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oceana

Seafood Lovers, Fishermen, and All of Us Can Help Save Our Endangered Oceans

Check out these exclusive excerpts and awesome photographs from Ted Danson's new book Oceana.



RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Large-scale disasters like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and last year's BP oil rig explosion, remind us of the ocean's power and vulnerability. But the truth is, the world's oceans have been in crisis for decades. As one example, consider that 90% of the world's big fish that existed in the 1950s—including the ones we like to eat—are gone. And there's a real possibility that the rest of them could be fished out within the next 50 years.

In the new book Oceana, actor and environmental activist Ted Danson explains the threats our oceans face, and the ways we can all help turn the tide. We're all affected by what happens in, and to, our planet's oceans. So sample some gorgeous oceanic imagery from the pages of Oceana, check out our interview with Ted, a seafood shopping guide, and more.

Learn more about protecting the oceans at Oceana.org.

"Studies done on undamaged deepwater seamounts have found among the coldwater corals and sponges and their associated ecosystems possible sources of medical treatments for diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s..."
"Unaided by scuba tanks, he has broken several world records for depth and length of time underwater..."
"The greater the depth, the more otherworldly the life-forms become..."
"Everything is connected."
"Yet another shock was the 2003 release of study results from a highly respected marine conservationist..."
"As destructive as the search for and use of fossil fuels is to the oceans, public enemy number one when it comes to the destruction of life in the high seas is, far and away, overfishing..."
"25% of all marine life depends on coral reefs..."

"Studies done on undamaged deepwater seamounts have found among the coldwater corals and sponges and their associated ecosystems possible sources of medical treatments for diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. In much the same way that invaluable new medicines that might be developed from the flora and fauna of South America’s thickest jungles are being wiped out by the clear-cutting, digging, and drilling the timber and extractive industries are doing in those Amazonian forests, we’re also seeing that opportunities for finding medical miracles in the depths of the high seas are being lost to industrial trawlers and their nets. I don’t want to sound like a Cassandra here, seeing nothing but doom all around us. There’s plenty of hope, plenty that can be done to change things for the better. We’ve already covered some of the things we can do about the issues we’ve looked at so far, and we’ll cover much more in the pages to come. But before we can act to initiate change, we need to know just what the problems are, and how deep and far their tentacles reach."—Oceana

Buy the book: Oceanabook.com

Learn more about protecting the oceans: Oceana.org

"Martin Stepánek is one of the world’s stars in the emerging sport of freediving. Unaided by scuba tanks, he has broken several world records for depth and length of time underwater, including the record for holding one’s breath: eight minutes and six seconds. With a view of the underwater world unencumbered by diving equipment, Stepánek has a unique perspective on our changing oceans."—Oceana

Buy the book: Oceanabook.com

Learn more about protecting the oceans: Oceana.org

"The scientists, after decades of study, already knew about the fragility of deepwater fish themselves, and of their habitat. They had learned that at the extremely cold temperatures and extremely high water pressures found in the great depths of the high seas, everything about the life-forms is slowed down. The greater the depth, the more otherworldly the life-forms become: humpbacked sharks with eyes that glow like headlights, tripod fish that stand on their fins like circus clowns walking on stilts, single-celled protozoans twice the size of a silver dollar. To the scientists, every one of these deep-sea creatures is worth a lifetime of study. But to the commercial fishing industry, the only feature that matters is the creatures’ marketability. They couldn’t care less that the average life span of an orange roughy is close to a century. That some roughy live as long as 130 years or more. That leafscale gulper sharks live to age seventy. That the average Baird’s smooth-head’s life span is thirty-eight years. Or that all of these slow-growing, longlived fish reach sexual maturity (the age at which they become able to reproduce) later than humans do. Some orange roughy and grenadiers, for example, can’t reproduce until age forty."—Oceana

Buy the book: Oceanabook.com

Learn more about protecting the oceans: Oceana.org

"Everything is connected. The things we do that harm the oceans harm so many other things like ripples that spread when a stone his the surface of water. Never believe that one person is too small to make a difference. Everything connects. Everything matters.—Oceana

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Buy the book: Oceanabook.com

Learn more about protecting the oceans: Oceana.org


"In 1988—at almost exactly the same time that the cod population was collapsing in the North Atlantic—the annual worldwide fishing catch declined significantly for the first time in history. The decline was masked for twelve years by exaggerated yields reported by China until, in 2001, Daniel Pauly and Reg Watson, of the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia, uncovered the distortions and reported them in Nature. In fact, since 1988, the global fishing industry’s catch has dropped by an average of more than ½ million tons a year—a truly worrying trend that the industry has mostly ignored or outright denied. But the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations refers, since this article was published, to the world catch with and without reported Chinese catches.

Yet another shock was the 2003 release of study results from a highly respected marine conservationist, the late Ransom Myers, that revealed a tremendous decline in the populations of the oceans’ “big predators”—the large species at the pinnacle of the marine food web. Myers found that since 1950, there had been a 90 percent drop in the numbers of twenty-five of the ocean’s largest predators."—Oceana

Buy the book: Oceanabook.com

Learn more about protecting the oceans: Oceana.org


"As destructive as the search for and use of fossil fuels is to the oceans, public enemy number one when it comes to the destruction of life in the high seas is, far and away, overfishing. In scale and seriousness, it can be compared to the razing of the rain forests in South America and the mass extermination of the buffalo in the American West. The oceans are, in fact, our planet’s last frontier, and it’s no exaggeration to say that we are fishing them to death.

I’m not being overly dramatic here. Every statistic churned out by the men and women who study the seas tells us the cycle of life that has kept Earth’s seas filled with life for hundreds of millions of years is at a tipping point. In much the same way that scenarios of destruction by a nuclear war tell us that virtually the only survivors would be single-celled organisms, experts in marine science say we’re within a century— possibly even less—of inhabiting a world where the only viable seafood left in the oceans will indeed be jellyfish."—Oceana

Buy the book: Oceanabook.com

Learn more about protecting the oceans: Oceana.org

"25% of all marine life depends on coral reefs. All coral reefs could be gone by the end of the century."—Oceana

Buy the book: Oceanabook.com

Learn more about protecting the oceans: Oceana.org

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Published on: April 4, 2011



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