Help for Ocean Planet
These stories come from the Smithsonian Institution's Ocean Planet
exhibition and from the book Ocean Planet: Writings and Images of the Sea, by Peter Benchley and Judith
Gradwohl (published by Harry N. Abrams Inc., 100 5th Ave., New
York, N.Y. 10011)
- Wilson Vailoces, a sixty-year-old farmer from the Bindoy Province in
the Philippines started Sea Watchers, a volunteer organization to
patrol for illegal destructive fishing practices and replant lost
mangroves. He has planted nearly 10,000 mangrove trees himself.
- SOSUS, a Navy sonar listening system designed to detect Soviet
submarines is now being used to help conserve the oceans. Operators
have used SOSUS to enforce the United Nations ban on driftnets and
track the movement of whales.
- A French and British ban on boat paint containing tributyl tin
produced almost immediate improvement in poisoned oyster populations.
- Each year 160,000 of volunteers from 33 countries participate in the
International Coastal Clean-up.
- In November, 1994, the United Nations Law of the Sea treaty took
effect. This "constitution for the oceans" governs seabed mining,
environmental protection, exploitation of natural resources, as well
as jurisdiction, access to the seas, scientific research, and
settlement of disputes.
- Reef Relief, a local Florida group working to prevent anchor damage
to coral reefs, has installed more than one hundred mooring buoys in
Key West. Concern for the health of the Antarctic ecosystem prompted
world leaders to negotiate CCAMLR (Convention for the Conservation of
Antarctic Marine Living Resources). CCAMLR regulates all fishing
activities in the Southern Ocean andrequires that fisheries
management consider potential effects on the entire ecosystem,
instead of focusing solely on the fish.
- The International Marine Life Alliance trains Philippine fishermen to
use nets instead of harmful cyanide to catch aquarium fish, and
campaigns around the world against cyanide-caught aquarium fish.
- Turtle excluder devices, now required on shrimp nets throughout the
Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, and western Atlantic reduce sea turtle
kill by 97 percent and still capture 98 percent of the shrimp that
enter the nets.
- Compact fluorescent light bulbs use only one-fourth as much
electricity as conventional incandescent bulbs. Although socket-type
fluorescent bulbs are more expensive, they last about thirteen-times
longer and save about-three times what they cost over the life of the
- The Sacramento Municipal Utilities District removes ozone-harming
CFCs from old refrigerators, returns the coolants to the manufacturer
for recycling, and sells the metal for scrap.
Ocean Planet Exhibition Floorplan
gene carl feldman (email@example.com) (301) 286-9428
Judith Gradwohl, Smithsonian Institution (Curator/Ocean Planet)