Like anyone with rowdy neighbors, oysters may be feeling stressed thanks to the growing problem of underwater noise pollution, and are trying to filter out the racket.
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.
The Senate Oceans Caucus and U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Association hosted a briefing on Thursday to address advances in ocean observing and technology that are important to national security, the economy, and environmental health.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
But dietary guidelines say we should be eating more. The average American consumed 15.5 pounds of seafood last year, nearly a pound more than in 2014, according to a new government report.
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.
Amid efforts to restore native oyster populations on the West Coast, how are oysters expected to fare under climate change in the decades and centuries to come? Not too badly, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. But there's a big "if" involved.
A new study finds that unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures helped cause a massive bloom of toxic algae last year that closed lucrative fisheries from California to British Columbia and disrupted marine life from seabirds to sea lions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As coastal ecosystems feel the heat of climate change worldwide, new research shows the humble mussel and marsh grass form an intimate interaction known as mutualism that benefits both partner species and may be critical to helping these ecosystems bounce back from extreme climatic events such as drought.
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.
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.
NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on a draft plan to help guide its approach to increase the production, delivery, and use of climate-related information and to reduce impacts and increase resilience of fish stocks, fishing-dependent communities, and protected species.
The number of fish stocks listed as distressed grew slightly last year, but federal officials say that’s partly because their tracking methods are improving.
(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
(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
(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 [...]
Gobi (Amblyeleotris yanoi) and shrimp (Alpheus randalli) (Credit: Steve Childs / Flickr) If you put a microphone underwater near the oyster reef in North Carolina's Pamlico Sound, you can hear it: a crisp, crackling noise that sounds like someone just dumped a ton of Rice Krispies into the ocean.(From Science Daily) -- But it [...]
(Click to enlarge) A Caribbean spiny lobster on the sea floor, spotted during a 2010 NOAA expedition in the U.S. Virgin Islands to map underwater habitats and the marine life they support. (Credit: NOAA) Prevalence of diseases that are turning sea stars to mush and killing lobsters by burrowing under their shells and causing [...]
(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 [...]
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.
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).
A recent NOAA study found that by 2040, Alaskan shellfish hatcheries may no longer be sustainable because of ocean acidification, unless serious mitigation efforts are put in place.
Four of the most common mosquito pesticides used along the east and Gulf coasts show little risk to juvenile hard clams and oysters, according to a NOAA study.
A chemical that can accumulate in seafood and is known to cause brain damage is also toxic to the kidneys, but at much lower concentrations.
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.
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.
After a generation of effort, New England's waters are clean enough to support an oyster industry. But climate change could undermine those gains.
A continental-scale chemical survey in the waters of the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico is helping researchers determine how distinct bodies of water will resist changes in acidity.
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.
On November 27, Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire and her Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification released a detailed report and plan of action to address the present and future impacts of acidification on Washington’s marine environment.
Until recently, the main threat to the lives of sea butterflies, tiny snails with winglike lobes that float in ocean currents, had been the fish and birds that rely on them as an important source of food.