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Thursday, September 27, 2007


Future of mill hits new hurdle
Chief reporter, The Mercury

September 27, 2007 12:00am

FEDERAL Cabinet refused to make a decision on the future of the $1.9 billion Tasmanian pulp mill this week after being told government chief scientist Jim Peacock concluded the proposal was flawed.

Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull flew to the US yesterday as it was reported Dr Peacock had briefed Cabinet on the findings for building the world's largest pulp mill in the Tamar Valley north of Launceston.

It is understood Dr Peacock's four-week inquiry has recommended the Federal Government not approve the mill in its current form, unless proponent Gunns agrees to incorporate more stringent effluent controls.

Dr Peacock is also believed to want Gunns to provide further information relating to the 73 million litres or 64,000 tonnes of effluent that will be pumped daily into Bass Strait and its potential dispersion and ocean movements.

The effluent contains toxic chemicals, dioxins and furans, which the federal Environment Department has concluded will have a "significant impact" on the marine life and marine sediments of Bass Strait and on the Tasmanian north-east coastline.

However, Mr Turnbull's department had earlier advised the Minister that he approve the mill under national environmental laws, with some added safeguards.
The department concluded the most severe detrimental impacts of the mill outfall would be on coastal marine waters and beaches outside the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, for which the State Government is responsible.

The independent report from Dr Peacock checking the department's approval recommendation was commissioned by Mr Turnbull after a massive national campaign against the pulp mill.

Dr Peacock's findings, which include even tougher effluent controls than those suggested by the Environment Department, went to Cabinet on Tuesday.

The Federal Government is now expected to announce its ultimate decision on the mill's future next week, after Mr Turnbull's return from America and before the federal election is called.

Gunns executive chairman John Gay would not comment yesterday if he had been told of Dr Peacock's recommendations, or if the company was prepared to change the design or wastetreatment systems.

Mr Turnbull's office refused to confirm the speculation.
Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said Prime Minister John Howard was pushing Cabinet to approve the pulp mill because he was a good friend of Mr Gay.

"John Howard is very cosy with Gunns supremo John Gay -- but his problem is that the chief scientist hasn't given the go-ahead; (instead) he's expressed very strong concerns about the outfall," Dr Brown said yesterday.

Monday, September 24, 2007

New California Central Coast MPA Network goes into effect

On Thursday, September 20th the new network of marine protected areas for California's Central Coast went into effect. This network is the first of the regional networks developed by the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative to go into effect. The MPA networks will exist to protect special places in state waters along California's coast. Here's a news story covering the action:

New fishing restrictions may be hard to enforce
Central coast protection areas vital to future of marine life, scientists say
Inside Bay Area
Article Last Updated: 9/21/07

California tackles the worldwide problem of ailing oceans in big way today when it begins restricting fishing in a new network of 29 marine protection areas along the coast from Santa Barbara to San Mateo counties.
State officials and environmentalists call the action a conservation landmark. The 29 areas are the first in a chain of preserves that will eventually dot the 1,100-mile California coast from Mexico to Oregon.

In the opening phase, fishing will be barred or restricted in 204 square miles, about 18 percent of central coast waters.

Enforcing the new restrictions will be a challenge for the thinly stretched crew of state fish and game wardens.

Only one new warden captain has been added so far for the extra responsibilities in the protection areas, which cover an area four times the size of San Francisco.

State environmental regulators and conservationists say establishing the new marine areas is an important step toward protecting oceans and rebuilding ocean fish populations declining worldwide.

"No other state has such an extensive network of protected marine areas," said Warner Chabot, vice president of the Ocean Conservancy. "This is important because we're moving toward looking at the entire health of the ocean ecosystem, rather than trying to focus on just one species at a time."

The state Fish and Game Commission gave final approval to the marine areas in April after more than two years of extensive meetings by task forces, advisory committees, science panels and the public. A law calling for the marine areas passed in 1999.

There are three types of marine protection areas, each with varying restrictions.

In marine reserves, fishing or harvesting of plants is banned. Marine conservation areas allow fishing but with restrictions. Marine parks allow recreational but not commercial fishing.

The goal is to protect habitat for fish, shellfish, birds, seals and plants in the biologically rich three-mile zone of state waters off the coast.

Ocean areas three miles from shore — the zone of state jurisdiction — provide important breeding and feeding areas for many fish because they are rich in sunlight and nutrients.

Several types of increasingly scarce rockfish, commonly labeled as red snapper in grocery stores, will benefit especially protections along the central coast areas, state officials say.

Some rockfish stay near a single rock pile their entire lives and produce far more young at age 50 than in their first decade of life. Letting the fish reach old age will speed the species' recovery, scientists say.

In months of public meetings, some commercial and fishermen have grumbled the restrictions will hurt their activities in the 29 areas.

But the hit on commercial fishing in the Central Coast will be modest, less than $1 million annually out of some $13.6 million a year for the industry, suggests a study for the environmental impact report on the new areas.

Little commercial salmon fishing is done in the first 29 marine protection areas, but many fishermen catch salmon in areas under study for protection zones from Pigeon Point in San Mateo County to Point Arena in Mendocino County.

Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, said he thinks the new protection areas can benefit some fish, but they fail to address the serious problem of pollution.

"You can't protect the ocean just by drawing circles around parts of it and saying no fishing is allowed," he said.

Chamois Andersen, a state spokesman for the marine protection areas, said the new areas will be a big step toward understanding how to keep the ocean healthy.

"One of our major missions is making these areas research sites so we understand how to conserve and protect them," Andersen said.

Teams of state and federal scientists, as well as volunteer fishermen, will collect data about fish, birds, animals, plants and water quality to monitor the health of the ocean protection areas.

Also, remote-controlled submarines are being used to map the ocean floor so changes can monitored, she said.

Some fishermen say the new protections can help the marine environment, but they worry there aren't enough state fish and game wardens to enforce them.

"The number of wardens along the coast is woefully inadequate and now we're asking them to enforce new regulations in these areas," said Dan Wolford, science adviser spokesman for the Coastside Fishing Club, which represents recreational fishermen up and down the state.

"We think this is going to greatly complicate the wardens' jobs," he said.

State officials say they will provide adequate manpower to enforce fishing the new restrictions, but they acknowledge it won't be easy.

"Yes, it will be challenging, but we're ready to do the job," said Capt. Brian Naslund, the state Department of Fish and Game enforcement liaison for the new marine protection areas. "We have staff that is already patrolling these waters. We're just going to be going out in the ocean more."

Naslund said his department has six long-range boats and many smaller vessels to enforce fishing regulations in state waters as well as federal waters farther out.

But equipment breakdowns and a chronic shortage of wardens, who are paid less than police and highway patrol officers, reduces the time the boats can spend out of sea.

Two of the six long-range vessels are in port in need of repairs, state officials say.

Grader of the Federation of Fishermen's Association, a voice of commercial fishermen, said he worries patrols in other waters will suffer as the warden force shifts people to patrol the 29 protection areas.

"I think we will have plenty of enforcement because everyone's eyes are on this new program. It's popular," Grader said. "But I worry you're going to have more poaching and abuse of the natural resources elsewhere."

State officials said they will juggle wardens' patrols to ensure enforcement doesn't suffer.

Eight more warden jobs allocated for the extra duties in marine protection areas will be filled as more protection areas go into effect, said Steve Martarano, a state fish and game spokesman.

Also, there will be extra "eyes and ears" on the water to detect and report poachers because many state and federal scientists and volunteers will be doing research to monitor the impact of the protection zones, he said.

Contact reporter Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267 or dcuff@bayareanewsgroup.com.

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Sebastian Inet Chapter Kicks Off 2008 Florida Clean Oceans Bill

In the spirit of Surfrider's Paddle for Clean Water the Sebastian Inlet chapter used the event to kick off its Florida Clean Oceans Bill for 2007/2008 Legislative session. The event brought together over 80 surfers, kayakers, bodyboarders and general beach enthusiasts.

See the latest news:



Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mind your Yard

While Surfrider has recently launched it's Ocean Friendly Gardens program in Southern California, the media are picking up on the concept and producing some really cool educational tools. This animated graphic was created by the Ventura County Star after meeting with Ventura Chapter's own Paul Jenkin.

Click to view animation.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Cool Activist Pic!

Check out this cool pic sent in by Priscilla Pinargote. El Murcielago in Manta Ecuador (sunset).

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Consensus Statement: Oregon's Ocean

Oregon Chapter of Surfrider recently partnered with a number of fishing groups, scientists, and environmental organizations to develop a consensus statement on Oregons ocean. The statement addresses the current health of Oregons marine ecosystem, as well as the role of management tools such as marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine reserves. The effort represents an important collaboration between a range of different stakeholder groups and demonstrates promise that diverse interests in Oregon can work together on issues like marine reserve planning, wave energy development, and watershed stewardship. Signers to the statement include: Portland Audubon, Northwest Steelheaders, Oceana, Five Star Charters, Port Orford Ocean Resource Team, Berkley Conservation Institute, NW Guides and Anglers, Pacific Marine Conservation Council, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, and others. The consensus statement and full list of signers is pasted below.


1. Our goal is a healthy ecosystem that provides services and values to humans.

2. Challenges to ocean health include:
a. Global warming;
b. Habitat destruction;
c. Over-exploitation;
d. Invasive species;
e. Pollution, including authorized uses of pesticides and herbicides;
f. Synergistic and cumulative effects, including those due to land-sea connections, such as coastal development, altered water regimes, diking, road building and agricultural and timber practices.

3. The reasons for uncertainty in ocean resource status include:
a. Environmental variability: seasonal and decadal variation, as well as directional change due to global warming, and impacts of these changes on marine life;
b. Uncertainty in abundance of stocks which are either not surveyed or lack sufficient assessment data to adequately determine stock status;
c. Inadequate funding for conducting stock assessments and ecological monitoring;
d. Inadequate evaluation of the efficacy of management measures

4. Marine Protected Areas including marine reserves may be useful tools to accomplish the following:
a. Preserve genetic, age, and spatial structure of populations;
b. Act as reference areas to measure impacts of fishing outside the protected area by inside vs. outside comparisons;
c. Provide refugia to maintain biodiversity;
d. Protect seafloor habitats from human-caused disturbance;
e. Provide relatively intact ecosystems, which are known to be more resistant and resilient to environmental variability

5. The tool (for example, marine reserves or marine protected areas) is not the goal.

6. We support precautionary management principles. Precautionary management involves the application of prudent foresight in ocean resource management, including fisheries management, characterized by:
a. Fisheries that are sustainable and management that considers needs of future generations;
b. Knowledge of undesirable outcomes is identified and measures are in place to avoid them;
c. Avoidance of actions that may not be reversible;
d. Management that gives priority to conserving productive capacity if impacts are uncertain;
e. Fishing capacity is restrained when impacts to resource productivity are highly uncertain;
f. Use of a framework plan that establishes reference levels for the fishery and appropriate actions when reference levels are achieved or exceeded;
g. In addition to the above FAO guidelines, we characterize precautionary management as adaptive and sensitive to needs of communities.
h. Alternatives to present management should be explored which provide more flexibility to achieve resource, habitat, and ecosystem conservation goals ;
i. In addition, precautionary and adaptive management includes evaluation of past and proposed actions.

7. Based on the available evidence, we perceive the state of Oregon and West Coast marine fisheries, ecosystem and fisheries management to be as follows:
a. Status of marine fisheries:
i. Healthy for some species: Dungeness crab and ocean shrimp are
good examples.
ii. Oregon terrestrial and adjacent ocean environments are host to 22 marine species of fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Ten of the listed species include threatened stocks of salmon and steelhead. Of these, 3 stocks of Chinook salmon and 2 stocks of Coho salmon are of particular concern and influence shaping of ocean fishing seasons and limits for salmon. Three bird species (brown pelican, marbled Murrelet, and snowy plover) receive special management attention in the nearshore due to their status. Of the 4 mammals in this group, the northern Stellar sea lion also receives special management attention in Oregon’s nearshore coastal waters.
iii. A mixed score exists for groundfishes. There are more than 90 exploited species of groundfish, of which 32 have been assessed. Overfished groundfish species presently constitute about 8% of exploited groundfish species (22% of assessed species. Specifically:
1. Of 7 over-fished rockfish species, canary rockfish appears not to be responding to management measures, but a new assessment is underway. Based on the most recent rebuilding analysis, yelloweye rockfish is also behind on its rebuilding schedule and optimum yield has been accordingly reduced. Both canary rockfish and
yelloweye rockfish are important nearshore and shelf species of the Oregon coast. Federal rebuilding management policies have signicant impact on fisheries in state waters as well. Boccacio, widow rockfish, and darkblotched rockfish have definitely turned around and are rebuilding.
2. The Dover sole, thornyhead, sablefish complex (including blackgill rockfish) appears to be
healthy, although sablefish is at a low enough level to be managed under the Council’s pre-cautionary 40:10 rule.
3. Lingcod has been rebuilt and several species of flatfish appear to have robust populations.
4. Hake, a major offshore fishery, may have to have harvest reductions due to the lack of recruitment.
5. Little is known about the status of many stocks, especially nearshore species.
iv. Remaining fisheries are of unknown status.

b. Status of marine ecosystem:
i. Uncertain due to:
1. Lack of monitoring:
a. Bycatch, while partially monitored, lacks a long-term plan for prevention other than RCAs;
b. The abundance and distribution of non-target fishes, invertebrates and plants species are not well monitored.
2. Lack of assessments:
a. Few stock assessments have been completed (8 of 42 nearshore species in Oregon assessed);
b. Few biodiversity surveys assessing spatial distribution of both target and non-target species have been conducted;
c. Few comprehensive maps exist for seafloor habitats.
3. Environmental variability and global warming;
4. Unknown long-term effects of pollutants;
5. Dead zones;
6. Invasive species;
7. Lack of protection for low-relief seafloor habitats.

c. Status of fisheries management:
i. Improving due to EFH amendment and changes in Magnuson-Stevens Act;
ii. Improving due to recent ecosystem-based initiatives by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, including a ban on krill fisheries and formation of an Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management Subcommittee of the Scientific and Statistical Committee.
iii. Improving through the use of initiatives to ‘market’ sustainable fisheries using sound ecosystem-based management principles;
iv. In need of improvement due to:
1. Lack of international controls or the application of ecosystem-based scientific methods and precautionary management techniques; 2. Need for more flexibility to manage limited resources;
3. Need for greater implementation of ecosystem-based approaches, including spatial management.

8. In Oregon’s nearshore, the Oregon Ocean Resources Management Plan and the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan, including Goal 19, direct that management should "conserve marine resources and ecological functions for the purpose of providing long-term ecological, economic, and social value and benefits to future generations."

9. Therefore, we support:
a. A healthy ecosystem;
b. Adaptive management with local flexibility, including community-based management;
c. The identification of important ecological areas within Oregon's coastal and marine ecosystem, the identification of threats to those areas, appropriate management measures to conserve those areas, and monitoring and evaluation of those management measures;
d. Use of tools which may include Marine Reserves and Marine Protected Areas:
i. To protect living marine resources and their seafloor habitats;
ii. To protect the genetic, age and spatial structure of species, especially long-lived species known to require older age classes to maintain reproductive capacity;
iii. To protect natural and cultural heritage sites and to maintain biodiversity;
iv. As reference areas to evaluate external management actions;
v. To provide relatively intact ecosystems, which are known to be more resistant and resilient to environmental variability and change.

e. A process for the investigation of marine reserves that includes the following:
i. Encourages the involvement of coastal forums or community councils. Community councils should be small in geographic scope (i.e., port by port) and diverse in representation, including the fishing industry, government agencies, environmental organizations, universities, independent scientists, other interest groups;
ii. Local knowledge about resource abundance and distribution, collected and consolidated using GIS technology. Data should be validated and valued for use in planning processes;
iii. Funding made available for councils and other legal authorities to assess and monitor actions and activities.
(f) An approach which includes and addresses the threats by coastal and upslope impacts to healthy marine ecosystems.

Signed by:

Cheryl Coon, Audubon Society of Portland
Jim Martin, Berkley Conservation Institute
Pete Stauffer, Surfrider Foundation
Frank Warrens
Peter Huhtala, Pacific Marine Conservation Council
Linda Buell, Garibaldi, Oregon
Ben Enticknap, Oceana
Liz Hamilton, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association
Dr. Mark Hixon, Department of Zoology, Oregon State University
Jim Golden, Golden Marine Consulting
Bob Rees, NW Guides and Anglers Association
Mark Lottis, Five Star Charters, Gold Beach, Oregon
Jeff Feldner, fisherman, Newport, Oregon
Dr. Kirsten Grorud-Colvert
Bob Jacobson, fisherman, Newport, Oregon
Greg Harlow, Association of Northwest Steelheaders
Carolyn Waldron, Oregon Ocean
Laura Anderson, small business owner, Newport, Oregon
Leesa Cobb, Port Orford Ocean Resource Team

Oregon Wave Energy Project Stirs Competing Concerns

Ore. Wave energy project stirs competing concerns
The Associated Press


FLORENCE, Ore. (AP) — Australian plans to build a wave energy project off the coast of Florence are caught between the lure of clean energy and fears of an onshore platform jungle.

Some envision small buoys on par with the ones that mark crab pots.

But the ones Oceanlinx Limited has in mind more resemble oil rigs, 330 tons, rising 23 feet above the water, far different from those proposed for similar energy projects along the coast.

Oceanlinx plans to spread 10 of the buoys from a half mile offshore to three miles out.

"They're like small oil platforms," said Gus Gates of the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation and a local activist.

Surfrider filed a motion to intervene last week with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will rule on the Oceanlinx permit.

The group joined the city of Florence, the Port of Siuslaw, the Siuslaw Fishermen's Association and Lincoln County.

Oceanlinx would transmit the energy it generates to the grid via undersea cables.

The offshore structures will be made of an oscillating water column and wave chamber, turbine and electric generator. According to a federal application, the project is based on a principal called the "oscillating water column."

A vertical water column or chamber is partly submerged and fixed to the ocean floor.

As the waves bob up and down, the water level within the chamber rises and falls, causing air flow across a turbine that drives a generator.

It is, essentially, air power.

Some of the buoys proposed along the coast consist of hydraulic mechanisms that transfer energy from the bobbing of waves into a mechanical form and then into an electrical form.

It isn't known which is the more efficient.

Skeptics fear the Florence proposal will impact the fishing industry and tourist industries and the prized sunsets.

"That's kind of the hub of surfing in Lane County," Gates said. "But there are also fishing grounds impacted, gray whales that could become entangled, kiteboarders."

Opponents don't oppose the project per se.

They like the idea of clean, renewable energy and say it might actually help re-establish fish populations by keeping away some segments of the fishing industry, such as trawlers, which can harm the nearshore ecosystem.

He worries that the wave energy movement is moving ahead too fast and wonders what Florence stands to gain or lose.

"We're kind of jumping the gun here," Gates said. "Why should we give up our ocean, our activity, if it doesn't benefit us? If could be great if it's done small, well-planned, conservatively. But how many jobs is this going to create?"

Port commission member Joshua Greene feels it could create thousands of jobs statewide but supports the port's motion to intervene because it gives the agency "a seat at the table."

"I'm very pro-wave energy from an environmentalist point of view, but I think it could also be an incredible opportunity for the state to develop economic strength," Greene said.

He envisions smaller platforms, and buoys manufactured up the Siuslaw River that can be shipped over the river bar.

"You know what that does to Florence? That's like bringing logging back. The tonnage across the bar solves your dredging problems and creates a few hundred jobs."

By dredging, Greene means the federal funds the port fights for each year to maintain a safe navigation channel. Without a certain amount of commercial movement across the river bar, it's harder to get federal funds.

Mark Lull, president of the Siuslaw Fishermen's Association, has different concerns.

"These units are in prime crab country and salmon trolling area," Lull said. "With the rope and chain to the anchors, the footprint of these platforms is large. You can't troll through that area, you can't dump crab pots in that area. Everything will tangle with the anchors."

Oceanlinx expects to apply for a license in three years.ret wave or orbas wao orol


Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Que nos paso Puerto Rico?

Here is the story behind this student video from Rincón, Puerto Rico.

This video is the result of Surfrider's outreach and education efforts in the local high school.

This work is part of our NOAA Coral Restoration Grant funded throught the Gulf of Mexico Foundation.

Our partners on this project are the municipality and commercial fishermen.

We are working with the High School Environmental Studies class to develop a PSA related to this Marine Debris project.

If you have not heard about this project, check it out at:

Tres Palmas Marine Debris Removal and Coral Reef Restoration Project

Palm Beach Chapter Wins Another Step in Fight Against Lake Worth Outfall

Lake Worth, September 4 -
Palm Beach Chapter activists and partnering organization Reef Rescue convinced the City commissioners of Lake Worth Florida to unanimously deny a request to hire a lobbyist to negotiate with a state environmental agency (DEP) for a permit that would allow the city to dump 4 million gallons of reverse osmosis concentrate near a pristine and endangered coral reef.

Although the DEP has not yet publicly announced its decision on the final permit, Utility Director Samy Faried told commissioners that the permit to use an old 92-foot deep sewage outfall pipe has been denied, which was the reason for the lobby.

This past June, the DEP issued a draft permit that, if approved, would have allowed the city to use the sewage outfall pipe that extends about a mile off Lake Worth Beach. But surfers, divers, fisherman, scientists and environmentalists flooded the DEP with objections. The Lake Worth mayor credits these efforts with saving the Horseshoe Reef.

To the many hundreds of you who sent in permit objection emails; pat yourselves on the back for a job well done. Thank you to Dr. Mike Risk and Dr. Tom Goreau who flew to Florida and volunteered their time providing expert testimony before the DEP and Dr. LaPointe and Barrile for their documentation.

Surfrider will continue to work with the City to help find alternatives for the concentrate as well as assist state legislators with a Florida Outfall Closure Bill this upcoming session.

Hopefully this is the last we will hear about ocean dumping in Lake Worth.

See NBC TV News: Reef off Lake Worth May Be Saved http://www.wptv.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=20fbdc69-1f6c-4e10-862b-2ae3ce78f636

See Palm Beach Post: Lobbyists nixed in Lake Worth

McKenzie Steiner on NBC's Today Show

Check out McKenzie Steiner and Jim Moriarty on NBC's Today Show. McKenzie is highlighted in former President Bill Clinton's new book, "Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World," for celebrating her sixth birthday by cleaning up a beach with her friends.

Click here to see the Today Show segment.

McKenzie was also featured at Giving's book launch yesterday in Harlem. Click here to read a Washington Post article about the event.

In addition, here's more coverage in USA Today and Publishers Weekly.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Brazil Surfers Break World Record


Surf's up in Brazil
September 3, 2007 - 11:51AM

Eighty-four surfers caught the same wave at a Brazilian beach on Sunday to smash the former world record of 73, set last year in South Africa, the event's sponsor said.

Clad in green T-shirts proclaiming the event as a part of the anti-global warming campaign, the surfers stood, crouched and laid on a fleet of boards on a small wave to sink their South African rivals, who themselves last year broke the earlier Brazil record of 42 on the same curler.

Event sponsor Earthwave, founded by the Kahuna Surfing Academy in Cape Town, sought to have surfers take tries at the record today in nine different countries, from Australia to Reunion, South Africa, Portugal, Britain, the United States, Brazil, Argentina and then Tahiti, to highlight the problem of climate change.

In Capetown, 310 surfers joined the event but were only able to muster 71 on the same wave this year.

In Santos, southeast of Sao Paulo, 120 joined the event and 84 of them managed to get on the same wave.

"Most important was we were able to call attention to the very serious problem of global warming," said Rico de Souza, Earthwave organiser in Brazil.

Surf's up ... Riders break the World Record for the most surfers on one wave.
Photo: Reuters