CalOceans News

Showing all articles published in May 2010.

How will climate change impact the ocean?

May 20th, 2010

And what will it mean for the people and industries that rely on this natural resource? These questions are on the minds of scientists, policymakers, and coastal residents that use the ocean for work and play. To learn all about it from some of northern California's ocean experts, attend a seminar sponsored by COMPASS and California Ocean Science Trust:

Who: Dr. Jonathon Stillman, Professor, San Francisco State University, and Dr. Amber Mace, Executive Director, CA Ocean Protection Council

When:  June 3rd in Eureka and June 4 in Fort Bragg
7:30-9:00pm and refreshments will be served

Where: Humboldt Bay Aquatics Center, 921 Waterfront Drive, Eureka
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Larsen Hall, Corner of Franklin and Fir, Fort Bragg


Goldilocks and the north coast

May 18th, 2010

 It’s all about finding that balance, as Humboldt Baykeeper’s Pete Nichols notes, between the immediate demands of our fishing economy and the long-term goal of a healthy California ocean. Somewhere in the midst of all the Marine Life Protection Act meetings and proposals lies the “just right” compromise.

This recent article from the Eureka Times-Standard reminds us to keep the Big Picture goal of a marine protected area network that works for the whole North Coast in mind – and what better way to regain that perspective than to take in the coast from 1,000 feet? You can literally see it all.

LightHawk, a nonprofit organization that operates under the slogan of “championing environmental protection through the unique perspective of flight,” provided the aerial tour with the help of The Ocean Conservancy and Humboldt Baykeeper. Lighthawk hopes to offer several more tours to different interest groups and decision-makers as the North Coast process moves ahead.

Saturday's flights included members of the media, a member of the science advisory team and a member of the regional stakeholders group, who were toured around by volunteer LightHawk pilots Lew Nash and Mike Sutton.

Marine preserves pay

May 13th, 2010

Marine Ecologist Enric Sala (a National Geographic Explorer and Scripps Institution of Oceanography Professor) explains that the "economy versus environment"frame for ocean protection is a false choice.  We can have more fish and catch them too with well-designed marine protected areas and reserves. 
Sala says that marine preserves can increase the quality of fishermen's catches in the near term, increase their long-term job security, and boost tourism and recreation. As Sala puts it, a marine reserve is a savings account and you have to keep up a principle balance in order to maintain an income from it.

Additionally, marine reserves actually create jobs, and for just a fraction of the cost of what we're currently spending on unsustainable fishing subsidies.


Belize marine reserve is "a model of hope"

May 6th, 2010

This recent New York Times article higlights Glover's Reef, the latest example of how marine reserves succeed at restoring the health of depleted ocean habitat. Belize’s largest “no-take” marine reserve, a 17,500-acre zone where all types of fishing are prohibited, has done wonders for the local reef habitat and the fish populations have increased significantly.

The area is known as Glover’s Reef, and the Times article features the research conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society on the local sharks and rays – which has revealed that sharks play a critical role in the ecosystem. Check out a video here.

According to Ellen K. Pikitch, a marine biologist at the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and runs the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science:

“I think Glover’s Reef is a model of hope. The effort at Glover’s shows that marine reserves, even small marine reserves, can work. I think it’s very transportable this concept.”

Along with other top predators, sharks help keep barracuda populations in check, which is important because barracuda consume algae grazers like parrotfish that prevent runaway algae growth from choking the corals.

Spreading the word about new ocean parks

May 4th, 2010

Ocean Conservancy's Samantha Murray and Bolinas fisherman Josh Churchman have been busy spreading the word about the North Central Coast's new ocean parks.

After driving the length of the north central coast study region and distributing maps and fliers illustrating the new regulations, they penned this opinion piece for Santa Rosa's Press Democrat

You don't have to stop by your local bait shop to read about the latest regulations - download a full color flier with detailed coordinates and regulations established by the new north central coast MPAs, and check out detailed maps of San Mateo and Marin county's new MPAs.