Science Protecting Nature

Dr. Marsha Green attended the Sixteenth Meeting of the United Nations Open-Ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea April 6-10, 2015 at U. N. Headquarters. The topic of the meeting was Oceans and Sustainable Development. This topic was meant to address the conflict between development and conservation/protection interests in the ocean that can raise difficult choices.

Dr. Green asked one of the panelists how he would reconcile the divergent interests of civil society/environmental protection with those of business interested in making a profit. The essence of the reply was that we need good science and risk assessment. We need to have reliable research data to determine how to proceed with human activities in the ocean.

We agree. The Ocean Mammal Institute has been making this argument since its inception. Our mission is to use research results to protect the oceans from damaging influences. In fact our founding slogan is ”Science Protecting Nature”. For example, research done by the Ocean Mammal Institute showed that parasail boats in Hawaii were impacting the humpback whales in their breeding habitat. This data convinced the Hawaii State Legislature to pass a law banning the operation of parasail boats in Hawaii from December 15 to May 15 in areas frequented by whales.

What the panelist failed to mention was that the research has to be transparent and funded by sources that do not have a vested financial interest in the results of the research.