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 Raye Evrard at raye [at] We look forward to your contribution!

The OpenChannels Team

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This blog was originally posted on Medium here

“It’s a level of abundance that the state will probably never see again.”

That’s the final line from a 2018 San Francisco Chronicle article about the decline of abalone populations in California. Currently, the long-popular recreational dive fishery for red abalone north of San Francisco is and will remain closed until at least 2021. The immediate causes were the combined effects of the 2014 – 2016 El Niño plus warming ocean temperatures plus an explosion of purple sea urchins, which decimated the bull kelp, the abalone’s main source of food.

Posted on July 17, 2019 - 4:24pm, by abrown

This interview blog was transcribed from the OCTOPOD podcast episode here. Not all of the podcast episode has been presented in this transcript so please go give the episode a listen.

Julie Kuchepatov is the Seafood Director at Fair Trade USA and we had the pleasure of talking with her about her path to this position and what her position entails. 

Can you tell us what Fair Trade is?

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This blog was originally posted on Medium

When I was in graduate school, I conducted cooperative fisheries research at the University of Maine (go… Black Bears? I want to say? Sorry, not a sports person but sincere shout out to the University of Maine and the Darling Marine Center!). That is, I collaborated with a commercial groundfisherman to study the impacts of trawling on bottom habitats in the Gulf of Maine. Along with my advisor, we all worked to design the methods of the study. Part of that was identifying sampling sites that would allow us to compare currently trawled areas to places that had been closed to trawling for a good five years. This would help us explore both potential impacts and recovery dynamics.

Posted on June 20, 2019 - 11:56am, by abrown

by Freddy Arocha, PhD , Professor

The Oceanographic Institute of Venezuela, funding institution of the Universidad de Oriente in Cumaná, was created in 1958 and began activities in 1959. It is one of the oldest and most important center for oceanographic and marine science research, public service, and undergraduate and graduate training in the Caribbean, Latin America and the world. From the beginning, the Institute fostered relations with the main universities of the world, which allowed the arrival of researchers to reinforce the faculty with a view to conduct Graduate studies in Marine Sciences (Oceanography, Marine Biology and Fisheries). Notable regional and global scientists, such as Dr. Brian Luckhurst, Dr. Jeremy Jackson, Dr. Daniel Pauly, Dr. Fernando Cervigon, and Captain Jacques Y. Cousteau, taught and conducted research at the Oceanographic Institute. Many of the Marine Science students and scientists have conduct research with the aid of the oceanographic research vessels and shore-based laboratories.

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Posted on June 19, 2019 - 4:18pm, by abrown

By Spencer Showalter


On a transatlantic flight this spring, I met a climate modeler at the back of the plane as we peered out of a tiny window to look at the ice breaking up over Hudson Bay, a phenomenon that NASA’s Earth Observatory says now happens two weeks earlier than it did in 1988.  We talked about our careers; he was a climate scientist looking to retire soon, having spent his entire career using data to model current and future impacts of climate change, and I was weeks away from my attaining my master’s degree in marine affairs and just starting my career, hoping to continue the fight against climate change on a wider political stage. Near the end of our conservation, he graciously told me, “We need more people like you. We did the science, but no one ever listened – your generation has to take up the fight.”

Posted on June 19, 2019 - 1:52pm, by abrown

June 17, 2019 – Spanish and French versions of the MPAConnect guide on the detection and identification of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease are now available on GCFI’s website.

There is growing concern among marine natural resource managers across the Caribbean about the spread of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. This affects some of the slowest-growing and longest-lived reef-building corals, including the iconic brain corals, star corals and pillar corals. It spreads rapidly and causes high rates of mortality among affected corals. The disease is appearing in parts of the Caribbean and marine natural resource managers need to be on the alert for this very real, new threat (1). 

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I know what you’re thinking: Isn’t it though? Depending on what we do now, we’re in for at least hundreds of years of warming. But also you might be thinking, well I know it’s not. We’re experiencing impacts now.

And both those reactions are correct. Climate change is a problem that is happening — accelerating — now, and will have ramifications for the long-term. But it’s that notion of “depending on what we do now…” that I want to pick apart a bit from the perspective of tightening the links between science and action.

What inspired me is a seemingly innocuous line I read in a new paper from Record et al. (2019):

“Climate change is often viewed as a long-term problem, and in this context, mean species range shifts could be a useful tool.”

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Posted on May 30, 2019 - 4:21pm, by abrown

By Alex Tellez

Most of us in the Puget Sound area are aware that the iconic Southern Resident Orcas and the food chain that supports them are exposed to toxic contaminants, habitat loss, hydropower dams, vessel strikes, noise pollution, ocean acidification, climate change, and overharvesting of Chinook salmon – their primary source of food. But there may be another threat lurking in our waters that is relatively unnoticed: invasive zooplankton.

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This blog was originally posted on Medium here

I gave a talk recently about linking science with action. In it, I posed the question: What makes science valuable to society?

My answer: Because the world is so much bigger than us… And yet we’re in the driver’s seat.

Reflect on that for a moment, and what it might mean to you. To me, it was an articulation of something I struggle with often, which is the fact that because of anthropogenic carbon emissions, we humans are driving Earth’s overall trajectory. And yet, within that trajectory there is much we don’t know about how severe the impacts will be or exactly how they’ll propagate through ecosystems on to human communities.