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.

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