Skip to main content

Blogs

Atlantic mackerel fishing net

The massive nets of an industrial midwater trawling fleet comb through the water above the ocean floor in search of Atlantic mackerel and herring, leaving little in their wake. Among the casualties are millions of river herring and shad, both forage fish that are a vital food source for mid-Atlantic predator fish, marine mammals and sea birds. As victims of “bycatch,” river herring and shad populations have dwindled to less than 5 percent of their historic levels.

Helder Gomes/Shutterstock

Whales, otters and sea turtles aren’t just cute creatures that capture our imagination. They each play a critical role in regulating ocean ecosystems. Though most people agree that these endearing and charismatic species are worth protecting in their own right, few realize that their presence and abundance is key to the overall health of oceans already threatened by pollution, acidification, climate change and overfishing.

Climate change drought

If you survived winter storm Jonas, it might be hard to believe that just a few weeks before, we closed out the hottest year on record. 2015 ended with the warmest holiday season to date, and then somehow 2016 started with one of the craziest blizzards in Mid-Atlantic history. In a span of four weeks, the Washington, D.C. area hit 70°F and then received over two feet of snow in one weekend. These extreme weather events, as peculiar as they may seem, can easily be attributed to climate change

The American pine marten USFS

Recently, we reached out to Dr. Mourad Gabriel, a conservation ecologist who has spent the past decade studying several forest carnivores, including fishers and martens. During our interview we discussed the threats to the coastal marten, a rare carnivore that Earthjustice is currently fighting to protect under the Endangered Species Act. With fewer than 100 individual coastal martens remaining in California, the survival of the species is uncertain.

Ron Smith

Editor’s Note: The EPA is holding a teleconference on March 1 at Howard University in Washington, D.C., from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. EST to ask for public feedback on the agency’s proposal to weaken civil rights protections. Dial 1-877-887-8949 (Conference ID #58156799) to be connected.

The nation just observed Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, and with horrible irony, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the midst of trashing King’s legacy.

Pages

About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.