It’s Ocean Talk Friday (POP POP), and Andrew and I are going to celebrate by bringing you four stories from the news this past week that made us say “but how will this affect the ocean?”
- To MPA or not to MPA – Tensions have been running high these past couple weeks in Scotland, as members of local fishing associations have pushed to lift fishing restrictions on 14 MPAs within the country. These designations were originally implemented to protect valuable inshore water ecosystems, but many in the fishing industry are claiming that they are unnecessary. Jamie McGrigor, honorary president of the Clyde Fishermen’s Association, says that fishing in an environmentally sustainable fashion and closing entire areas off to fishing are too completely different practices. However, members of the local scientific community, conservationists, and even other fishermen counter by saying that the research supports closing entire areas off to fishing, and that this will increase stock abundance and make fishing more productive in the long run. Stories like these follow the trend that we’ve seen this week: protecting marine ecosystems and animals is usually about 10% scientific and 90% political.
- Spend Valentine’s Day with Big Blue – The Marine Section of the Society of Conservation Biology is calling for everyone to show their love for the ocean this Valentine’s Day week. On February 12th, conservation groups will start using the hashtag #HeartTheOceans as a way of building awareness for the largest ecosystem on the earth and as essential component of life on this planet. Donating a couple dollars to ocean organizations or otherwise expressing your affection is a great way to show the ocean you care, and to get it to stop nagging you so much about how the two of you never spend time together.
- Seychelles sells blue bonds for the seashore – The small archipelago off the east coast of Africa known as the Seychelles will begin selling “blue bonds” to promote investment in organizations promoting sustainable marine management. Similar to green bonds, these blue bonds are government and multilateral agency-backed notes whose proceeds go to funding environmentally sustainable projects. While it remains unclear as to whether these bonds will go towards all fishing indutsries or just those that promote sustainable, small-scale fishing, it does seem like an innovative way of attracting funding for projects that otherwise may not seem as attractive to investors.
- Right Whales not left out – The United States federal government announced this past week that it would be expanding critical calving habitat for the right whale. The area, which now is about 30,000 square nautical miles, is mostly concentrated around Cape Cod and the northern Atlantic coast of the United States. Though it doesn’t exclusively prohibit fishing or ship traffic in the area, critical habitat classifications do require any industry presence to report on how their activity will impact the animals utilizing the critical habitat. Therefore, it will make it more difficult for industries to set up shop between the coast and 30 miles offshore since this will most likely adversely affect the right whale calves that so heavily rely on these waters.
Enjoy the Podcast!