Life Under the Sea, December 2015
AwN | Here is a roundup of some links on fish and other sea life. I particuarly like the one on the "genius" who discovered that cod fish were no longer returning to areas because they no longer had any available food there. Its the kind of thing that seems so obvious when you say it, but people miss the solution for one reason or another until someone discovers it. It also reminds me of permaculture. Hence I quote genius, because first of all, Ted Ames, the man who made the discovery, doesn't think he is a genius, and because permaculturists use this concept all the time. Basically the entire notion of permaculture is understood as dependence on other. The interconnectivity of things reigns supreme when designing ecological systems. If you want to have bugs in your garden that eat bugs whom eat your garden, then you need to supply nourishment to those bugs that you want after their primary food source (bad bugs) is gone. So in that instance most bugs that subsist on other bugs, will have alternative food sources like the nextar of flowers. Therefore if you don't want your garden destroyed you surround it by a diverse assortment of flowers.
I'll freely admit that I am not the aquatic type, but I do feel full dependence on the aquatic environments of the world. I think a lot of people go through this, even if they are people who spend a lot of time in and around water. Ocean life can be fairly foreign to terrestrial beings, and this makes it easier for humanity to neglect the needs of sea life...
The Year’s Biggest Marine Reserve Wins in 12 Stunning Photos
Pew | 2015 was a landmark year for ocean conservation. With the announcements of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary, an Easter Island Marine Park, the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve, and the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, more than 2.5 million square kilometers of additional ocean (about 965,000 square miles) will soon be fully protected. This will increase the total amount of ocean safeguarded at this level to 6.5 million square kilometers (2.5 million square miles).
Worldwide, about 2 percent of the ocean has been set aside as fully protected marine reserves; scientists recommend at least 30 percent. This oceans map shows where Pew’s Global Ocean Legacy campaign has worked, its progress to this point, and where its ongoing efforts are focused.
The amazing comeback of U.S. fisheries, and what it means for sustainable seafood
EDF | We only celebrate World Fisheries Day once a year, but for the billions of people who rely on the sea for nutrition and millions who fish its waters for income, every day is fisheries day.
So this is a good time to pause and reflect on just how far America’s commercial fisheries have come in the last decade.
Smarter management policies, more fishermen leading conservation efforts, and heightened consumer awareness add up to a fisheries landscape that’s healthier than at any point in recent history.
Not only does this benefit our 30,000-some fishermen and the communities where they live, but it’s also good news for those of us who like seafood.
Fish Release Mortality Science Action Plan
Pew | Keeping track of how many fish die—because they’re caught and kept or don’t survive after being thrown back—is important information for the sustainable management of fish populations. But while estimating the number of fish brought to the docks is a challenge, it’s even more difficult to count discarded fish that subsequently die. Consider that of the 430 million fish caught by U.S. recreational anglers in 2013, about 61 percent were released. Commercial fishermen, who hauled in 9.5 billion pounds in the same year, threw back 1 pound of fish for every 5 pounds caught.
A ‘Genius’ Fisherman’s Idea for a Cod Comeback
Pew | Ames had a hunch that sustainable fishing depended on a more complete understanding of the places where cod previously flourished along the coast. What he would learn from this painstaking reconstruction of the past could help point the way to a future recovery of the species—and a better approach to managing fisheries with the “big picture” in mind.
He started by talking with other fishermen. Interviews with old salts in coastal communities from the Ipswich Bay in Massachusetts north to Canada’s Bay of Fundy revealed a rich patchwork of places where people once fished for cod, including spawning areas not shown on the official maps.
Dead Humpback Calf Found Entangled in Illegal Gillnet
EcoWatch | Currently, the Sea Shepherd crew is not authorized to remove the gill nets. Sea Shepherd has requested the authority from the Government of Mexico to remove gillnets in order to more effectively assist the Mexican Navy in protecting the vaquita’s habitat.
Image: Baby whale tail entangled in fishing net. Credit: Sea Shepherd
Severe Toxic Algal Blooms Likely To Double in Lake Erie with Warming, Study Says
The number of severe harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie will likely double over the next century, according to research from Ohio State University. As soon as 2050, toxic algal blooms like the one that cut off Toledo's drinking water supply in 2014 will no longer be the exception, but rather the norm, the researchers say. Although several states and Canadian provinces have agreed to significantly cut nutrient runoff into the Great Lakes, the study suggests that nutrient reductions alone might not be enough to stop the toxic blooms.
For Ocean Fish, What Happens Upstream Doesn’t Stay There
Pew | What places are important to ocean fish? Spawning grounds, where fish reproduce, and nursery grounds, where baby fish find shelter, might come to mind first. Anyone who has thought about where to drop a baited hook also knows that fish go to certain spots to eat.
Those key areas for ocean fish are not only located in the ocean; they can also be found inshore—in rivers, estuaries, and coastal wetlands. Some fish, such as salmon, can travel hundreds of miles upstream to spawn. Others, like Atlantic flounder, spend a portion of their lives in estuaries such as the Chesapeake Bay, where they settle down in the eelgrass and seem to disappear into the sand. An upstream habitat can be important even if an ocean fish never goes there at all—if, for instance, the inshore area produces the forage fish that nourish larger seagoing fish.
Although regional fishery management councils are limited to setting rules about fishing activities in U.S. waters—which generally begin 3 miles from shore and extend to 200 miles—most managers recognize that what happens inshore or upstream can have a major impact on the health of fish populations.