Guess What’s Showing Up In Our Shellfish? One Word: Plastics

2017-09-21T10:05:45+00:00 September 21, 2017|

Sarah Dudas doesn't mind shucking an oyster or a clam in the name of science. But sit down with her and a plate of oysters on the half-shell or a bucket of steamed Manila clams, and she'll probably point out a bivalve's gonads or remark on its fertility. "These are comments I make at dinner parties," she said. "I've spent too much time doing dissections. I've done too many spawnings." And lately, the shellfish biologist is making other unappetizing comments to her dinner party guests — about plastics in those shellfish.

How A Tiny Portion Of The World’s Oceans Could Help Meet Global Seafood Demand

2017-09-08T10:25:54+00:00 September 8, 2017|

Aquaculture will have to be the primary source of our seafood now and into the future. Seafood is an essential staple in the diets of people around the world. Global consumption of fish and shellfish has more than doubled over the last 50 years, and is expected to keep rising with global population growth. Many people assume that most seafood is something that we catch in the wild with lines, trawls and traps. In fact, aquaculture (aquatic farming) accounts for just over half of all the seafood consumed worldwide.

House Fishes For Improvements To Magnuson-Stevens Act

2017-07-24T15:49:00+00:00 July 24, 2017|

Only 31 years ago, fleets from foreign countries could fish as close as 12 nautical miles to the United States shoreline. Fish populations were severely depleted, impacting livelihoods for fishers and threatening biodiversity. As a result, Congress passed the bipartisan Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). This law extends U.S. jurisdiction to 200 nautical miles, uses science-based management to rebuild stocks and prevent overfishing, and ensures an economically sustainable yield via quotas and annual catch limits. The 1976 law created eight regional fishery management councils and has been updated twice, once in 1996 and again in 2007. Thanks to these efforts, U.S. fish populations are rebuilding, and now, 90 percent of fisheries fall below their annual catch limits. Last week, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans held a hearing to discuss areas for improvement to consider upon reauthorization. Both sides of the aisle praised the successes of the law and conceded need for change but had different ideas for what those alterations might be.

Scientist: Baby Lobster Count Drops Off US Coast, Canada

2017-06-06T16:51:23+00:00 June 6, 2017|

The number of young lobsters is declining in the Gulf of Maine despite years of record-breaking harvests, a University of Maine marine scientist has warned. Rick Wahle quantifies the population of baby lobsters in the gulf, a key lobster fishing area about the size of Wisconsin, at monitoring sites in New England and Canada every year. His American Lobster Settlement Index, released this month, shows monitoring sites from New Brunswick to Cape Cod had some of the lowest levels since the late 1990s or early 2000s.

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.

Longest-Living Sea Animal Sheds Light On A Thousand Years Of Ocean History

2016-12-08T09:03:06+00:00 December 8, 2016|

The longest living animal in the ocean, known as the quahog clam, can tell scientists about the ancient history of the North Atlantic Ocean. It has shown them how the ocean's role as a driver of atmospheric climate has considerably changed over this long period of time. The quahog clam – also referred to as hard clam – is an edible mollusc found in the eastern shores of North and Central America. Incredibly, it can live over 500 years. In a new study published in Nature Communications scientists have shown how useful the quahog clam can be to journey back in the past and study the evolution oceans have faced over many years.

Toxic ‘Marine Snow’ Can Sink Quickly, Persist At Ocean Depths

2016-12-19T17:05:39+00:00 December 6, 2016|

In a new study, researchers from North Carolina State University found that a specific neurotoxin can persist and accumulate in "marine snow" formed by the algae Pseudo-nitzschia, and that this marine snow can reach significant depths quickly. These findings have implications for food safety policies in areas affected by toxic marine algal blooms.

Robotic Mussels Track Rising Temperatures for Climate Research

2016-10-19T16:44:55+00:00 October 19, 2016|

If you were to stare down into one of a few dozen intertidal pools at low tide, as waves glide in and out, you might have a hard time spotting the robots. That’s because they look just like the real mussels that surround them. “It’s a problem finding them again,” said Brian Helmuth, a professor of marine science and public policy at Northeastern University, “because they do look so much like mussels.”The robotic mussels, which were devised about 18 years ago by Dr. Helmuth, contain little thermometers and data loggers that record the temperature every 10 minutes, approximating the internal temperature of the actual mussels nearby.

From Bivalves To Blue Crabs: Acidification Brings Challenges To New Marine Life

2018-02-14T14:29:28+00:00 September 26, 2016|

In school, most students learn to measure acidity or pH with a litmus test. Unfortunately, monitoring the acidity of the ocean is not as simple as dunking a small piece of paper in liquid and waiting for the color to change, and the impacts of acidity changes to marine life are more complex than a simple change in color. Atmospheric carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, which makes it difficult for marine calcifiers (a group comprised of many different organisms, such as molluscs, crustaceans, and corals) to make their own shells and skeletons. Ocean acidification doesn’t just harm these creatures. It threatens our nation’s economic stability, from our $7.3 billion seafood industry to our $101.1 billion recreation and tourism sector. But it doesn’t stop there – it also affects our homeland security.

Resiliency Reaches All Corners Of The Coast Thanks To Sea Grant

2016-09-26T16:54:05+00:00 September 26, 2016|

Students in Alaska take a field trip to a local salmon stream. An artificial reef is built off the coast of Florida. A duck hunter cleans his gear in Wisconsin. A lifeguard in Delaware explains rip currents to a family on their beach vacation. Even though these differing coastal activities take place over the entire continental U.S., they all have the National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant), in common. Sea Grant is comprised of a network of 33 programs along the nation’s coasts that support “research, education, outreach, and extension activities that provide communities with the tools to increase their resiliency capacities.” Sea Grant and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a briefing on the necessity of economic resiliency in coastal communities in the U.S. and featured three speakers who attested to the importance of resiliency and of Sea Grant’s support.

Scientist Learns Population Size Of Scallops Affects Fertilization Success

2016-09-01T13:41:10+00:00 September 1, 2016|

In 2015, Maine fishermen brought in 452,672 pounds of scallop meat valued at $12.70 per pound—the highest in years. But scallops haven't always done well in Maine and beyond. In the 1990s, after huge reductions in multiple fishery landings, including giant sea scallops, NOAA regulators instituted large fishing closures to try to bolster groundfish stocks. After four years, scallop stocks had increased 14 times what they were prior to the closure. Seeking a similar success story, Maine followed suit in 2009 and instituted a three-year scallop fishing closure.

Fighting Barnacle Buildup With Biology

2016-08-31T17:06:58+00:00 August 31, 2016|

Biological growth along the bottoms of boats is more than just an eyesore. Biofouling, as it is known, slows down ships and impedes the readiness of emergency response and military vessels. A new study identifies key developmental steps these organisms must take to metamorphose from their larval to adult state. Understanding this process could lead to new technologies to prevent the organisms from attaching to ships in the first place.

Mussels Disappearing From New England Waters, Scientists Say

2016-08-30T13:44:46+00:00 August 30, 2016|

New England is running out of mussels. The Gulf of Maine's once strong population of wild blue mussels is disappearing, scientists say. A study led by marine ecologists at the University of California at Irvine found the numbers along the gulf coastline have declined by more than 60 percent over the last 40 years.

Oyster Archaeology: Ancient Trash Holds Clues To Sustainable Harvesting

2016-08-16T12:29:14+00:00 August 16, 2016|

To see how much the population has changed over the years, Breitburg and other biologists and archaeologists undertook the largest survey to date of any shellfishery, chronicling the Chesapeake Bay's oyster population from almost 800,000 years ago to the present day. The researchers were surprised to find thousands of years during which oyster populations stayed stable – the era of Native Americans.

Comment Request: Northeast Ocean Plan

2016-05-25T16:24:07+00:00 May 25, 2016|

The Northeast Regional Planning Body, which is composed of eight Federal agencies and departments, six States, six federally recognized Indian Tribes, and the New England Fishery Management Council, is requesting public comment on its draft Northeast Ocean Plan.

Fisheries Of The Northeastern United States; Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery; Framework Adjustment 27

2016-02-24T15:00:48+00:00 February 24, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Atlantic sea scallops. (Credit: NOAA) NMFS proposes to approve and implement measures included in Framework Adjustment 27 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan, which the New England Fishery Management Council adopted and submitted to NMFS for approval.(From the Federal Register) -- The purpose of Framework 27 is to prevent [...]

Fisheries Of The Northeastern United States; Amendment 17 To The Atlantic Surfclam And Ocean Quahog Fishery Management Plan

2016-02-24T14:24:47+00:00 February 24, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Atlantic Surf Clam (Credit: Scott Bush/Flickr) NMFS announces that the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 17 to the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery Management Plan for review and approval by the Secretary of Commerce.(From the Federal Register) -- We are requesting comments from the public on the amendment. [...]

Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; General Provisions For Domestic Fisheries; Application For Exempted Fishing Permits

2016-02-24T14:00:46+00:00 February 24, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Atlantic sea scallops. (Credit: NOAA) The Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, has made a preliminary determination that an Exempted Fishing Permit application contains all of the required information and warrants further consideration.(From the Federal Register) -- This Exempted Fishing Permit would exempt commercial fishing vessels from [...]

Plastic Pollution Perturbs Oyster Offspring

2016-02-04T17:26:44+00:00 February 4, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Over time, wind and waves grind and chew that plastic trash into tiny bits of what’s called "microplastic"—which happen to be about the same size and shape as the micro algae that filter feeders like oysters snack on. Meaning oysters can ingest it. (Credit: David/ Flickr) Laboratory tests suggest that when [...]

Non-Native Marine Species’ Spread, Impact Explained By Time Since Introduction

2015-08-14T13:17:16+00:00 August 14, 2015|

The time since the introduction of a non-native marine species best explains its global range, according to new research by an international team of scientists led by University of Georgia ecologist James E. Byers. The study, published in the open access journal Nature Scientific Reports, also contains a warning: The vast majority of marine invaders have not yet finished spreading.

Whale-eating Deep-Sea Shrimp Discovered

2015-08-07T10:49:29+00:00 August 7, 2015|

Two new species of submarine shrimp-like creature, capable of 'stripping' a pig carcass in a matter of days, have been discovered by a team of scientists from the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).

What President Obama’s Climate Plan Means for the Ocean

2016-06-28T19:38:30+00:00 June 27, 2013|

When President Barack Obama took to the microphone at Georgetown University on Tuesday afternoon to announce his “Climate Action Plan,” the long-awaited next steps in his effort to reduce U.S. carbon pollution, he didn’t forget to call out the effect such pollution has already had on the oceans.

Vast Methane-Based Ecosystem Uncovered

2016-06-28T19:38:39+00:00 May 23, 2013|

A marine research expedition sponsored by the BOEM and the NOAA has led to the discovery of perhaps the world's largest methane cold seep by two university-based research teams and their partners, UNCW announced today.

How Much Protection Is Enough?

2016-06-28T19:39:08+00:00 March 1, 2013|

Protection of marine areas from fishing increases density and biomass of fish and invertebrates (such as lobster and scallops) finds a systematic review published in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Evidence.

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