean rejuvenates, inspires, and restores us. It gives us so much, but any ocean-related news is too often depressing. One of the reasons I love the nonprofit group Oceana is that it does something about the depressing news. Members receive notifications of petitions to sign and the group works with lawyers and politicians to create real environmental change. So for some good news, here are a few ocean victories that came about this year:

ocean walkNo seismic airgun blasts in the Atlantic: More than 100,000 supporters signed petitions to stop seismic airgun blasts in the Atlantic. In August, the Department of the Interior postponed its decision on the blasts for the third time. This will come up again, but in the meantime it’s been a reprieve for whales and dolphins. Airgun blasts can also kill fish eggs and scare fish away from important habitats. Following seismic surveys, catch rates of cod and haddock declined by 40 to 80 percent.

at the beachProtecting seafloor habitats: After seven years of campaigning by Oceana, Spain agreed to prohibit trawling over fragile habitats on the seamounts of the Mallorca Channel and the coral reefs east of Cabrera, protecting these important habitats from being crushed and destroyed.

Saving sharks: More than 4,000 New Yorkers petitioned for their state to ban the trade of shark fins. In July, New York became the eighth state to implement a shark fin trade ban. Most of the shark fins imported into the U.S. came in through the eight states that enacted these bans. In the same month, the European Union banned all shark finning by EU vessels. The U.S. government banned shark finning in U.S. waters in 2000, but until this year the trade in shark fins was still legal across the country.

Stopping offshore drilling in Belize: Until recently offshore drilling still took place near Belize’s famous barrier reef, threatening tourism and the reef’s fragile environment. Supporters collected more than 20,000 signatures against offshore drilling in the area. This year, Belize’s Supreme Court declared all offshore drilling contracts issued by the Belizean government null and void, essentially stopping all offshore drilling in Belizean waters.

ocean sunrise

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40 thoughts on “Ocean Victories

  1. How great that an organization can affect such change. I didn’t know about the trade of shark fins until just recently when my son and I went to the Aquarium in Miami and one of the biologists there was talking about it. Very sad that people can be so greedy at the expense of another living thing.

    • The shark finning really is awful. I’ve seen a video of it and it makes you wonder how anyone could ever do such a thing. But I was happy to hear of these victories! Hopefully there won’t be as many beachings around here now since the airgun blasting has been postponed too.

  2. While positive, a mere drop in the proverbial ocean. Our work is far from done but it is people like you who do make a difference! Kudos Sheila. 🙂 x

    • That’s true, it is a drop (or hopefully a few drops)! I’m just glad whenever I hear of people getting together to reverse some of the damage that’s been done. The ocean is still in trouble, but it’s better off today than in the recent past because of ocean conservation groups like this. All I do is sign the petitions with the click of a button and Oceana does the rest. 🙂

    • I loved your ocean swim post and still can’t believe you were able to do that in the middle of winter! I’m glad we share that love for the ocean.

      • Ah thanks Sheila! I’m by no means alone in swimming all year round here in the South-East of Ireland, especially. The water temperature doesn’t drop all that dramatically and it’s all about what the weather itself is like. The ideal is around midday with the sun out and getting dried in the shelter of the rocks. It’s pure bliss.

        I love, too, that we share a passion for the ocean even though we live so far apart.

      • Ireland definitely got the better end of the Gulf Stream deal! The ocean here is cold even in the summer. That’s great that you’re adventurous enough to enjoy it all year round!

  3. Sheila I love hearing some positives among all the negatives about our oceans, people can make a difference and the ocean is a great place to teach your children about how fragile the earth is and how amazing it is too.

    • When there are too many negatives, it seems like people give up hope. So it’s great to hear that change is possible. People can make the world a better place. That’s true it’s a great way for children to learn more about the environment and how fragile it all can be while preserving it and ocean life for those future generations.

  4. What a great organization, Sheila. I’m a big supporter of protecting our sharks so love the news about the ban on shark fins. We often take our oceans for granted for some reason. It’s wonderful that you put a spotlight on it, especially with such beautiful photos!

    • Thanks Letizia! I’m glad to hear you’re a shark supporter too. Sharks don’t always get much sympathy but they should, especially because the shark population is declining so much. They help keep everything in balance and we really need that these days! 🙂

  5. Thanks for the yearly update! I had no idea that we could still get shark fins into the country even though the US has banned the practice for US boats. It seems like there’s a way to get around laws so easily.

    • I hadn’t realized that either but now hopefully it will make more of a difference. I love this group because it forces different governments into doing something and that’s definitely needed!

  6. Super organization, indeed! I did not know about the shark finning and just googled it. How horrible…glad people are taking action. Our oceans are so important to be kind to.

    • That’s not something you want to see in the morning. 🙂 If things keep going the way they are, there will be so many species that won’t be around for the next generation and that will be very sad. Oceana gives me hope. Sometimes it’s hard to make a difference but it’s inspiring to see people getting together to make things like this happen. Sorry no goats in this one though. 🙂

  7. Thanks for sharing this positive news in the midst of all that is depressing, Sheila! It’s good to know that good things can happen from taking a stand for what is right! Your photos are great, too! xx

    • Thanks Lauren! I’m glad you’re able to enjoy the ocean out there too. Love your new photo. Here’s to finding the time for more ocean walks like that one!

  8. Thank you for the good news! I know I’ve said this many times before, but I think if we could hear more about the good news and successes in the world, more people would realize they can make a difference and their voices can be heard. Then they’d be more likely to take steps to help tackle other problems.

    • That’s true. The good news is usually hard to find but it’s out there somewhere. We’ll have to keep looking for it. I think it’s easier for our voices to be heard through groups like this because then it’s a collective voice. But if everyone would also realize that everything we do makes a difference then hopefully more positive changes would be made. Sometimes I’m too much of a dreamer but I can’t seem to help it. 🙂

    • They sounded like huge ones to me too. Especially postponing the seismic airgun blasting so that it didn’t have to happen in the Atlantic at all this year. They’re all great things for any ocean lover to be happy about and I know from reading your book that you’re also an ocean lover!

  9. Pingback: Ocean Victories for 2013 | victormiguelvelasquez

  10. Beautiful post and photos. I love the ocean and can sit hours gazing and hearing its sounds. Yes we need to take abundant care.

    Thank you.

    • Thank you! I love to sit and watch the ocean too. Hopefully the ocean and ocean life will be healthier in the future because of groups of people like this.

  11. i heard about the shark fin banning but what is the purpose for the seismic air gun blasts? interesting, and great that you have highlighted all the good works to help our ocean. great photographs. when will we ever learn everything is connected…sigh.

    • It’s used to find oil and gas deposits under the seafloor but there are no new plans for offshore drilling in that area for the next few years so it’s unnecessary and could harm whales and dolphins while decreasing fish stocks. Here’s a little more about it in case you were looking for a few more details: http://oceana.org/en/our-work/climate-energy/seismic-airgun-testing/overview
      It is crazy that we end up harming the resources that we need. But as long as we all keep caring enough, hopefully more positive steps will be made.

      • thanks, Sheila! horrible activity! i agree with you, to keep taking positive steps to remedy these problems for a better world. good work starting with informational posts – great first step in the right direction …

      • Thanks so much! Oceana is really doing all the work. All I do is sign the petitions with the click of a button. It’s inspiring to see what people can do when there’s enough working toward something like a healthier ocean. Hope you have a happy new year!

  12. As you know, I’m a big supporter of any organization that protects wildlife, the environment, earth, oceans — so I’m thrilled to hear of these victories. I have seen a video of shark finning, and it brought me to tears. I react the same way when I see pictures of people in helicopters shooting down wolves. I am so grateful there are groups willing to work hard to put a stop to such barbaric behavior.

    • We must have seen the same video. It is heartbreaking and it makes you wonder about people. But then people are also putting a stop to these things so there’s still hope that we can make things better. I don’t understand how anyone could kill wolves or deer or any other kind of life either. I’m glad we share that love for nature and the environment. If enough of us do, hopefully we’ll see more changes and more good news. Wishing everyone a better new year! 🙂

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