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Oceans: Building Resilient Ecosystems

Atlantic trawler.

Scientists and fishermen agree that the industrial midwater trawl fleet is taking a toll on many species on the Atlantic Coast. The massive nets of these vessels kill millions of river herring and, increasingly, the juveniles of some commercially important groundfish such as haddock. Unfortunately, an important action to rein in this damage is facing a substantial delay.

Plastic found in the ocean.

Have you ever dropped your phone in the water, never to find it again?

Well, according to new research out of Australia, that’s exactly what’s happening to 99 percent of the plastic that should be in the ocean; except, instead of one phone, we’re talking about millions of tons of plastic phone cases, straws, water bottles and other items that plasticize our lives. 

Parrotfish.

Since the May 14 release of the Earthjustice video titled Coral and Parrotfish – A Love Story, more than 100,000 people have learned how parrotfish can be essential players in coral preservation.

The video takes viewers scuba diving with Earthjustice attorney Andrea Treece as she explores Caribbean coral reefs and describes legal efforts to restore balance to the coral ecosystem:

I’ve always been a biology geek.

As a kid, the ocean gave me a sense of awe and belonging.  I loved the other-worldly creatures of the sea and all the unexpected ways they interact with one another. I still love to be outside, in the water, exploring and observing the natural world.  So why, in the name of all that is good and sensible, did I become a lawyer? 

When Jacques Costeau’s film crew first captured the beauty and abundance life among Caribbean coral reefs, we fell in love with the ocean. 

Today, many of those same reefs are collapsing. Once vibrant coral reef ecosystems look like rubble fields. The fish are few, and algae has smothered and killed the reefs.

Atlantic Trawler

The annual spring migration of river herring into East Coast estuaries and rivers historically supported a wealth of predator life, cultural events, and even thriving commercial fisheries.

But a deadly combination of overfishing at sea, dams and pollution in rivers has contributed to a 96 percent decline in river herring populations. Despite removal of dams and reduced pollution in rivers, the recovery has been stubbornly slow, leading scientists to say that the problems at sea must be addressed.

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