Category Archives: Marine Science

You Can Learn A Lot by Towing Two Nets at Once

Scientists and fishermen boarded the F/V Karen Elizabeth on September 12 with a joint mission: conduct a study of the NOAA Ship Henry Bigelow’s trawl net used for the twice-yearly scientific survey of the Northeast shelf. The Karen Elizabeth can tow two nets at once, making it the perfect platform for examining net performance under different conditions. The study is focused on how the net performs at different spreads, and what differences in catch can be attributed to that spread. Photos, >click to read<  17:15

Do Sharks Know When Hurricanes Are Coming?

Hurricanes can cause lots of environmental changes before they make landfall including high winds, storm surge, and high rainfall. They also create areas of extremely low barometric pressure which many animals can detect. For example, sharks have an organ called a ‘lateral line,’ which is a long row of small pores on each side of their body. Connected like a fluid-like canal, they sense changes in the surrounding pressure and are usually used to “feel” wounded prey. But they can also detect drops in the pressure that indicate an approaching hurricane. >click to read<  08:27

In her garage lab, a scientist looks for answers about skinny tuna

Molly Lutcavage is standing on the State Fish Pier in Gloucester, watching a crane hoist a giant bluefin tuna off the back of a fishing boat. “Look at how skinny she is,” the fisherman, Corky Decker, yells up to her. “That’s how they’ve all been — long, ugly things like you’d catch in June.” Lutcavage nods at the fish, which is 74 inches long but weighs just 174 pounds — very skinny indeed for a tuna — then looks down at the plastic bag in her hands, which is what she’s come for. It contains the tuna’s ovaries,,, >click to read< 07:38

Oregon researchers investigate latest marine heatwave that could hurt Pacific ecosystems

Earlier this month, the feds announced there was trouble brewing in the Pacific: a mass of warm water was building off the west coast, reminiscent of another event nicknamed “The Blob,” which caused havoc for wildlife and fishermen just a few years ago. Experts caution that the current marine heatwave is still in its infancy and could dissipate today, tomorrow or next week.,,, “This marine heatwave took shape in June, persisted, and has grown in size,” said Chris Harvey, a research biologist at the Northwest Fishery Science Center, >click to read< 17:54

How much fishing gear is lost at sea, worldwide?

The first ever estimate of commercial fishing gear lost in the world’s oceans has been published by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency. Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear or ‘ghost gear’,,, Until now there has not been a clear global picture of the quantity and type of fishing gear lost worldwide.,,Using data from 68 studies Currently, much of the data on gear loss is from the United States and Europe, highlighting the need for more information about gear losses in the African, Asian, South American and Oceania regions. >click to read<  16:27

New study addresses changes in lobster molt timing, Gulf of Maine temperature shifts

Variation in lobster molt timing has been increasing in recent years, and is related to changing ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Maine,,, Creating a time series for lobster molts and outlining the relationship of the initial intra-annual molt season to bottom water temperatures in the Gulf of Maine is important to the lobster industry because shifts in water temperature could result in changes in timing of the molt season, led by then UMaine graduate student Kevin Staples, who was pursuing a dual master’s degree in marine biology and marine policy. >click to read< 09:45

Toothfish research draws scientists, seafarers back for second Antarctic journey

Having broken the ice three years ago, a Nelson-based longliner is making a return voyage to the Antarctic to gain further insights into the world of toothfish. The Talley’s-owned FV Janas sailed last week to the northern Ross Sea region to carry out a winter scientific research survey. This is the second such trip for the Janas, having successfully completed a survey in the Ross Sea in 2016. During that trip, scientists and crew successfully fertilised Antarctic toothfish eggs, measured egg buoyancy of newly fertilised eggs, and collected wild eggs from plankton for the first time in history. >click to read< 14:28

Researchers tracking fish to learn more about where they migrate and spawn

Northern cod are about to experience a much higher level of surveillance. The iconic fish — 1,260 of them — are having small transmitters implanted into their bellies. As the cod swim about, their transmitters will send information to 75 acoustic receivers moored to the ocean floor in 13 areas along the eastern continental shelf and in three areas closer to shore in cod fishery area 2J3KL.  >click to read< 19:10

Sea Grant awards $2 million to advance understanding of American lobster, support industry

Sea Grant announced new funding today for research aimed at understanding physical and chemical changes affecting American lobster (Homarus americanus) in the Gulf of Maine as well as a regional lobster extension program. Collectively, the research projects and regional extension program comprise the Sea Grant American Lobster Initiative. The seven research projects were chosen through a competitive processes that included review by subject matter experts. The research competition solicited proposals aimed at addressing one or more of the following priorities: >click to read< 10:21

CITES lists Mako shark under Appendix 2 trade restrictions, By Jim Lovgren

Commercial fisherman Jim Lovgren was at the CITES Convention held from the 17th to the 28th of August, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. He has written a comprehensive report about it, and he asked us to share it with you. There is a lot to review and is worthy reading,,, From Mako’s to Dogfish, and beyond,,, the influence of green money on the CITES party delegates and what has been happening in U.S. fishery management.,,This is exactly what is happening to U.S. fishermen, as small owner operator vessels are being squeezed out of fishery after fishery by the manipulations of “Greenwashed” corporate sponsored Enviro groups, out to save the planet. The U.S. government offers no help to the fishing industry because they are simple pawns to the energy companies that are running the show. Fishermen are just a nuisance, in the way of their offshore energy development plans. >click to read< 11:52

Dense Antarctic water returning to the Atlantic

The supply of dense Antarctic water from the bottom of the ocean to the Atlantic has declined in recent years. However, a new study explains for the first time how since 2014 this has stabilized and slightly recovered due to the variability in upstream dense waters, with implications for the global climate.,,, Lead author Dr. Povl Abrahamsen, oceanographer at British Antarctic Survey, says: “The deep oceans have been warming across much of the world for decades, so we were surprised to suddenly see this trend reversing,,, >click to read< 15:40

Researchers use DNA in seawater to monitor scallop reproduction

Researchers from the University of Maine and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences have developed a method for studying the timing of scallop spawning by analyzing the environmental DNA found in water samples. The newly published study provides a tool for managing wild and farmed shellfish populations, and it demonstrates the promise of emerging eDNA approaches for monitoring the presence and activities of all marine life. >click to read< 08:37

What’s the difference between shrimp and prawn?

Which is which? Shrimp and prawns have a lot in common, but they are, in fact, entirely different animals. Both shrimp and prawns are decapods, meaning that they have 10 legs and a thin external skeleton, but that’s where the similarities end.,,, Another difference between the two is how they reproduce. Shrimp carry their fertilized eggs with them on the underside of their bodies. Prawns release their eggs,,, >click to read< 09:53

Scientists warn of too many pink salmon in North Pacific

Biological oceanographer Sonia Batten experienced her lightbulb moment on the perils of too many salmon three years ago as she prepared a talk on the most important North Pacific seafood you’ll never see on a plate, zooplankton. Zooplanktons nourish everything from juvenile salmon to seabirds to giant whales. But as Batten examined 15 years of data collected by instruments on container ships near the Aleutian Islands, she noticed a trend: zooplankton was abundant in even-number years and less abundant in odd-number years. Something was stripping a basic building block in the food web every other year. And just one predator fit that profile. >click to read< 15:47

Is seismic testing to blame for disappearing plankton? This scientist says it’s possible

Scientists have noticed a mysterious population crash in some of the Atlantic Ocean’s tiniest and most important species, and a Halifax biologist says oil and gas exploration may be to blame.,,, The tiny organisms are disappearing from Newfoundland and Labrador’s waters, and Lindy Weilgart says blasts from seismic air guns have been shown to wipe them out.,,, On the other side of the world, Australian scientists first found that testing with seismic air guns destroys plankton a few years ago, >click to read< 21:18

Seismic air guns found to harm balance organ in rock lobsters

A team of researchers with the University of Tasmania and Curtin University has found that seismic air guns used for oil and gas exploration can damage a sensory organ in rock lobsters called the statocyst, which provides balance and orientation. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes tests they conducted with lobsters in their lab and what they found. >click to read< 11:02

New tech could unveil the secret life of Bristol Bay red king crab

Fishery researchers in Alaska are using cutting-edge technology to track migratory patterns of one of Alaska’s tastiest catches — the red king crab.
Biologists tagged 150 mature male crab in Dutch Harbor in June. The tags transmit acoustic readings back to an unmanned saildrone equipped with an accoustic receiver. This allows researchers to track movement across the ocean floor and monitor changes in water temperature. >click to read< 11:53

A fish tag that knows it’s been eaten is helping endangered Atlantic salmon

New tracking devices inserted into Atlantic salmon reveal that up to 48 per cent of the critically endangered fish are being eaten while leaving Nova Scotia’s Stewiacke River on their ocean migration. The insight is the result of acoustic tags that can tell when a tagged fish has been eaten.,, Striped bass the main predator,,, One thing has not changed: Atlantic salmon remain in deep trouble in the inner Bay of Fundy rivers where they are wiped out or on the brink of extinction. >click to read< 10:13

Scientist says DFO may be overestimating Newfoundland cod stocks by 35 per cent

A British Columbia fishery scientist says he’s worried federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans managers aren’t getting an accurate picture of the state of the northern cod stock. In fact, George Rose’s research suggests DFO science may be overestimating the biomass of the stock by 35 per cent.,,, The president of the FISH-NL union says DFO should take the criticism seriously. Cleary is calling for the cancellation of all fishing for northern cod outside the stewardship fishery, including the recreational food fishery, which is not something the union takes lightly, he said. >click to read< 19:10

Fewer fish, or fishy science? Commercial fishers, biologists at odds over the state of Lake Winnipeg’s walleye

Minutes before dawn, five boats speed out of Hecla Village Harbour on Lake Winnipeg, home to the second-largest freshwater fishery in North America after the Great Lakes. The seven-metre skiffs are small enough to allow gill nets to be hauled up over their bows and pulled along their gunwales, revealing the catch ensnared below the surface of the shallow but enormous lake during the previous 24 hours.,, Walleye is the lifeblood of their business,,, Walleye deteriorating, province says,,, Few fish, or fishy data? >click to read< 09:14

A Forage Fish War – Canadian company targets critical forage fish in Atlantic and Gulf

The two U.S. menhaden fisheries are in the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf,,, Omega Proteins, headquartered in Canada, has sought certification that the fishery is sustainable.,, Now it has sought the same certification in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a joint statement from the American Sportfishing Association, the Coastal Conservation Association, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.,, “The ASA, Theodore Roosevelt , and CCA, have formally objected, That steep price (of MSC certification) caused Sport Fish Magazine writer Doug Olander to pen a satirical op-ed,,,That prompted a swift backlash by Omega Proteins, “According to the ASMFC [Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission], Striped Bass are overfi…>click to read<17:23

MacArtney Lobster Monitoring Tech for SLU

In 2009, MacArtney supplied SLU with a camera and light system that utilised direct telemetry and standard cabling for the original Lobster Sledge. A decade later MacArtney is still collaborating with SLU and has completed the co-design of the Lobster Sledge upgrade that incorporates an HD camera, LED lights, fibre optic multiplexer and interfaces. The system, designed to be towed along the seabed, collects data on the current lobster population. The data collected monitors the lobster population and informs fishing quotas for the southern coast of Norway and the Swedish coast. >click to read<08:44

Winter skate are dying in huge numbers, a new scientific paper points the finger at a big herd of seals

A “striking conservation success” in Atlantic Canada has turned into a “serious conservation problem” as rebounding grey seal herds threaten depleted bottom-feeding fish in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, according to a new research paper from Canadian and U.S. scientists. The focus is on the winter skate, a little-known shark relative with a flat body and a long tail. “It’s quite dire. The skate have declined by 98 per cent since the mid-80s,” said Doug Swain, a federal fisheries scientist based in Moncton, N.B. The paper concludes grey seals are the likely cause of an “unprecedented” winter skate annual adult mortality rate of between 65 and 70 per cent. >click to read<09:20

OUT TO CATCH THE LAST FISH? Fisheries “expert’s” anti-fisherman rhetoric gets taken to task!

“…most fishermen always want to catch more fish, regardless of how many there are.” This quote from the fisheries “expert” in the article, Warming waters spark marine migration, fish wars >click to read<on the warming ocean, and Joel’s subsequent comment, “And here in lies the problem. Look at what this cubical entrenched pencil pushing empty suit thinks of fishermen. Folks like this need to be taken to task”, inspired a re-post of this anti-fishing propaganda article, OUT TO CATCH THE LAST FISH? It’s a few years old, but sadly, as current as ever!  To be a fisherman, these days, is to have first-hand knowledge of bias and mindless prejudice. Manipulating commercial fishing to save the stocks from “endangerment” and worse, has often been job justification for the political and personal agenda-driven, obsequious, career-climbing government fisheries “scientists” and managers. “Destructive” commercial fishing is also a handy foil for corporate style environmental groups’ fund raising efforts; and diminishing the importance of domestic commercial fishing is also a necessary step in the energy industry’s march into the sea. >click to read< Thank you, Dick.17:02

Big claws: Good for lobster sex life, potentially fatal in the fishing season

Between Arendal and Grimstad, researchers tagged 100 lobsters with acoustic transmitters. With the help of numerous stationary receivers, they were able to track the lobsters’ movements during the fishing season. “How lobsters move around indicates something about their personality. Are they cautious or are they risk-takers? There are advantages and disadvantages to both of those traits”, says marine scientist Even Moland. It turned out that lobsters with a big crusher claw were more likely to end up in a crab pot. >Video, click to read<17:42

Salmon researchers seek funds for expanded expedition in 2020

Organizer Richard Beamish, emeritus scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo, is seeking $1.5 million from governments, the private sector and non-profit organizations — the same groups that funded his 2019 expedition. Next year’s survey would again be supported by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, an international organization based in Vancouver. The 2019 expedition was a signature project of the International Year of the Salmon program, which is backed by the Anadromous Fish Commission, as well as the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization and other partners. >click to read<20:27

Scup, Bluefish, Black Sea Bass, and Monkfish – 2019 Fisheries Stock Assessments

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center would like to inform you of the 2019 stock assessments. During these assessments we will use existing models and data sources to evaluate stock health. Our data come from a variety of sources, including recreational and commercial fishermen, fish dealers, fishery observers, and research surveys. There will be several sets of assessments conducted this year, and the assessment process begins for Scup, Bluefish, Black Sea Bass, and Monkfish on Monday May 20, 2019 with a panel review of scientific information and assessment plans (details below). After this plan review, the assessments will be conducted and later peer reviewed in 2019. >click to read<09:49

NOAA picks URI to lead new ocean exploration consortium

The University of Rhode Island will lead a new $94 million consortium to support ocean exploration, responsible resource management, improved scientific understanding of the deep sea and strengthen the nation’s Blue Economy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today. The Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute, comprised of five internationally renowned ocean science institutions and led by the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, will spend the next five years working closely with NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) to survey an estimated 3 billion acres of U.S. ocean territory. >click to read<

Assessing the consequences of oil spills on commercial fish

Each spring, Northeast Arctic cod (Gadus morhua) travel from the Barents Sea to spawn further south along the Norwegian coast from Møre to Lofoten, releasing millions of eggs into the ocean. These eggs then begin their own journey, developing into fish larvae as they drift with the currents, north and east towards the Barents Sea. The journey is perilous and their chance of survival is small. For every million eggs, only about 800 larvae survive the first half year. Their fate depends on the movements and prevailing environmental conditions of the North Atlantic Current, >click to read<09:17

International team of salmon scientists back in port, raring for another mission

The organizer of a month-long Gulf of Alaska salmon survey is already thinking about how to raise money for another trip in the winter of 2020, now that the Russian trawler used in the expedition has finished its job and tied up in Nanaimo. “From what I’ve seen, this needs to be done again,” said Richard Beamish, who came up with the idea of the expedition to mark the International Year of the Salmon with the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. Future surveys would build on data collected by the 21-member volunteer team of international scientists from the five salmon-producing Pacific Rim countries: Canada, Russia, the U.S., Korea and Japan. >click to read<11:52