A Message from Sam Rauch, Head of NOAA Fisheries
It is Earth Day Every day at NOAA Fisheries
This month at NOAA Fisheries we are actively celebrating Earth Day, an event created in 1970 to bring awareness to the natural environment and those human activities that potentially threaten it. Once just a day-long rally, Earth Day evolved into a week of service and celebration of our progress and an opportunity to highlight the environmental challenges we face. Be sure to visit our website during Earth Week (links to the right), where we will feature a series called ‘Our Earth’—highlighting marine mammal protection, habitat conservation, the importance of marine education, our fishing communities and a new technique that some innovative chefs are using to tackle the invasive species issue, such as the new snakehead po’ boy sandwich being debuted in Baltimore, Maryland.
As the federal agency responsible for the stewardship of our living marine resources, we are immersed in the day-to-day work of protecting the seas and all that lives within it. For us, this is our job and passion. Earth Day gives us an opportunity to pause, recognize how far we’ve come, and acknowledge all those others—like us—for whom ocean and coastal conservation is a passion.
I’d like to just take a quick clockwise journey around the country to highlight a few of the things NOAA Fisheries is doing to celebrate Earth Day this year.
- In the Northeast, protected resource specialists will participate in the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Whale Day event and focus on how to avoid ship strikes, as well as how best to safely observe marine mammals.
- In Washington, DC, NOAA Fisheries employees will be visiting an elementary school where they will teach students about photo identification techniques used in studying whale populations.
- In the Southeast, the Mississippi Laboratory in Pascagoula will host an Open House to showcase their new LEED Gold Certified Green Facility, as well as feature research conducted at the lab and demonstrate a marine animal dissection.
- In the Southwest, NOAA Fisheries representatives are hosting a booth as part of the Santa Rosa Earth Day Fair, which will feature a park and stream clean-up component.
- The Northwest Fisheries staff are working with a class from Ballard High School’s Marine Academy to adopt a NOAA Drifter. Students will learn about the data that drifters measure—speed and direction of ocean currents—exploring how ocean science climate impacts our planet.
- The Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Kodiak Laboratory is once again contributing to Whale Fest Kodiak, a 10-day event celebrating the return of Eastern Pacific Gray Whales to Alaskan waters.
- In the Pacific Islands, NOAA Fisheries will host a booth as part of the Marine Corps Base Earth Day events highlighting the Hawaiian monk seal recovery program, this year's theme is "Partnering for a Greener Future."
There are many more exciting activities that NOAA Fisheries has a hand in—including many river and stream clean ups, exhibits at various Earth Day festivals, and presentations at schools throughout the country with educational materials on the importance of fisheries in our everyday lives, marine mammal protection and sea turtle conservation, just to name a few. These are all great ways to celebrate Earth Day as well as the 40th Anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Whether it’s wetting a line with family and friends, or buying seafood for dinner, the marine environment and all of its diversity provides much value. Think for a moment about how NOAA Fisheries – and society – is better off because of our oceans, marine environments, and fishermen with their sustainable fishing practices. That millions of Americans have a deep and active connection to our fisheries and marine environment is exactly what Earth Day honors.
Happy Earth Day from NOAA Fisheries.
Samuel D. Rauch III
Acting Assistant Administrator for Fisheries