One hundred forty odd miles southeast of Nantucket, the cod-gray seas of Georges Bank turned to Mediterranean blue. We had left the continental shelf in our wake and were motoring out over one of the deep sea canyons. The first sperm whale we came upon was floating dead in the water. Likely killed by a ship strike. We went on that day to find two very alive sperm whales blowing and diving.
That day, many years ago, I was angry about how we mistreat whales and the state of our oceans. I acted, was awarded a Switzer Environmental Fellowship, went to graduate school and was awarded a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies in 2002. In 2003, I was founding chairperson of Ocean Champions, the only political voice for oceans. In 2007, I was founding executive director of the Ocean River Institute, providing individuals and groups specific opportunities to make a difference saving wildlife, protecting ecosystems, in environmental education, science, and conservation. In 2016, at the urging of the above mentioned organizations and many others, President Obama created the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Recently, in 2017, I was presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Humanitarian Achievement Award. (Click here for my interview and life story with a member of the Marquis Who’s Who nominating committee).
In this video, Rob talks of sperm whales and marine national monument.
And now the real work begins. Separate from the vagrancies of government, we must work together to protect the whales, deep sea coldwater corals, benthic and pelagic marine life, plankton, nexton, and neuston of the NE Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.
Citizen scientists are needed to remotely monitor the surfacing and presence of whales in relation to ship traffic – to require ships to slow to ten knots with attentive lookouts in the presence of whales, or do not steam through the Marine National Monument.
Rob talks about seamounts and the looming threat of precious metal mining.
Seamount Guardians defend the seamounts from the solar cell industry’s stated interests in mountain-top removal mineral mining with remotely operated submersibles of the ferromanganese crust for tellurium because plundering next to the world’s greatest fishery is more profitable than buying from China.
Savvy folks are needed to block the permitting of oil and gas leasing requested by many big oil companies to explore and drill Lydonia Canyon, one of the three canyons in the Marine National Monument.
Rob talks about coldwater deep sea corals.
Citizen oceanographers are needed to monitor the Atlantic Ocean’s absorption of heat from global warming, the increasing volume of shelf waters with decreasing volume of surface waters, the shifting boundaries (the thermocline) between bodies of water. Does the deep vertical dives of sperm whales sufficiently mix the seaw water column to increase the ocean’s ability to absorb heat? Are whales helping to lessen climate change?
Rob explains why this is really important.
Join Deep Sea Canyon Rangers, friends of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Act for healthy ocean ecosystems through education, research, conservation, and stewardship. Click here. Welcome aboard.
Common dolphins (Delphinus delphis) bow riding far offshore.