Some good news about the ocean you have missed last week amidst the prevailing current events: Vulcan Inc. committed $40 million to develop and deploy SkyLight, a near real-time illegal fishing intelligence and research program. Malta announced the introduction of a beverage container refund scheme by 2019 to ensure 70% of plastic bottles generated on its islands are recovered. NOAA committed to expanding the Pier2Pier scientific mentorship program. The Prince of Wales announced a blue economy initiative. In last week’s 4th annual Our Ocean conference in Malta, 1,000 participants from 100 countries (including heads of state and government, as well as ocean leaders in government, business, finance, science, and civil society) made strides towards identifying solutions and committing to actions to ensure our future ocean is clean and sustainably managed. The few mentioned above are a fraction of the hundreds of commitments made to reduce marine pollution, protect marine areas, improve maritime security, create a sustainable blue economy and fisheries, and mitigate climate change. Additionally, more than $7 billion was raised to help protect the ocean – far exceeding expectations ($10.2 billion since its inception in 2014). It’s inspiring to see our ocean partners around the world come together and work for a common cause – I look forward to what we can accomplish together.
Another way people are coming together in the ocean community is in the recovery process following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate. As organizations, institutions, and individuals have relief opportunities they would like to provide to their fellow scientists (e.g., students that need housing for a semester, scientists needing to move collections, labs that have extra materials to share, swapping ship time, etc.), COL will be posting these on our website. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have relief assistance you’d like to provide to the community.
RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.)
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Fueling The Future
A group of Jackson School scientists and students embark on a high-stakes research mission. Standing on the helideck of the Helix Q4000 with nothing but waves in sight, Peter Flemings is bleary eyed and exhausted. But, for this moment at least, the Jackson School of Geosciences professor and chief scientist of the coring mission is relieved and something akin to happy. The scene marks a seminal moment in a ground-breaking project, an $80-million, multi-year national effort that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) picked the Jackson School to lead. Flemings and his team have finally hit pay dirt, pulling a core of frozen methane hydrate from about 1,300 feet under the Gulf floor, through a mile of water, and to the deck of the deep-water coring vessel, while still keeping the methane hydrate under pressure.