Saturday, November 10, 2007

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.

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