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Vibrant Environment

International Legal Protections for Sharks and Rays in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Sharks swimming in ocean
By Greta Swanson, Visiting Attorney
Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Industrial fisheries imperil sharks and rays. The populations of most species of sharks and rays are on the decline, and many populations are down to just 10 to 30 percent of their levels just a few decades ago. Although international agreements are in place to manage fisheries, restrict the trade of endangered species, and conserve migratory shark and ray populations, they have not been sufficiently effective in stopping the decline of many of these species.

Building Partnerships to Implement Restoration Projects

Wetlands landscape
By Russell Furnari , Manager of Environmental Policy Enterprise, Public Service Enterprise Group
Monday, June 7, 2021

Effectively addressing the ever-evolving challenges for coastal communities is a daunting task, one that requires the coordinated effort of government, nongovernmental organizations, and corporations. In a time of limited resources and increased requirements for cost-sharing to obtain government funding for local projects, the support of all stakeholders is required if we are to effectively address community and environmental needs.

Visionaries: Working Together to Restore Wetlands in Rhode Island

Point Judith Light at Narragansett Bay
By Wenley Ferguson, Director of Habitat Restoration, Save The Bay
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Paul McElroy saw potential for restoration in areas often overlooked and considered blighted by most. From the banks of the Woonasquatucket River to an abandoned landfill in Narragansett Bay, he saw what could be.

The Reclamation Project: Engaging Community for 15 Years Through Participatory Eco-Art

Reclamation Project installation of mangrove propagules
By Xavier Cortada, Artist and Professor of Practice, University of Miami’s Department of Art and Art History
Thursday, May 20, 2021

I was introduced to mangroves early in my childhood during family trips to Bear Cut in Key Biscayne, Florida—the same plants that grew in my family’s hometown on the northern coast of Cuba. In 2003, I first used mangrove imagery in my artwork as a metaphor for the immigrant. I imagined the mangrove propagules floating along the water and setting root on a sandbar. Little by little they would grow alongside each other, capture sediment, create land, and build new habitats. Like immigrants in a community who come together to support one another, the roots of each mangrove tree come together to create a formidable structure that protects against the dangers of storm surge.

U.S. Whistleblower Law: A Key to Fighting International Fisheries Crime (Part Two)

Whistle
By Maraya Best, Associate Attorney/Attorney-Advisor for International Human Rights, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, and Kelsey Condon, Attorney-Advisor for Environmental Protection, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto
Monday, April 19, 2021

Part One of this blog examined various U.S. whistleblower laws that could be applied to international fisheries crime. Part Two will continue a discussion of the Lacey Act, perhaps the most powerful whistleblower reward law addressing illegal trade in fish, wildlife, and plants. The Lacey Act makes it unlawful for any person subject to U.S. jurisdiction to import, export, transport, sell, or purchase fish, wildlife, or plants in violation of any U.S. or foreign law, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Navigating the Public Comment Process for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project

Bridge over Mississippi River
By Dominic Scicchitano, Research Associate (former)
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, is seeking comment on the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion (MBSD) restoration project. If approved, the MBSD would reconnect the Mississippi River to Louisiana’s Barataria Basin and, through the controlled release of sediment-laden freshwater from the river, allow sediment and nutrients to flow into the basin with the goal of restoring wetlands and slowing the rate of coastal land loss. (Read more about sediment diversions in our earlier blog post.)

U.S. Whistleblower Law: A Key to Fighting International Fisheries Crime (Part One)

Fishing nets
By Maraya Best, Associate Attorney/Attorney-Advisor for International Human Rights, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, and Kelsey Condon, Attorney-Advisor for Environmental Protection, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Despite advances in environmental law in recent decades, issues with implementation and enforcement continue to impede environmental progress worldwide. This is especially true in the case of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Because IUU fishing is nomadic and international, detecting and penalizing perpetrators can be difficult, if not impossible. Organized, transnational groups are increasingly turning to illegal fishing, whether to produce income, fund their networks, or conceal trafficking of drugs and people on their ships. Government—such as through customs or ports—likewise plays a large role in facilitating and concealing these illegal activities.

The Climate Adaptation Agenda: Federal Pathways to Equipping Coastal Cities With Adaptive Infrastructure

Miami coastline
By Cora Martin, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Monday, April 5, 2021

Around 40% of people in the United States live on the coast. This means over 127 million people live in regions where the future of public health and safety, housing and job security, and environmental stability is threatened by coastal impacts of climate change. According to the U.S. Global Change’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, coastal cities will likely face a number of climate-related challenges before the end of the century, including sea-level rise, which would threaten property and infrastructure, degrade important ecological systems, and exacerbate social inequalities.

How a “Space Station” Turned the Tide on Ocean Policy

Biosphere 2
By Akielly Hu, Associate Editor
Tuesday, March 30, 2021

When it comes to the climate crisis, some say we can innovate our way out. In his 1989 essay The End of Nature, the writer Bill McKibben mused: “We may well be able to create a world that can support our numbers and our habits, but it will be an artificial world — a space station.”

Deepwater Horizon Aftermath: Chronic Medical Conditions Still At Issue in Federal Courts

Oil cleanup Deepwater Horizon
By Jarryd Page, Staff Attorney
Thursday, March 11, 2021

The Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico more than 10 years ago. Yet hundreds of individuals across the Gulf coast are still battling BP in court for damages related to a host of ailments arising from exposure to oil, dispersants, or both. A recent order out of the Northern District of Florida (N.D. Fla.) granting BP’s summary judgment motion as to one set of plaintiffs may be a sign of things to come. Regardless of this ruling, the sheer volume of these cases may occupy dockets for months or years.

All blog posts are the opinion of its author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of ELI the organization or its members.