Enough With the Plastic Already
An incredible amount of ocean-bound waste could be reduced if people were simply more aware of how their habits affect the world around them.
We seek to raise public awareness of some very commonly overlooked sources of trash, and want to encourage people everywhere to examine their choices and make a conscious effort to make a positive and lasting change.
Our campaigns focus on the reduction of single-use items such as plastic bags, plastic drinking straws, and disposable coffee cups.
Every year, an estimated 100 million sharks are killed by humans, tens of millions for their fins alone.
The fins are used for shark fin soup, a luxury dish sometimes served at Chinese weddings and banquets. This soup has grown in popularity, raising consumer demand for shark fins and contributing to the decimation of shark populations worldwide.
For years, COARE has been working to increase awareness of shark finning, which is neither humane nor sustainable. Any shark is taken, regardless of size, age, or species. After its fins are cut off, the shark is thrown back into the water. Bleeding and unable to swim, the shark suffers a slow and torturous death.
As apex predators, sharks play a crucial role in regulating the eco-system, and are great barometers for overall ocean health. Sharks are especially vulnerable to overfishing and are slow to recover from depletion because they generally grow slowly, mature late, and produce few offspring. As a result of these fishing pressures, one-third of open-ocean shark species are already threatened with extinction.
Shark-Friendly Communities is a campaign to create, promote, and support shark conservation and shark fin legislation around the world. As part of this project, COARE is proud to offer Shark Safe® certification to businesses that distinguish themselves through their dedication to shark conservation.
Green Divers for Blue Oceans®
SCUBA divers and freedivers are intimately aware of the oceans and the life within it.
Green Divers for Blue Oceans® was born out of the passion our board members all share for SCUBA diving. Divers are lucky enough to see the ocean in ways many people do not, and can be highly attuned to subtle changes in ocean health. Since divers are so connected to the ocean, COARE believes they can and should use their experiences to promote conservation.
Green Divers for Blue Oceans® encourages best practices for conservation among divers and the diving industry. It provides divers with materials and messaging to spread to new people and businesses, and encourages them to practice and promote environmental responsibility in their diving. The current recommendations for best practices are constantly revised, improved, and expanded.
COARE meets with dive groups and clubs in the local SF Bay area to discuss how divers can be ambassadors for ocean conservation. Future program goals include hosting 'underwater clean up' days, carrying the popular 'beach clean up' activity into new territory!
Green Divers for Blue Oceans® helped inspire and is affiliated with Blue the Dive, a group of non-profits united with dive shops, manufacturers, and industry groups to focus on sustainability and conservation in the industry. COARE actively promotes their mission, and consults with them to support their programs.
COARE Values for the Classroom
Oceans are a major part of our world, yet they are not a major part of science education.
COARE is in the process of developing an ocean-based curriculum to supplement classroom science education, which currently lags behind recent advances in oceanography, climate science, and conservation. With increasing attention on our oceans' various plights, from overfishing to pollution to sea-level rise, COARE aims to provide educators with lesson plans that transform important conservation concepts into accessible, easy-to-use topics and activities.
By illustrating the importance of the oceans and teaching ways to ensure its health in the future, COARE hopes to inspire new generations of ocean stewards. We depend on the ocean for climate regulation, jobs, and recreation. The ocean depends on us, too, for its health and well being; ensuring a safe future begins with education.
Director Jilian Epstien is spearheading this work, drawing on her work in ocean conservation and years of experience teaching biology along California's Central Coast.
California has one of the largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) networks in the world, with 124 distinct marine managed areas covering a total of 852 square miles -- approximately 16% of coastal waters.
The formation of this network began in 1999, when California passed the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA), requiring the CA Department Fish and Wildlife to re-evaluate, redesign, and potentially designate new MPAs. This would to create a stronger state-wide network of regions that effectively protected marine wildlife, habitats, and ecosystems. In 2007, a public-private partnership called the MLPA Initiative was created to develop and implement new regulations in each of five newly-created regions of the CA coastline.
COARE served on the Regional Stakeholder Group for the North Central Coast division, and developed the MPA regulations for that area, which were implemented in 2010. Through meetings with science advisory teams, commercial and recreational fisherman, the CA Fish and Wildlife Department, and stakeholders from the other four divisions, COARE successfully designed protections for diverse marine wildlife and its habitats.
COARE continues to offer advice and consulting services for regions considering expanding or adding marine protected areas to their coasts, and is proud to share the knowledge and experience from this process.