SeaWeb – Connect With the Science

Written by on August 6, 2007 in Policy & Ocean Law

(This article was originally published on OceanLines on August 6, 2007.)

Its name is a good one. It conveys both the net-centric presence of the organization as well as its elegantly woven tapestry of marine issues and analysis. I came across SeaWeb while researching an article on sustainable fisheries and felt like I’d hit the main vein. SeaWeb does what so many other ocean policy and advocacy organization can’t seem to do, which is to keep the emotional rhetoric to a minimum and force the focus on peer-reviewed science — the basis for the best policy development.

What would you like to understand better? The status of fishing stocks in the world’s oceans? It’s there, with reference to the original 2003 publication in Nature. According to that study, most predatory and large ground-stocks have been depleted to less than 10 percent of their pre-industrial era levels. Want to figure out why aquaculture — farm-raising of normally wild ocean species — has both a good and bad side? That’s there, too. Turns out that “farm-raised” doesn’t necessarily mean “raised without harming wild stocks.” That’s because some aquaculture practices expose wild populations to parasites, disease, waste pollution, and food source competition. They also can screw up the natural genetic diversity of wild populations when they escape into the wild. It’s not all bad, however, and SeaWeb has lots of information on all the issues involved.

Nowadays, it’s all too easy to confuse “sound-bite advocacy” with the truth; or at least with the facts. Too many organizations traffic in hysterical language and activism intended seemingly to generate publicity and donations rather than enlightened debate.

Have a look at SeaWeb and start making sure you have the facts, borne from real, hard science and not just the latest sound-bite from those who speak — and think — only in “black or white.”

Copyright ©  2008 by OceanLines

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