SEA Currents: environmental policy
Snorkeling is school, right?
Today was our first full day in Tonga! We spent the night tied up at the harbor in Neiafu after getting a chance to explore the town. Students stood hour long watches throughout the night, which was our first ‘opportunity’ to monitor the ship without the supervision of the staff. A.K.A the staff finally got a full night’s sleep.
This morning we were able to sleep in!
Science and Policy Meet in Bermuda
Dear loyal readers,
After almost a week of field trips in Bermuda we are now making our way home. One of the aspects of teaching at SEA Semester that I find most rewarding is the way that we routinely examine the intersections between history, policy, science and exploration, all in an inter-/multi- disciplinary setting. Our time in Bermuda this week was spent investigating how all of these threads come together in this unique part of the world.
PIPA student profiled in Brown University’s “News from Brown”
SEA Semester in the News
In summer at sea, adventurous student continues a personal academic journey
By David Orenstein
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Peter Baek traces his inspiration as a scientist, pre-med student and explorer to a beloved movie.
“Ever since watching ‘Finding Nemo’ with my grandpa and dad, our love for fish and the ocean blossomed as every shelf around the house became occupied with aquariums,” said Baek, a rising sophomore at Brown University. “My fascination with fish ultimately led to my interest in science as I continued to get deeper into the water chemistry and biology of fish keeping. The passing of my grandpa from laryngeal cancer, however, transformed my interest of science to something deeper — the desire to pursue a career in oncology in dedication to my grandpa.”
SEA Semester students find signs of hope in remote Phoenix Islands
We like to say SEA Semester students adventure with a purpose. Nowhere is that more true than on our recent expedition aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans to the rarely visited Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), in the island nation of Kiribati.
SEA Semester students, crew and scientists, led by SEA Professor of Oceanography Dr. Jan Witting, together with researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the New England Aquarium, sailed 1,600 miles across the Equatorial Pacific from Honolulu to reach the remote archipelago, one of the last coral wildernesses in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On board the Robert C. Seamans
The sleek grey shape gliding into a patch of calm water next to our ship confirms the bow lookout’s call just a moment before. A shark! And there it is, off our science deck, dorsal fin sticking out of the water, languidly, gracefully moving past us. You can count four remoras clinging to its back, the hangers-on to this top dog of the pelagic, open-ocean ecosystem. For that is where we are, two days out of PIPA, nearest land a tiny island in the Tokelau group and American Samoa five hundred miles away.
Setting Sails and Finding Hope
I have recently finished my first draft for my policy project after a lot of help from my policy class discussions. My project attempts to explore ways to redistribute an allocation of fishing rights back to Kiribati, so their resources and profits could be internalized. This differs from their current situation, lacking the infrastructure to cost effectively harvest the resource (mainly tuna) they sell the rights to fish in their EEZ to foreign vessels which often originate from the United States and Japan.
The Policy Component
Hi, folks! It’s time for something a little different today. This blog entry is brought to you not by a student, but by the grooviest marine policy teaching assistant this side of the equator. What’s marine policy, you say? And what is a policy TA doing aboard the Robert C. Seamans, a student sailing vessel better known for its salty watch officers, wizardly marine scientists, and a can-do crew of exceptional students? I’m glad you asked!
SEA, New England Aquarium collaborate to study Phoenix Islands
Scientists from the New England Aquarium are currently on board the SSV Robert C. Seamans as she approaches the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) with SEA Semester class S-268. Our students and scientists, together with New England Aquarium scientists, will help gather data to help protect this amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site – one of the world’s last remaining coral wildernesses. Dr. Randi Rotjan, Associate Research Scientist at the New England Aquarium, Chief Scientist of the PIPA Conservation Trust and Co-Chair of the PIPA Scientific Advisory Committee, recently sent SEA President Peg Brandon the following letter, which summarizes our unique collaboration and explains why it’s so important….
When the swells aren’t so swell
09 May 16, 10:27- Someone told me I look tan. (This is not common occurrence, as I am typically either extremely pale or have a peeling sun burn.)
The westerly winds we have begun to encounter have continued to make for some of our best sailing. For a few hours this morning we were traveling at about 7 knots, a relatively high speed for us thus far. The large swells from yesterday have carried over into today, with some as high as 12 feet.
SEA Supports New England Ocean Protections
For the past 45 years, Sea Education Association (SEA) has worked to develop the next generations of ocean stewards, scholars, and leaders. On undergraduate SEA Semester voyages around the globe, we encourage our students not only to study the science under the surface, but also to understand the nuances of historic and cultural relationships between coastal communities and their local waters.
Safeguarding the health of our oceans for future generations is no simple matter, but we view smart policymaking as a key tool for preserving their rich heritages and regional identities. For example, in our Marine Biodiversity & Conservation program each spring, we have asked our students to devise recommendations for protecting the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic Ocean that may inform real-world plans.
Our latest foray into marine policy involves an ongoing debate near our own marine “backyard:” whether to grant permanent, holistic protections to the Cashes Ledge in the Gulf of Maine and the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts Area along the southern New England coast.