Tag: marine ecology

Fish poop a key source of nutrients in marine ecosystems

In addition to being predators, fish contribute significant amounts of nutrients to marine ecosystems. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Detailed reef study shows why it’s important to maintain healthy fish communities

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Although fish are often thought of as predators that graze on microorganisms, plants and smaller animals, it turns out they play another crucial role in the marine ecosystem. Through excretion, they recycle the nutrients they take in, providing the fertilizer sea grass and algae need to grow.

The role of fish poop as a fertilizer for marine ecosystems had previously been overlooked, according to Jacob Allgeier, a doctoral student in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology, and Craig Layman, associate professor at Florida International University, who led the study in the waters of a large bay on Abaco Island, Bahamas.

The research showed that fish contribute more nutrients to their local ecosystems than any other source — enough to cause changes in the growth rates of the organisms at the base of the food web. Continue reading “Fish poop a key source of nutrients in marine ecosystems”


Environment: GOP tries to block Obama ocean policy

House members make vague claims about ‘negative impacts’

A pristine Florida beach near Port St. Joe.
Shrimp boats in Apalachicola, Florida.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — House Republicans are moving to try and block President Obama’s National Ocean Policy by cutting of any funding for implementation.

The administration’s oceans policy is aimed at protecting, maintaining and restoring the health of economically critical marine ecosystems, thereby providing a sustainable flow of ocean resources for coastal communities, but the Republicans in Congress are more intent on continuing the short-term plunder of fisheries and other natural resources, with no thought about future generations. Read the final recommendations of the Ocean Policy Task Force at the Summit Voice Scribd feed.

Obama’s policy recognizes that increasing industrialization of the oceans, including energy development, aquaculture, and even the development of renewal energy sources pose a threat to marine ecosystems. Continue reading “Environment: GOP tries to block Obama ocean policy”

Black market, fraud decimating bluefin tuna population

A rampant black market and lax regulations are quickly leading to the demise of the eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Some European fisheries officials colluding with fishermen to circumvent regulations; Japanese black market takes a huge toll on the vanishing fish

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna population is being decimated by a $4 billion black market, rampant fraud and lack of oversight and enforcement, according to a new report from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

According to a report released today, Mediterranean fishermen have been violating quotas at will and have engaged in numerous illegal fishing practices, including misreporting catch size, hiring banned spotter planes, catching undersized fish, and trading fishing quotas.

Spawning stock of the eastern Atlantic bluefin has plummeted nearly 75 percent since 1974, The fish is the favored source of red tuna sushi and sashimi. Japan makes up three-quarters of the world market, but the fish is also served in restaurants from Paris to New York. Each year, thousands of tons of fish have been illegally caught and traded. At its peak — between 1998 and 2007 —  this black market included more than one out of every three bluefin caught, conservatively valued at $400 million per year. Continue reading “Black market, fraud decimating bluefin tuna population”

Good news for coral reefs?

University of Rhode Island researchers say they've been able to restore coral reefs by transplanting piece of elkhorn coral. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.

Transplanting elkhorn corals shows promise for restoring reefs on a local level, but large-scale, long-term threats are undiminished

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Coastal and island residents may be able to restore some coral reefs damaged by global warming and fishing by transplanting new pieces of coral on to damaged reefs.

The research was done  Dr Graham Forrester, from the University of Rhode Island, who led a team of scientists, students and local residents to try and restore a dead at White Bay in the British Virgin Islands. Their findings revealed that transplanting pieces of coral onto damaged reefs improved coral growth and survival rates.

Through careful  long-term monitoring, the team was able to measure the results of its success. They found that transplanted pieces of elkhorn coral reattached themselves after three months and grew into large adult corals after four years. Continue reading “Good news for coral reefs?”