Gathering calls for ocean protection

The “Voices for the Ocean” event will bring together commercial fishermen and other mariners in Homer on Sept. 6 to celebrate the ocean’s bounty and defend it from harmful fossil fuel emissions.

Lead organizers of the event are Alan Parks, a Homer commercial fisherman and outreach coordinator for the Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC), and Brad Warren, ocean health director for the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP).
International aerial artist John Quigley ( will create the aerial image in collaboration with the AMCC, SFP and representatives from Alaska coastal fishing communities.

Boats and buoys will form the message on the water. They will be photographed and videotaped from the air, and the resulting images will circulate worldwide through media and allied organizations.

Afterward, participants and community members will gather in Homer for a community seafood feast. Speakers and participants will call on state, national, and international leaders to protect the ocean from the acidifying, oxygen-depleting, and climate-altering impacts of uncontrolled fossil fuel emissions.

The after-party will include expert speakers on ocean acidification, climate change, and practical steps that fishermen, seafood lovers, and other citizens can take to protect the oceans that supply food for 3 billion people. The seafood industry is Alaska’s largest private-sector employer, generating more than 56,000 jobs (not counting “indirect” jobs in related sectors).

“Fishermen and others who depend on Alaska’s rich marine resources are coming together as one voice in support of reducing fossil fuel consumption and moving to a renewable energy future. This is the only real solution to ocean acidification and the time to act is right now,” Parks said.

Fishermen and ocean advocates have a limited time to press for deep emissions-reduction targets. The U.S. Senate is expected to enact climate legislation during late 2009, aiming to have a law passed in time for a United Nations treaty conference in December. At that conference, nations will gather to approve the next-generation climate treaty to strictly limit global carbon dioxide emissions in order to avoid catastrophic climate and ocean impacts. Scientists have warned repeatedly that failure to agree on dramatic emissions reductions at this time will likely push Earth’s climate and oceans past “tipping points” that may commit human civilization to irreversible harm.

The Cordova Times, 2 September 2009. Full article.

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