Equipping our peers and community members with the knowledge and materials to become informed consumers is the focus behind this campaign. The public is more apt to change if given options instead of restrictions which is why we encourage consumers to choose sustainable options. For more information, go to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website.
Currently the ACSSC is continuing their sustainable seafood campaign which has 3 core aspects that engage the community at different levels
1) Reward local businesses. Regular meetings of the ACS Student Coalition are currently focused on identifying key locally-owned and franchise restaurants with whom mutually beneficial partnerships can be forged. Working with our business partnerships, we determine reasonable standards of sustainability in seafood selections, using the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program as a guiding metric. We also investigate and encourage the use of innovative and creative ways of rewarding both local businesses, their distributors, and their client base for choices that minimize impacts on the oceans
2) Community education. Dedicated ACSSC members discuss the issue of sustainable seafood choices and the impacts of destructive commercial fishing practices upon fish populations and habitats. ACSSC-IU members have tabled at numerous campus events and have handed out around 1,000 seafood watch cards at hot spots and at local festivals in Bloomington, IN. The organization meetings focus on various aspects of fisheries science, sustainability, and policy related to seafood.
3) Dorm meals. Encouraging campus housing departments across universities to use sustainable seafood in their meals offered to students on campus and in dorms.
ACSSC-IU members promoting sustainable seafood on campus
Cetaceans in Captivity
The issue of keeping cetaceans in captivity is complex and very current. The ACSSC considers current data and concludes that the current state of captive facilities cannot foster an adequate environment for a group of species with a wide range that possesses complex cognitive abilities that allow an immense capacity to suffer in a compact sterile environment. Captive life does not allow for the development or existence of complex social structures or culture, these are a few factors that are integral to the well-being of a highly social organism. Captivity involves many other areas that require further insight and discussion such as educational value, conservation programs, and research validity. The ACSSC understands that the merit of captivity is not a black and white or simple issue. Many gray areas remain, however, the dark side is very clear and action and community education are needed. Facilities that are for profit or have participated in the cruel and ecologically harmful practice of removing wild cetaceans for public display should not continue receiving public support for an outdated circus industry that needs to phase out. Data has demonstrated that the majority of aquaria and zoos that exploit cetaceans engage in little to no substantive conservation efforts despite their conservation focused mission statements. Additionally, educational materials have been found to mislead or blatantly omit correct information regarding cetacean behavior, natural history, lifespan, and health in their public statements and materials. This is antithetical to their public image and cause. For more information: http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/marine_mammals/case_against_marine_captivity.pdf
The ACSSC screens various captivity related documentaries such as: The Cove, A Fall From Freedom, Blackfish, Keiko: an untold story, etc. Additionally, student members hand out informative pamphlets regarding the issues that arise from cetaceans kept in captivity. Community engagement and group events are intended to encourage and facilitate in depth discussions and action on this complex issue.
Marine Plastic & Debris
The focus behind this campaign is community education and remaining informed and taking action to encourage responsible ocean policy. This campaign has 3 aspects.
1. Water System Health. Marine plastics and debris is relevant to citizens across the country, and is not a problem only for those that live by the coasts. Those near a coast can participate in beach clean ups while our landlocked student groups engage in water quality testing and river clean ups..
ACSSC-IU officers were trained by the Department of Natural Resources to lead a basic testing of biological, physical, and chemical components of water systems. The data is then put into a state wide data base that assesses the health of the water systems. This campaign aims to use action to demonstrate the unity between rivers, streams, and creeks to the global marine environment. Regardless of location, a community’s treatment of local watersheds can impact the ocean. Often marine debris comes from inland and eventually leads to the oceans
2. Community education. Dedicated ACSSC members discuss the various implications that marine pollution has upon the ecology of the marine environment in addition to the welfare of its inhabitants. ACSSC groups hand out science and fact based pamphlets in their community. Additionally, student groups aim to provide creative tips and solutions to encouraging their community to rely less upon harmful plastics.
3. Participating in activism is crucial to all of our campaigns to foster real change. The ACSSC supports its members in their participation in non violent demonstrations and lobbying.
ACSSC-IU members traveled to Washington D.C. to attend the 2011 Keystone XL Pipeline protest with an estimated 10,000 protesters.
ACSSC-IU members represented the ACSSC and traveled to our nation’s capitol one more. This time they attended the Blue Vision Summit and lobbied on Capitol Hill with Indiana reps to encourage they support current legislation regarding sustainable seafood, safe seafood, marine protected areas, and national ocean policy.