The Briny is a podcast about how we’re changing the sea, and how the sea changes us. Each episode is a sound-rich deep dive into the stories that anchor us to the ocean. Produced by Matt Frassica.
On the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica, a remote beach serves as an ideal place for sea turtles to lay their eggs. The Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization (DomSeTCO) keeps watch over the turtles when they come ashore and protects them from poachers. But after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, DomSeTCO’s organizers knew they needed more than shoestring grants to stay solvent — they needed a business plan. Marine biologist Jake Levenson had an idea that drew on the island’s agricultural strengths: why not try making rum?
Dominica Sea Turtle Conservation Organization
GoFundMe for the Rosalie Conservation Center
Fear Is the Thing with Fins
After a shark scare when she was a teenager, Pat Gallant-Charette never liked wading past her waist. So when she decided in her 40s to compete in a 2.4-mile ocean swim, she had to suppress her fears. Now an internationally decorated marathon swimmer, Pat still wrestles with anxiety on every swim. And she has seen sharks. But she tells herself: “stay focused, and swim.”
Turn Down for Whales
Researchers have found that ocean noise is a big problem for underwater life. Human activities like shipping, naval exercises, and oil exploration pump the oceans full of loud noises that marine species haven’t adapted to. So when the global economy ground to a halt due to COVID-19, did the ocean quiet down?
Dugald J. M. Thomson and David Barclay. “Real-time observations of the impact of COVID-19 on underwater noise.” The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 147: 3390 (2020).
Rosalind M. Rolland, et al. “Evidence that ship noise increases stress in right whales.” Proc. R. Soc. B. 279: 2363–2368 (2012).
A Quarantine Aquarium
As the pandemic rages, we’re all staying home. That has cut many of us off from the places we go to find solace in normal times. Coupled with the endless stream of terrible news washing over us, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So where do you turn to calm down when you can’t pull your eyes away from your computer screen? Filmmaker Jessica Ellis has a suggestion: aquarium webcams. Watching some swaying kelp or undulating jellies helps her restore mental balance. And she’s not alone. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Ken Peterson, their web traffic is up ten-fold since the start of the lockdown.
Monterey Bay Aquarium web cams
“What Lies West”
Hub & Spoke
“Kelp Forest” by Douglas Morton
The White Whale
Michael Gorman looked up to his older brother Kevin. Kevin was smart, independent, rebellious. He became a commercial fisherman, despite the fact that fishing jobs were drying up. But along the way Kevin developed a heroin addiction that took over his life, and he died of an overdose. Michael’s response to his brother’s death was to write a series of plays that make parallels between Melville’s “Moby Dick” and opiate addiction in the fishing industry. Gorman has brought his plays to venues like the Portland Fish Exchange in Portland, Maine, and the Fisherman’s Co-op in Vinalhaven, where they become part teach-in, part community catharsis. His latest play, “Chasing the New White Whale,” runs at LaMama theater in New York through December 9, 2018.
“Flaked Paint” by Blue Dot Sessions
Something Fishy, part 2
Conservation-minded regulations have cut New England’s groundfishing fleet in half. But have they improved the health of the ecosystem? Some fish stocks are recovering, while others - like cod - have continued to decline. And the quota system designed to protect those species creates a perverse incentive: fishermen are throwing dead fish overboard rather than landing them, further damaging the health of the stocks.
Interesting. Well paced. Expertly produced. Highly recommend!
Lovely stories about the wide unknown. Possibly the best ocean-themed entertainment since Finding Nemo.
Great podcast!! A reminder to everyone how to pronounce Newfoundland: Understand=Newfoundland.