Showing all articles with tag: marine science.
This month, we are thankful for the great strides being made in marine protected area creation, research, and education in California. Read on for the latest news:
Court upholds northern California marine protected areas
The big (and really good!) news this month was a Superior Court decision that upheld California’s authority to create underwater parks along northern California’s coast under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA). This ruling is a win for the economy, environment and the millions of visitors who flock to our shores every year. It’s also good news for the South Coast, where a series of marine protected areas are slated to go into effect on January 1. California worked hard to include divers, surfers, fishermen, business leaders and other groups in the planning process, and the court’s ruling validates the state’s community-driven approach.
Getting the word out in Southern California
With the eagerly awaited opening day for southern California’s new underwater parks just weeks away, Surfrider and Reef Check are teaming up on a series of public forums designed to raise awareness about the protected areas, and answer any questions people might have. They are hosting events in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. To find one near you, check out this flyer.
A different kind of lobster hunt
Monitoring the plants and animals that live in and around California’s new underwater parks will provide a detailed picture of the current state of our ocean so we can track changes over time and make even better decisions going forward. Gathering this information requires an all-hands on deck effort, which is why innovative partnerships such as the one taking place between lobster fishermen, state wildlife regulators and scientists in San Diego are so important. This collaborative study will establish a baseline for California spiny lobster populations. And scientists need your help! Anyone who catches a tagged lobster is encouraged to document the catch at taggedlobster.com.
“Thank You Ocean” says “thank you MPAs”
California’s Thank You Ocean Campaign, a nonprofit partnership supported by the State of California, the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the Ocean Communicators Alliance, has unveiled a new page dedicated to MPAs (click here for the Spanish version). In addition to lots of great info on the MLPA and the iconic waters being protected, you can find a series of podcasts, including this recent story that explains that importance of adaptive management.
On this World Ocean Day, CalOceans thanks you for supporting our ongoing efforts to create a statewide network of marine reserves on the California coast.
Wondering what you can do to make the Ocean a better place? The good folks over at National Geographic have a few suggestions:
1. Mind Your Carbon Footprint and Reduce Energy Consumption
Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by leaving the car at home when you can and being conscious of your energy use at home and work. A few things you can do to get started today: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, take the stairs, and bundle up or use a fan to avoid over setting your thermostat.
2. Make Safe, Sustainable Seafood Choices
Global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that is both healthful and sustainable.
3. Use Fewer Plastic Products
Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in nondisposable containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible.
4. Help Take Care of the Beach
Whether you enjoy diving, surfing, or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach cleanups.
5. Don't Purchase Items That Exploit Marine Life
Certain products contribute to the harming of fragile coral reefs and marine populations. Avoid purchasing items such as coral jewelry, tortoiseshell hair accessories (made from hawksbill turtles), and shark products.
6. Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner
Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Never flush cat litter, which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life. Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native species harmful to the existing ecosystem.
7. Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean
Many institutes and organizations are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife. Find a national organization and consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy. If you live near the coast, join up with a local branch or group and get involved in projects close to home.
8. Influence Change in Your Community
Research the ocean policies of public officials before you vote or contact your local representatives to let them know you support marine conservation projects. Consider patronizing restaurants and grocery stores that offer only sustainable seafood, and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on the menu or at the seafood counter.
9. Travel the Ocean Responsibly
Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option.
10. Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life
All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health—then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.
A team of marine scientists released a study last week showing that the spillover of lobsters from marine reserves more than compensates for lost fishing grounds. During the 10 year study period, the net gain to fishermen was about 10% annually.
The study, published this month in the magazine Marine Ecology Progress Series, was conducted by researchers of the Balearics Oceanographic Centre of the Spanish Oceanography Institute with collaboration from scientists at the universities of Washington and Michigan.
This is further evidence that science-based marine protected areas are good for the ocean as well as our economy. By investing in our ocean resources through the use of protected areas, we are ensuring the long-term viability of our commercial fishing industries as well.
Several new studies released at this week's American Association for the Advancement of Sciences conference have found that well-designed networks of marine reserves can provide both economic and environmental benefits.
Scientists from UC Santa Barbara, Scripps Institute and Stanford University were quoted over the weekend:
Steven Gaines, Dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UC Santa Barbara said in Science Daily, "There is plenty of new evidence to show that if reserves are designed well, they can benefit both fish and fishermen,"
UC Santa Barbara’s Andrew Rassweiler said in Science News that a new southern California marine reserve network could boost fishing industry profits: “People fishing can make more money with smaller impacts on the species being fished.”
Science Magazine cited the Channel Islands and Great Barrier Reef marine reserve networks to show that protecting small areas can produce big returns. A five-year study in the Channel Island found rockfish numbers up by 50%, and their size up by 80%. And predictions of economic losses from the Great Barrier Reef protections have proven completely unfounded--the number of recreational fishing licenses has gone up since the reserves there were created.
Several of the studies emphasized the importance of community engagement in creating an effective marine reserve network. California’s Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) is being implemented through a participatory public process. Stanford scientist Stephen Palumbi said in the San Diego Union Tribune that the MLPA is also rooted in sound science: “There are probably 120 to 150 studies of how reserves function within their borders, and even small reserves tend to give positive results.”
Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Ed Parnell, who has proposed protections for the reef and kelp beds at south La Jolla, said: “We know what the benefit will be for the species in the reserves. They will increase in density, and they will increase in size.”
This fact sheet summarizes the new marine reserves research.
The effort to create a network of permanently protected areas off the foast of California is picking up steam. This new Public Service Announcement-- featuring some familiar Hollywood faces--tells the story of how California is creating a network of MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) along it's coast for one simple reason -- MPA work.
Over fifty nations around the world are now implementing MPAs as the primary means of protecting ocean wildlife. In this PSA a number of celebrities (Pierce Brosnan, John C. McGinley ("Scrubs"), Edie McClurg "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"), Gabby Reece (fashion model/professional volleyball player), Amy Smart ("The Butterfly Effect"), Christa Miller ("Scrubs"), Simon Helberg ("The Big Bang Effect") help send out the message that a new day has arrived for protecting the oceans because ... MPAs Work!
Please help us spread the word! Send the video to your family and friends!
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