The Sea of My Childhood — and Its Uncertain Future

This post was originally published on Race for the Baltic. As the summer kicks off in the Northern Hemisphere, the beach is increasingly on many people’s minds. But if you’ve seen plastic bags lining the world’s beaches, video footage of oil spills or explosive algae growth resulting in beach closures, you know that the future of our coasts and oceans is far from certain. Fishing boat on the shore of the Baltic Sea. (© AVTG) I grew up in Sweden…

Where does half your wild-caught seafood come from? The answer may surprise you

An artisanal harpoon fisher in Bahia, Brazil. Coastal community fisheries catch half of the world’s wild-caught seafood supply. (© Cristina Mittermeier) We live on land, but the oceans feed us: Seafood is consumed more than any other animal protein in the world — more than pork, chicken, beef or eggs. In fact, fisheries feed three out of seven people worldwide. You’re likely picturing gigantic commercial fishing vessels pulling in…

Newest ‘Walking’ Shark Heralds Brighter Future for Indonesia’s Sharks and Rays

Mark Erdmann was involved in the exciting discovery of a new species of “walking” shark, which was announced this week. Today on Human Nature, he discusses how this species fits into Indonesia’s shifting attitude toward shark conservation. Recently discovered species of “walking” shark in Indonesia. (© CI/photo by Mark Erdmann) If you asked me a year ago about the long-term future of shark populations in Indonesia, I probably would…

To a country on the edge of development, what is nature worth?

Liberia’s East Nimba Nature Reserve. (© Conservation International/photo by Bailey Evans) Editor’s note: Human Nature is exploring the complexities of living in, using and protecting one of the planet’s most valuable types of ecosystems — tropical forests — in a series we’re calling “No forest, no future.” Read other posts in this series. The intensity of light in the tropics makes everything brighter. In Monrovia, the capital city of…

‘Big, hot blob’ puts Hawaiian reefs at risk

A marine biologist assesses coral bleaching in Hawai’i’s Kaneohe Bay during Oahu’s first ever mass bleaching event in late 2014. As local threats combine with El Niño impacts, Hawai’i is bracing for a record coral bleaching event in the coming months. (© XL Catlin Seaview Survey) The 1997 El Niño climate event resulted in extreme weather conditions across the Pacific Ocean. But one place in the middle of the Pacific emerged…

World Oceans Day Means Business

Tuna fishing boat in Manta, Ecuador. CI works with fishers and government agencies in Ecuador to support sustainable fishing practices, building upon Ecuador’s leadership in a range of seafood sustainability issues. (© CI/photo by Keith Lawrence) This week we’ve been spotlighting how some of our staff and partners are using science to assess the health of our global oceans and determine the most effective way to conserve them….

Coins, cigarettes, stewardship: In Indonesia, ocean conservation means giving back

Manta ray in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. (© Trond Larsen) In the small fishing villages of West Papua, Indonesia — home to the single greatest reservoir of marine life on the planet — material offerings like coins and cigarettes fulfill a crucial ceremonial purpose: By sending these modern trappings of wealth down to the blue depths, community elders “feed” the sea to ensure its continued bounty. It’s a ritual that reflects a larger commitment by…

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