Required Reading for Everyone Interested in Oceans

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | April 12, 2011 11:53 am

I’ve been blogging less, traveling more, and taking on some exciting new responsibilities which I’ll be sharing soon. But in the mean time, I’d like to point readers to the work of my brilliant friend and former colleague Michael Conathan. He’s sharp, articulate, and has tremendous experience working on U.S. oceans policy. In 2006 when I served in Senator Bill Nelson’s office, Mike was the Knauss Sea Grant Fellow on the Senate Commerce Committee. Perhaps our greatest accomplishment that year was contributing to the long-overdue reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act–the primary law governing marine fisheries management in the U.S.

Michael recently joined the Center for American Progress as the the Director of Ocean Policy and they are very lucky to have him on board. He’s also writing a terrific column called Fish on Fridays which I’ve been following over the past weeks. Here’s a sample from March 11 entitled Waking from the Gluttony:

A strong case can be made that fishing is America’s oldest profession. Europeans were using parts of what is now Atlantic Canada as seasonal fish camps as far back as the early 15th century—even before Columbus confused the Caribbean for the shores of India.

Many fisheries scientists were sure there was no way humans could make a dent in the seemingly endless abundance of fish in the ocean as late as the middle of the 20th century. But our fishing industries were already well on their way to proving them wrong. It now seems that the problems facing our fisheries are as plentiful as cod once were on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland and throughout the Gulf of Maine.

We now live in a world where overfishing is far too prevalent. To stem this tide, regulators impose tighter and tighter restrictions on fishermen,* in the face of fundamental disagreements among harvesters, regulators, and conservationists about how many is too many.

Read on..

Our oceans are in real trouble and we critically need experts like Michael who understand more than the biology and trophic interactions beneath the surface. He notably includes the people and policy, as well as the science and has the experience on and off the Hill to be practical toward progress. In short, I encourage everyone to make Fish on Fridays part of their weekly reading. These columns are also posted at Climate Progress where you can participate in the comment threads.

Comments (3)

  1. Gaythia

    We need to keep an active eye on upcoming federal budget cuts:

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/20110412CONGRESS/41211Finalprogramcuts.pdf

    Note the ones for science related agencies, including NOAA!

  2. Gaythia

    We need to keep an active eye on upcoming federal budget cuts:

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/20110412CONGRESS/41211Finalprogramcuts.pdf

    Note the ones for science related agencies, including NOAA!

    The graphic above comes from the following article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/us/politics/12congress.html?_r=1&ref=politics

  3. Sonar leaves the fish no place to hide. They are gone. We’re 19th century whale hunters. Same idea, same profit motive, same excuses, same result. No fish. Oops.

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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.com For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.

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