Science Diary: Healthy Ocean – Update
Music; Ambience: ocean
JM: Shopping for seafood used to be a matter of personal preference. But these days, with concerns like mercury contamination and over-fishing, a trip to the fish market is a bit more complicated. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries. This month, we’re revisiting some of our favorite stories. And we join Carl Safina, President of the Blue Ocean Institute, on a research vessel off the coast of Central America. Carl’s talking with marine ecologist Bob Pitman about the impact that conservation efforts have had on the health of the ocean. Bob Pitman
BP: “Olive Ridley sea turtles, during the late seventies, there was hundreds of thousands killed on nesting beaches off Mexico and Central America. And they were fairly uncommon out here. I mean, I’d see a couple a day, and that would be it. They’ve been protected now for 20 years, and we have days when we see 4- or 500 Olive Ridleys in a single day. So, if you just leave the animals alone, they can come back. Just let them lay their eggs, and let them hatch, and they can bounce right back.”
JM: Carl Safina
CS: “It seems to me that there are some really important lessons. Twenty years ago most people ashore never heard that there was any problem with the ocean, and there was the old expression, “There’s plenty of fish in the sea,” and I think now people have been hammered with such bad news about how the oceans are dying that the impression is almost that they’re gone beyond repair. But for me, the message is the ocean is not dying. It is sick, but, with care and intervention, it can recover, and we see that those populations that have been protected do start recovering.”
JM: So how can you find some ocean-friendly seafood? Well, Carl Safina’s Blue Ocean Institute has created FishPhone. Just text in the variety of fish you’re considering, and within seconds you’ll get a text message reply with an environmental assessment and sustainable options. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation.
[For more information, go to http://www.blueocean.org/fishphone]