New Congress Means New Legislation

2017-02-27T15:22:52+00:00 February 27, 2017|

(Click to enlarge) A number of new bills introduced in this Congress were of relevance to the ocean science community. One relates to ocean acification research.(Credit: NOAA) In a scene more appropriate for a college laboratory than the Capitol building (lab safety protocols aside), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) measured pH on the Senate [...]

Infrastructure, A Rare Topic Of Bipartisanship

2017-02-13T14:04:29+00:00 February 13, 2017|

“When the word ‘infrastructure’ comes up, most people think of steel and concrete, bridges and ports,” began the testimony of Mr. Anthony Pratt (President, American Shore and Beach Preservation Association) to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He continued, “But I`m here to talk about water and coastal infrastructure that is just as critical to the American economy and creates (and protects) just as many jobs, but does so with sand and sediment, roots and grass.”

Is That Really Yellowtail? Sushi Gene Study Reveals Rampant Mislabeling

2017-01-25T14:26:33+00:00 January 25, 2017|

Diners piling their leftovers into to-go boxes isn't an unusual sight at a Los Angeles sushi bar, but for the last few years, some of those leftover slices of raw fish wound up in the most unexpected of settings: UCLA classrooms. Over the course of four years, undergraduate students taking a course called Introduction to Marine Science took nearly 400 pieces of sushi from 26 LA sushi restaurants back to the lab. Their goal? To see if the fish they were being sold was truly the fish they were being served.

Fishing Rule Aims To Do For All Marine Mammals What It Did For The Dolphin

2017-01-09T14:24:57+00:00 January 9, 2017|

The vaquita is a small porpoise found only in the northern Gulf of California, in Mexico. Today, the species is critically endangered, with less than 60 animals left in the wild, thanks to fishing nets to catch fish and shrimp for sale in Mexico and America. The animal is an accidental victim of the fishing industry, as are many other marine mammals.

Fish Seek Cooler Waters, Leaving Some Fishermen’s Nets Empty

2017-01-03T14:30:18+00:00 January 3, 2017|

POINT JUDITH, R.I. — There was a time when whiting were plentiful in the waters of Rhode Island Sound, and Christopher Brown pulled the fish into his long stern trawler by the bucketful. “We used to come right here and catch two, three, four thousand pounds a day, sometimes 10,” he said, sitting at the wheel of the Proud Mary — a 44-footer named, he said, after his wife, not the Creedence Clearwater Revival song — as it cruised out to sea.

Atlantic Ocean Area The Size Of Virginia Protected From Deep-Water Fishing

2016-12-21T09:23:21+00:00 December 21, 2016|

Coral in an area in the Atlantic Ocean stretching from Connecticut to Virginia has been protected from deep-sea commercial fishing gear, by a new rule issued this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The protected area covers some 38,000 square miles of federal waters, NOAA says, which is about the size of Virginia. It's the "largest area in the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico protected from a range of destructive fishing gear," according to the NRDC, an environmental advocacy group.

New U.S. Law Poised To Improve Marine Conservation Worldwide

2016-12-21T09:15:51+00:00 December 21, 2016|

New restrictions on U.S. seafood imports, which will require seafood to be harvested in accordance with the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), will likely offer significant marine conservation benefits on a global scale. In this Policy Forum, Rob Williams et al. highlight the impacts and challenges involved in this endeavor. The U.S. is the largest importer of seafood in the world, accepting marine catches from more than 120 countries. Best case scenario, countries will comply and marine species will benefit from improved protection. Worst case, countries could suffer economically from not being able to export to the US, and/or choose not to comply.

Invasive Fish Threat To Kelp Forests

2016-12-19T11:24:10+00:00 December 19, 2016|

Seaweed-eating fish are becoming increasingly voracious as the ocean warms due to climate change and are responsible for the recent destruction of kelp forests off the NSW north coast near Coffs Harbour, research shows. The study includes an analysis of underwater video, covering a 10-year period between 2002 and 2012, during which the water warmed by 0.6 degrees. "Kelp forests provide vital habitat for hundreds of marine species, including fish, lobster and abalone," says study first author Dr Adriana Vergés of UNSW and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science.

Scientists Improve Predictions Of How Temperature Affects The Survival Of Fish Embryos

2017-01-03T15:28:44+00:00 December 13, 2016|

Scientists closely tracking the survival of endangered Sacramento River salmon faced a puzzle: the same high temperatures that salmon eggs survived in the laboratory appeared to kill many of the eggs in the river. Now the scientists from NOAA Fisheries and the University of California at Santa Cruz have resolved the puzzle, realizing new insights into how egg size and water flow affect the survival of egg-laying fish. The larger the eggs, they found, the greater the water flow they need to supply them with oxygen and carry away waste. The results of the study were published in the scientific journal Ecology Letters. NOAA Fisheries is using the findings to improve protection of fish in the Sacramento River.

The Nation’s First Ocean Plans

2016-12-07T13:47:59+00:00 December 7, 2016|

Today, the National Ocean Council (NOC) finalized the Nation’s first ocean plans, taking a historic step toward fulfilling President Obama’s commitment to healthy ocean ecosystems and a strong, sustainable marine economy. The two regional plans, the Northeast Ocean Plan and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan, promote the use of integrated ocean data and best practices for informed and efficient management of the Nation’s shared marine resources. This approach is designed to work across all levels of government and to advance economic, environmental, and cultural priorities within each region. In addition to years of historic collaboration among states, tribes, Federal agencies, and Fishery Management Councils, the Plans are a result of extensive participation and input from marine stakeholders representing fishing, recreation, energy, transportation, telecommunications, and many other interests.

Synchronized Swimming: How Startled Fish Shoals Effectively Evade Danger

2016-12-06T10:33:59+00:00 December 6, 2016|

As panic spreads, an entire shoal (collective) of fish responds to an incoming threat in a matter of seconds, seemingly as a single body, to change course and evade a threatening predator. Within those few seconds, the panic-infused information – more technically known as the startle response – spreads through the collective, warning fish within the group that would otherwise have no way to detect such a threat. The ways in which this information spreads and the role played by position dynamics may help us better plan for emergencies.

Marine Incentives Programs May Replace ‘Doom And Gloom’ With Hope

2016-12-12T19:04:20+00:00 December 2, 2016|

Incentives that are designed to enable smarter use of the ocean while also protecting marine ecosystems can and do work, and offer significant hope to help address the multiple environmental threats facing the world's oceans, researchers conclude in a new analysis. Whether economic or social, incentive-based solutions may be one of the best options for progress in reducing impacts from overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification and pollution, researchers from Oregon State University and Princeton University say in a new report published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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