The GIRL of THE SEA of CORTEZ is my favorite Peter Benchley novel. It's a high-spirited adventure story that speaks to my personal love of the ocean and all its fascinating creatures. The story takes you under the sea to experience the spectacular, but it also shares the threats facing our seas. While this book was written 30 years ago, Peter was prescient about mans complex relationship to the sea. This captivating story is even more relevant today than ever.
--Gregory S. Stone, Ph.D., Chief Scientist for Oceans, Conservation International
"The ocean drives the water cycle, the carbon cycle, the oxygen cycle, the nitrogen cycle … it drives the way the world works. Even if you never touch the ocean, the ocean touches you every day. And it’s only now, as we get into the 21st century, that we’re beginning to put the blue part of the planet on the balance sheet."
"It is our responsibility to preserve and cherish this pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
--Carl Sagan, Astronomer + Author
“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”
--Jacques Cousteau, Oceanographer + Explorer
Top Ten Ocean Stories from 2013
- Just after the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan devastates the Philippines, killing thousands and indicating the ‘new normal’ we can expect with extreme storms and weather patterns linked to climate change.
- Vital Marine Protected Areas (ocean wilderness parks) were created off Argentina, the UK and elsewhere but Australia’s new conservative government rolled back its MPA protections while plans for an international agreement to protect the Antarctic’s Ross Sea were blocked by Russia and Ukraine.
- Arctic 30 busted and released: The Greenpeace activists trying to stop Russian oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean were jailed for months, faced years in prison on piracy and hooliganism charges and then were suddenly released as part of President Putin’s Olympics PR amnesties.
- Science on ocean acidification keeps getting scarier. New studies suggested that if the present rate of fossil fuel burning continues, the ocean will be more acidic by the end of this century than it has been in 20 million years. Not only will this make it harder on shell forming creatures already being impacted, it will reduce the dissolved oxygen content of the ocean.
- 2013 Benchley Award winner Ed Markey was elected Senator from Massachusetts. He now joins ocean and climate champion Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Maine and Brian Schatz of Hawaii in the fight to turn the tide for a healthy ocean.
- U.S. National Ocean Policy slowly moves towards implementation despite partisan opposition from House Republicans, led by inland representatives from eastern Washington and Waco, Texas.
- The Chinese government promised to stop serving shark fin soup at state banquets, indicating the growing impact of the global shark conservation movement. Shark fin consumption kills tens of millions of these top predators every year.
- Mystery dolphin and sea star deaths in 2013 still puzzle scientists while leaving wildlife populations impacted in the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.
- The European Union began to cut back on subsidies for its overcapitalized fishing fleet in order to reduce overfishing. The EU also targeted illegal fishing nations that may account for a third of the world’s catch, both important first steps.
- 2013 Ocean Health Index scores the state of our seas at 65 out of a possible 100, up a mere 0.4 percent from the first annual report card in 2012. This is still a D for the Ocean (or more accurately the humans who abuse it).