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The Albemarle-Pamlico NEP does great things, but is it successful in creating a healthy ecosystem?

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Kim Rosov is a student in the Masters of Coastal and Ocean Policy program at UNC Wilmington. She has been working at the UNCW Center for Marine Science since receiving her Masters of Marine Science degree in 2009. By developing a knowledge base of both disciplines, she hopes to become a liaison between science and policy, working to apply science to conservation and environmental issues that are becoming increasingly important in our society.


In recent years, the demand for clean water in these areas has highlighted the need maintain and sustain ecological health. Since the mid-20th century, North Carolina residents and policy makers considered the economic benefits of coastal urban development to outweigh resulting environmental degradation. North Carolina has one of the largest estuarine systems in the United States. This system has recreational, economic and cultural significance to midatlantic states, particularly residents near the Virginia-North Carolina border.

The Albemarle-Paml…

New York Fishing Net’s in Hot Water

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Lee Crusius is a student in the Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy program at UNC Wilmington. He is a 2007 graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy with a B.S. in Marine Environmental Science. With 16-years in the U.S. Coast Guard, Lee has conducted domestic and international fisheries enforcement. His research interests include adaptations of quota-share systems and integrated ecological and economic models.



Paralichthys dentatus, also known as Summer Flounder or Fluke is the center of controversy between New York and Southern States. Photo NOAA
On January 14th, 2019 the New York State Attorney’s Office filed suit against NOAA Fisheries claiming access to Summer Flounder was in violation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act. 

At the center of the case is the distribution of annual state catch shares by NOAA. Since 1996, federal regulations have required equitable state access to federal fisheries. Yet, while New York accounts for merely 7% of the Total Allowable…

MCOP is 5!

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This past Friday, current and former students of the Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy program celebrated 5 years of the program with a social in downtown Wilmington's eclectic Brooklyn Arts District.

The Bitter Debate Over Driving on the Beach: Sidestepping the Real Issues

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Cameron Smith is in the Master of Science in Coastal and Ocean Policy program at UNC Wilmington. After completing a BS degree in physics and astronomy (and learning to rock climb) at Appalachian State, he missed the beautiful NC coast and wanted to be involved in protecting it. During the master’s program he has worked in two internships, one at a local bird rehabilitation clinic and one at an environmental nonprofit. After graduating from the master’s program he hopes to work in wildlife rehabilitation or management, and is always interested in creative ways to bring science to the public.


In recent years, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore has been embroiled in a fierce conflict between park managers and off road vehicle users. In several ways, politics has overshadowed the science of species management leading to increasing resentment between local residents and park managers over policies that are not likely to achieve species protection goals.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore …

A Tale of Two Labs

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Today's post is from a super-fantastic undergraduate student who elected to do a directed independent study project with this year's Coastal and Ocean Policy capstone class.  Her undergaduate research experience provided her the opportunity to look at the politics hidden in the weeds of the scientific process.

Lara Noren is an undergraduate student studying marine biology and public administration at the University of North Carolina Wilmington graduating in May of 2018. In the future she hopes to attend graduate school to study ocean policy. 


Coral reefs have an extensive legacy in many cultures around the world. Today, coral reefs are regarded as one of the most economically and biologically valuable ecosystems on the planet. They provide habitat for commercially important fish, storm surge protection to island communities, billions of dollars in tourism each year, and are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems globally. 
Economic Benefits of Tropical Reefs
Although coral reefs ar…

Small Plastics Causing Big Problems

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Mackenzie Todd is a student in the Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy program at UNC Wilmington. She graduated from UNC Wilmington in 2016, with a B.S in Environmental Science. Having family near the coast, Mackenzie has always had a passion for the environment, specifically the ocean. Her research interests include marine debris, coastal policy and society’s values towards the coast.

According to toxicologists from Exeter University, “there are certain human environmental distresses so major that they are capable of destabilizing the earth’s normal function at a global scale”. These threats include the typical villains: climate change, ozone depletion, and ocean acidification. In recent years, microplastics, the vast amount of discarded plastic waste accumulating in the oceans has emerged as a new global environmental threat.

Microplastics are particles with a diameter less than 1mm, which derive from progressive fragmentation of larger plastic items. They also are manufactured to be…

NC Shrimp Trawling: To ban or not to ban?

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Jatu Nugrohorukmiis a graduate student in Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy program with a bachelor degree in Marine Science. While working for Indonesia's government developed an interest in furthering expertise in environmental policy and coastal resource management. Upon returning to Indonesia, Jatu will work with decision-makers to help conserve and manage marine resources to assure sustainability.

Fishing is among the oldest means of livelihood in the world. It started with a simple fishing rod to feed the family. Eventually, the need grew to feed the entire nation, and we began to build fishing fleets. Fisheries have long been an important heritage, especially in coastal counties. However, there is also the dark side of it. Fisheries are a classic example of a common pool resource problem and the difficulty in managing equitable usage among a growing population threatens the sustainability of the resource.

State and national governments create rules so that there is enough fi…