Celebrating Ocean Victories on World Oceans Day

We tend to think of ourselves as separate from nature. We’re not. We’re part of this Earth. We came from the ocean and we’re made of the ocean. The ocean is in our blood. And we won’t be able to live without a healthy ocean.

Despite all the negative ocean headlines, there’s still hope. One of the reasons I love nonprofit groups like Oceana and the Ocean Conservancy is that they work with politicians, lawyers, and businesses from all over the world to create real environmental change.

To celebrate World Oceans Day, here are a few major victories that have happened so far this year:

Belize Bans Offshore Oil Drilling, Protecting the Largest Barrier Reef in the Americas

January 2018: Belize made history when it signed into law a moratorium on offshore oil exploration and drilling in the entirety of Belizean waters, which contain the second largest barrier reef system in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef is home to nearly 1,400 species and is critical to the livelihood of more than half of Belize’s population due to its central role in tourism and fishing.

Chile Protects Juan Fernandez Islands and Wildlife Found Nowhere Else on Earth

February 2018: Chilean President Michelle Bachelet protected 262,000 square kilometers of ocean surrounding the Juan Fernandez Islands. These islands are home to wildlife found nowhere else on the planet. As a result of this announcement and other closures, 25 percent of Chile’s ocean is now protected as no-take marine parks.

Seafloor Habitats Protected from Destructive Bottom Trawling off U.S. Pacific Coast

April 2018: The Pacific Fishery Management Council acted to protect more than 140,000 square miles of seafloor from bottom trawling, a destructive fishing practice in which heavy fishing gear is dragged across the seabed. This action will protect a unique variety of coral gardens, sponge beds, rocky reefs, and deep-sea ecosystems that provide nurseries, food and shelter for many species. This victory for ocean diversity will more than double the area of protected seafloor in U.S. waters off California, Oregon, and Washington. Once the new measures are implemented, more than 90 percent of the U.S. West Coast’s Exclusive Economic Zone will be protected from bottom trawling.

Keep hoping, keep dreaming, and keep acting for the ocean

We are all truly connected, which means that everything we do makes a difference. Whether we leave a piece of plastic on the beach or decide to pick it up, whether we use fertilizers and insecticides or organic gardening methods, it all makes a difference. If you’re interested in ocean conservation, find out what you can do through Oceana and the Ocean Conservancy. When individual voices join together, we can turn negative news into positive change.

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Ocean Victories and a Thank You

ocean sunsetThese days we need to do everything we can to protect and restore the ocean. One of the reasons I love nonprofit groups like Oceana and the Ocean Conservancy is that they work with politicians, lawyers, and businesses from all over the world to create real environmental change. So for some good news, here are a few ocean victories that came about this year:

Cape Cod oceanDeep-Sea Trawling Ban Protects 4.9 million km2 in European Oceans: Oceana in Europe campaigned with the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition to prohibit deep sea bottom trawling in northeast Atlantic waters. Bottom trawling is an invasive fishing practice that rakes the seafloor while catching unwanted ocean life and damaging coral. The European Parliament, Council and Commission reached an agreement that bans all trawling below 800 meters while halting bottom fishing activity below 400 meters if the presence of vulnerable marine ecosystems is demonstrated. These actions protect an area that’s larger than the European Union.

Offshore Drilling: The Obama administration removed Atlantic and Arctic Ocean areas from a five-year program (2017 to 2022) for oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf. The decision protects Arctic wildlife found nowhere else on Earth, including polar bears, bearded seals, walruses, and bowhead whales.

Cape Cod oceanHabitat Protection in the Strait of Sicily: Three Fisheries Restricted Areas were created in the Strait of Sicily, protecting 1,493 square km between Italy, Malta, and Tunisia from bottom trawling and preserving nursery areas for hake and deep-sea rose shrimp. The commission also prohibited commercial harvest of red coral. These decisions will help protect vulnerable habitats and allow fisheries in Mediterranean marine ecosystems to recover.

No matter how huge or tiny the victories, these days we need to keep fighting for the causes that are important to us. Because of that, a percentage from the sale of Ocean Echoes will go toward nonprofit organizations working to protect and restore the world’s oceans for future generations.

Thank you to Carrie Rubin, Britt Skrabanek, Charissa Stastny, and Review Tales for your reviews of Ocean Echoes. It means so much to me that you took the time to write a review. If you’re not familiar with their blogs (or their books), please check them out. I highly recommend their books.

Congratulations to Annika Perry for winning the recent drawing held at Jill Weatherholt’s blog for a free Ocean Echoes e-book. To anyone who didn’t win, if you’re a member of Kindle Unlimited you can download it for free until January 10. I’m hoping the paperback will be out next week.

Wishing everyone a holiday season filled with love and hugs

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.