Great news for the Ocean!

 

Two bits of great news; one a consequence of focused actions, and the other an opportunity to focus ocean policies.

 

September 1 was traditionally the opening of “dolphin season” for the drive fishery of Taiji, Japan. For years a few dedicated activists including the late Ben White of Animal Welfare Institute, and “Flipper” trainer Ric O’Barry were working to stop the brutal slaughter of some 20,000 dolphins each year in the secret cove of Taiji.

 

Ric’s work was documented in this summer’s eco-thriller “The Cove.” This movie was so well crafted that it garnered international critical acclaim – resulting in wide distribution.

 

As a consequence of the movie, “opening day” of the Taiji dolphin drive was cancelled. It remains to be seen if the fishery will close altogether, or is just being postponed until the press leaves town, but it demonstrates that the focused actions of a few people can really make a difference to the lives of thousands of animals.

 

Which brings us to the opportunity: On September 17 the Whitehouse Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is having a public meeting on ocean policy. The meeting will be chaired by CEQ director Nancy Sutley and attended by NOAA director Jane Lubchenko, as well as other agency directors from EPA, Dept. of Interior and the US Navy.

 

You can come and express your concerns about the ocean, and offer your suggestions, or just attend and let these agencies know you care about the ocean.

 

What:    Ocean Policy Task Force Public Meeting

When:   Thursday, September 17, 2:30 – 6:00 p.m.

Where: Hyatt Regency San Francisco at Embarcadero Center,

5 Embarcadero Center

San Francisco, CA 94111

You can also submit a comment online at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/oceans

 

There will also be meetings in other cities, but the time and locations have not been released yet. Stay tuned in:

Sept. 24 – Providence, RI
Sept. 29 – Honolulu, HI
Oct. 19 – New Orleans, LA
Oct. 29 – Cleveland, OH

Finally, years after the release of two monumental policy reports[1] on ocean health, and the development of two complimentary ocean bills in Congress [2] (as well as a growing public concern for the state of the ocean) we have a Whitehouse which has opened up to drive ocean policy.

This is really great news!

[1] Pew Ocean Commission 2003, US Commission on Ocean Policy, 2004

[2] Sen. Barbara Boxer “National Ocean Policy Act.” Rep. Sam Farr “Oceans 21”