How you can act to protect high seas biodiversity

June 13, 2014

School of fish around a fish aggregation device or FAD in the Western Pacific. In addition to a total ban on purse seine fishing using FADs, Greenpeace is calling on members of the WCPFC to reduce by half the regional tuna catches and close all four Pacific high seas pockets from fishing. These measures are needed to save the remaining commercially valuable tuna stocks from collapse.

© Paul Hilton / Greenpeace

Thousands of people have already retweeted or joined our Thunderclap calling on John Kerry to support a UN agreement to protect high seas biodiversity. We have his attention. What we really need now lots and lots of unique, diverse voices showing Secretary Kerry just how passionate you are about protecting oceans and how important it is that he does the right thing. [caption id="attachment_27580" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Several species of albatross feeding on orange roughy heads and bycatch behind the Belize-registered deep sea trawler 'Chang Xing' in international waters in the Tasman Sea.    Several species of albatross feeding on orange roughy heads and bycatch behind the Belize-registered deep sea trawler 'Chang Xing' in international waters in the Tasman Sea.[/caption] We have two different ways for Greenpeace supporters to do just that. The first is for you to post a memory or description of a favorite place on the seas to Facebook, complete with a photo (if youve got one). If you think the oceans are worth protecting, its likely that you have a favorite experience or place near or on the ocean. Wed love to hear about it. And were sure Secretary Kerry would, too.Some examples of great little ocean memories, written by folks on the Greenpeace USA Oceans team, are at the bottom of this post. The second is for you to post an original tweet to show Secretary Kerry just how passionate you are about protecting the high seas. Take this as an example: Dear @JohnKerry, please call for real ocean protection #OurOcean2014, a UN agreement for #HighSeas ocean sanctuaries! If youve got one, adding a photo to a tweet will really help it get noticed. Try attaching a photo from a memory or your favorite trip to the sea. You could use this twitter text with your photo if you like This is why I want @JohnKerry to support UN #HighSeas protection at #OurOcean2014. Check out Ocean Campaigner Jackie Dragons! (Ummm... a sleeping octopus?)

And as promised, here are some anecdotes you can use for inspiration to write about your own ocean memories.

Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar:

I worked in Belize for a while, coordinating surveys using volunteer divers to map reefs and coastal habitats. We had a stretch of rough weather, and by the fourth day the volunteers were fed up with hearing me talk about all the interesting things we could find in the seagrass surveys I was making everyone do. I love the sea hares, urchins, starfish, crabs, and all the juvenile fish that grow up in the protected lagoons before moving out into deeper water, but the volunteers were starting to complain. And then the dolphins came, swooping in and zooming around everyone and just having a blast for what seemed like an hour. It was one of the most memorable experiences I've had in the ocean, and it was no surprise that after that all anyone wanted to do was seagrass surveys! [caption id="attachment_27578" align="aligncenter" width="600"]John Hocevar, marine biologist and Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director, assesses soft corals near Looe Key to assess the impacts of both oil and chemical dispersants on the Gulf ecosystem in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater oil spill. John Hocevar, marine biologist and Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director, assesses soft corals near Looe Key to assess the impacts of both oil and chemical dispersants on the Gulf ecosystem in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater oil spill.[/caption]

Oceans Media Officer Myriam Fallon:

I grew up swimming and sailing on Lake Michigan and have always loved being on the water. It wasn't until I spent six days sailing from San Diego to Mazatlan, Mexico on the Rainbow Warrior that I realized the full power and beauty of our oceans. Spending multiple days away from land left me inspired by the planet that we live on and all the life that we share it with, but it also left me thinking about the damage that we're doing to the oceans and marine animals. It's so important that we take real steps to protect our oceans on a global scale. If we don't, we will lose more than we can possibly imagine. [caption id="attachment_27588" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Myriam and a bunch of other Greenpeace USA people on the Rainbow Warrior. Myriam and a bunch of other Greenpeace USA people on the Rainbow Warrior.[/caption]

Oceans Campaigner Jackie Dragon:

I was diving in a tiny red two-seater submarine, nearly 2000 feet beneath the chilly surface of the Bering Sea. We were exploring the worlds largest underwater canyon. Through our little dome window, I saw much beautiful life - an orange and white tie-dyed anemone, its tentacles waving in the current; a tangerine-colored tumbling anemone rolling in slow motion across the seafloor, and all manner of sea stars chunky bat stars with five short rays, brilliant sunflower sea stars with more than a dozen skinny long arms, and basket stars with countless curling arms. Their tiny cousins, the brittle stars, were out and about in huge numbers, walking here and there, even across the backs of easygoing skates. Submersible Operations in Bering Sea We came upon a massive skate nursery, maybe larger than a football field. For fifteen minutes we cruised slowly across that special place, deep in Zhemchug Canyon, witness to parent skates patrolling in graceful flight over mounds of skate eggs piled up as far as our submarine lights would permit us to see. Amazing. [caption id="attachment_27586" align="aligncenter" width="600"]A skate swiming over skate eggs cases, also called mermaid's purses, in a newly discovered nursery in Zhemchug Canyon. In Alaska, skates have been found to take three to five years to develop inside their egg cases before hatching. A skate swiming over skate eggs cases, also called mermaid's purses, in a newly discovered nursery in Zhemchug Canyon. In Alaska, skates have been found to take three to five years to develop inside their egg cases before hatching.[/caption]

Another way you can get involved is bygoing to our petition and demanding real ocean protection. Well be sure to hand deliver all of your signatures at the Our Ocean conference on June 16th!

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