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Julie Packard
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Blog Entries by Julie Packard

It's Time to Save Sharks

Posted June 2, 2011 | 15:02:40 (EST)

Sharks -- and ocean ecosystems -- are winning big victories these days. It's not a minute too soon.

The United States has banned shark finning in U.S. waters. It's a wasteful practice that involves catching sharks just for their fins, with the animals themselves tossed overboard -- dead...

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Inspiration from Izzie

Posted December 3, 2010 | 12:16:31 (EST)

Each of us can recount a person in our lives that shaped who we are. Sadly, I lost an important mentor this past month with the passing of Isabella Aiona Abbott.

Izzie, as she was known, was a professor of biological sciences at Stanford's Hopkins...

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Saving Sea Otters, Saving Ourselves

Posted October 8, 2010 | 17:44:11 (EST)

California's sea otters are dying, and their deaths have a message for the rest of us:

The oceans, and otters, need our help.

While other animals have flourished under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the sea otter recovery has been puzzlingly slow. Hunted nearly to extinction by fur traders in...

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A Lighter Look at Climate Change (VIDEO)

Posted August 25, 2010 | 16:03:40 (EST)

Climate change and its impact on ocean life is serious business. But sometimes you have to lighten up to get people to take the issue seriously.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, with the help of the inestimable John Cleese and the talented folks at

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The Wonder of the Oceans

Posted August 16, 2010 | 15:25:30 (EST)

Years ago, Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich observed that, "There's a lifetime of entertainment in your own backyard, if you just take the time to look."

The ocean is the biggest backyard we have, and a close look at the life it contains will leave you wide-eyed in amazement.

I'm...

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Ocean Enemy No. 1

Posted July 16, 2010 | 11:40:36 (EST)

The oil blowout that's fouled the Gulf of Mexico since April is many things: a human tragedy, an environmental disaster and a wake-up call.

But it's not the greatest crisis facing the oceans today. We'll be dealing with the gushing oil and its aftermath for years, but we can't be...

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Decisive Days for Our Oceans

Posted June 21, 2010 | 13:04:59 (EST)

There's nothing good to say about the Gulf oil catastrophe, except this: it has focused national attention on the health of our oceans as never before. In the midst of this human and ecological tragedy, we have the opportunity to come to our senses and to do the right thing...

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Oceans 9-1-1

Posted May 19, 2010 | 13:02:37 (EST)

I know you can't help but watch with alarm as the oil spill tragedy unfolds in the Gulf of Mexico. The impacts are serious, both to people and ocean wildlife. Yet as dramatic and disastrous as the spill may be, it's not the greatest environmental threat facing the...

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For Earth Day, A Simple Step to Save the Oceans

Posted April 9, 2010 | 11:42:28 (EST)

Someone asked me the other day: If you could ask people to do just one thing to ensure thriving oceans for the future, what would you suggest?

It's surprisingly simple.

We can vote with our dollars for seafood that's caught or farmed in sustainable ways. When we do...

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For Bluefin, Polar Bears Commerce Trumps Conservation

Posted March 18, 2010 | 15:43:36 (EST)

Once again, conservation yielded to commerce today. The proposal to ban global trade in Atlantic bluefin tuna -- the international poster child for overfishing -- was always a long shot. Nonetheless, it's a huge disappointment that delegates to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) today...

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Will We Only Save the Cute?

Posted March 12, 2010 | 15:36:21 (EST)

Can we muster the will to save endangered species that aren't cute and cuddly?

It's hardly an abstract question. IUCN -- The World Conservation Union -- has more than 1,200 species on its Red List. These animals and plants are, to varying degrees, on a path toward extinction....

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Solving Seafood -- Sustainably

Posted February 8, 2010 | 18:17:30 (EST)

I just returned from the Seafood Choices Alliance Seafood Summit in Paris, a gathering of over 600 business and NGO leaders concerned about the future of seafood.

The group was diverse -- marine biologists, ecologists, conservation advocates, and business leaders -- who make their living catching, producing, buying,...

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Mysteries of the Deep

Posted January 21, 2010 | 11:51:33 (EST)

The ocean is familiar, comforting -- and mysterious.

Whether it's a great day at the beach, fishing off the wharf with your grandfather or a scenic coastal road trip, you probably have a fond childhood memory that involves the sea.

Considering the important role oceans play in our lives,...

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Gifts for the Sea

Posted December 16, 2009 | 14:49:06 (EST)

A half-century ago, Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote Gifts from the Sea, a bestseller in which she described what we as individuals can take away from our times of quiet reflection along the shore.

For her, walking the beach inspired meditations on life's great issues: growth and change, love...

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WTO And the Future of Fish

Posted November 19, 2009 | 16:23:15 (EST)

There are many fronts in the fight to protect the oceans. Last month, Ted Danson and I took the campaign to Geneva, Switzerland where we helped global trade negotiators connect their work with the health of the oceans.

International talks about trade and tariffs can seem far removed from...

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Turning the Tide for Seafood

Posted October 17, 2009 | 13:59:32 (EST)

Twenty-five years ago, the Monterey Bay Aquarium invited visitors to peek below the surface of the ocean and discover the marvels living there. Since then, we've opened the eyes -- and hearts -- of millions of people to the incredible marine life found in our oceans.

Sadly, ocean life is...

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An Ocean of Inspiration

Posted September 17, 2009 | 16:53:00 (EST)

People often ask me how I came to be so committed to ocean conservation. Did I have a life-changing ocean experience as a young child? Did my family spend a lot of time at the shore? Was I an avid diver at a young age?

The truth is,...

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Fish For Our Future

Posted August 18, 2009 | 17:47:54 (EST)

There were major developments in the past few weeks that hold great promise for restoring the health of our oceans, and bringing back an abundance of ocean wildlife. At a time when there's no shortage of bad news about the state of the oceans, it's heartening to have big things...

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Obama's Big Blue Commitment

Posted June 29, 2009 | 18:33:32 (EST)

June has been a great month for everyone who loves the ocean and the amazing creatures that live there.

For the first time, the United Nations officially recognized June 8 as World Oceans Day. During that week, President Obama declared June to be National Oceans Month in the United...

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A Day of Thanks for Our Oceans

Posted June 4, 2009 | 13:05:14 (EST)

There's something to celebrate next Monday on World Ocean Day, June 8.

Now, I don't want to downplay the threats our oceans face. They are significant and urgent. But the good news is that "the other 70 percent" of our planet is finally getting the attention it deserves -...

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