Good News for our Oceans Today: North Sea Cod Stocks Recovering Rapidly

Good News for our Oceans Today: North Sea Cod Stocks Recovering Rapidly

Every day it seems as though we learn of a new species threatened with extinction, or a study discussing increased acidification in the oceans. But, today is different, we would like to celebrate the work being done to stabilize the population of Cod in the North Sea.  According to research done by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) , an organization listed under Sailors for the Sea’s Conservation Resources, the species is recovering and will be a candidate the MSC’s Sustainability certification much sooner than previous estimates.  To qualify for MSC’s certification you must meet certain stock size, fishery and species management plan standards. The Marine Stewardship Council attributed the cod’s rapid recovery to the establishment of strict catch limits and the public campaign for sustainable fish. This is a perfect opportunity to showcase how promoting and advocating for the protection and conservation of the ocean can pay off and produce tangible results.

North Sea cod stocks ‘on road to sustainability

As part of the Marine Stewardship Council’s goal to replenish the North Sea cod stocks they promoted the consumption of underutilized fish, specifically red gurnard.This species of fish is commonly caught by fishermen as bycatch, meaning it is caught by accident and is then discarded. So instead of wasting the fish its consumption was advocated for. Unfortunately little data had previously been collected on the stock sizes of red gurnard. Consequently, recent popularity has caused additional stress on the species population. The take home message here is that regardless of the species finding a balance in consumption is key, utilizing a variety of species would be ideal. To learn more check out Sailors for the Sea’s Rainy Day Kits including a Sustainable Seafood Matching Game.

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Sustainability in the Caribbean

Green VI Glass StudioThis week the BVI Spring Regatta gets underway and many sailors have descended upon Tortola for this exciting event. The regattas organizers have made a strong commitment to Clean Regattas over the past four years, and last year was the first Gold Level Clean Regatta outside the United States. (Look for a report on their 2013 Clean Regatta certification next week.)

Glass Souvenirs from Green VI

Glass Souvenirs

With such a strong focus on sustainability at the regatta, we wanted to learn more about green initiatives year round.  This months Ocean Watch Essay features Green VI, an organization dedicated to addressing waste management issues in the British Virgin Islands. We were surprised to learn that an estimated 3.8 million bottles were imported into Tortola in 1996. The Green VI’s glass studio takes some of that  trash and turns it into treasure! The beautiful, handmade glass blown objects are then sold as souvenirs,  and profits support other environmental initiatives in the BVI.

Learn more about their work by reading the full essay:  Waste Management Problems in the Caribbean: How Green VI targets these issues.

Sustainability Initiatives at America’s Cup

Practice Racing Day 1 of ACWS San Francisco. Photo by ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

Practice Racing Day 1 of ACWS San Francisco. Photo by ACEA/Gilles Martin-Raget

After achieving their first Gold certification in Newport earlier this summer, the America’s Cup aims to continue this trend for its events in San Francisco. For this October’s events, the following Clean Regattas Best Practices are being implemented:

Trash-Free Regatta: The event aims to leave no trace by ensuring ample trash bins and using a dedicated Green Team to keep the event site clean
Recycling and Compost: All trash bins are paired with recycling and compost, signage and volunteer outreach are being used to educate visitors on proper waste separation

Descriptive signs to show what should be composted, recycled, and thrown away.

Descriptive signs to show what should be composted, recycled, and thrown away.

Durable/Compostable Products: All food service items on site are either durable or biodegradable
Sustainable Food: All seafood served meets Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Best Choice standards, local, organic and vegetarian foods are being used wherever possible
Water Bottle Reduction: No disposable water bottles are being sold on site, all teams and staff use reusable bottles, water stations are set up in public, staff and team areas
Signage: Signage is made of biodegradable materials and reused between events, paperless communication is prioritized and when necessary only recycled paper is used
Oil Spill Prevention: Extensive spill kits on all motorized vessels, education on fueling and spill prevention for drivers, safe re-fueling areas used
No Discharge: Event boats do not discharge black, grey or bilge water and educational materials are distributed to local boaters promoting the same practices
Runoff Reduction: Stormwater pollution prevention plan in place, boats use water only wash downs, maintenance is conducted in fully contained areas.
Non-Toxic Products: Only non-toxic cleaning products are used in all areas, boats are painted with copper-free bottom paints
Fuel Economy: Event boats are designed to be particularly fuel efficient, drivers are educated in proper driving behaviors, and generators are being run on Biodiesel (B20)

Solar powered security light at America's Cup World Series in San Francisco

Solar powered security light at America’s Cup World Series in San Francisco

Sustainable Energy Sources: Solar panels are used to power audio PA, shore power is being used for base operations and energy efficient lightbulbs etc throughout event site
Overall Energy Use: An energy audit is being conducted, based on which future events will plan to increase efficiency and reduce overall energy use
Public Outreach: Public are being engaged in sustainability initiatives through Healthy Ocean Project exhibit in village, promotion of public transit and coastal conservation activity

Tell us: What do you think is the most important initiative?