• Talking About Banning Off-Shore Oil Drilling

    Posted on January 26th, 2011 Chris Knight 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:

    LA Times ARTICLE

  • If You Can’t Beat Them, Eat ’em

    Posted on January 23rd, 2011 Chris Knight 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 includes 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.

    NOAA “Eat Lionfish” pullcard

  • Sea Level Rising. California’s Beaches Going. Communities Reacting.

    Posted on January 19th, 2011 Chris Knight 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.

    Dan Cayan Video Interview

  • Exploring Deep Water Coral

    Posted on January 12th, 2011 Chris Knight 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:

    Link to Los Angeles Times Article

  • The End to Overfishing in the US?

    Posted on January 9th, 2011 Chris Knight 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:

    AP Interview with Dr. Steven Murawski

  • Catch-Shares for West Coast Fisheries

    Posted on January 5th, 2011 Chris Knight 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:

    NPR Interview