World Oceans Day: Why Just One?

Credit: Sea Shepherd

By MarEx 2016-06-07 19:52:20

Divergent organizations have celebrated World Oceans Day, June 8, each in their own way:

Carnival Foundation's $2.5 Million Donation

As part of achieving its 2020 sustainability goals, Carnival Corporation is providing through the Carnival Foundation a $2.5 million gift over a five-year period to The Nature Conservancy, which began in 2014. Highlights from The Nature Conservancy's initiatives in 2015 include:

•    Helping the Bahamas expand marine protection areas by more than 11 million acres.
•    Supporting the establishment of National Protected Area Trust Funds in seven Caribbean countries, which can be used to address specific conservation challenges as they arise.
•    Advancing marine protection efforts at Los Haitises National Park and Samaná Bay in the Dominican Republic.
•    Launching an Atlas of Ocean Wealth, supported by multiple international online tools, detailed maps, marine life databases and other resources to educate and inspire community leaders engaged in ocean planning.

Also through the support of the Carnival Foundation, in the past year The Nature Conservancy was able to generate for decision makers new comprehensive data about coral reef conditions throughout the Caribbean, as well as research on the success of conservation efforts tied to oyster reefs and new maps of fish production connected to Caribbean mangrove growths.

Seafloor Mappers

To mark World Oceans Day, the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO) organization has reaffirmed its 113 year old mission of mapping the ocean floor. GEBCO is committing to the production of a high-quality digital map of the entire ocean floor.

Vice Admiral (ret) Shin Tani, Chairman of GEBCO Guiding Committee GEBCO, said:
“GEBCO was founded in 1903, long before the first World Oceans Day, and ever since we have produced the most up-to-date maps of the ocean floor. With new tools we can now commit to produce a high-quality digital map of the ocean, from coast to deepest trench.

“Since 1991 we have known more about the topography of Mars than we do about the earth’s seafloor, and oceans certainly have a much more direct impact on our everyday lives than the surface of Mars. Today, we have the ability to map the world’s seafloor in more detail than ever, and this is crucial for many critical areas, such as tsunami forecasting, fishing resources, sediment transport, environmental change and mineral extraction.

“We know how difficult the task is. Water absorbs, reflects and refracts light to such an extent that it is difficult to “see” through it with visual media for more than a few tens of meters. Huge swathes of the oceans, especially those far removed from coastal and national areas, are still inadequately mapped. Environments such as those beneath the polar ice shelves and pack ice-covered oceans are as unfamiliar to us today as the deep ocean was for pioneering ocean floor mappers over 100 years ago.

“But, today, with the advent of satellite mapping and other advances to remote sensing, we have access to an increasingly broad range of technologies that make it possible to finally map the world’s seafloor in more detail than ever – but it needs time, investment and coordination.”

Why Just One?

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has announced its latest campaign, Operation Jairo II, which will span three countries including the United States, Honduras and Costa Rica to protect endangered sea turtles. The launch comes on the heels of Sea Shepherd’s announcement of its first full-length feature film, Why Just One? chronicling the organization’s successful 2015 Operation Jairo campaign. 

Like its predecessor, Operation Jairo II is named after Jairo Mora Sandoval, a Costa Rican turtle defender who was brutally murdered on May 31, 2013 while attempting to protect leatherback turtle nests. 

Operation Jairo II will launch in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on August 15 until September 1, with volunteers working to protect green, loggerhead, and leatherback sea turtles. Sea Shepherd will work with Sea Turtle Oversight Protection (S.T.O.P.) to protect sea turtle nests and guide hatchlings to the sea, away from the commercial lighting that disorients them. 

The Honduras campaign will be held in Utila from August 1 to November 1, where Sea Shepherd volunteers will protect hawksbill, green, and loggerhead sea turtles. Partnering with Bay Island Conservation Association (B.I.C.A.), Sea Shepherd will protect nesting females and nests from poachers. The Honduran Navy will provide security for beach patrols. 

From September 1 to December 1, Operation Jairo II will move to Costa Rica where ground campaign volunteers will work in Jaco to protect primarily olive ridley and green sea turtles. The Jaco police are teaming with Sea Shepherd volunteers to protect nesting females and nests from poachers. Nests will be relocated to a hatchery run by the Jaco police force.

There are seven species of sea turtles in the world. Four have been identified as endangered or critically endangered and two are classed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Endangered species. Sea turtles are some of the oldest living creatures, one of the few who’ve watched dinosaurs evolve and become extinct. They are now facing the same fate as their predecessors.

“This species which has survived so much, may not survive us,” said Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson.