How can ocean science and technology help stop human slavery on the high seas? This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to explain that during two different National Geographic sponsored panels on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing that I sat on in DC – one in the Capital with numerous legislative attendees. I was joined on the panels by some key experts in this field that included VADM Chuck Michel, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard, and Ian Urbina of the NY Times who published a series of articles titled “The Outlaw Ocean” last year – a must read.
Thanks to many things I have learned from our members over the past few months, I am able to clearly explain linkages from ocean science and technology to combatting these horrendous criminal activities. These include:
- Using ocean observing technology to augment existing surveillance means to better detect IUU fishing activity.
- Understanding where the biggest threats of IUU fishing and overfishing are to the health of fisheries and associated marine ecosystems. (i.e., if you can only save a few starfish on the beach, which ones do you save?)
- Using physical and biological ocean models to predict where fish will be, at time scales that range from hours and days to seasonal and multi-year. (Fishermen, including illegal ones, tend to be where the fish are.)
- Using effective aquaculture, fisheries and ecosystem management, and ecosystem restoration to impact the supply-demand equation in favor of healthy, legal seafood production.
So as you can see, much of the research and technological innovation ongoing across our consortium in these areas has direct and indirect impacts on this important issue – a crisis of our times as indicated in the Presidential Memorandum of 2014 and the IUU Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015. From giant jellyfish research to coastal radar data integration to “tuna tank” development, I commend the many ongoing efforts by Ocean Leadership members that will help solve this scourge on our seas.
On a separate note – CONGRATULATIONS to our newly elected Officers and Board of Trustee members and officers:
- Jackie Dixon (University of South Florida) – re-elected and appointed Chair
- Roberta Marinelli (University of Southern California) – appointed Vice Chair
- Graham Shimmield (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science) – re-elected and appointed Treasurer
- Ginger Armbrust (University of Washington) – re-elected Voting Member Trustee
- Hank Lobe (Sonardyne, Inc) – re-elected Affiliate Member Trustee
- Molly McCammon (Alaska Ocean Observation System) – new Associate Member Trustee
- Kate Miller (Texas A&M University) – new Voting Member Trustee
- Bradley Moran (University of Alaska Fairbanks) – new Voting Member Trustee
Jonathan W. White, RADM, USN (ret.); M.S.
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership
Member highlight: A study by Oregon State University found that wetland enhancement in the Midwest could help reduce catastrophic floods of the future.