Spending substantial time at or near the surface make North Atlantic right whales susceptible to ship strikes, as does their migratory route along the busy waterways of the North American Eastern seaboard.
Many would say the "plastic pollution awakening" happened in 1997, when Captain Charles Moore discovered the swirling soup of plastic debris in the Pacific's northeastern gyre -- known by many as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Due to Palau's strong market for snorkel and scuba ecotourism, a single live reef shark is worth roughly US$1.9 million over its lifetime (compared with a value of US$108 for a dead shark). The designation of Palau's shark sanctuary fueled a global campaign, and today 10 other countries have followed suit, creating more than 4.9 million square miles of shark sanctuary.
The very act of picking up plastics creates awareness and change in behavior. People engaged in cleanup often inspire changed behavior in others around them.
Take 3 is an Australian not-for-profit organisation with a simple message: Take three pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway or...anywhere, and you have made a difference.
There is no doubt: We need significant action to secure ocean health and prosperity for the people that depend on it. Several recent developments make me confident that we can put oceans on a path to recovery.
A certain level of idealism is needed when deciding to pursue ocean conservation work professionally. While idealism can serve as a kind of moral compass, it can quickly become a hindrance when conservationists attempt to convince foreign communities or governments to enact specific policies.
Which is more important to Americans - water, or hydro-power?
It's not an exaggeration to say that we depend upon the ocean for our very existence. Covering almost three-quarters of the planet, the mighty ocean is a natural resource like no other. Our fate is inextricably tied to the ocean's fate and the ocean is in trouble. Each of us needs to take action to keep the ocean healthy.
Think of the ocean now as a bank account where everybody withdraws but nobody makes a deposit. We're taking fish out of the ocean faster than they can replenish. In contrast, marine reserves are savings accounts, with a principal set aside that produces returns.
Foreign vessels have been plundering the waters of West Africa for decades to stock the fish markets of Europe and Asia. Industrial fishing is depriving West African people of a vital source of protein and pushing thousands of locals into poverty and despair.
We are exploring not just the ocean, but the edges of human grace, compassion, and courage.
So how do we stop overfishing, and encourage fish populations to rebound? It's an achievable goal, when tackled with a country-by-country approach.
The world's fisheries face real threats. But experience and science show that we can have a dramatically better future. Done right, fishing can be a positive force in a world that needs it, generating more prosperity, more food, and more abundance for all.
The circular economy strikes me as worthy of support at the highest levels. Whether as a means of combating the proliferation of plastic debris in the world's oceans, capturing nutrients or preventing the waste of scarce minerals in defunct consumer goods, the benefits would be wide-ranging and have local, national and international benefits.
That's the idea behind an emerging Nature Conservancy (TNC) strategy led by Maria Damanaki, TNC's new Global Managing Director for Oceans.