The Fewell’s Meet Flipper (sort of)

During the sub-arctic March weather we experienced here in DC, Sheara and I had the good fortune to escape to Orlando with our girls for spring break and experienced a wonderful opportunity m032813_00_9901to interact with dolphin at Sea World’s Discovery Cove.  A splendid place for all to spend a day (none of those dreaded Disney lines – only incredible interactions with sea life, such as dolphin, sharks, otters, rays and beautiful tropical birds).  A special shout out to Jess who was our dolphin trainer for the day, and introduced us to Astra (pictured here), Diego, Tyler, Hutch and other amazing dolphin.  Jess was awesome and gave us a magical behind the scenes tour of this one-of-a-kind theme park. Continue reading

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Whale Wars on Trial

Among my favorite reality shows is Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, starring the curmudgeonly captain, Paul Watson, and his rag-tag volunteers aboard the Sea Shepherd who risk their lives in the Antarctic’s icy waters trying to stop commercial whaling by the Japanese.

This week the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an oimagesCANVL7UEpinion, reversing a lower court’s decision and issuing a preliminary injunction against the Sea Shepherd’s attempts to interfere with Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research (“Cetacean”) whaling vessels on the high seas.  Watson and his team are now deemed dangerous pirates.  Continue reading

Tragedy of the Commons Strikes Again

We each have them, those childhood experiences that shape our life perspective and canvas our memories of youth.  Mine was spending summers in Maine.  I still feel it as though it were yesterday, that building excitement as we crossed the Piscataque River Bridge in Kittery Maine after a long and grueling road trip.  My brother, Scott, and I would roll down our windows, stick out our heads, and deeply inhale that first breath of salty air, tinged with the acrid smell of sour mud and clam flats.  I can smell it now.  Among the many wonderful memories of sailing, digging claims, eating lobster, and hunting for crabs was that special deep-sea fishing trip with our dad that we had dreamed about for the past eleven months.  Deer Isle Maine was our point of departure and the cod fish – the holy grail for the day – was our quest.

I was saddened to read an article in this morning’s NYT that describes the cod’s current plight.  Continue reading

Save the Planet – plant a tree or feed a krill

A new, potentially promising plan to mitigate climate change by sequestering krillsatmospheric carbon deep within the oceans, known as Iron or Ocean Fertilization, has prompted quite a controversy.  The idea behind this geoengineering feat is to enrich nutrient-poor ocean waters with iron, thereby promoting the growth of algae, which doubles as a source of carbon sequestration and food for phytoplankton.  Phytoplankton, in turn, is an essential food item for krill a small shrimp-like creature that constitutes a major part of the diet of many ocean fish, penguins, and whales, among other ocean critters.  The algae that isn’t consumed dies and sinks to the ocean floor, sequestering carbon for the next million years or so, or so the theory goes.  Ocean fertilizing has the same positive effect as natural deep ocean upwellings where waters become highly productive with life, supporting some of the best fisheries on earth.  The only difference is the source of the nutrients.  For upwellings, nutrients come from the ocean floor; whereas, for fertilizing, it comes from the surface.  Continue reading