Saturday, November 10, 2007

Special Announcement: Ocean Conservancy's Spruill Joins First Lady to Announce White House Plan on Marine Debris

On Friday, November 2, Ocean Conservancy’s President and CEO Vikki Spruill joined First Lady Laura Bush as the White House unveiled a new initiative to address marine debris during the dedication ceremony of the J.L. Scott Marine Education Center-Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The First Lady has championed marine debris prevention since witnessing firsthand the extent of the problem while visiting the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands National Marine Monument. Spruill was invited to represent the conservation community at the Biloxi event due in large part to Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest volunteer effort to improve the health of the ocean and its wildlife.

The White House plan calls for an increase in public/private partnerships on cleanups, enhanced public education on debris prevention and an emphasis on international cooperation to end dumping in the ocean. Spruill lauded the First Lady’s leadership on marine debris.

“I am excited about the synergies between the new White House plan for addressing marine debris and Ocean Conservancy’s ongoing work. Trash in our ocean kills and injures wildlife through ingestion and entanglement, and coastal communities bear the economic costs of debris removal, lost tourism and lower property values - but there is hope. The world over, from Biloxi to Bangladesh, people are uniting to solve the problem of marine debris,” said Spruill. “The First Lady’s dedication to the issues we have been fighting for is inspiring -- and, it gives a big push to the sea change that is underway.”

For 22 years, Ocean Conservancy has convened the Cleanup in which almost a half a million volunteers in nearly 70 countries spend a few hours removing trash and debris from beaches, lakes, rivers and other waterways and record what they find. Last year, the Cleanup removed 7 million pounds of debris. Ocean Conservancy uses the data to promote debris prevention, public education, and advocacy.

Spruill linked efforts like the White House initiative, the Scott Center and the Cleanup to the National Marine Debris Monitoring Program (NMDMP), the first-ever scientific study of marine debris, released the same day by Ocean Conservancy. The NMDMP report was a 10-year joint effort by Ocean Conservancy and EPA and is a watershed moment in our understanding of the sources and types of debris in our ocean. Results indicate that most of the debris in the ocean comes from land-based human activities.

Laura Capps
Senior Vice President for Communications and Outreach
Ocean Conservancy

Lots going on this week with Surfrider!

Beach Cleanup scheduled for Wednesday, November 7th, 4 to 5 p.m. – The Cocoa Beach Surf Club and the high school group, Future Business Leaders of America, will be leading a beach cleanup at the end of Minutemen Causeway in Cocoa Beach. Starting at 4 p.m., the two groups will split north and south to pick up trash brought up by recent swells. There will free drinks and prizes given away to whoever finds the strangest piece of trash and also who collects the most. The public is invited to join in helping to keep our coasts clean.

Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. there will be a presentation on The Space Coast Multi-Purpose Artificial Surfing Reef by Dr. John Hearin at the Cocoa Beach City Hall meeting room.

Next Chapter Meeting – November 8th at Dakine Diegos in Satellite Beach. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and we’ll be discussing plans for our Winter Party as well as deciding a course of action to get the Florida Clean Ocean Act passed this year. The bill would regulate how the gambling boats treat and dispose of their sewage, which they currently can legally dump ONLY THREE MILES from our beaches.

Sean Slater Invitational for the World Skin Cancer Foundation, November 10-11th – Surfrider will be setting up the tent during the event and providing information on the latest news on what’s happening along our beaches. Free copies of the national publication Making Waves will be available as well as brochures on how to get involved. If you can help out contact or call Rick at 779-0279.

Next Tuesday, Kelly Slater and Gov. Charlie Crist will be at Roosevelt Elementary in Cocoa Beach to commemorate the passing of the Florida Open Beaches Act amendment, which safeguards the public's access to our beaches. Look for the press release in the Florida Today.

Sebastian Aravena elected as Chairman – At the last meeting held in the Surfing Hall of Fame Museum back in October, Sebastian was overwhelmingly approved as the new chairman of the Sebastian Inlet chapter. His wife, Colleen, was also voted in as volunteer coordinator. Both of the them are committing their extra time to be “Keepers of the Coast” and help lead volunteers into 2008. The current chairman, Rick Hayes, has organized over 60 events and meeting in the last two years, and the chapter has won recognition as activists to prevent ocean pollution through protests, paddle outs, beach cleanups, school visits, and presentations to community groups.

Thank you County Commissioners for Purchasing the 1000 Islands – By a unanimous vote, Jackie Colon and Helen Voltz helped preserve the Indian River Lagoon by voting to approve the purchase of the Reynolds property, located south of Minutemen Causeway in Cocoa Beach. The 257 acres contained uplands, mangroves, and many small islands, an ideal place for kayaking. The mangroves will act as part of a filtering system for the river, keeping the water clean enough for fish and humans to swim in.

Thanks to Daniel Narlock Financial Services and Ocean Minded for hosting a beach cleanup in October at Spanish House. Over a dozen volunteers came out to clean the beach, crossover, and the road north to Whiteys. The dawn patrollers scored chest high waves and offshore winds, and participants scored t’s and hats from Catalyst Surf Shop. The home baked chocolate chip cookies were a nice treat, too.

“We have a responsibility, a solemn responsibility, to be good stewards of the oceans and the creatures who inhabit them.” – President George W. Bush

The Sebastian Inlet chapter is still looking for a Vice Chairman, a Treasurer, and a Cocoa Beach District Leader. Without volunteers, we are powerless to make things better.


From TJ Marshall - Surfrider Miami Chapter

"Hey Folks, Last night I was watching “Evening Edition” on the Weather Channel and it was a full blown focus on beach erosion in Florida due to Tropical Storm Noel. I expect there may be some areas of the State where shoreline emergencies are declared, similar to what occurred during our May Super Swell.

I ask that folks have their cameras ready and batteries charged to get some pictures right after the winds begin to die down MOST IMPORTANTLY before the beach rakes and dozers get out there and level-off the scarps which are such strong visual post-storm images of how vulnerable our coastal areas are.

Those of you who have development issues, project areas, and locations involved with litigation, I STRONGLY recommend you get some pictures to document what happened. This helps us when things aren’t as bad as sometimes they’re made out to be. On the flip side sometimes it shows just how insane some coastal development is and how it should be more tightly regulated.

If you hear of any structures impacted in your area and have the time, please take some pictures. To collect all this stuff I’ve created a Google Picasa Photo Page. This is the best stuff I’ve seen on the web and is a simple download to your computer, just click here. Once you download the software to your desktop and open it, link it to the following account: Username: FLSurfrider Password: beacherosion If it asks for the email address the account is linked to, it’s mine

Using the software you can upload entire folders of pictures from your computer in one step rather than the slow picture by picture process of most other online photo album websites. Check out Miami Surfrider’s Picasa Page to see what I mean, I’ve uploaded 200 pictures at a time before with one click, walk away and let it do its thing. The software automatically compresses the pictures so we can fit thousands of them on the webpage.

Don’t delete the pictures from your computer after uploading; we may need a high-res version for a publication at some point. If you have any questions regarding uploading pictures, the Picasa software or any other concerns, by all means drop me a line.

Right whales in trouble on 35th Anniversary of MMPA

October 21st marked the 35th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, designed to prevent human-caused death of whales, seals, dolphins and other marine mammals. No whale is more endangered than the North Atlantic right whale. So, we’ll start with an update on our efforts to save them.

Plight of the right whale garners national attention
The loss of even a single female right whale could mean the difference between survival and extinction for this magnificent giant. Ocean Conservancy has been hard at work to find solutions to the fishing gear that threatens entanglement and to require ships to slow down as they travel through right whale migration routes. The Washington Post recently featured an article on the plight of the right whale with comments from Ocean Conservancy’s Victoria Cornish. For more information on the right whale, to read the article or learn what you can do to help, visit:

Study shows impact of small fishermen on sea turtles
A recently published research paper following a 10-year study of loggerhead sea turtles in Baja California revealed that small-scale fishing operations, not huge commercial factory trawlers as previously thought, may be far more damaging to the survival of loggerheads. Ocean Conservancy Senior Scientist, Wallace “J.” Nichols, researcher Hoyt Peckham of the University of California-Santa Cruz, and a team of researchers co-authored the paper. “Many small-scale fishing operations off Baja overlap with the places where loggerhead turtles live. The use of indiscriminate gillnets and long-line fishing gear in these areas is deadly for the turtles,” said Nichols. For more on sea turtles and Ocean Conservancy’s efforts to save them, visit:

Ocean Conservancy visits Hawaiian fish farm
Fish farming is the fastest growing sector of the global food economy, and currently provides more than 40% of all fish products sold worldwide. But there are risks, including the spread of disease and parasites and the discharge of fish wastes, drugs and chemicals. In order to learn more about sustainable fish farming, Ocean Conservancy’s Tim Eichenberg recently toured Kona Blue, a fish farm in Kona, Hawaii that raises a half-million fish in sea cages submerged offshore. Kona Blue is trying hard to prevent harm to the environment, but without national environmental standards - comparable to those that Ocean Conservancy secured in California - fish farms are not obligated to be sustainable or to protect wild fish populations already at risk from overfishing and habitat destruction. For more on Ocean Conservancy’s work on fish farming, visit:

Ocean Conservancy calls for action on sharks
Ocean Conservancy has urged the US government to present a shark conservation proposal at the upcoming annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in Turkey. Our requests included an anti-finning requirement that sharks be landed with their fins attached and the establishment of catch limits on North Atlantic mako and porbeagle sharks. "This November, the member countries of ICCAT have an opportunity to adopt the world's first international catch limits for sharks," said Sonja Fordham, Ocean Conservancy's Shark Conservation Program Director who will serve on the US delegation to the ICCAT meeting. "The porbeagle shark, in particular, as one of the Atlantic's most endangered fish, deserves full and immediate protection." Members can help by contacting their government representatives and requesting a high priority for shark conservation at ICCAT. For more on sharks, visit:

Sea turtle nest survey: good or bad news first?
A recently completed survey of sea turtle nesting at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Florida has shown that it was a bad year for loggerheads but great one for green and leatherback turtles. The 7,896 loggerhead nests in the Refuge were the fewest since 1982 when record-keeping began and well off the high of 18,000 in 1998. Green turtles, however, hit a record high of 4,478 nests. Leatherbacks numbers rose to 74, a record high, but that number is still considered low. For more on sea turtles, visit:

Workplace giving saves dolphins, whales, and seals
Workplace giving to Ocean Conservancy through Earth Share is one of the easiest ways to support our good work preserving and protecting the ocean. Earth Share lets you make direct payroll contributions to Ocean Conservancy. Your support will help us save endangered whales, seals, dolphins and more. Ocean Conservancy’s Earth Share-CFC number is 11436. To learn more about supporting Ocean Conservancy through Earth Share, visit:

E-newsletter subscriber discount for The Unnatural History of the Sea
For those of us who cherish the ocean it is often difficult to hear stories of its imminent demise and not wonder, “How did it get so bad?” In The Unnatural History of the Sea, Callum Roberts provides answers to that question and much more. A devoted conservationist, adventurer, diver (and friend) Callum Roberts relays a story of the remarkable decline of a sea once teeming with fish and wildlife. What is left is a deeply moving sense of urgency that something must be done before it’s too late. Ocean Conservancy has negotiated a special offer for our e-newsletter subscribers who will receive a 35% discount when purchasing copies of The Unnatural History of the Sea at:

Ocean Conservancy has new home in Washington
Ocean Conservancy has a new home for us to grow our efforts to preserve and protect our precious ocean resources. Our new address is:

Ocean Conservancy
1300 19th Street NW
8th Floor
Washington DC 20036

Phone numbers and email addresses are unchanged.

7 Dolphins To Be Killed Tomorrow-Protest Today!

This is Hardy Jones reporting from Taiji Japan.
After 8 days of not hunting dolphins, the fishermen have brought into Hatajiri Bay 7 dolphins which appear to me to be Risso's Dolphins. I don't know exactly what is shaping up. Traditionally there are 2 sets of nets across the bay and this one seems to have been thrown together very quickly. But they have got the 7 Risso's dolphins here, which if previous experience is a guide, they will kill tomorrow morning.
Now is the time for you to fax or telephone Japanese embassies and consulates near you. Faxes are great because they can't forward you to voice mail. Emailing is not so effective because they can set up spam blockers. But please make your voice heard. Let them know that these atrocities must not proceed.
There are two offices you can call in Washington, DCJapanese Information and Cultural Center Phone: (202) 238-6949Fax: (202) 822-6524Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassy of JapanPhone: (202) 238-6700Fax: (202) 328-2187
Your protest will be very effective, particularly right now when there is a tremendous amount of world attention focused on Taiji. Contact your Japanese embassy or consulate and protest vigorously.
Click here for Japanese embassies in your area

For the Taiji dolphins,
Hardy Jones