Jon White – From the President’s Office: 07-22-2019

2019-07-22T16:27:47+00:00 July 22, 2019|

Maybe Listen More And Talk Less?

I’ve heard this suggestion mentioned repeatedly around D.C. in recent weeks, as one-way political dialogue is becoming even more pervasive and real conversations among leaders and decision-makers on different sides of issues less common over time. It seems like the quote from the Greek philosopher Epictetus almost 2,000 years ago – “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak” – is truly falling on deaf ears these days.

Perhaps of even greater importance than political meanders is the crucial need to “listen” much more to the ocean itself. We highlighted this during the 2016 COL Industry Forum on Ocean Sound and the ensuing ocean sound workshops we convened as part of a year-long effort (funded by the Lounsbery Foundation) to advance U.S. ocean sound research and identify critical research gaps and opportunities. There remain great opportunities to advance ocean knowledge understanding through increased passive acoustic observation and monitoring, as well as enhanced collaboration toward sharing acoustic data and refining data standards involved in collection, modeling, and more.

The recent ECO magazine special issue on ocean sound provides amazing written (and audible) insight into how we study ocean sound today and highlights the actions we need to take to move the field forward. Several of our COL members and longtime colleagues are currently working on aspects of this vital issue that will help us better understand our ocean.

As anthropogenic noise in the ocean is likely to increase with the continued growth of ocean industries, understanding and monitoring ocean sound is crucial to maintaining a healthy ocean that can support these activities. Nationally, we need to align priorities across our federal agencies — such as BOEM, NOAA, Navy, the Marine Mammal Commission, and others — and work across sectors to leverage the collective research capacity around this important topic. One of the articles highlights how some of the most significant research has occurred “through partnerships with other federal agencies, academia, industry, and international groups,” which makes this topic one that would be advanced by a multisector partnership vehicle within the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP).

I believe one thing is certain: If we’re going to advance ocean science and technology to understand and address the important ocean concerns and opportunities that stand before us, we need to listen a little more – to the ocean itself and to each other.

New Study Finds Offshore Aquaculture Has Low Environmental Impact
A new study led by scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) found minimal environmental impacts to the surrounding waters from a major commercial fish-farming operation off the coast of Panama.

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