Posted on March 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
An Atlantic cod at the Atlantic Sea-Park in Ålesund, Norway. PHOTO BY HANS-PETTER FJELD.
Petition would end targeted fishing, lower incidental take limit
FRISCO — After decades of short-sighted exploitation by commercial fishing outfits, Gulf of Maine cod are at the brink of “commercial extinction,” according to conservation advocates who this month petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service today to end targeted fishing of the species.
The petition also seeks to cap the incidental catch limit at 200 metric tons. The once-plentiful fish have declined 90 percent since 1982, when monitoring began, and 77 percent in the past five years. Currently Gulf of Maine cod are at 3 percent to 4 percent of what a well-managed stock should be, the petition asserts. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, Gulf of Maine cod, New England cod fishery, ocean conservation | 5 Comments »
Posted on March 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘The clock is ticking …’
Caribbean corals are under the gun from global warming and local threats.
Can elkhorn coral be saved?
FRISCO — Federal scientists say it may be possible to save the fantastic undersea gardens of elkhorn and staghorn corals, but continuing increases of heat-trapping greenhouse gases will impede that recovery.
The findings are outlined in a recovery plan for the corals, which were put on the Endangered Species List in 2006 after a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, endangered species, Environment, global warming, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: climate change, coral reef recovery, coral reefs, elkhorn coral, endangered species, global warming, staghorn coral | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Whales and other marine mammals would take a big hit from millions of air gun blasts proposed to uncover fossil fuel deposits beneath the sea floor of the Atlantic. Photo courtesy Tim Cole, NMFS.
Air gun blasting has a huge environmental footprint and poses ‘unacceptable risks’ to marine life
FRISCO — Proposed seismic testing for oil and gas beneath the Atlantic Ocean floor is likely to have significant, long-lasting, and widespread impacts on the reproduction and survival of fish and marine mammals, scientists warned last week in a letter to President Barack Obama.
The letter was written in response to the administration’s announcement last month that it will, for the first time, open areas off the U.S. mid-Atlantic and south Atlantic coasts for fossil fuel exploitation. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, energy, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: air gun blasting, Atlantic seaboard, Environment, marine mammals, oceans, offshore oil drilling, seismic testing | 4 Comments »
Posted on March 8, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Marine mammals are under pressure from human activities in the oceans around the U.S. bberwyn photo.
With more offshore drilling on tap, regulators need more information to protect marine life
FRISCO — Along with a few small pockets of ocean already protected for marine mammals, biologists say there are hundreds of other areas that should be considered biologically important when making management and regulatory decisions about human activities that could affect whales, dolphins and porpoises.
The creation of Biologically Important Areas (BIAs) are described in a special issue of the journal Aquatic Mammals. Expert judgment was combined with published and unpublished data to identify 131 BIAs covering 24 species, stocks or populations in seven regions of the U.S. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, cetaceans, Environment, marine mammals, ocean conservation | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 23, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Public input wanted: final decision due in 2017
FRISCO — Federal biologists will study whether more critical habitat could benefit an endangered group of killer whales that roams the ocean off the Pacific Northwest, from Puget Sound down to northern California.
Wildlife conservation advocates last year petitioned NOAA’s Marine Fisheries Service, seeking critical habitat designation for the whales’ winter foraging range off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California. Documents related to the process are compiled here. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: endangered species, killer whales, Orcas, Pacific Northwest, southern resident population | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 21, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Sardines and other commercially important fish are moving north in response to global warming.
Study tracks temperature-driven shift in Atlantic Ocean fish populations
FRISCO — For centuries, sardines, anchovies and mackerels have been critically important species for coastal communities, but global warming is chasing the fish northward. Some fishing towns may be facing make big economic adjustments in coming decades, according to researchers who carefully crunched the numbers for 40 years worth of fishing records.
The new study warned that the changes in such an important ecological group “will have an effect on the structure and functioning of the whole ecosystem.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: anchovies, Atlantic Ocean warming, climate change, fish and global warming, global warming, mackerels, sardines | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘We should use international waters as the world’s fish bank …’
FRISCO — Growing exploitation of open-ocean resources will soon require the world to rethink the way it manages the high seas, including a potential ban on commercial fishing that would help distribute fisheries income more equitably among the world’s maritime nations, according to research from the University of British Columbia.
After studying fisheries data, the researchers concluded that maintaining or boosting fish stocks in the high seas would help boost coastal fisheries. If increased spillover of fish stocks from protected international waters were to boost coastal catches by 18 per cent, current global catches would be maintained. When the researchers modeled less conservative estimates of stock spillover, catches in coastal waters surpassed current global levels. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: high seas fishing ban, marine conservation, oceans | Leave a comment »