Monthly Archives: May 2013

Benchley Awards honor ocean heroes

By Courtney Mattison During the 6th Annual Peter Benchley Ocean Awards at the Carnegie Institution for Science last week, the word excellence was not used lightly. From the bold actions of Senegalese President Macky Sall expelling foreign fishing vessels for over-exploiting Senegal’s waters to young Sean Russell’s work to mobilize youths over marine plastic pollution, the ocean conservation efforts celebrated Wednesday night were truly exceptional. Noting that until recently there were no high profile awards to celebrate achievements specifically within the ocean and coastal community, the Blue Frontier Campaign began honoring ocean leaders at its 2004 Blue Vision Conference in Washington, D.C. After Peter Benchley – author of Jaws and keynote speaker at that initial event – passed away, his widow and fellow grassroots environmental activist Wendy Benchley agreed to let the Blue Frontier Campaign title the annual awards in his honor.…
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Blue Vision Summit spurs ocean conservation on Capitol Hill

By Courtney Mattison On Wednesday, members of Congress met with what was likely the largest ocean advocacy group to ever visit Capitol Hill during “Healthy Ocean Hill Day” – part of the fourth biennial Blue Vision Summit organized by the Blue Frontier Campaign in Washington, D.C. Groups of multi-generational ocean lovers ranging from two to 20 members met with over 100 Congressional offices and represented a growing constituency to turn the tide for our public seas. Called “seaweed rebels” by Blue Frontier founder David Helvarg, this empowered group was comprised of marine conservationists; businesses; scientists; recreational ocean users; youths; communicators; artists and others from dozens of states and overseas to help advance marine conservation and U.S. ocean policy. The Blue Vision Summit began in 2004 as a way for ocean lovers and stakeholders to unite to address opportunities and challenges facing the health of our ocean and coasts.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Polar Bear

Polar Bear exhales upon surfacing.  The combination of disappearing Arctic sea ice due to climate change, and continued development of oil and gas in critical habitat areas spells double trouble for Arctic polar bears. Photo (c) Jeff Rumans.…
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PETITION Hong Kong Government: Legislate a ban on the sale and possession of shark fin in Hong Kong.

SIGN PETITION HERE From Ecuador to Brunei, from the Bahamas to the Maldives, the people have spoken. And governments have listened. Now is the time for Hong Kong to wake up! The public is ready. The business sector is behind us. Now is the time for a total sale and possession ban on shark fin in Hong Kong. By doing so, Hong Kong will take a giant step to join the conservation efforts of numerous countries around the world who have enacted shark protection legislation. In Latin America it will join Ecuador, Honduras, Colombia, Brazil and Chile. In the United States it will join California, New York, Hawaii, Washington, Maryland and Oregon. In the Pacific region it will join Palau, Tokelau, Marshall Islands, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, and New Caledonia.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Yeti Crab

The deep water Yeti crab is so unusual that a whole new family of animal had to be created to classify it. Kiwa hirsuta was found on the floor of the 7,540-foot-deep (2,300-meter-deep) Pacific Ocean some 900 miles (1,500 kilometers) south of Easter Island. In many ways the newly discovered species remains a mystery. Its hairy pincer arms host colonies of bacteria, which it may cultivate for food, for protection from toxic fluids issuing from nearby volcanic vents, or as “sensors” that help the blind animal find a mate. Photographer Unknown  …
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Ghost Nets, among the greatest killers in our oceans…

Ghost Fishing is what fishing gear does when it has been lost, dumped or abandoned. Imagine a fishing net that gets snagged on a reef of a wreck and gets detached from the fishing vessel. Nets, long lines, fish traps or any man made contraptions designed to catch fish or marine organisms are considered capable of ghost fishing when unattended. And without anyone profiting from the catches, affecting already depleted commercial fish stocks. Caught fish die and in turn attract scavengers which will get caught in that same net, thus creating a vicious circle. Ghost nets are among the greatest killers in our oceans, and not only because of their numbers. Literally hundreds of kilometers of nets get lost every year and due to the nature of the materials used to produce these nets they can and will keep fishing for multiple decades, possibly even for several centuries.…
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How do Marine Protected Areas Work?

How do coral reef conservationists balance the environmental needs of the reefs with locals who need the reefs to survive?
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Photo of the Day ~ Mauve Stinger

Commonly known as the Mauve Stinger, or Pelagia noctiluca,  this exquisite animal  is found around the globe in temperate waters. In Latin, Pelagia means “of the sea”, nocti stands for night and luca means light thus Pelagia noctiluca can be described as a marine organism with the ability to glow in the dark. Mauve stingers can move vertically, but are unable to propel themselves horizontally and so are carried by currents. They move up and down in response to migrations of their prey, zooplankton. They are most venomous in the Mediterranean, but their sting is usually limited to the skin surface with local pain only.  In an unprecedented event on November 21, 2007, an enormous 10-square-mile swarm of billions of these jellyfish wiped out a 100,000 fish salmon farm in Northern Ireland.…
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Happy Birthday Jean-Michel Cousteau!

Mission Blue would like to wish a VERY happy birthday to one of our favorite people on Planet Ocean – Jean-Michel Cousteau! At 75, this marine conservation hero has truly dedicated his life to preserving and raising awareness about our oceans. The son of legendary explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Jean-Michel has seen many changes in our seas from his first dive at age seven to today – not to mention major advances in scuba equipment from his father’s original Aqualung! Despite the threats our oceans face from climate change, overfishing, oil spills and other human-caused threats, Jean-Michel and the entire Cousteau family remain optimistic for the future. Their leadership in the marine conservation community has inspired generations of explorers, researchers, students, artists and all-around nature lovers to care about and protect the blue heart of our planet.…
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Photo of the Day ~ Honeycomb Moray

Photographer Tony Wu reported from Ambon, Indonesia, a magical nighttime encounter with a moray he named Barney. Scientists would rather we refer to this noble critter by his Latin name, Gymnothorax favagineus.  They are also known as the leopard moray, tesselate moray or laced moray, and to us, a beautiful face is just that, a beautiful face. The Laced moray can grow up to 300cm in length, and as such are one of the larger species of moray eel. They feed mainly on small fish and cephalopods.  It has been observed that adults are prone to be aggressive in the wild. They are found in the Indo-Pacific, and East Africa to Papua New Guinea, north to southern Japan, south of Australia.…
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