OpenChannels has a team of dedicated bloggers addressing targeted aspects of ocean planning and management, including communication, technology, ocean uses, and more. Our bloggers are experts in the field, drawing from their own knowledge and experience.

The OpenChannels community can also benefit from your knowledge and experience. We appreciate the diversity of perspectives in this field and welcome the use of OpenChannels for sharing these views. Do you have a perspective on ocean planning you would like to share? We'll help you do that right now: just click the button above and follow the prompts. If you are interested in blogging but have questions, please email Nick Wehner at nwehner [at] We look forward to your contribution!

The OpenChannels Team

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Posted on March 13, 2018 - 12:13pm, by abrown

By Samantha Farquhar

In short, a Fishackathon is a competition that brings data savvy people together to develop technology-based solutions to tackle large-scale fisheries issues. ‘Hackathon’ events are increasingly being used as way to source big data solutions for global problems. For example, past hackathons have worked to address human traffickinginequality, and even water scarcity.

Read the rest HERE

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Posted on March 8, 2018 - 3:54pm, by abrown

Did you know that the pharmaceuticals you take can end up in your pee? And once that’s flushed down the toilet, they can build up in aquatic environments. At the 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, researchers Tawnya Peterson, Brittany Cummings and Joseph Needoba discussed how freshwater and coastal marine environments near urban centers can retain dissolved drugs, and how this has the potential to biologically affect the organisms in these ecosystems.

Read the rest HERE

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Posted on February 22, 2018 - 12:01pm, by abrown

The recent debate over the newly-approved ‘trade remedies’ on solar imports has U.S. citizens polarized. The solar market has become the subject of another green energy versus conventional energy, left versus right, progressive versus status quo dispute.  However, upon further investigation, the roots of these opposed sides tangle in a muddy field; the political platforms to which citizens cling collapse under scrutiny.

Review of the events

  • Last year, two US solar manufacturers, Suniva and SolarWorld Americas, petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to implement tariffs on international CSPV imports under section 201 of the 1974 Trade Act to relieve them of “trade injury” so they can remain competitive in the domestic solar market.
  • In May of 2017, the ITC began its investigation into the claims of injury.
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Posted on February 22, 2018 - 12:00pm, by abrown

Two stories seem to circulate repeatedly in the news: declining sea turtle populations and the dangers of fishing to marine life. Unsurprisingly, the two are related.

Fishing gear is the single greatest threat to sea turtles. Bycatch, or the incidental capture of a species by a commercial fishery, is such an extensive problem that some small-scale fishing boats can catch 16 sea turtles a day. Even more staggering: each year, over “250,000 sea turtles are accidentally captured, injured, or killed by U.S. fishermen” alone.

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Posted on February 22, 2018 - 11:58am, by abrown

What if I told you that, despite my best intentions, I could single-handedly be causing tons of recyclables to end up in a landfill? I am that person that hovers over the recycling, compost, and waste bins while struggling internally to decide what item goes where. I want to feel like I’m saving the environment one piece of trash at a time. So when in doubt, I drop it in the recycle bin. I feel better about myself for “recycling” my item, and it is always better to recycle it than toss it, right? WRONG.

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A satellite view of the deforestation in the wildlife refuge Punta de Manabique in Guatemala, and a vision proposal to revert the actual destructive tendency.

Punta de Manabique is the only place in Guatemala with coral reefs. It is home to two endangered species: The Hammerhead Shark (Sphirna mokarran) and the Chumbimba (Vieja Maculicauda). It has the most extensive seagrasses in the country, beaches and waves, swamps, tall forests, palms, mangroves, guamiles and freshwater lagoons. It provides shelter to the largest number of migratory birds in Guatemala. The flooded forests or swamps of Confra (Manicaria saccifera), a species of palm, is one of the rarest ecosystems in Guatemala, which exists only in this region.

However, since 2005 the area has been rapidly deforested. Currently, the agricultural frontier continues, wood extraction, destruction of the Motagua river basin, fauna extraction, overfishing, garbage and pollution.


A new TRAFFIC report reveals a thriving trade in poached South African abalone Haliotis midae in Hong Kong, where the marine mollusc is considered a delicacy in Cantonese cuisine. Over the last 20 years, the illegal harvest of abalone in South Africa has exceeded the legal quotas, with criminal networks poaching and smuggling wild abalone to Hong Kong, which imports about 90% of all dried South African abalone.

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Posted on February 8, 2018 - 3:25pm, by abrown

By Spencer Showalter

For this week’s dose of #OceanOptimism, let’s fly across the Pacific to meet Hawaii’s state marine mammal: the Hawaiian monk seal (Neomonachus schauinslandi)! This charismatic animal is the oldest seal species on the planet—evidence indicates that they have lived on the Hawaiian islands for several million years. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most endangered marine mammal species in the world. Presently, their population is estimated at about 1,400 seals, which comes out to about 30% of historic estimates for the species. Between 1950 and 2013 the species declined continuously due to a number of forces, including food limitations, shark predation, and most importantly, humans. Fishermen leave behind marine debris and inactive fishing nets, which lead to potentially fatal entanglement. Tourists take over beaches where monk seals historically hauled out to rest, escape predation, and raise young. Finally, beachgoers often feed monk seals, which can be dangerous to the seal and limit their capacity to learn to hunt for themselves.

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Posted on February 8, 2018 - 3:21pm, by abrown

By Ashley Bagley

Ocean acidification is Puget Sound’s silent killer for marine organisms – acidifying seawater cannot be readily seen, yet its effects are pervasive and detrimental to the Sound’s ecology and renowned shellfish industry. Ocean acidification occurs when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which creates a foundational change in seawater chemistry – carbon dioxide reacts with water to create carbonate and bicarbonate ions. As a result, seawater becomes more acidic.