Making case for whales at Our Oceans conference

The author and Beth Allgood at the "Our Oceans” conference at the Department of State in Washington, DC. Yesterday, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) US Campaigns Director Beth Allgood and I had the honor of attending the “Our Oceans” conference at the Department of State in Washington, DC.

“Our Oceans” is a two-day gathering of policy-makers and ocean advocates from around the globe that focuses on the key ocean issues of our time – marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate-related impacts on the ocean.

IFAW was invited to present clips from the powerful documentary Sonic Sea on the Our Oceans Film Stage and talk about the issue.

WATCH: Sonic Sea. Scientists and stars call to save whales from noise

In a terrific stroke of luck, Secretary of State John Kerry himself happened to be exploring the exhibit hall at the time of our presentation, and we had the opportunity to discuss the movie with him, talk about the emerging and growing threat of ocean noise, and even gave him a Sonic Sea policy report as he made the rounds. 

Earlier that day, President Obama addressed the crowd and announced the designation of Northeast Canyons and Seamounts as a Marine National Monument among other policy announcements.  This new monument, right in the backyard of IFAW headquarters, is now the only fully protected marine reserve in the Atlantic Ocean.

This means its coral formations and marine life, including the whales for which IFAW cares so deeply, will now be protected from man-made threats like increasing industrial activity and some of the harmful direct effects of climate change.

It was a very exciting day for oceans and IFAW’s whale work and we were thrilled to be a part of it.


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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation