iOS app Android app

Miyoko Sakashita
GET UPDATES FROM Miyoko Sakashita
Miyoko Sakashita is the oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, a national conservation group that advocates for endangered species and the wild places they live.

Entries by Miyoko Sakashita

Why Is the 'Climate President' Approving More Oil Drilling?

(41) Comments | Posted January 27, 2015 | 8:12 PM


Something doesn't compute here.

Last week, President Obama rightly declared in his State of the Union address: "No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change."

This week, the Obama administration announced plans open up the Atlantic Ocean...

Read Post

Our Oceans Awash in Toxic Plastic Garbage

(2) Comments | Posted December 12, 2014 | 2:23 AM


Scientists just published a paper with the first-ever estimate of all the plastic garbage floating in the world's oceans.

The results were astronomical: More than 5 trillion pieces of plastic debris, weighting 269,000 tons. These bits of garbage are distributed...

Read Post

Who's Killing Hawaii's Endangered Monk Seals?

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 2:48 PM


It's happened again. Another endangered Hawaiian monk seal has been beaten to death in Hawaii.

Sunday's death of this young female monk seal -- known as RF58 - is the ninth suspicious death since 2009. Some have been shot, others bludgeoned.

Read Post

In Hawaii's Colorful Reefs, a Harrowing Death Knell

(1) Comments | Posted November 4, 2014 | 8:18 PM


It's no secret that the world's corals are in trouble but right now in the waters around Hawaii, it's some of the rarest corals on Earth that are getting hammered.

In recent weeks warming ocean temperatures near Oahu and Kauai have set off...

Read Post

Is Nemo Ready for His Climate Close-Up?

(2) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 4:30 PM


The climate crisis isn't just about searing heat, super storms and polar bears. Sea life is getting hammered too.

Take those tiny orange clownfish, inspiration for Finding Nemo. Greenhouse gas pollution is not only destroying their coral reef habitats and hurting the anemone...

Read Post

Stop Fracking Our Oceans, Californians Say

(2) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 5:31 PM

Contaminated water, polluted air, increased earthquake risk: As fracking has expanded across America, this dangerous form of oil and gas production has caused massive harm to our environment and public health.

Now the oil industry is ramping up fracking offshore, in our...

Read Post

It's Time to Take this Poisonous Plastic Out of Our Oceans

(0) Comments | Posted July 31, 2014 | 3:58 PM

You may love the plastic in your credit card, water pipes and gym bags but whales, sea turtles and birds certainly don't.

Polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC or vinyl, is one of the world's most common plastics. It's also a major source of dangerous chemicals, including substances linked to...

Read Post

Obama Administration to Whales, Dolphins: You Go Deaf, We'll Get Oil

(9) Comments | Posted July 22, 2014 | 2:14 PM

Imagine this: Someone moves into your neighborhood and, every 10 seconds, fires off an airgun that's louder than a jet engine. And it goes on for weeks or months at a time. It's painful and debilitating, so loud that some of your neighbors go deaf, others die.

If you're a...

Read Post

Obama Ate What?

(1) Comments | Posted April 24, 2014 | 6:55 PM

Oh no, no he didn't.

Oh yes. Apparently he did.

Remember the news earlier this week that President Obama, on his trip in Japan, ate at that famous Tokyo sushi restaurant?

Well, turns out that the restaurant serves one of the priciest and endangered fish on Earth: bluefin...

Read Post

Four Years After Gulf Oil Spill, BP Is Recovering Faster Than Environment

(2) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 5:50 PM

Nearly four years after the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion dumped more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the slate has been largely cleared for BP -- the EPA ban on federal contracts has been lifted, and the company is free once again to bid...

Read Post

A Big Break for Polar Bears, the Arctic

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 2:15 PM

Polar bears and other wildlife in the Arctic just got a crucial break.

On Wednesday, an appeals court said the federal Interior department wrongly sold leases to drill for oil and gas in the Chukchi Sea off the north coast of Alaska.

The decision confirms what so many...

Read Post

Saving These Rare Orcas? Protect Their Favorite Haunts

(1) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 7:17 PM

Summer's a great time to see the state of Washington's Puget Sound. A sharp-eyed visitor might even catch a glimpse of some of the rarest killer whales on Earth.

There are only 81 "southern resident" killer whales left the wild. They were on the path toward extinction until...

Read Post

Can Superfund Save This Garbage-Strewn Island?

(1) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 6:00 PM

Nearly 500 miles northwest of Hawaii, there's a tiny rectangular island in the middle of Pacific.

Though it's only 26 acres -- the size of roughly 20 football fields -- Tern Island is a life-saving rest stop for millions of birds, green sea turtles and endangered Hawaiian monk seals. They've...

Read Post

Now They're Fracking California's Oceans?

(40) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 1:53 PM

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, California's coast faces a new threat. Oil companies are fracking the ocean floor just offshore -- and state and federal officials seem unconcerned or out of the loop about the danger to the Golden State's...

Read Post

Whales, Dolphins Need a Break From Deadly Navy Blasts

(0) Comments | Posted September 27, 2013 | 3:24 AM

Whales, dolphins, seals and sea lions got a good break this week when a judge told a federal wildlife agency it's not doing enough to protect them from Navy war exercises along the West Coast.

That means the National Marine Fisheries Service will have to go back...

Read Post

Duller, More Lifeless Oceans? No Thanks

(2) Comments | Posted July 15, 2013 | 3:14 PM

One of the reasons I love oceans is that they're bursting with life. Crazy, sort of unbelievable life if you think about it: Sea horses, anemones, whales, lobster, limpets, sharks, the list goes on and on.

For anyone fascinated by the beautiful oddities of the universe hiding around every corner,...

Read Post

Don't Ignore the Root of Trouble in Our Oceans

(3) Comments | Posted April 17, 2013 | 6:57 PM

The clock is ticking for our sea life.

Every day, some 22 million tons of carbon pollution from factories, power plants, cars and other human sources are absorbed by the world's oceans. We're seeing the terrible effects as sea water acidifies, coral reefs collapse, oyster beds disappear...

Read Post

Arctic Drilling Proves Dangerous Again

(6) Comments | Posted January 2, 2013 | 12:13 PM

I couldn't help but wonder this week as Coast Guard crews braved Alaska's dangerous seas to regain control of Shell's drilling rig and evacuate its crew: Why is our federal government bending over backwards to let Shell drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean?

This week's incident with the...

Read Post

Garbage-infested Oceans Need Superfund Help

(11) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 10:23 AM

At first glance the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are a tropical paradise. Designated a national marine monument in 2006, this 1,200-mile chain of scattered islands and atolls is home to more than 7,000 marine species, one quarter of which are found nowhere else on Earth.

But look more...

Read Post

Orcas Don't Deserve to Lose Their Endangered Status

(2) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 6:19 PM

The federal government just announced that it was going to consider removing protections for Puget Sound's orcas. There are three reasons why this move to delist these "killer whales" from the Endangered Species Act seems too wacky to be offered serious consideration.

First, there are only about 86...

Read Post