Editorial

  • We met in 1974 on the north coast of Jamaica, in Discovery Bay, then one of the great pioneer centers of coral reef science. At the time, many of us blithely took the reefs for granted. They were already largely fishless, which we noted, but luxuriant living corals carpeted the reefs built up by their […]

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Feature

Perspectives

  • More than a decade ago a colleague and I were facing the prospect of losing another policy battle on Capitol Hill. Once again, we found that our compelling scientific case was not enough to carry the day and lamented, “If only fish could vote.” We should have said, “If only fish made political contributions to […]

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  • Between 1999 and 2002, 30 collaborators illegally harvested nearly a third of the Dungeness crab population in south Puget Sound. Detective Bill Jarmon and I worked the case. By analyzing invoices, shipping records, and airbills, we learned that the group had stolen at least 85,000 pounds of crab from the Nisqually area and more than […]

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  • Shark fin soup is the “food of the wealthy,” elders used to say. I first encountered the dish when I was young, accompanying my mom on one of her business dinners at an upscale Chinese restaurant. I remember her dressing me up for what I was told would be a “special dinner.” The chairs in […]

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  • Let’s talk about the differences between environmentalists and scientists. They both seek the support of the general public but, at least in theory, their goals are different. For starters, environmentalists know what they want. Scientists don’t. Environmentalists want a specific outcome. Scientists seek only knowledge. Environmentalists know …

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  • Some people may question how a love affair with a piece of federal legislation is possible, but that’s what it has been for me. Our courtship has not been easy, but I’m hooked. In 1975, the first national marine sanctuaries were designated under the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act of 1972. One was the […]

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  • Scientists estimate that, within a decade, the Inupiaq village of Shishmaref, located on the barrier island of Sarichef off the coast of Alaska, will be swallowed by rising seas. In October 2001, a severe fall storm caused the shoreline near the village to move inland by 125 feet. The Inupiaq people have lived here for […]

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  • A remarkably simple lesson has emerged from recent research into preserving marine resources around the world: concerted human planning and effort are effective in preventing further decline of marine ecosystems. Fundamentally, the deterioration of marine ecosystems signals a crisis of governance, and the widespread degradation of our …

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  • Five years ago, 220 scientists from around the world signed a statement calling for marine managers to shift to an ecosystem-based approach. Such an approach would seek to protect “ecosystem structure, functioning and key processes,” recognize the interconnectedness of human and marine systems, and be place-based rather than driven by …

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On the Ground

Solutions in History

Envision the Future

  • A flurry of articles in recent years shows that loss of knowledge about the past may have contributed to an acceptance of other losses, such as declines in biodiversity. I first identified this form of collective amnesia in a 1995 article describing how fisheries biologists assess changes in biomass abundance. Every generation begins its …

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Interview

Media Review

  • Google Earth’s ocean layer, added in February 2009, lets its users track white sharks, navigate the ocean floor, and explore marine sanctuaries with leading ocean scientists as their guides. This virtual, three-dimensional tour takes the Google Earth team one step closer to creating a complete, interactive simulation of our planet—or what they …

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  • A team of 20-something Cambridge University graduates is attempting to take a 32,000-mile journey circumnavigating the Atlantic overland along the one-meter contour line—the level scientists predict that sea level may reach in the next 100 years. The team’s new website/charity, www.atlanticrising.org, uses multimedia to explore and demonstrate …

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  • Friends, heroes, frenemies, ex-girlfriends in bikinis: Facebook grants access to a lot of people. The limit of the social networking giant is that it includes only humans. As we become increasingly urbanized and isolated from wilderness, important interactions with other members of life’s fabric become more tenuous. We have two options: (1) we …

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Noteworthy

  • What do the wormwood moonshiner beetle, the black scabbardfish and the elegant earthstar all have in common? Other than their fairy-tale names, these three species, along with another 97, have each been tattooed onto a different volunteer as part of the ExtInked project. Run by the Manchester-based Ultimate Holding Company, ExtInked is a …

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  • In 2008, Greenpeace USA launched the Carting Away the Oceans campaign to highlight the U.S. seafood industry’s leaders and laggards in sustainability. The campaign appraises seafood retailers according to four key criteria: sourcing policy, political and corporate initiatives, transparency and labeling, and overall inventory. In three reports, …

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  • “Fish need nutrients not ingredients” are the oddly prophetic words of Frederic T. Barrows, a fish nutritionist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Bozeman, Montana. By now, most ocean-conscious fish eaters have become familiar with the fact that fish farming, or aquaculture, has at its root one gargantuan flaw: the most valuable fish …

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  • As the director of conservation programs for the Coral Reef Alliance, I’m familiar with the arguments for weaning society off seafood. For most common sushi and sashimi varieties, truly sustainable seafood options are practically nonexistent. Tools to help consumers make informed seafood choices can be exasperatingly complicated. And even if …

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  • The oil bubbling beneath the 4,000-square-mile Yasuni National Park along the eastern border of Ecuador has long been a source of tension between environmentalists and those eager for economic development. The Ecuadorian government and the United Nations have recently attempted to resolve this socially and environmentally complex issue with a …

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  • China’s effort to pump water from the Yangtze basin to the arid and heavily populated north has been stalled for years among mounting concerns about the plan’s ecological, financial, and political impact. The city of Tianjin, a coastal port near the capital, Beijing, has instead turned to seawater desalination as an alternative to the …

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