Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In the News: The Biologist and the Sea, Lessons in Marine-Life Restoration

It is easy to forget, in today's day and age, that the marine life on our dinner tables comes from the waters around us. This disconnect and consequent decades of unsustainable fishing practices have led to the demise of several aquatic species. Today, with protection measures in place, many species are rebounding. But, as Biologist and Blue Ocean Institute Founder Carl Safina claims, we need to stay connected to our local coastal ecosystem and develop a "Sea Ethic" to ensure a sustainable balance between nature and our species. JB

Fishing With Carl Safina. The Biologist and the Sea: Lessons in Marine-Life Restoration
By Andrew C. Revkin

MONTAUK, N.Y. For Carl Safina, a biologist, conservationist and prize-winning author, passions and intellectual pursuits are deeply entwined.

The best place to observe this fusion is aboard his 24-foot powerboat First Light at the time of day for which it is named, when Dr. Safina is scanning flocks of terns hovering over the tide-roiled waters between Montauk, the tip of Long Island, and the slate-dark hump of Block Island to the east.

Dr. Safina's doctoral thesis was on the interrelated behaviors and annual rhythms of the common tern and bluefish, which feast on the same bay anchovies and other small prey.
On many days, though, he is carefully tracking the birds not in pursuit of new knowledge, but in hope they will point him to dinner.

On a recent three-hour fishing trip, in snippets of windblown conversation while steering his boat, jigging or casting, then fighting, landing and cleaning fish, Dr. Safina reflected on two decades of work revealing the enormous disruption of ocean ecosystems by industrial-scale fishing and other human activities.

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Blue Ocean Institute

Image: Fishing in Jamaica Bay
Courtesy - One More Cast

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