The New Ocean Ethic – Protecting the health of our oceans

ocean-ethic-1The New Ocean Ethic is a series of projects being developed on Fogo Island and Change Islands to seek new ways to care for the health of our oceans and, in doing so, protect the livelihood of the people whose culture is linked to the sea. A detailed description of this set of projects, which are led by Gordon Slade, is now available by viewing the Shorefast New Ocean Ethic Booklet, 2016.

The genesis of the New Ocean Ethic is simple: for centuries, we have viewed the oceans as providing vast, endless supplies of resources. In recent decades we have, fortunately, recognized that the oceans’ resources are not infinite; the dramatic decline in commercial stocks attest to that. Climate change is also affecting our oceans with altered currents, rising sea levels and more severe storms causing disturbances to the marine ecosystems.

If we are to continue to benefit from the bounty of the sea, we have to rethink the way we use and manage it. Through our Ocean Ethic programming we hope that Fogo Island and the Change Islands can be models for the rest of the world.

Over the past three years we have started with a number of initiatives to make the New Ocean Ethic a reality.

ocean-ethic-2Harvesting Cod ‘Pot’ Cod

Cod Potting is a method of capturing cod using fishing gear that offers one opportunity for sustaining ecosystems for future generations. The pot harvests live fish, which are bled at sea, and produce a top quality product without harm to other species and with negligible environmental impact to the sea bottom. Fishers receive significantly higher prices for the cod which is harvested from traditional inshore fishing grounds using the cod potting technique.

Read about the cod pot fishing method on the CBC website (Aug 14, 2014).

Ocean Interpretation Centre

The Ocean Interpretation Centre on Fogo Island will foster an ocean literate society. The Centre will connect local people, schools and visitors and will serve as a focal point for ocean resource research. Fogo Island is home to one of Canada’s oldest fishing communities, carrying extensive knowledge in the practical, hands-on issues facing the fishing industry.

The Canada Ocean Lecture Series

Since 2005 this lecture series has been a partnership between Shorefast Foundation and Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. Distinguished researchers give lectures around the country on major ocean issues and educating Canadians on the role the oceans play in contributing to the wellbeing of the whole country.

The New Ocean Ethic as practiced on these Islands will hopefully be a model for initiatives and new ways of using and protecting our oceans and their resources.

Read about the Canada Ocean Lecture Series in a recent issue of The Pilot.

Shorefast New Ocean Ethic Booklet, 2016

Comments are closed.