I’m Peter Neill, Director of the World Ocean Observatory.
This edition of World Ocean Radio is the 400th we have produced since 2008 when we launched this audio feature on WERU Community Radio in Blue Hill, Maine, as an attempt to reach audiences around with the world with the crises affecting the world ocean. World Ocean Radio is now available through the Pacifica Radio Network, podcast subscription, additional broadcast outlets in the US, Asia, and Africa, and through social media. A selection of our editions are translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, and Swahili and are available through our website for re-broadcast at no cost.
Three things have become evident over time: first, there is an ever-increasing demand for this information in this format; second, that we are finding an ever-increasing group of partners to amplify the connection; and third, that there are many examples of positive change measurable over the years that have their audience through this initiative. This justifies our optimism. Thanks to all.
Our collaboration with the Smithsonian Ocean Portal and promotion of the Earth Optimism Summit in Washington, DC, in April of 2017 is one such beneficial partnership. Today I searched for examples of ocean optimism on the Smithsonian Ocean Portal website (ocean.si.edu) and in seconds came up with two among many projects that reflect the initiative, dedication, and success of people around the world confronting ocean problems with solutions and providing inspiration for us all.
Chile has 4,200 kilometers of coastline, with over 86,000 artisanal fishers dependent of inshore catch for their livelihood. The loco, also called Chilean abalone, is a shellfish found the length of the coast. From 1974 to 1981, the fishery operated with no controls and overfishing led to significant decrease in quality and quantity threatening the crisis of stock collapse. In response, the government set total allowable quotas, shortened the fishing season, and implemented size requirements, but weak enforcement failed to stop the de cline and finally resulted in a nationwide closure in 1989, banning all loco fishing.
Out of this however came a new collaboration between fishers, managers, and scientists to initiate new leases with fishing cooperatives for defined areas, regular monitoring and assessments, management practices and enforcement, that by success inspired other fishers to accept reform and a new national management plan in 1991. Today, 17,000 artisanal fishers co-manage 550 districts in which territorial user rights are defined and accepted, a new legal framework created, and a sustainable fishery that enables protects and sustains the livelihoods of the community.
The Mediterranean Sea represents a different challenge as host to a variety of marine ecosystems threatened by the concentration of population, over-lapping national jurisdictions and interests, and enormous pressure from polluting landside activity to include energy, agriculture, industry, transportation, and residential waste descending from inland areas through rivers to coastal areas into a geographically confined sea. Governments recognized the problem early and in 1976 created an action plan and Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution, known as the Barcelona Convention, which has evolved since through additional protocols and directives, nationally and through the auspices of the European Union. Today, on average, the eight EU Mediterranean states provide 58% secondary treatment of wastewater and 66% tertiary treatment, and the major industrial pollutants (mercury, cadmium, led, zinc, chrome, and hydrocarbons) have bees significantly decreased, a common strategy that has at least prevented the Mediterranean from becoming a dead sea.
What do these examples tell us? That we must recognize the ever-increasing problem of ocean pollution and its ever more negative consequence on our work, our health, our families and our communities. And that then we must do something about it, at the local, national, or international level. All of this seems so obvious, and yet look at the time and effort by so many required to make the progress in the accomplishment described here. Each of these examples, and many more, demonstrate the basic human capacity to take such tools in hand, to mitigate and rectify the causes, and to invent new ways to reach the necessary positive effects.
Optimism is a forward-looking state of mind that leads to success, and success then leads to more success. We learn from every one. We build on every one. Save the loco. Save ourselves. Save the ocean. Save the world.
We will discuss these issues, and more, in future editions of World Ocean Radio.
THIS WORLD OCEAN RADIO EPISODE IS PART OF THE EARTH OPTIMISM SERIES, 24 EPISODES PROFILING CONSERVATION ACTIONS AND INNOVATIONS TO REDUCE OUR IMPACTS ON THE PLANET.
THE EARTH OPTIMISM SERIES IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE WORLD OCEAN OBSERVATORY IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION’S OCEAN PORTAL, TO RAISE AWARENESS OF THE GLOBAL EARTH OPTIMISM SUMMIT DURING EARTH DAY WEEKEND, APRIL 21ST THROUGH 23RD, 2017. SHARE YOUR IDEAS AT EARTH OPTIMISM DOT SI DOT EDU.
This week we continue the Earth Optimism Series, a 24-episode project in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution's Ocean Portal to address ocean solutions and innovative projects in the context of the Global Earth Optimism Summit to be held Earth Day Weekend in April 2017. In this edition we outline projects that reflect the initiatives and dedication of people around the world confronting ocean problems with solutions and inspiration.
About the Earth Optimism Summit
April 21 - 23, 2017
The Earth Optimism Summit, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute’s Ocean Portal, will be an unprecedented gathering of thought leaders, practitioners, pioneering scientists and researchers, major civic and industry participants, national and international media, and philanthropists who make up the conservation-minded citizens of our world. They will convene to discuss and share solutions – what are the best minds, boldest experiments, and most innovative community practices telling us about how to preserve biodiversity, protect natural resources, and address climate change?
The Earth Optimism Series is brought to you by the World Ocean Observatory in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Ocean Portal, to raise awareness of the Earth Optimism Summit during Earth Day weekend, April 21-23, 2017 in Washington, D.C. and around the world. Share your ideas at earthoptimism.si.edu.
Recent World Ocean Radio