An Article of Interest Leading up to the MAFMC Meeting – Scientists exploring offshore canyons for Atlantic deep-sea corals

The mission of the NOAA vessel Bigelow during its 12-day cruise this month is to explore some of the canyons along the Mid-Atlantic coast.,,”Other places in the world, areas like this have been demolished,” Pew’s Gordon said.,,Commercial fishing interests hope the council doesn’t bar them from current fishing grounds. <Read more here>  11:53

  • DickyG

    Accepting statements from Pew, NOAA, Nature Conservancy,
    and a charter boat captain, without cross checking their veracity is not presenting a balanced or informative article.

    To these eco-champions my first question is where do you
    come down on the wind farms consisting of hundreds (and plans for thousands) of 600 foot tall wind towers, the fish and mammal destroying seismic blasting, and the oil and gas rigs slated for the east coast outer continental shelf? Will you ask them to not disturb the corals?

    “The biggest threat to the corals appears to be bottom trawling, in which fishing vessels haul nets across the ocean floor.” This
    statement by the author reminds me of NOAA’s Jane Lubchenco emphatically arguing at a D.C. Oceans Conference that the biggest threat to the Oceans was overfishing and destructive fishing gear.
    This was two months before the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Jane Lubchenco as Director of the National Marine Fisheries Service, along with her corrupt cohorts in the Department of Interior’s Mineral Management Service, was
    responsible for protecting the fish and wildlife in the Gulf under the EPA and Marine Mammals Protection Act. How about that coral bottom?

    Also fishing vessels have been “hauling nets across the ocean floor” for about 80 years now, so if they have been destroying these
    corals for all those decades, it would seem to follow that there wouldn’t be any “…lush underwater landscape that until recently few would have imagined” left by now. There wouldn’t be any excitement for the crew of the NOAA R/V Bigelow discovering the “hidden treasures” of the Mid-Atlantic; no “‘hot spots of diversity’ with anemones and sponges growing on them and ‘everything from crabs to starfishes to shrimp and all kinds of little critters’ crawling over and under them.”

    And it is simply not true that “Over the decades, intensively fished areas have extended farther from shore and deeper due to technological advancements and market demand”.

    Jay Odell, director of The Nature Conservancy’s Mid-Atlantic marine program, apparently doesn’t know that U.S. fishermen have
    been fishing the areas near the canyons (not in the canyons themselves), since the 1940’s. There is no steady march to
    extend the fishing grounds further and further offshore as his statement would imply.

    Anyone with even a passing knowledge of fishing knows that the edge of a canyon is the edge of a canyon and that hasn’t changed for eons; going deeper would defeat the advantage of working near the canyon on the proliferation of fish found on the clear flat bottom feeding on the bait that the nutrient rich upwellings from the canyons produce. This is the way it has been done for decades.
    The fish return each year. The fishing has not devastated their habitat; even in the 70’s when the area was pummeled with foreign factory ships when the fishermen demanded and won their exodus, the fish that the environmental groups are now “saving” came back, and the canyons produced again.

    The new “technological advancements” in trawling gear aboard independently owned U.S. vessels consists of trawl doors that “fly” through the water several feet off the bottom for less contact and greater fuel efficiency. This equipment with the electronic sensors is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $60,000 plus a net and hardware another $40,000. Towing into the rocky “coral lined” canyons wouldn’t be a good business plan, would it?
    The idea is to have as little contact with the habitat as possible. Fishermen want to preserve the habitat even more than the salaried environmentalists and Bigelow scientists. They want to come back next year and catch fish as they’ve been doing for generations.

    Now if you really want to see some coral habitat destruction take a look at the plans for deep sea minerals mining in order to secure rare earth metals for the proliferation of computers, devices, and
    gizmos. The rare earth metals market is currently controlled by…China!

    So where are the “environmental groups” on the deep sea
    minerals mining operations already underway in international Pacific waters?

    http://www.mining.com/britain-plunges-into-deep-sea-mining-with-american-company-17294/

    Funny how NOAA has not been present in the fight to stop
    seismic blasting and exploratory oil and gas drilling off the Mid-Atlantic, in fact, they sanctioned the seismic blasting off NJ by calling it research for sea level rise and climate change.

    Now suddenly NOAA is interested in exploring the offshore canyons…where all the minerals and rare earth metals live?

    • M M

      Just went through the same exact scenario in the southeast. They are doubling the size of the existing Oculina Bank MPA and restricting and removing fishing effort that is adjacent to the bank – but not in it for the same reasons stated in your article. They love to demonize fisherman as the destroyers of the ocean with no input or understanding of how it is actually done.

  • StripedBassHole

    This is the Government accessing their INVENTORY from “The Obama Ocean Policy” an Executive Order that stole OUR COMMON PROPERTY. It’s just a passive method compared to the SEISMIC METHODS. This isn’t CONSERVATION it’s ACCOUNTING.

  • Ec Newell Man

    Your tax dollars at work: http://shiptracker.noaa.gov/Home/Map

    Look up the HB.

    Seems the big ship Bigelow made a pass through the Washington, then steamed offshore of the Baltimore (scanned on an earlier expedition), then up northeast with multiple passes through the Wilmington, Spencer and now Lindy, just south of the Toms.

    It also seems most of the scanning is off the edge in over 100 fathoms in many of these southern canyons.

    The story you linked to here, has a friend of mine who has done much to promote, educate and make fishermen aware of the importance of inshore coral not only for fish fidelity, but also to improve the health of the inshore eco-system….but this story can be seen as somewhat different with research on deep sea corals at depths over 100 fathoms right off and down the edge.

    Nonetheless, these days with President Zero and his rogue and incompetent administration creating such havoc not only in this country but around the world, “we the people” have our spider-like sense tingling anytime we hear or read about government agencies and the projects they are involved in.

    Is this research to study deep sea corals?

    Most likely….

    Could this also be a prelude to more research for searching for heavens forbid, fossil fuel products like oil and natural gas?

    Probably…..

    Could someone who has a little understanding about the incredible value and necessity of mining rare earth elements just off our coast say, “this could be further prospecting and additional research to look for areas rich with this valuable resource, aka REE’s – Rare Earth Elements?”

    I wouldn’t be surprised, but you have to wonder…wouldn’t all those wing-nut enviro’s get all bent out of shape about deep sea mining of REE’s…especially after what happened in the late 1990’s and early 2000 period when the largest US – REE mine in Mountain Pass California, was eventually forced into being shut down?

    It is pretty evident in that you can see from the few comments here….

    WE DO NOT TRUST WHAT THE GOVERNMENT IS DOING!

    More people are starting to wake up to the fact that the Bath House Barry administration that came in with the Hope & Change tagline, and constantly harped about being the most transparent, in fact has been allowed to quickly morph into post-constitutional socialist entity which has severely undermined what our nation is… E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one).

    For the time being….I would hold off suggesting that this is something other then a deep sea coral expedition…but we are no doubt watching and questioning which is one of the positives which we can take from this news story.