April, 2012

A Bear came to Campus and got an Education.

Early this morning a bear climbed a tree near CU Boulder's Bear Creek apartments. Carolyn was working on a video on the "Buff Bus" that serves the apartments and the nearby Will Vill high-rise dorms.  Drivers of the buses were warned of the bear, which was on a tree limb that overhung the road they had to travel. They made dozens of passes by the tree with the bear, although switching to the left side of the road to keep from traveling directly below the bruin. A few dozens students stopped along a nearby bike path to watch and make pictures until, shortly before noon, the bear was tranquilized and dropped from the tree onto a huge crash pad, then relocated.

 

Whole Foods Market and Sustainable Seafood

Fish 'n Chips

Russ Bowles unloads dogfish that will be sold to make fish and chips from the Serena. The vessel changes the species it fishes for based on quotas set by the National Marine Fisheries Council. As the region's quote for a more valuable species is met, and regulators force fishermen to quit bringing them to market, fishermen pursue the next most-valuable species. Dogfish are low on that list.


Starting this week Whole Foods Market, the grocery chain, will no longer sell seafood rated red by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch and the Blue Ocean Institute. The standards take into account not only how many of each species of fish there are in the sea, but also how quickly they reproduce and how damaging the methods of catching them are to their marine habitats and to other species. The chain originally announced that they would no longer carry “red-rated” wild seafood in 2013, but pushed up the start of the moratorium to coincide with this year’s Earth Day. On Sunday the grocer announced in a blog on its website that “From now on, all of the wild-caught seafood we carry will be from fisheries certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or green (best choice) or yellow (good alternative) species rated by Blue Ocean Institute (BOI) and Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA).”

That means that Atlantic cod sold by the grocer will have to be caught using hooks or gill nets, not trawlers that drag nets over the bottom of the ocean. Sturgeon, Atlantic halibut, octopus, turbot, tautog, imported wild shrimp, swordfish caught by certain methods, and many species of tuna and rockfish will be no longer appear on the Whole Foods fish counters. The grocery store has already stopped selling certain critically overfished species such as bluefin tuna, orange roughy, shark, and, for the most part, marlin. Even canned tuna sold at Whole Foods will have to be caught with a pole or a line.

While environmentalists embrace Whole Foods’ embargo of overfished species and fish caught by environmentally damaging methods, fisherman, particularly those in New England, where I covered the collapse of fisheries in the 1990s, are outraged. The description of fishermen grousing and complaining also angers anglers, but it’s well-earned, and often justified. The New England Fisheries Management Council makes the regulations fishermen have to navigate as turbulent as the seas they work on. Consumers and retailers pushing sustainability with their purchases make those fishermen’s jobs that much more difficult. It's not unlikely that Whole Foods' move will push a few of them out of business, like New England Fisheries Management Council regulation drove a fisherman named Russ Bowles, who I spent time with in the 90s, from the business.

In the New York Times story on Whole Foods’ ban on selling certain seafood, and New England fishermen’s reaction to it, one Gloucester fisherman commented, “they’re just doing it to make all the green people happy.” I heard similar complaints virtually every time I wrote about or photographed the dwindling New England fish stocks and efforts to restore it.

The complaint of the fisherman is not only true, it’s the way market-based environmentalism is suppose to work. And you don’t need Whole Foods to interpret the ratings for you – on my smartphone I use the Monterey Bay Aquariums Seafood Watch App and another just called Seafood that make purchasing sustainably harvested seafood as easy as reading a grocery list.

Unfortunately, the ratings that Whole Foods is basing its actions on don’t always work. Last week the journal Marine Policy published a study showing that, for fish stocks where enough data is available, nearly a third of those certified as sustainable by the MSC were actually overfished. Juliet Eilperin, an environment writer for the Washington Post and the author of Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks, reported Saturday on the credibility of sustainability standards in fisheries and the move of some fisheries to less-stringent certifiers. Last Thursday, Eilperin points out, the MSC certified the long-line swordfishery in eastern Canada that kills hundreds of endangered sea turtles and 35,000 sharks every year. As the MSC has approved more species as sustainable to catch and sell, environmentalists concerned about those fish are backing away from the organization’s certifications.

Whole Foods ban on red-rated species swims in the right direction, and fishermen are likely to have a lot more to complain about when scientists and activists push the other 30 percent of commercially harvested fish species that are currently overfished onto the MSC list, and Whole Foods moratorium, or those stocks start to run out.

In the meantime, those of us who vote with our dollars for conservation should see Whole Foods’ move as a success, but also recognize that it’s just a drop in our terribly troubled oceans.

Netted

Russ Bowles, first mate on the Serena, a fishing vessel out of Stonington, CT, works on nets before the ship takes off in the middle of the night for a day of trawling.

Serena

The Serena, a trawler our of Stonington, CT, heads into port at dawn after a trip trawling for fluke. 

Early Morning, Long Day

Bowles cleans up after finishing a day and night fishing for skates, then has a smoke after returning to port on one of his last fishing trips. Bowles left the industry because restrictions prevented him from captaining his own vessel and bringing enough fish to market to support his family.

Last Trip

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition

Last fall, at the Society of Environmental Journalists' annual conference in Miami, I organized and moderated a panel on which environmental photojournalists discussed their work. I became friends with all of the panelists, but recognized one - Carlton Ward, Jr. - as a kindred spirit in adventure when a group of us ended up swimming in the Atlantic in middle of the night. Carlton was organizing a far more ambitious adventure - the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition, a 1,000 mile journey by human power from the southern tip of the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp. On Sunday, Carlton and his three companions finished their trek and moved on to the next stage of their work - establishing a continuous wildlife corridor running the length of Florida. For yesterday's Weekend Edition, National Public Radio caught up with the team. The piece is worth a listen, and the Florida Wildlife Corridor is a worthy endeavor to provide appropriate habitat for Florida panthers, black bears, and countless other species threatened by Florida's rapid development.Last fall, at the Society of Environmental Journalists' annual conference in Miami, I organized and moderated a panel on which environmental photojournalists discussed their work. I became friends with all of the panelists, but recognized one - Carlton Ward, Jr. - as a kindred spirit in adventure when a group of us ended up swimming in the Atlantic in middle of the night. Carlton was organizing a far more ambitious adventure - the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition, a 1,000 mile journey by human power from the southern tip of the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp. On Sunday, Carlton and his three companions finished their trek and moved on to the next stage of their work - establishing a continuous wildlife corridor running the length of Florida. For yesterday's Weekend Edition, National Public Radio caught up with the team. The piece is worth a listen, and the Florida Wildlife Corridor is a worthy endeavor to provide appropriate habitat for Florida panthers, black bears, and countless other species threatened by Florida's rapid development.Last fall, at the Society of Environmental Journalists' annual conference in Miami, I organized and moderated a panel on which environmental photojournalists discussed their work. I became friends with all of the panelists, but recognized one - Carlton Ward, Jr. - as a kindred spirit in adventure when a group of us ended up swimming in the Atlantic in middle of the night. Carlton was organizing a far more ambitious adventure - the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition, a 1,000 mile journey by human power from the southern tip of the Everglades to the Okefenokee Swamp. On Sunday, Carlton and his three companions finished their trek and moved on to the next stage of their work - establishing a continuous wildlife corridor running the length of Florida. For yesterday's Weekend Edition, National Public Radio caught up with the team. The piece is worth a listen, and the Florida Wildlife Corridor is a worthy endeavor to provide appropriate habitat for Florida panthers, black bears, and countless other species threatened by Florida's rapid development.

Hoop Dreams

 

Watching all the pageantry surrounding the NCAA basketball tournaments during the past couple weeks reminded me of this photo I took nearly 30 years ago during a photography internship at the Kansas City Times (back when the Star was Kansas City's afternoon daily and the Times was published from the same building as the morning paper). We were always looking for "wild art" back then, and through most of my newspaper photography career. The "Great Picture Hunt" was often frustrating, and sometimes a photographer would spend almost the entire day looking for something visually interesting and come back with something so weak they hated to see their name under it in the paper, but none of us ever came back empty handed. It was always tempting to just pose something for the camera. This was always taboo at any paper I worked for, but we all knew some photographers did it, just like we know now that some photojournalists cross ethical boundaries in how much they manipulate images with Photoshop. But, aside from the dishonesty of presenting something as a found, slice-of-life situation when it was actually choreographed for the camera by the photographer, that photographer will also never know what really would have happened had they not changed the situation. Sometimes the photos you just let happen looked more like a setup than anything we could have posed.

Working for my hometown paper, and the first large newspaper I had worked for, I was sent out to find a stand-alone photo and was determined to bring back something special. Eventually most photographers develop some reporting skills to bring back unusual feature photos - a notebook of ideas in the car, perusing some newsletters or calendars for local schools and senior centers, even a read through the phone book to find some unusual and visual businesses. When most of us started out, howeer, we just drove around looking for cool photographs. I took my picture hunt to a local housing project in K.C., saw these kids coming out of an apartment with the hoop, hammer and basketball, and could imagine what was going to happen. I introduced myself, and then followed them to the telephone pole where James McIntosh, left, held the hoop as Rodja Pearson pounded in the nails. Raimor Darrington looks like he's just waiting to take the first shot, but was really bouncing the ball off the back of Pearson's head. The final photo looked too good to be true, but sometimes we just got lucky.

As for real basketball photography, Rich Clarkson, the dean of NCAA photographers and a Kansas native who ran the photography departments at the Topeka Capital Journal and National Geographic, just finished shooting his 57th, that's right 57th, NCAA Tournament Final Four. CBS This Morning profiled Clarkson, who is now based in Denver, Monday morning

 

 


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