D.C. Film Fest & Working Waterfronts Symposium

We are excited to announce that this March, Ocean Frontiers will be making appearances at two noteworthy events: the 2013 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital and the 2013 National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium in Tacoma, WA. We hope you will join us and share the invitations with your members, colleagues and friends.

The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital has become one of the world’s largest and most influential showcases of environmental film and a major collaborative cultural event in Washington, D.C.

The National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium will provide a forum for diverse users to meet, address common dilemmas and share solutions. This collaborative problem-solving approach promises to provide unique and innovative approaches to address water access needs, using examples of success from various Pacific Northwest and West Coast communities.

Environmental Film Festival Ocean Frontiers Screening: 

Introduced by: Daniel J. Basta, Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, NOAA
Saturday, March 16, 2013, 1:45-3:05pm
National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium
10th & Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC (Metro: Federal Triangle or Smithsonian)
Free and open to the public
(Two other films, The Last Ocean & Planet Ocean will screen along with Ocean Frontiers, starting at 12pm)

Special Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium Ocean Frontiers Film Premiere:

Hosted by: West Coast Governors Alliance on Ocean Health, Washington Sea Grant & Green Fire Productions
Monday, March 25, 2013, 6:45-9pm
UW Tacoma, Philip Hall, 1918 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, WA
Tickets – $6, Students $4 and free for Symposium registrants 
Please purchase tickets in advance
Includes reception, film and Q&A with a panel of experts to follow

Katrina Lassiter, Aquatic Policy Analyst, Department of Natural Resources

  • Angie Fredrickson, Seaport Liaison & Research Analyst, Port of Seattle
  • Leesa Cobb, Executive Director, Port Orford Ocean Resource Team
  • Paul Dye, Marine Program Director, The Nature Conservancy
  • Jacque Hostler, Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria

You can see a full list of upcoming Ocean Frontiers events here. And if you’d like to bring the film to your community or workplace, please visit our Host a Screening page.

You can forward this email to a friend below.

Best regards,
Karen Meyer & the Ocean Frontiers Team

‘Tis the Season…

And We Wish You a Happy Holiday! 

Since our inaugural premiere in Port Orford, OR, Ocean Frontiers has
screened across the country from Boston to Los Angeles and Key West to Monterey.
It is with your help—our amazing 365 partners—that we have been able to host with you
140 Ocean Frontiers events for some 10,000 people in 27 states and 7 foreign countries.
From the depths of the oceans, we thank you! 

Happy Holidays, 
Karen Meyer & the Green Fire Productions Team  

Nation’s First Regional Ocean Planning Body Meets & National Ocean Policy Workshop

The Northeast Regional Planning Body at the Big Table (Photo credit: Robin Just)

Last month regional ocean planning got underway in the Northeast United States. The Northeast Regional Planning Body met for the first time in Portland, Maine, on Nov. 19-20. “I’ve often heard the phrase ‘everyone has a seat at the table,’ but this is the first time I’ve seen it,” said National Marine Fisheries Service Regional Administrator John Bullard. His keynote statement pretty well summed up the sense of opportunity voiced by everyone attending the meeting.

We are pleased to report that there was clear agreement at the meeting that they will create an open and transparent process, ensure stakeholders are involved and the critical role of science and data in decision making – all key elements of successful ocean planning as you will recall from Ocean Frontiers.

As established by the (US) National Ocean Policy, the regional planning body (RPB) consists of representatives from federal and state agencies, regional tribes, the New England Fishery Management Council, and an ex officio member from Canada. The RPB was brought together to design the process for the first regional ocean plan to be developed in the United States.

“This is the first time that all of these representatives from various levels of the government have gotten together to begin this work,” said John Weber, the ocean planning director for the Northeast Regional Ocean Council. The fact that this collaboration is taking place, which allows for transparency as all sides are present, is looking promising for the future of our oceans and the economies that rely on them. As reported by E&E News, the regional planning body will strive to create ocean plans that reach across state and federal boundaries in an effort to reduce conflicts among fishing, offshore energy, shipping, conservation and recreation, as more users make demands on the sea.

“What it means for us is greater predictability, lower risk, lower cost. In our view, when you can identify the right places to do ocean energy, you can do everything better — you can do conservation better and can do energy development better,” said Markian Melnyk, president of Atlantic Grid Development, a group working on a proposal for a 300-mile offshore transmission network in the mid-Atlantic.

“It doesn’t have to be a fight over siting; this type of collaborative siting work helps makes it more about science and more about sound economics than about fighting,” he added.

Effective ocean planning portal tools have been launched online at by Northeast and mid-Atlantic groups. The portal is a place for compiled data and interactive maps, which allows all different types of ocean users to view ocean features such as fishing grounds, critical habitat, shipping corridors and even wind speeds. View one of the portals here.

“It is a lot easier to look at a variety of maps than to try to look through [environmental impact statement] reports,” said Tony MacDonald, Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University director, who has helped lead these effort. “You can see areas where conflicts might be and compatibilities might be. At the end of this discussion, it should put everybody on the same base line and hopefully screen out conflicts earlier in the process.”

As this was the RPB’s first meeting, there is much work to be done, however this first step is huge and worth congratulating. To learn more about the RPB and its inaugural meeting check out Open Channels blog post here.

LEARN MORE, TAKE ACTION: National Ocean Policy Briefing 

Pacific City, OR — A proposed wave energy site in Oregon (Photo credit: Nastassja Pace) 

On Thursday, December 13th, 6-9pm, at the Leftbank Annex (101 North Weidler St., Portland, OR) you are invited to a free briefing on the National Ocean Policy and ocean conservation efforts in Oregon—a great way to learn how to take action in support of our oceans and coasts!

Guests attending will include the Oregon Governor’s office and Congressional staff. Presentations from Surfrider, Our Ocean, American Littoral Society will be given as well as a screening of excerpts from  Ocean Frontiers. Sandwiches and refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP here.

Thanks for all you do!

Karen Meyer
Executive Director, Green Fire Productions










Tagging Whales in Stellwagen Bank this July!

Humpback in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Photo by Elliot Hazen

Do you remember the first story in Ocean Frontiers—Saving Whales at Stellwagen Bank? Not sure anyone could forget the amazing whale footage and the funny little suction cup things called DTAGs that the scientists were sticking onto the whales. But in case you did, you can always watch the clip from that story here. We are also excited to give an update on how the whale-tagging is going this summer.

Marine ecologist, Ari Friedlaender, attaches a DTAG on a humpback. Photo by Alison Stimpert

Dave Wiley, research coordinator for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts, might have one of the coolest jobs ever. Since 2002, each summer, Dr. Wiley and his colleagues head out on a 187-foot research vessel to tag whales—to collect data, such as how whales move around, what their feeding patterns are, what they do at different depths and when they vocalize. Watch them in action here in a short 3-minute video.

Humpback breaches near research team. Photo by Ari Friedlaender

In those two weeks this summer, Dr. Wiley and his crew successfully tagged 21 humpback whales and identified around 160 individuals. Dr. Wiley proclaims, “We probably have one of the largest databases for fine-scale foraging behavior of anywhere in the world at this point.” Wiley added however, “The most striking insight is that each humpback has its own set of behaviors, often confounding efforts to generalize about the species. It’s frustrating and complicated and fascinating all at the same time.”

Ultimately, Dr. Wiley and his colleagues’ goal is to use the collected data to influence fishing and shipping rules that make sense for the whales and will help protect them. Read more about this summer’s tagging here in the New York Times.  

Best regards from all of us on the Ocean Frontiers team!
Karen Anspacher-Meyer
Executive Director, Green Fire Productions



Who’s Embarking on a New Era in Ocean Stewardship?

Fishermen, scientists, business owners, farmers & more are charting a new course for the ocean—one of collaboration & holistic approaches, as seen in Ocean Frontiers. Now, we are able to offer you a more in depth look at what these ocean champions are doing—learn more about their work, watch new video clips and see how to get involved!  Each story now has its own webpage.

Click on the titles below to go to that specific story’s page—with more videos, articles and links! 

whales and ships

Saving Whales at Stellwagen Bank

Learn more about collaborating to save whales and ocean economies. Meet the project partners, and check out the cool work on endangered right whales.


An Ocean Blueprint for Florida Keys

See how ocean planning is being done right by a diverse group of ocean stakeholders. Hear from Keys fishermen about how ocean planning benefits their businesses.


Iowa Farmers & Gulf of Mexico

Connect with people across the Mississippi River Basin who are both changing their agricultural practices and implementing innovative conservation measures.


Port Orford Fishermen Protect Ocean & Way of Life

Learn from these visionary fishermen and their partners about how to create and promote a community stewardship area for a healthy near shore ecosystem that will support their town’s economy.

Kudos to Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes and Leesa Cobb of the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team for the this excellent op-ed they wrote on the National Ocean Policy and its value to Oregon’s coastal communities

Thanks for all you do!
The Ocean Frontiers Team

Ocean Frontiers: An Ocean Blueprint for Florida Keys

In the Florida Keys, divers and fishermen have turned controversy over marine resources into a blueprint for industry and conservation collaboration.

The coral reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary are America’s most popular marine destination—bringing in 1.2 billion dollars every year via tourism. They are also America’s showcase of marine conservation zoning.  With a dizzying array of people making a living and playing in the Keys, the marine zones provide an effective way to reduce conflicts between ocean users and protect the reefs, the fisheries and ocean dependent jobs.

The management of the Sanctuary is overseen by a Sanctuary Advisory Council, which is made up of more than 30 organizations and industries including sport and commercial fishing, tourism, diving, research, restoration and conservation.  The Sanctuary provides refuge, recreation, and livelihoods through a collaborative plan developed by all concerned.

However, the road to the Keys management success has not been a smooth ride. Initially there was strong opposition to marine zoning, marine protected areas and marine reserves, but strong leadership and intensive stakeholder collaboration turned the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary into a world-renowned model of how to protect our coastal and ocean economies through ocean planning.

Learn More from the People Featured in Ocean Frontiers


Video Clips

  • Saving My Town’s Ocean Economy – Leesa Cobb, Fisherman’s wife and Executive Director of the Port Orford Ocean Resource Team visits the Florida Keys National Marne Sanctuary to see first hand how commercial and recreational fishermen and ocean businesses in general thrive in a Marine Sanctuary.


Ocean Frontiers: Saving Whales at Stellwagen Bank

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is a rich stretch of ocean at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay. It is home to several species of endangered whales including humpback whales and North Atlantic right whales. There are only an estimated 350-550 right whales remaining in the world.

The shipping lanes of Boston Harbor traverse through the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, bringing large ships through whale feeding grounds, resulting in deadly collisions.

Taking cues from the great whales’ travel ways, their sounds and whale song, shipping executives, marine biologists, the Port of Boston and an energy company came together and found a solution that worked for both commerce and whales. In 2007, the collaborative work of these ‘unlikely allies’ resulted in the first port in the nation, the Port of Boston, to move the shipping lanes to protect marine mammals—reducing the risk of ship strikes to endangered right whales and other large whale species by more than 80%.

In their on-going efforts, the collaborators recently released an exciting, new iPhone/iPad application called WhaleALERT. WhaleALERT is designed to augment existing ship navigation tools informing mariners of the safest and most current information to reduce the risk of ship and right whale collisions along the Eastern seaboard.

Learn more from the people featured in Ocean Frontiers

Video Clips