This Week on – November 23-27

Nov 27, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

November 24 – Fish Talk in the News – Tuesday, November 24 – In this edition of Fish Talk in the News, Science Magazine publishes a special oceans issue; NOAA Fisheries releases a draft Action Plan for Fish Discard and Release Mortality Science; SmartCatch develops a camera to look inside fishing nets; a Gloucester-based seafood processing company owner is indicted for not paying taxes; and scientists research using soy-based food to feed farm-raised fish. In the News, by Talking Fish.

November 25 – Thanksgiving Eel: A Fish to be Thankful For – Around this time of year, people are eagerly thinking about the food that they will prepare for their Thanksgiving Day feast. While turkey has become the contemporary centerpiece of the holiday meal, it may be surprising to know that originally, a fish was served as one of the main dishes. New England Fisheries, by Catherine Morse.

The Climate Change Connection: The Warming Gulf of Maine Needs Protected Areas

Nov 24, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” –President Theodore Roosevelt

Considering how quickly our planet is warming, and what little is being done to combat it by our national government, this quote has never been more relevant or applicable.

Here in New England, our ocean is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change – with one study showing that the Gulf of Maine is warming 99% faster than ocean waters elsewhere on the planet. If that’s not alarming enough, we’re also seeing whole populations of species (such as lobster) moving toward colder waters – which could spell disaster for New England’s economy. And, we are just beginning to understand the effects of ocean acidification on our shellfish populations, with much more to learn before we’ll know how to adapt.

But, what gives us hope amidst this dire news is that we New Englanders, whose lives – and livelihoods – are intertwined with a healthy ocean, have long been champions and leaders for its protection.

Conservation Law Foundation has advocated for ocean conservation in New England for decades, from our fight to stop oil and gas drilling on Georges Bank in the 70s, to our work to protect our iconic cod fishery from extinction, to our commitment to the state and regional ocean planning processes. Today, we’re rallying the public to support the protection of two of the Atlantic’s most fragile and vulnerable areas – the Cashes Ledge Area and the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts. We’re imploring President Obama to create a Marine National Monument, which can give these special places the highest possible level of protection.

You may be thinking – what does any of this have to do with climate change? The answer is this: Conservation and climate change are inherently connected. President Roosevelt, who uttered the words above, understood the importance of conserving such vital places – he knew that some places were just too beautiful, unique, and fragile to be disturbed or exploited, even if resources such as gold, oil, or gas were to be found there. What he couldn’t have known then is something we do know now: Creating fully protected marine areas is a critical step in our defense against climate change.

Studies of protected areas show that the robust ecosystems they contain are better able to withstand the stress of warming temperatures. The complete and relatively pristine habitats at Cashes Ledge and the Coral Canyons and Seamounts should be kept intact ­– so they can continue to be used as an underwater laboratory for marine scientists as we work urgently to identify how climate change is impacting our oceans and how we can best respond.

If and when the day comes that we are able to stop or even reverse global warming, we need to have done the legwork now to prepare. Will species damaged from warmer temperatures recover and thrive again? Will ocean plant life maintain the ability to provide us with the oxygen we need? Will our children ever get to gaze in wonder at a North Atlantic right whale breaching the ocean’s surface?

We can’t solve climate change in a day. We know it will take a comprehensive, long-term effort. But we should do what can be done today – right now, with what we have, in New England to protect our most significant places for our children and grandchildren. We believe a Marine National Monument designation is the first, best course of action for New England’s ocean right now.


After Successful Fall Meeting, the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan Enters the Final Stretch

Nov 24, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Photo by Brian Skerry.

The North Atlantic is renowned for its incredible beauty, access to iconic keystone species, and rich maritime history. But today, New England’s coasts and ocean are busier than ever, with more stakeholders and a more diverse complexity of interests than ever before. A regional ocean plan will drastically reduce conflict amongst ocean users, break down the silos separating state and federal agencies, and assert a science-based approach to effective decision making.

Three years into New England’s ocean planning process – which was set in motion by President Obama’s 2010 executive order on ocean planning – the body charged with creating the plan is nearing a major milestone: the release of the first draft of the plan next March. The Northeast Regional Planning Body’s (NRPB) meeting in Portland, Maine, last week was the last before that draft is completed and presented to the public.

“You are creating history. You are the first…We want to help every step of the way.”

Appropriate words from Beth Kerttula, Director of the National Ocean Council, as she closed out the final moments of last week’s NRPB meeting. Expressing admiration and encouragement, Kerttula’s statement was more than just a supportive message from the White House – it was also a call for the planning body to be steadfast in the final push towards a finished draft of the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan.

New England was first out of the gate in forming a regional planning body. For the last three years, the NRPB, consisting of balanced state, federal, and tribal representation, has directed the cultivation of stakeholder input to be incorporated into the plan.

When the NRPB convened November 16-17, the atmosphere was the most productive yet. The public witnessed the progress of every chapter within the draft regional ocean plan, marking an encouraging shift from what were once merely ideas to substantial chapter outlines and near-complete spatial data.

As the NRPB begins to piece it all together, members discussed agency best practices, science and research priorities, implementation, and the long-term vision for the finished plan.

Agency best practices

Ensuring that state and federal entities are effectively communicating with each other is a cornerstone to effective ocean planning. To mitigate conflict, the best possible data should guide decision-making, and all impacted stakeholders should be engaged before, during, and after plan implementation.

Last week’s meeting made clearer what these agency best practices will achieve. Several suggestions were proposed by the NRPB, including the consistent use of the data portal – an online, publicly accessible marine spatial data library. Best practices will also ensure better coordination with federal and state entities and federally recognized tribes, and guide how to effectively implement the regulatory framework prescribed in the ocean management plan.

Science and research priorities

The regional ocean plan will be transformational in improving ocean management stewardship, and also as a plan itself: one that embraces long-term adaptability. The NRPB provided an update about future science and research priorities that will not only improve upon the already impressive collection of marine data and maps, but more specifically, target existing gaps in knowledge and understanding, ensuring effective implementation of the regional ocean plan into the future.

What’s next?

Three years into the planning process, the NRPB is now in the final stretch! By this time next year, New England will have a completed regional ocean plan, the first in the nation. Currently, the NRPB has their collective nose to the grindstone until March of next year, when the draft will be released. Stakeholders will then have the opportunity to provide feedback over a proposed 45-day comment period, when the draft plan is presented in public meetings in every New England state. At the end of the public comment period, the plan will be submitted to the National Ocean Council for its ultimate approval.

Come fall 2016, with each stage of the approval process completed, New England will begin implementing the plan – a culmination of countless hours of planning, stakeholder engagement efforts, and data development.

Conservation Law Foundation applauds the incredible work of the NRPB, the continued support of the National Ocean Council, and ocean stakeholders for their commitment and input.

It is always great to be first, but even better when it leads to improved ocean stewardship and long-term leadership for the stakeholders who depend upon the ocean’s health and vitality.

Faces of Ocean Planning | Opportunities to connect with the ocean at New England Science and Sailing

Nov 18, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

MaryHorrigan3Welcome to Faces of Ocean Planning, where we take you behind the scenes to feature people and organizations who use the ocean in a variety of ways and are engaged in the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan process. 

The clock reads 11am, and New England Science and Sailing, located in Stonington, CT, is quiet – though it won’t be that way for long. Soon, groups of kids and teenagers will be arriving back from their morning lessons for lunch.

New England Science and Sailing, or NESS for short, is a source of education and fun for the surrounding communities, providing programs year-round for everyone from preschoolers to adults.

Mary Horrigan, program director at NESS, gives us a tour of the facility, which she says provides a conduit for people young and old to feel connected with the ocean. “People are disconnected from this resource that’s right in their community,” she says. “One of our goals is to get people comfortable with being in the water.”

And with more people comfortable in the water, the more likely they are to understand and respect the ocean and what’s happening within it.

From adventure sports, to marine science, power boating, to, of course, sailing, NESS offers something for everyone, and with that comes an opportunity for everyone to grasp ocean planning and management concepts.

Horrigan says that all of their programming starts with making sure attendees understand the imperative to “Respect everything in the area,” whether that means catching and releasing critters as part of learning about ecosystems, or respecting other ocean users in the area. And, when your neighbors include fishermen, recreational users, and the Navy, respecting other ocean users takes a fair amount of communication and collaboration.

Expanding on local planning success

P1030941NESS’ daily operations prove to be a salient metaphor for the importance of ocean planning on both a local and regional scale. Every day, Horrigan and her students balance their activities in concert with their neighbors large and small. Just as it takes an ample amount of effort by everyone at the local level to ensure that no two uses conflict with each other, a regional ocean management plan (like the one currently in development by the Northeast Regional Planning Body) will ensure the same for all who frequent New England’s working waterfronts, coasts, and ocean.

“We’re out there using the ocean, and we need access, especially in certain areas where we want to connect to certain ecosystems,” Horrigan says. “Right now we can access the coves, but what if the submarines want to go through there?”

She says NESS’s interest in ocean planning is to provide continued access to areas for education – and in doing so, they’ll create new generations of ocean users who will benefit from and be invested in ocean management for decades to come. “The children who go through our programs learn and feel proud of the ocean and where they’re from,” Horrigan says. “We want to provide more opportunities for that.”

Facilitating future success

New England’s regional ocean plan was driven by the National Ocean Policy executive order in 2010 and will be completed in 2016. Once implemented, the plan will help stakeholders to better collaborate, share information, and facilitate effective decision-making for the management of our ocean.

As NESS fosters a growing community of burgeoning young ocean lovers, ocean planning in the northeast will provide the framework through which such stewardship can thrive for years to come.

Baked Cod: The Path Forward in an Era of Climate Change

Nov 12, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Photo credit: Dieter Craasman.

Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Photo credit: Dieter Craasman.

In recent weeks, we learned more sobering news for New England’s cod population. A paper published in Science detailed how rapidly increasing ocean temperatures are reducing cod’s productivity and impacting – negatively – the long-term rebuilding potential of New England’s iconic groundfish. The paper confirmed both the theoretical predictions associated with climate change and the recent scientific federal, state, and Canadian trawl surveys that reported a record-low number of cod caught in recent months.

To be clear, the Science authors do not conclude that ocean temperature changes associated with climate change have caused the collapse of cod. We have management-approved overfishing of cod to thank for that.

What rising ocean temperatures do seem to be doing, according to the Science paper, is dramatically changing the productivity of the remaining cod stocks. This makes it more difficult for cod to recover from overfishing today than at any other time in history, and perhaps reduces the ultimate recovery potential even if all fishing were halted. Stock assessments conducted without taking these productivity reductions into full account will dramatically overestimate cod populations and, in turn, fishing quotas.

The Science paper is potentially very important, with major implications for fishing limits on cod for decades to come, But stock assessment scientists have warned for years that their recent models were likely overestimating the amount of cod actually in the water – and the corresponding fishing pressure the stock could withstand. Unfortunately, those warnings have fallen on deaf ears at the New England Fishery Management Council.

In fact, the managers at the Council, dominated by fishermen and state fisheries directors with short-term economic agendas, could hardly have done more than they already have to jeopardize Atlantic cod’s future—climate change or not.

Overfishing, a Weakened Gene Pool, and the Loss of Productive Female Fish

As a result of chronic overfishing, New England’s cod population is likely facing what geneticists call a “population bottleneck,” meaning that the diversity of the remaining cod gene pool is now so greatly reduced that the fish that are left are less resilient to environmental stresses like increasing sea temperatures.

Overfishing has also caused the collapse of the age structure of the cod populations by removing almost all of the larger, more reproductive females (also known as the Big, Old, Fat, Fecund Females, or BOFFFS). Scientists have previously warned that losing these old spawners is a problem for cod productivity, but this new research suggests that the potential damage from their elimination may be significantly greater than imagined as a result of poor, climate change–related ecological conditions.

The Science paper hypothesizes that an underlying factor in the productivity decline of cod this past decade was the correlation between extremely warm spikes in ocean temperatures and the drop in zooplankton species that are critical to the survival of larval cod. With fewer zooplankton, fewer cod larvae make it to their first birthday.

The impacts of this zooplankton decline on cod productivity, however, could be exacerbated by the loss of the BOFFFs. Here’s why:

Cod start to spawn at three to four years old, but young females produce significantly fewer and weaker eggs and cod larvae than their older counterparts. Those elder female fish, on the other hand, produce larger, more viable eggs – sometimes exponentially more healthy eggs – over longer periods of time. If the older female cod population had still been plentiful, they might have produced larvae more capable of surviving variations in zooplankton abundance.

Perhaps the continued presence of larger, older, spawning females to the south of New England (where there is no commercial cod fishery) is one of the reasons that the cod fishery in the nearby warm waters off New Jersey is healthier now than it has been in recent history.

The Cod Aren’t Completely Cooked Yet: Four Potential Solutions

Cod have been in trouble since the 1990s, and now climate change is magnifying these troubles. This new reality, however, is not cause for us to throw in the towel. There are actions that our fishery managers can take now that will make a difference.

First, large cod habitat areas have to be closed to fishingpermanently. This is the only way to protect the large females and increase their number. Designating cod refuges such as the Cashes Ledge Closed Area as a marine national monument will remove the temptation for fishery councils – always under pressure to provide access to fish – to reopen them in the future.

Such monuments would also sustain a critical marine laboratory where more of these complex interactions between cod and our changing ocean environment can be studied and understood.

Second, managers need to gain a better understanding of the cod populations south of Cape Cod. While it is well and good to land “monster” female cod on recreational boat trips, those fish may be the key to re-populating Georges Bank. Caution, rather than a free-for-all, is the best course of action until the patterns of movement of those cod populations, as related to ocean temperature increases, are better understood.

Third, as observed in the Science paper, stock assessment models as well as guidance from the Council’s Science and Statistical Committee must start incorporating more ecosystem variables and reflecting a more appropriate level of scientific precaution in the face of the reality of climate change shifts. Enough talk about scientific uncertainty and ecosystem-based fisheries management; action is needed, and science should have the lead in guiding that action.

Finally, the importance of funding data collection and fishery science is evident from this important Science paper, which was supported by private, philanthropic dollars. NOAA should be undertaking this sort of work – but it is not in a position to even provide adequate and timely stock assessments, because limited funding forces the agency to use the existing outdated models.

NOAA’s funding limitations are constraining both collection of the essential field data needed to understand our changing world as well as the analysis of that data into meaningful and appropriate management advice. If Congress can find $33 million to give fishermen for the most recent “groundfish disaster,” it ought to be able to find money to prevent such avoidable disasters in the future.

Ultimately, the Science paper shines some much needed light on our climate change–related fishery issues in New England, but we can’t let it overshadow decades of mismanagement or justify a fatalistic attitude toward cod rebuilding. Steps can and must be taken, and fishery managers are still on the hook for the success or failure of our current and future cod stocks.

Governor Baker: The People Have Spoken, and They Want a Marine National Monument

Nov 6, 2015 by  | Bio |  2 Comment »

The people of New England, and especially Massachusetts, have spoken – and they want a Marine National Monument in the Atlantic.

More than 160,000 people have signed their name in support of a monument designation, including over 10,000 from Massachusetts alone. We’ve received public letters of support from coastal businesses, faith-based organizations, and aquaria. And more than 200 U.S. marine scientists, including the most prominent marine ecologists in the region, have stated that the Cashes Ledge Area and the New England Canyons and Seamounts hold special ecological value and need permanent protection as national monuments. There is no dispute about the scientific importance or vulnerability of these areas.

Our coalition said: Here’s the science; here’s what’s at stake; here are the risks to these incredible habitats. We asked the public to stand with us in support for permanent protection, and overwhelmingly, they have said – and keep saying – “yes.”

They showed up at an event at the New England Aquarium in the week before Labor Day (when they could have been doing many other things) to learn about these places and what makes them so important. They signed comment cards, and took home buttons and posters to share with colleagues and friends to spread the word. And then they showed up again, when NOAA held a town hall meeting for the express purpose of gathering public feedback. And NOAA is still accepting public comment. The Cashes Ledge Area has been studied for over ten years in a public forum. If that’s not public process, what is?

The Obama Administration should be lauded for seeking to take the steps necessary to protect critical ocean habitats from human threats – which include more than threats from fishing – and therefore require more comprehensive protection than a fishery management council has to offer. A monument is necessary to protect the health of our ocean, restore its natural productivity, and make it resilient to climate change impacts, already putting stress on iconic fish like Atlantic cod.

New Englanders are champions and leaders for the ocean, as evidenced by our commitment to drafting the first-in-the-nation regional ocean plan, due out next year. This plan will make great strides for managing the region’s ocean resources over the long term but it is not at all clear if and when this plan would consider permanent and full habitat protection of vitally important ecological areas like Cashes Ledge and the New England Canyons and Seamounts.

A marine monument designation is not an overreach of power, but rather exactly what the Antiquities Act was created to do. These areas are in federal waters and the President has critical stewardship obligations for those resources that transcend fisheries politics. Economically, scientifically, and morally, saving our ocean treasures makes sense. We hope you’ll come to agree with the thousands of people and businesses in Massachusetts who have already stood up for our future.

The Death of Atlantic Cod: The Convenience of Denial

Oct 29, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Kelp Forest and Cod at Cashes Ledge; 70-miles off the coast of MaineAtlantic cod’s future in New England is overshadowed with existential dread. With so many opinions flying around about what the “science” says or what the fishermen “see,” trying to make sense of what is going on with Atlantic cod with any precision seems a fool’s errand. However, we must not fall victim to the convenience of denial. If anything, recent cod stock assessment shadows have only darkened.

In August, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, a NOAA entity charged with conducting ecosystem-based research and assessments of fish stocks and other marine resources to promote their recovery and long-term sustainability, completed a series of “operational assessments” for 20 groundfish stocks. The purpose of these quick assessments was to shed light on changes in stock status in the time between major stock assessment reviews, which typically happen every 1 to 3 years.

The news was not good for a number of stocks. The assessments show that, of the 20 stocks the Science Center reviewed, at least 8 groundfish populations are either in worse condition or are still not showing any recovery, despite mandated catch reductions (such as those implemented for Gulf of Maine cod). Furthermore, there are now seven assessment models that they say have “diagnostic problems,” adding a level of uncertainty about the data.

The Science Center determined Georges Bank cod populations were at an unfathomable 1% of where they should be and that 2014 fishing pressure was estimated to be 994% higher than the overfishing limit. In other words, to ensure the population of cod in a given area is sustainable, the estimated numbers of cod should be 100 times higher than what the models estimate is actually in the water – a deplorable condition made all the more troubling given the intense fishing pressure estimated on this species.

After a quick peer review, however, the New England Fishery Management Council’s Science and Statistical Committee (SSC) threw out the Science Center’s assessment model, deeming the Georges Bank cod models now so unreliable that they were unusable for management advice.

Rejecting the Georges Bank cod models conveniently means the Council can move another stock off the formal “overfishing” list and into the “unknown” category, but that doesn’t mean that the stock is in any less trouble. “Unknown” in this context means that the stock has gone off its scientific rails – which is not a comforting situation when that fish is Atlantic cod, the region’s most iconic fish species, and cod populations are estimated to be lower than at any point in history!

No good news

Models or not, certain fundamental signals of the severity of the current cod problem remain. All of the U.S. and Canadian Georges Bank cod surveys continue to show the lowest levels in decades. The number of juvenile cod has been below average since 1990.

Additionally, the fish from the recent trawl survey were smaller at various ages than in previous surveys, and the older, more productive cod seem to be virtually gone. And 2014 was the first year the Canadian survey didn’t catch any fish older than 8 years old and above 36” in length. Not very hopeful circumstances for a species that should be living longer than 20 years and growing to twice that size. The assessment scientists, once again, could not point to a single positive biological indicator for the species.

Why are cod so unproductive? It seems everyone has an opinion, so here’s mine: As the scientists tell us, these cod populations have been pummeled by rampant overfishing for 37 years in a row. Add to that the stresses of rapidly changing sea water temperatures, plankton crashes, increased predation on larvae and juvenile cod, and unreported discards… and you have a species on the ropes.

In this context, the Fishing Management Council Science and Statistical Committee’s recent catch advice to the managers for the upcoming fishing years with respect to Georges Bank cod seems only barely scientific. The Science and Statistical Committee recommended that 2016-2018 catch limits should be based on an average of the most recent three-year catches, reduced by the catch declines seen in the recent NOAA trawl surveys—a decrease of 24%. At the risk of exposing my mathematical limitations, isn’t that just about the same as scientifically blessing continued declines rather than making any recommendations that would reverse them?

The overfishing limits (OFL) they have recommended for both are reduced by identical “scientific uncertainty” adjustments– 25% –to produce their recommended acceptable biological catch (ABC).

Directionally, the Science and Statistical Committee’s advice for cod has some merit: catches should certainly be cut. But at a time when, one, there is such scientific uncertainty that the committee has to throw out the assessment model and, two, there is not one positive biological sign of any basis for hope of recovery, I have to ask: Are there any circumstances under which the science advisors will tell the managers that we must stop catching cod?

Apparently, not yet.

Faces of Ocean Planning | Richard Delaney: ‘Research in action’ helps drive ocean management

Oct 27, 2015 by  | Bio |  Leave a Comment

Rich Delaney, President and CEO of Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies

Rich Delaney, President and CEO of Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies

Welcome to Faces of Ocean Planning, where we’ll take you behind the scenes to feature people and organizations who use the ocean in a variety of ways and are engaged in the Northeast Regional Ocean Plan process. 

Rich Delaney knows that in order to protect coastal environments, marine mammals, and ecosystems, you must first understand them: What are the unique needs of these places and the animals that depend on them, and what is the best way to protect them?

Answering these questions is at the core of Delaney’s work as President and CEO of the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. PCCS has been engaged in this endeavor, focused in Cape Cod, for almost four decades (they’ll celebrate their 40th anniversary on June 11, 2016 – which also happens to be Jacques Cousteau’s birthday). As a private nonprofit, their focus on research, public education, and policy aims to inform high-level decision makers on smart environmental management and conservation – decisions that are best made with the best possible science at the table.

Some of the specific areas of research conducted by the organization are around population studies of endangered marine mammals, studying coastal dynamics (especially related to climate change effects); and water quality assessments for coastal communities and habitats.

Delaney notes that PCCS doesn’t focus on science solely for research’s sake: Their priorities are developing research that results in action.

With this goal in mind, PCCS is well-suited to engage in the Northeast Regional Planning Body (NRPB) process currently happening in New England, as the region is working diligently to draft a regional ocean management plan. Having supplied data for the state-level Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan – including a 30-year humpback whale data set and a 25 to 30-year right whale data set – PCCS continues to provide similar data to the NRPB to support the first phase of the regional planning process.

“An ocean plan is only as good as the data that supports it,” Delaney says. “A science-based plan makes the finished product more credible.” Indeed, a collaborative effort with all players at the table is a good thing – but if no real data is present to assist in solid decision-making, marine ecosystems could be put at risk.

Establishing a long-term balance

PCCS provides data sets from their research that drive the ocean planning process, including data on humpback and right whales

PCCS provides data sets from their research that drive the ocean planning process, including data on humpback and right whales

Delaney says that conflict is inevitable among ocean users, and that the environment often loses in these conflicts. As human presence and impacts continue to grow, the need for scientific research will remain critically important into the future.

A plan that delineates and outlines all ocean uses may mitigate these conflicts, as long as it outlines a sustainable, long-term balance between ecosystems and human processes.

Delaney says that the NRPB can only make sound decisions with the availability of sound science and a “compatibility study,” which will identify appropriate areas for specific uses, while producing minimal conflict between stakeholders and ecosystems. Because PCCS’s data is open and available to the public, Delaney says it is an excellent source of data for the Northeast’s planning phase, since the NRPB has also made a commitment to transparency and openness throughout the process.

The regional ocean plan, according to Delaney, is “a grand experiment,” and he is optimistic that the process will break down silos and allow all key stakeholders to come to the table to make joint decisions. He also hopes that it will clarify agency roles in the ocean management process.

“As we know better, we do better,” Delaney says. “A regional ocean management plan allows for this process to be transformational over time.”

As we near the finish line for a completed Northeast Ocean Management Plan–expected in the fall of 2016–data provided by PCCS will better inform improved shipping routes, wiser ecosystem management, and provide a reminder that we share the Gulf of Maine equally with a diversity of unique species. Indeed, PCCS embodies the ethos, “research that leads to action”–a belief also shared by those developing the Northeast Ocean Management Plan.


Call Your Senators Today to Save Ocean Treasures!

Oct 7, 2015 by  | Bio |  1 Comment »

Cashes Ledge

Over the last few months, support has grown to permanently protect our most precious ocean areas, the Cashes Ledge Area and the New England Canyons and Seamounts. If you are among those who signed our petition to President Obama, thank you! Your voice is making a difference.

But now we need your help once again. Your Senators need to hear from as many constituents as we can rally that you support this Marine National Monument. Please, call your Senators today with this urgent message. Just a few minutes of your time could help create a remarkable legacy of protected areas for future generations.

Step 1: Call the United States Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak with one of your senators.

Step 2: When someone answers, say:

“Hello! My name is ________. I am a constituent, and I ask Senator ________ to support a Marine National Monument designation for Cashes Ledge and the coral canyons and seamounts in order to save vulnerable species and ensure a healthy ocean for future generations.”

That’s all you have to say! Want to add more? Here’s what permanently protecting New England’s ocean treasures will ensure:

  • Protection from industrial exploration, including oil and gas drilling
  • Insights from scientific research, which are especially crucial in the face of climate change
  • A healthy economy: thriving fish and whale populations boost local fishing and tourism industries

Step 3: Click here to let us know how your calls went. It helps us to know that you’ve called, and your feedback helps us in determining our next steps in this critical campaign.

Thank you for your continued commitment to CLF and the creation of the Atlantic’s first Marine National Monument. We can’t do it without you.

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