Happy World Oceans Day

The ocean does so much for us. It gave us life and continues to give us life. To celebrate the ocean, here are a few ocean facts:

The ocean covers nearly 71 percent of the Earth’s surface.

About 95 percent of the ocean remains unexplored.

Roughly half of the oxygen we breathe is produced by the ocean.

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth. It can be seen from the Moon.

Fish supply the greatest percentage of the world’s protein consumed by humans.

Populations of large fish such as tuna, cod, swordfish, and marlin have declined by as much as 90 percent in the past century.

Plastic waste kills up to one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals each year.

The ocean could contain more plastics than fish by 2050.

It’s estimated that more than 90 percent of marine species are directly or indirectly dependent on coral reefs.

Nearly 60 percent of the world’s remaining reefs are at significant risk of being lost in the next three decades. The major causes of coral reef decline are coastal development, sedimentation, destructive fishing practices, pollution, tourism, and climate change.

oceanGlobal bycatch — unintended destruction caused by the use of non-selective fishing gear such as trawl nets, longlines and gillnets — amounts to 20 million tons a year. The annual global bycatch mortality of small whales, dolphins, and porpoises alone is estimated to be more than 300,000 individuals.

The world’s oceans absorb about 25 percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year. That uptake is growing as carbon dioxide levels rise. Because of this, the ocean is growing acidic at a pace that’s 100 times faster than at any time in the last 20 million years.

(Compiled from NOAA, The Thomson Reuters Foundation, savethesea.org, Oceana, and The Christian Science Monitor.)

The ocean does so much for us. Here are a few things you can do for the ocean:

Ten Things You Can Do to Save Our Ocean (from UN Development) – We see these lists all the time and they’re usually the same – this one isn’t.

Protect Dolphins and Marine Life from Seismic Blasting

Tell Congress to Stop New Offshore Drilling Agenda

Thank you to Coleen Patrick and Letizia at Reading Interrupted for the latest reviews of Ocean Echoes. It means so much to me that you’d take the time to do that. Reading Interrupted celebrates books and reading in amazing, unique ways and Coleen is a talented writer and illustrator. If you’re not already familiar with their blogs, please take a look and make sure to follow.

Happy World Oceans Day!

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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

Ocean Victories

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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:

1. Nearly 40,000 people signed an Oceana petition asking Alibaba.com to stop selling leather products made from manta rays. The company listened and the products were removed from the website.

2. The first permanent safe haven in continental U.S. waters for the endangered Pacific leatherback turtle was established when the government designated about 42,000 square miles off the West Coast as critical habitat.

3. The European Parliament approved a ban on shark finning. The EU is the world’s largest exporter of shark fins to Hong Kong and China. This new rule is a step toward the protection and conservation of sharks around the world.

4. New laws passed by the Chilean senate will close all of Chile’s 118 seamounts to bottom trawling, impose science-based fishing quotas, and improve monitoring on Chilean fishing vessels to drastically reduce untargeted catch or bycatch.

5. Responding to petitions filed by Oceana, the government announced that it will consider the West Coast population of great white sharks for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act by June 2013. This unique population of sharks may only have a few hundred adults remaining.