Showing posts from 2018

MCOP is 5!

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

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

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

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?

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…

This Is Not A Drill: The America-First Offshore Energy Strategy

Nick Krebs is a student in the Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy program at UNC Wilmington.  He graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2014, with a B.A. in Economics.  Having grown up on North Carolina's coast, Nick has always had an appreciation for the coastal people and their relationship with the coastal environment.  His research interests include coastal energy development, environmental economics and public opinions on environmental issues.

If you’re unfamiliar with the small towns, funny accents and beautiful landscapes of North Carolina’s coast, then it might not make sense at first. We want jobs, prosperity, freedom and national security, just like everyone else. We depend on gasoline for our cars - and our boats - and we use natural gas for electricity. Sixteen of the twenty coastal counties even voted for Trump in 2016. All things considered, maybe it is fair for you to wonder why anyone from coastal North Carolina would have a problem with the new offshore energy plan.

Shark Finning Prohibition Act of 2000

Christine Billings is a student in the Coastal and Ocean Policy Master’s program at UNCW and is graduating this spring.  While studying Marine Biology as an undergraduate at UNCW and working at different aquariums, Christine developed an interest in marine policy.  Through her graduate study she studied marine species management policy. 

Today, more than one-quarter of all cartilaginous fish (sharks, rays, and chimeras) are threatened with extinction from human activities including overexploitation through fisheries and incidental by-catch.  According to OCEANA, the international advocacy group, one of the greatest threats to sharks is finning.  That practice of finning includes cutting off the shark's fins and throwing the body overboard leaving the shark at high risk of drowning, bleeding to death, or starving.  Finning is seen by OCEANA and many others as wasteful and inhumane. 

The main driver for shark finning is shark fin soup-  a delicacy in some Asian countries.  This soup…

2017 Capstone Class Blog Posts

It's that time of year when the Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy class provides blog posts of their final projects.  This year, they range from shark finning to offshore oil drilling to over zealous sponge growth.

Over the remainder of the semester, each week will showcase the work of one or two students.  Stay tuned!

Deadline to Apply for Fall Admissions in April 15


Offshore Drilling: Why is Florida so special?


Wilmington Coup of 1898

By Unknown derivative work: MagentaGreen - This file was derived from  Wilmington vigilantes.tif: , Public Domain, Link

Wilmington, NC Coup Wiki

There is a great two part podcast about the Wilmington, NC coup of 1898 presented by Stuff You Missed in History Class.  The series provides some relevant background on Reconstruction moving towards how this period played out specifically in Wilmington.  A worthwhile listen!

Note:  The Wilmington Coup of 1898 is often framed as a "race riot."  Whether or not the term is technically correct the Coup was rooted in deep seeded issues of racism.  As such, the podcast covers matters of politics, racism and brutal violence. 
Part 1Part 2

GenX, Environmental Justice, and North Carolina's Legacy of Pollution

GenX, Environmental Justice, and North Carolina's Legacy of Pollution

Here in the Wilmington, much of the public is concerned about the quality of the drinking water.  Apparently, a subsidiary of the chemical giant Dupont, Chemours Company, dumps it's waste into the Cape Fear River about 70 miles upstream of where Wilmington extracts water for public use (see map above).  While Dupont has done this for at least 30 years, recent detection of the chemical "GenX" in the water supply has caused a local and national stir

GenX is related to the production of Teflon, a chemical beloved by many for it's 'non stick' qualities and used everywhere from cooking utensils, to clothes, to automobile windshields.  Still, no one recommends the stuff should be ingested directly.  The chemical is not well understood, but the nature of its chemical composition points to a potential carcinogen and serious public health threat.

You can read more about GenX and North Carolina&…