Posted on January 20, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
New fishing regs protect world’s largest fish from harmful tuna netting practices
Whale sharks are getting some protection from purse-seining in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
FRISCO — Whale sharks in the Pacific Ocean are getting a little help from an international fishing group that recently banned the practice of placing purse-seine tuna nets around the world’s largest fish.
Whale sharks are so docile that humans often swim alongside them without concern, snapping photographs of their incredible size. But it is exactly their enormous bulk that made them an accidental target of commercial fishermen, who know that tuna like to gather in schools around whale sharks (as well as other large floating objects).
Tuna fleets often use fish-aggregating devices to attract tuna to an area, making it easier to find and encircle the tuna in the purse seine nets much more efficient. When fishermen deploy nets around whale sharks to capture tuna swimming beneath it, the encircled whale sharks are often caught in the net, where they are injured or die. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: marine biodiversity, marine conservation, oceans, tuna fishing, whale sharks | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Spinner dolphin. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Duke University researchers say community based conservation measures also needed
FRISCO —Hawaii’s spinner dolphins need federal regulations limiting human access to resting areas, but that alone won’t be enough to help them survive in the long run. Along with any new federal rules, resource managers will also have to work to develop local community-based conservation measures, which can be tailored to how individual bays are used, according to new research by Duke University.
Federal biologists estimate there are about 3,000 spinner dolphins around Hawaii, where hundreds of thousands of tourists pay for up-close encounters with the animals, swimming with them in shallow bays the dolphins use as safe havens for daytime rest. But as the number of tours increases, so do the pressures they place on the resting dolphins. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology | Tagged: Environment, Hawaii, marine conservation, marine mammals, oceans, Spinner dolphins | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A leatherback sea turtle at sea. Photo courtesy NOAA.
New study to help inform conservation efforts along East Coast and Caribbean
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Threatened leatherback sea turtles like to hang out off the northeastern U.S. coast in late summer and fall, when mature jellyfish are abundant in the area, scientists said last week, sharing the results of a long-term study based on satellite data of tagged sea turtles.
“Our study provides new insights about how male and immature turtles behave, how they use their habitats and how that differs from adult females,” said University of Massachusetts researcher Kara Dodge. “Resource managers for protected marine species have lacked this key understanding, especially in coastal regions of the U.S. and Caribbean where leatherbacks and intense human activity coincide.” Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversit, leatherback sea turtles, marine conservation, oceans | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 13, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Long-line fishing still seen as key threat
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Efforts to protect leatherback sea turtles urgently require better communication between scientists and fisheries managers, a team of researchers said after analyzing satellite data on sea turtle migration.
The last large populations of the leatherback turtle are at risk because their migratory routes in the Atlantic Ocean clash with the locations of industrial fisheries, according to the study.
The researchers used data from satellite transmitters attached to the turtles to track their movements across the Atlantic Ocean. These movements were then overlapped with information on high pressure fishing areas to identify where the turtles are most susceptible to becoming entangled and where they may drown.
The international study was jointly led by Dr. Matthew Witt, of the University of Exeter and Dr, Sabrina Fossette, of Swansea University, found that urgent international efforts are needed to protect the iconic species. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, leatherback sea turtles, marine conservation, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 13, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Pink coral at Rose Atoll in National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Agency taking comments to help shape the nomination and designation process
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wants to take a grassroots approach to designating new national marine sanctuaries, so the agency is launching a round of public input to update the criteria for the process.
The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries in 1995 deactivated the previous process for nominating national marine sanctuaries. Since then, members of Congress, state officials, tribes, non-governmental organizations, and others have expressed interest in pursuing new national marine sanctuaries. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, coral reefs, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: marine conservation, national marine sanctuaries, NOAA, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on May 22, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New study measures effects of entanglement
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Stray fishing gear has long been a problem in the ocean, and a new collaborative study shows exactly how whales struggle when they get wrapped up in abandoned lines. By carefully tracking tangled whales, the scientists documented how the predicament hinders whales’ ability to eat and migrate, depletes their energy as they drag gear for months or years, and can result in a slow death. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: endangered species, marine conservation, Marine mammal, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, North Atlantic right whales, oceans | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 15, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
New study shows how the diet of pelagic birds has changed over time
Studying isotopes in the bones of pelagic seabirds helped researchers track changes in thePacific ocean food chain. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Some in-depth biological detective work suggests there have been drastic changes in open-ocean food webs since the onset of industrial fishing, with potentially significant implications for threatened seabirds.
The key to detecting the changes was analyzing the bones of Hawaiian petrels. The crow-sized oceanic birds range widely over the northeast Pacific, and their diets integrate food webs from that vast area. What the petrels have eaten is recorded in the chemistry of their bones. By extracting protein from bones and feathers and studying stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen in the protein, the scientists were able to assess the birds’ diet and how it changed over centuries. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Environment, Hawaiian Petrel, marine conservation, ocean food webs, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | 1 Comment »