Tuesday, August 2, 2011

International Bonkers

A new report shows that nature does not follow political geography. A leatherback turtle does not know whether they are in Papua New Guinea or Australia as they forage for food. How dare them.

All kidding aside, it can drive one bonkers to cheer protections here and there, say a new marine park in the Philippines or an end to ocean dumping in Indonesia, while so much of the ocean is open season -- nobody's jurisdiction.

It is only a matter of time before industrial fishing fleets fish out these common areas, snagging turtles and changing the food web along the way. History has shown that people's use of a commons often ends in tragedy.

On the positive side, in the leatherback study scientists learned exactly where the turtles travel across the vast Pacific Ocean.

Perhaps we could establish international turtle lanes, like international shipping lanes, where certain activities are limited during specific weeks or months of the year. We could effectively create safe passage for these great creatures through international waters. It is not too difficult to imagine a less confrontational  Sea Shepard-like vessel escorting mass migrations of turtles.

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