Posted on January 26th, 2011 No comments
The recent rise in gasoline prices has got a lot of lawmakers looking for ways to bring the prices down for their constituents and it seems the solutions always come back to drilling offshore here in California. Despite a pledge from President Obama to not allow any new drilling off the West Coast, there still remains a uneasy feeling among Pacific range lawmakers. This has led Senators from California, Oregon, and Washington to propose new legislation formalizing the Presidents un-codified pledge. Though it’s not expected to gain much traction in the Republican-controlled house, it’s a shot across the bow that shows West Coasters are serious about there being no new drilling in our local waters. Enjoy a more in-depth article from the LA Times below:
Posted on January 23rd, 2011 No comments
In less than a decades time, Indo-Pacific lionfish have established what appear to be permanent populations along the southeast U.S. coast and into the Caribbean. With population densities in some spots ranging to 1000 fish per acre, these veracious eaters are quickly decimating local fish populations as they start to range towards the Gulf of Mexico and South America. Efforts so far to reign in this dangerous invasive have met with little success but now scientists at NOAA, along with numerous non-profits and local island governments, have come up with a new plan…eat them.
Using a variety of marketing strategies that include cash prizes for most lionfish caught in one year on Grenada, the hope is to turn lionfish into a desirable food-fish with no limits catches being the goal.
The supporters of the effort say that lionfish tastes like grouper or snapper, two highly sought after species. That sounds like good eats to me. If that’s the case, then hopefully this is the recipe that turns the tables on this tropical invasion. I think the effort bears watching and all puns intended, it’s an interesting and unorthodox piece in invasive species puzzle that up until now has challenged fisheries managers. We’ll see.
Posted on January 19th, 2011 No comments
Recently the LA Times ran an article about the city of Ventura reacting to sea level rise as a result of climate change. With the encroachment of Pacific waters on the local shoreline such as at Surfers Point, Ventura officials have been forced to react by taking out crumbling bike paths and eroding parking lots while offsetting diminishing beaches by laying down sand. In moves that were foreshadowed by the city of San Diego in their 2050 report, California’s coastal communities are being forced to take a serious look at the implications of a potential 2 meter rise of our local waters. To get a more detailed look at some of the serious problems facing our state, I’ve attached below an interview with one of the authors of the 2050 report, Scripps Oceanographer and Meteorologist Dan Cayan. He offers a detailed look at the state-wide scale of the problem and some of the possible ways to overt the most catastrophic impacts.
Posted on January 12th, 2011 No comments
It’s easy to think about the ocean as the easily explorable areas that we as humans can readily venture into. Researchers from UNC-Wilmington and Woods Hole are giving us something more in-depth to take in these days…deep water coral. Using an ROV off the NOAA vessel Ronald H. Brown, scientists have explored and mapped extensive sections of 23,000 sq miles of protected deep water off the Atlantic coast. What they are finding is that these coral formations, in waters ranging from 1300 to 3200 feet below the surface, serve much like shallow water reefs, supporting a variety of life similar in composition to their near-shore counterparts. Existing in total blackness, these deep water colonies are adding another chapter to our knowledge of our oceans.
Enjoy the Los Angeles Times article:
Posted on January 9th, 2011 No comments
In an interview this week, retired NOAA Chief Scientist Steve Murawski announced some good news for US fisheries. On the record with the Associated Press, Dr. Murawski was confident in saying that for the first time in recorded history, no fish stocks were being over-fished by US fishers.
The major changes in fisheries management brought about through the 2007 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens called for a more responsive, ecosystem-based approach to fisheries regulation that had been previously seen with the ultimate 4-year goal of ending all overfishing in the US by 2011. In a March, 2007 interview, Dr. Murawski talked about the road ahead when he said:
“The recent reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act finally gives us the tools we need to end overfishing and rebuild stocks. It also establishes a timeframe to end overfishing on all stocks by 2010. Currently, there are about four dozen fish stocks that are being overfished and these will be difficult challenges from an economic, cultural and political standpoint. The reauthorization gives us the tools, now NOAA must step up to the plate and make it happen”
Now after a long and at-times painful process, fisheries managers and many fishermen feel that they finally have the tools in place to help rebuild damaged stocks and develop stronger and more valuable fisheries in the future. Here’s hoping they’re right.
Enjoy the article below:
Posted on January 5th, 2011 No comments
With the new year, comes news of big changes for fish on the Pacific Coast. In an attempt to make fisheries more sustainable, National Fisheries Service officials are taking the steps to better manage a variety of species through the implementation of a catch-share system. Starting this January, local fishermen will for the first time own shares of respective fisheries based on predetermined annual limits. These shares will be transferable and should give the fishers more flexibility and reduce the incidence of by-catch dramatically. Currently used in managing multiple fisheries in Alaska, fishermen there have seen the value of their catches go up as these better management practices took hold. The plan is not without controversy however as there are predictions by some fishers of contraction within the industry as well as fears of market place manipulation. The first lawsuits have already been filed. That being said, scientists/managers and many fishermen are looking at this as a chance to truly make fisheries on the West Coast sustainable.
Here is a radio interview from NPR with interviews from a variety of participants:
Posted on December 17th, 2010 No comments
On Wednesday of this week, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 to ban or restrict fishing in 49 newly created reserves on the Southern California coast. As part of the ongoing Marine Life Protection act, final approval was given to sanctuaries that will amount to roughly 15% of local waters in the attempt to replenish damaged stocks while protecting the unique kelp ecosystems for future generations to enjoy and benefit from. This delicate balance between conservation and utilization of the resource has led to a statewide network of reserves that is expected to go fully online by 2012.
To say it’s been a contentious process is a bit of an understatement. Below are links to both the LA Time and Sand Diego Union-Tribune. Make sure to read the comments after the pieces to get an idea just how deep the emotions run. That being said, the hard work of all those involved has once again shown the commitment of Californians trying to protect our state’s marine resources. It’s not just a good day to be a fish in California. It’s also a proud day for all Californian’s to be a part of unique and important process.
Posted on December 13th, 2010 No comments
In today’s Los Angeles Times, an environmental warning shot was fired across the bows of L.A. readers by Scripps’ own Tony Haymet and Andrew Dickson. In the editorial section, the 2 esteemed Dr’s took time to discuss the need to pay more attention to damage caused to the world’s oceans by increased acidification due to more and more man-made carbon dioxide being absorbed by them.
This is one of those issues that is readily discussed by those in the field of science but that is being neglected by both policy makers and the general public. Please take a moment to read about why” it’s time we paid respect to our great communal resource and stopped using it as a dump.”
Posted on September 25th, 2010 No comments
Here’s a note from Mindi Summers, 2nd year SIO student and head of the student-led cruise that hits the water today. Check-in periodically for updates both here and the cruise website.
Cal-Echoes is a nine-day graduate student led cruise where we’ll be
investigating sediments, microbes, zooplankton, benthic invertebrates,
mid-water fish, and squid to better understand the biology and
chemistry of the California Coast today as well as in the past. We’ll
be using a wide variety of the oceanographic equipment, including
techniques and tools designed especially for this cruise.
As part of the expedition, we’re hoping to be able to share the
process of science and how much fun it is with teachers and
classrooms. We are bringing 7 educations with us to develop daily
themes with short videos, lesson plans, and photographic collections
of all the samples we collect. All of our work is being hosted by the
National Marine Educators Association, Deep Sea Academy, and UCSD
It would be wonderful if you would like to follow us or send along
what we’re doing to any educators that you might know.
The best place to follow our adventure is the CalEchoes blog:
We also have a website: http://calechoes.ucsd.edu/index.html and will
be updating to Facebook and Twitter.
Posted on September 25th, 2010 No comments
Hi, all- Check out National Geographic Channel tonight for a special SIO / CMBC treat! Jennifer Smith, Stuart Sandin, Nichole Price, and Brian Zgliczynski from CMBC / SIO with colleagues from SDSU including Forest Rohwer, Liz Dinsdale, and Katie Barrot will be featured tonight on NatGeo’s “Journey to Shark Eden”. This show was filmed on the Southern Line Islands cruise last year and includes great reef footage from remote locations, coverage of some of the research folks were doing on the cruise, and, of course, great ominous music whenever a shark appears on screen…