Hope Beneath the Bering Sea!

A beautiful cluster of deep-sea coral, byozoans, anenome and other delicate life below 1,000 feet in the Bering Sea's Pribilof Canyon

A beautiful cluster of deep-sea coral, byozoans, anenome and other delicate life below 1,000 feet in the Bering Sea’s Pribilof Canyon

Yesterday I received wonderful news from colleague and friend, John Hocevar at Greenpeace, who has been on the front lines in Juneau seeking protection for the world’s largest underwater canyons, both in Alaska’s Bering Sea: Zhemchug Canyon and Pribilof Canyon, the “Grand Canyons” of the sea.

According to John, “the [North Pacific Fishery Management] Council unanimously adopted motions for both short term and long term measures. First, they agreed to identify coral areas in the canyons and weigh options to protect them. Second, they will develop a Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Bering Sea, with particular emphasis on the shelf break.

Following eight days of often contentious hearings and tremendous pressure from powerful industrial fishing interests, this is very welcome news and exactly what our Greenpeace-led coalition had hoped for.

Over the weeks and months ahead our coalition will have a great deal of work to do helping ensure that the Council to follows through with strong measures that will ensure the health of the Bering Sea and the fisheries it sustains.

Our Ocean Doctor action alert set a new record for the number of responses. You added your voices to thousands around the world, and for that we are deeply grateful. And I am pleased to say that your voices were heard loud and clear. According to Greenpeace’s Jackie Dragon, Council member John Henderschedt thanked all who provided comments, saying “your voices are important to this process and they’ve been heard.” From all sources, more than 100,000 individuals submitted comments!

This victory is especially important as it underscores that the oceans represent the largest public trust in the United States, and not the exclusive domain of industrial fishing or any other commercial interest. They belong to and must be stewarded by all of us. You helped us make that point loud and clear, and for that, please accept my profound thanks.

David Signature
David E. Guggenheim, Ph.D.
President, Ocean Doctor
Director, Cuba Conservancy

Learn More:

The Worst Thing I Ever Saw Underwater

Action Alert: Grand Canyons of the Bering Sea

VIDEOS: Return to the Arctic Depths (Greenpeace)

Spoiler alert: Fishery Council votes in favor of the Bering Sea (Greenpeace)

Return to Arctic Depths

I Hereby Reclaim This Land for Nature!

The Ocean Doctor on

December 13, 2010: Mangroves are critically important to our coastlines, to fish, manatees and other ocean wildlife we love. But in South Florida many acres of mangroves were destroyed to make way for waterfront real estate, and around the world, mangroves face a myriad of threats. Enter the Reclamation Project, a unique art, education and restoration project hosted at Miami Science Museum. Mangrove seedlings in cups are displayed as art in galleries, retail stores and schools throughout the region, and once large enough, they are replanted along the shoreline. Along the way comes lots of new awareness about the incredible wetlands residents may be only vaguely aware of, and deep appreciation for the beauty of nature. Our guests: Reclamation Project Founder and artist, Xavier Cortada and Executive Director, Fernando Bretos. Also: Attacked by the Giant Squid’s cousins and a silky shark with an appetite for video cameras.

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Where Condos Fall from the Sky

The sublimely pink deepwater coral, Swiftia pacifica

The sublimely pink deepwater coral, Swiftia pacifica

They look strange, out of place — and they are. Because they’re not from around here. The odd-shaped stones and boulders that pepper the flat, dark, silty bottom here at nearly 1,800 feet look like meteorites, each surrounded by a wide, shallow crater. They’re not from outer space, but many have traveled a vast distance on Earth — hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles, over millennia. And now my sub is face to face with one of three I’d encounter on our first dive in Zhemchug Canyon yesterday (Saturday) afternoon.

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