August 30, 2006

8/31 - The Eternal Charm of the Penguin Boy Video

If you're wondering where our short video, "Birds of a Feather" (a.k.a. "Penguin Boy") went, you can find it here.

We mistakenly lost the link to it a few weeks ago and started getting e-mails like this one:

You used to have a clip on your site showing the worst aquarium presentation! It was quite funny but very useful to those of us in informal education to show what not to do when interacting with the public! Is there any chance we could get a copy of that clip, since it doesn't appear to be on your site anymore?

Who knew. 

penguin boy photo.jpg
If I was covered with oil, would you be willing to scrub me? No?

Posted by Randy Olson at 07:33 PM

August 22, 2006

8/22 - Why Nature Conservancy's Chuck Cook is one of our SB heroes.

With Shifting Baselines we have generally advocated the idea of communicating more effectively with fishermen as a means to building healthier partnerships with them, rather than having to confront them so much. Chuck Cook and Rod Fujita of Environmental Defense have been doing exactly this for the past five years along the central California coast. Here's an article in the New York Times recently about Chuck's great work.

August 8, 2006
Unlikely Partners Create Plan to Save Ocean Habitat Along With Fishing
MORRO BAY, Calif. — Fishery closings are generally not greeted as good news in ports like this.

Angry protests are more likely. So to find an environmentalist and two commercial fishermen quietly conspiring on the bridge of a fishing boat docked in Morro Bay as a far-reaching prohibition on bottom trawling went into effect on the West Coast this summer was unusual, to say the least.

The environmentalist, Chuck Cook, said he had been called a “conservation Nazi” in some ports. And Gordon Fox, who has been dragging fish and shrimp from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean for nearly 30 years, admitted the conversation would be “perceived by some in the industry to be sleeping with the enemy.”

Together with other fishermen and conservationists, Mr. Cook and Mr. Fox have fashioned a plan that they hope will preserve the fish and, just as important to both of them, fishing here off the central coast of California.

Here's the rest of the story.

Posted by Randy Olson at 06:38 PM

August 09, 2006

8/9 - Jellyfish Uber Alles

At Jellyfish Central, the gelatinous Lord Vader is smiling at the news that the jellyfish armies are now successfully conquering the coast of Spain.  Taking the world's oceans, one coastline at a time.

Gelatinous Vader: my plan to conquer the oceans is under way

Posted by Randy Olson at 09:59 AM

August 01, 2006

8/2 - How low will we go?  NOAA watching slimy hagfish

Yet another sign of the shifted baseline times.  A friend just sent me this little tidbit.  Apparently the mud-dwelling slimy hagfish, a descendant of the early jawless fishes along with the lamprey, which was once cursed at by fishermen and thrown overboard in disgust, is today being fished in sufficient numbers to cause concern with NOAA.  Here's the item he came across in one of their announcements:

NOAA Fisheries is considering proposed rulemaking to control future access to the Atlantic hagfish fishery. Since there is currently no management program for this fishery, and consequently no permitting or reporting requirements, there is considerable uncertainty regarding the actual level of hagfish landings and discards. The New England Fishery Management Council has indicated that limiting access to the hagfish fishery may be necessary to reduce capitalization and constrain fishing to sustainable levels, while ensuring that the fishery does not become overfished.

How low (on the food chain) will we go?  Plankton stew, anyone?


Blah, eat me!

Posted by Randy Olson at 06:13 PM