Recently in Seacology News Category
We just got this GLOWING update via email from our field rep in Indonesia about the 99,000-acre marine reserve off the coast of Daram Island. (Seacology is funding the construction of a community center in nearby Fafanlap village in exchange for their support of the reserve)
It was so great we just had to share:
The last time I dived this site was with the Seacology trip in 2007 and while it was spectacular four years ago, the reef has exploded with fish life since then. For the first time we saw schools of Napoleon wrasse, blacktip sharks and aggregations of big grouper, all of which seem to have been locally extinct on most Indonesian reefs for over a decade. There were so many fish on this dive that our heads were spinning. I was emphatically pointing one way and Mark was emphatically pointing another way the whole dive. I came out of that dive exhilarated and full of joy and hope that other reefs in the Misool area, with continued protection, will also look like Fafanlap in just a few short years. If they do, I can foresee that S.E. Misool will have THE best diving in the world, hands down.
Seacology's Board of Directors recently approved seven new island conservation projects. Our work can now be found on 120 islands in 45 countries around the world, protecting over 1.9 million acres of coral reef, mangroves, rainforests, and other island ecosystems. Below are brief summaries of our new projects; stay tuned for more photos and details in the future.
Indonesia - Misool Area, Raja Ampat
Community building in support of a 40,300 hectare (99,583 acre) no-take marine area.
Indonesia - Pelilit Village, Nusa Penida Island, Bali
Funding for planting 33,900 tree saplings and construction of a turtle guard post in exchange for the creation of 33.5 hectares (83 acres) of "no-take" forest and a one-half hectare (1.2 acre) "no-take" turtle-nesting beach.
Jamaica - Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary
Establishing a furnished field office and providing equipment for the enforcement of the 150 acre Oracabessa Bay Fish Sanctuary.
Mexico - Isla Natividad, Baja California
Cabin for ecotourists, surfers, and scuba divers, in exchange for the protection of a 1,120 acre protected area, including three islets.
Above, Black vented shearwaters off the coast of Isla Natividad. 85% of the world's population of these birds nests on the island.
Papua New Guinea - Wanang Community, Papua New Guinea
Permanent classroom facility in exchange for the expansion of a community conservation area from 1,100 hectares (2,718 acres) to 2,200 hectares (5,436 acres) for a minimum duration of 25 years.
Philippines - Barangay Malhiao, Municipality of Badian, Cebu Province
Boardwalk and viewing deck in support of a 73 hectare (180 acre) mangrove area.
Tanzania - Bumbwini-Mkokotoni Bay, on Unguja Island, Zanzibar
Alternative livelihood and mangrove planting in support of the conservation and protection of 610 hectares (1,507 acres) of mangroves for a minimum duration of 14 years.
Above, a community member in the local mangrove on Unguja Island in Zanzibar.
From coral reef cures to climate change lawsuits, there have been many recent happenings in the world of islands. Read on for summaries of island news...
Medical Cures in Coral Reefs?
Among the many reasons to protect coral reefs--including the staggering biodiversity these "rainforests of the sea" contain, and their increasingly endangered status around the world--an unexpected boon from reefs may be their burgeoning contributions to the field of medicine. From anti-inflammatory drugs to sunblock, coral reefs already provide compounds for many medical products, and scientists believe they likely hold many more. Read this Grist interview with two doctors who are studying the role coral reefs may play in the health of humans--as well as the oceans.
A diver on a Seacology trip explores a coral reef. Photo by Sylvia Earle.
Good News from Cabilao, Philippines
Last year, Seacology funded a project on Cabilao Island, in the Philippines, to help protect the local coral reefs and marine ecosystems. Our project included a 50-acre extension on an existing marine protected area in exchange for funding to renovate an antique lighthouse, to be used as a display facility for locally produced handicrafts. Our Philippines Field Representative Ferdie Marcelo recently returned from Cabilao with an update on the community's work. They have finished the renovations, and are continuing to monitor the MPA and increase their handicraft market. Read Ferdie's fascinating blog post for details about our Cabilao Island project.
The newly renovated Cabilao lighthouse. Photo by Ferdie Marcelo.
Scattered across the South Pacific, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is an island nation that includes the states of Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, and Pohnpei. Comprised mostly of small, low-lying islands, FSM is already experiencing some of the devastating effects of climate change, which will only increase in the years to come. But at the Threatened Island Nations Conference held last week in New York City, FSM detailed the legal action it took in January 2010 against a large power station in the Czech Republic, on the grounds that the plant's pollution contributed to the climate change that was harming island nations like FSM. Although the Czech court did not end up agreeing with FSM, it has taken some steps in response to FSM's plea for action against climate change. Read more about this precedent-setting case here.
Seacology Executive Director Duane Silverstein recently joined Seacology supporters on a dive trip in the Philippines. In addition to exploring the Philippines' vibrant coral reefs, they visited a Seacology project on Palawan Island, where Seacology worked with the El Nido Foundation, a local NGO, to set aside 1,317 acres of coral reef and 2,580 acres of mangrove forest. Seacology provided funds for guardhouses, patrol boats, marker buoys, and signs for the new reserve, as well as new equipment for their cashew processing industry, a sustainable alternative livelihood to fishing in the protected area. Learn more about our project on Palawan and recent Philippines expedition in our new video:
As the people of Japan continue to struggle in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear threat, we are relieved to report that all our colleagues in Japan, including Seacology Japan Board Members and our 2007 Seacology Prize Winner, survived the disaster.
With our affiliate office in Japan, Seacology has created a Japanese Disaster Relief Fund to support relief efforts in the country. In the spirit of Seacology, we are working to identify a project where our funds will have the biggest possible impact. We will continue to update you on these efforts as we continue to keep our Japanese partners and the entire island in our thoughts.
Below is a letter from Seacology's Chairman and Founder, Dr. Paul Cox, about this great tragedy. If you would like to support the Seacology Japanese Disaster Relief Fund, you may donate online or by check, with a note indicating that you would like to support the fund for Japan. All donations will be directed entirely towards relief efforts.
From left to right: Seacology Executive Director Duane Silverstein, founding Seacology Japan board member Akemi Yoshida, 2007 Seacology Prize Recipient Kokichi Kariya, Seacology Development Director Susan Racanelli, and founding Seacology Japan board member Akemi Chiba. Photo taken en route to visit Kariya san's project in Fuzawa Village, Japan.
12% of America's land is protected by our government. But how much of the world's oceans, which cover 75% of our planet, are under similar protections? An astounding .08%--not even 1%!
This was one of the many fascinating subjects discussed at a reception this week with Seacology and Dr. Sylvia Earle, a leading oceanographer and member of our Scientific Advisory Board, to discuss the state of the world's oceans. Seacology Fellow Lezlie Johnson hosted a private reception in her Los Angeles home, and guests heard from Seacology Executive Director Duane Silverstein, who described how Seacology is contributing to Dr. Earle's vision of a global network of marine protected areas.
During her presentation, Dr. Earle summarized her career as an explorer of the oceans--from her experience in the first all-female aquanaut expedition, to her 1250 foot dive in a JIM suit, the deepest dive by any woman. Since winning the TED Prize in 2009, Dr. Earle has been a leading advocate of ocean conservation. At Seacology's reception, she shared again her TED wish:
"I wish you would use all means at your disposal -- films! expeditions! the web! more! -- to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet." - Sylvia Earle
Seacology's island conservation projects are working towards Dr. Earle's vision of a global network protecting our oceans and their species. Our latest projects include three new marine conservation areas, in the Philippines, Mexico, and Fiji.
Seacology's Board of Directors came together for their semiannual meeting at the end of January. Among other things, they discussed and approved Seacology's most recent round of island conservation projects.
From protecting a stand of massive ka trees known for their buttressed roots in the Micronesian state of Kosrae, to creating a mangrove reserve and a coastal resources center in Sri Lanka, Seacology is continuing its transformational work protecting the world's islands and their people. Also included in our most recent batch of projects is the whale shark project that we wrote about last fall, where Seacology is working to save the habitat of the world's largest species of fish. Read on for details on all of our new projects:
Each year, Seacology honors an indigenous island conservationist who has dedicated his or her life to safeguarding their island home. For many of our recipients, the journey to our California ceremony honoring their work is the experience of a lifetime. Returning to their native country with $10,000 in prize money, our Seacology Prize recipients continue to achieve major progress in conservation. Below are updates on recent Seacology Prize recipients:
As the year draws to a close, Seacology wishes our supporters the best for the holiday season and New Year. Without you, we couldn't bring hope and change to the many islands around the world that need our help.
Over the past year, Seacology has launched 19 new island projects, bringing our total to 210 projects on 115 islands in 45 nations around the world. Our 2010 projects protected nearly 10,000 acres of island terrestrial habitat and over 3,000 acres of marine ecosystems, saving endangered sea turtles, mangrove forests, and tropical rainforests. But with over a million islands on Earth, many of them threatened by commercial fishing and logging, and many more harboring some of the world's most exquisite and threatened plants and animals, we have our work cut out for us. We look forward to continuing our transformational work in the coming year.
For an overview of Seacology's activities in 2010 and the events that 2011 will bring, peruse our recent blog post.
If you are still in need of last-minute holiday gifts, consider honoring a loved one with Seacology's new Save an Acre program. For $40, you can protect an acre of coral reef or rainforest--a meaningful gift that will last a lifetime and beyond.
From all of us at Seacology, best wishes and many thanks for your ongoing support!