Category Archives: Marine Science

Scientists accused of scaremongering, ‘overheated claims’ with warning to humanity

A recent warning to humanity endorsed by thousands of scientists around the world includes “scaremongering” and “overheated” claims while ignoring much of the progress made in recent decades, some experts say. “It concerns me that the message from science is this doom-and-gloom scenario that just turns off about 75 per cent of people,” said Erle Ellis, an associate professor of geography and environmental systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “There’s a small percentage that loves the crisis narrative, and they just repeat it over and over to each other.”​ click here to read the story 10:03

Savannah scientists continue study of black gill in shrimp

As the Research Vessel Savannah moved slowly along Georgia’s coast in early October, Wynn Gale calmly arranged about a dozen shrimp on a table inside one of the boat’s laboratories. He inspected each specimen for dark gill coloration, and then he took a photo of the shrimp on his smartphone. Black gill, named because of a telltale dark coloration on shrimps’ gills, is caused by a microscopic parasite. Scientists have determined that the parasite is a ciliate, a single-cell organism, but have yet to identify the specific type. Scientists say shrimp suffering from black gill are safe for humans to eat. click here to read the story 08:53

Squid: Coming to Life – How a cephalopod is born, in stunning microscopy footage

Produced by the evolutionary and developmental biologist Nipam Patel in his Patel Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, Squid: Coming to Life literally puts squid and cuttlefish development under the microscope. With a sparkling soundtrack and stunning microscopy footage, the short video shows the cephalopods transforming from embryos (when they develop in egg capsules) to hatchlings that emerge with the resplendent, colour-shifting skin they use for communication and camouflage. click here to watch the video 09:35

Über-Fish: The Amazing Tunas

Tunas are part of the family Scombridae, which also includes mackerels, large and small. But there are tunas, and then there are, well, “true tunas.” Two groups (sometimes known as “tribes” dominate the tuna clan. One is Thunnini, which is the group considered true tunas, characterized by two separate dorsal fins and a relatively thick body. The 15 species of Thunnini are albacore, bigeye, black skipjack, blackfin, bluefin (three species: Atlantic, Pacific, southern), bullet, frigate, kawakawa, little tunny, longtail, skipjack, slender and yellowfin. The other tribe is Sardini; these tunas — the dogtooth tuna and several species of smaller true bonitos — are somewhat more mackerel-like (notably with a more elongated body and a row of sharp, conical teeth). photo’s, click here to read the story 18:38

Transatlantic tuna may be boosting stocks in Gulf of St. Lawrence

New science released by the international body that manages Atlantic bluefin tuna suggests a theory about why there have been so many tuna in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent years. Katie Schleit, senior marine campaign coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre, said science released by the International Commission for the Conservation of Tuna (ICCAT) found a large number of the tuna caught in Gulf waters are from the Mediterranean region. click here to read the story 16:33

Rarely seen ‘living fossil’ frilled shark caught off Algarve coast

A frilled shark, a species that is often termed a ‘living fossil’ because of several ‘primitive’ features that have survived for millions of years, has been captured off the coast of Portugal’s Algarve region, the country’s meteorological and sea institute has announced. Researchers from IPMA and the Centre for Maritime Sciences recorded the catching of a shark “with unusual features” by a commercial trawler, as part of an “initiative to minimise undesirable catches in European fisheries”. click here to read the story 22:43

Strange fish found on the Scotian Shelf

For 25 years Don Clark has been going to the Scotian Shelf to see what’s there. For the last decade the fisheries biologist at the St. Andrews Biological Station in New Brunswick has been in charge of the federal Fisheries and Oceans summer survey. Just after Canada Day each year, the CCG Alfred Needler heads out to trawl 240 way points on the Scotian Shelf between Georges Bank in the south and the Laurentian Channel in the north. It’s an immense area — the 120,000 square kilometres of continental shelf that extends off Nova Scotia’s eastern shore into the North Atlantic. click here to read the story 11:56

Alligators eat sharks — and a whole lot more

Alligators don’t just stick to freshwater and the prey they find there. These crafty reptiles can live quite easily, at least for a bit, in salty waters and find plenty to eat — including crabs, sea turtles and even sharks. “They should change the textbooks,” says James Nifong, an ecologist with the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Kansas State University in Manhattan, who has spent years documenting the estuarine gator diet. Nifong’s most recent discovery, splashed all over the news last month, is that the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) eats at least three species of shark and two species of rays, he and wildlife biologist Russell Lowers report in the September Southeastern Naturalist. click here to read the story 21:46

MPA’s – Conch herds face death by old age as young molluscs disappear

The queen of the sea, a monster mollusk that inspired its own republic in the American state of Florida, is in trouble. A marine preserve in the Bahamas, famed for its abundance of queen conches, is missing something too: young conches. Researchers studying the no-take park (where no collection of marine animals is allowed) off Exuma in the Bahamas, one of hundreds throughout the Caribbean, found that over the last two decades, the number of young has sharply declined as adult conches steadily matured and died off. The discovery also raises questions about the effectiveness of marine preserves, long viewed as a solution to reviving overfished stocks. If one of the Caribbean’s oldest and best marine preserves isn’t working to replenish one of its biggest exports – now regulated as tightly as lobster – what does that mean for other preserves and how they’re managed? click here to read the story 11:33

Global Ocean Cooling in September

We have seen lots of claims about the temperature records for 2016 and 2015 proving dangerous man made warming.  At least one senator stated that in a confirmation hearing.  Yet HadSST3 data for the last two years show how obvious is the ocean’s governing of global average temperatures. The best context for understanding these two years comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures (SST), for several reasons: click here to read the story 09:55

DFO’s Inaugural Citizen Science Cod Project – creates cod assessment data, community involvement

Notwithstanding a car that perpetually reeked of fish, Madelyn Swackhamer is singing the praises of her summer job. The 17-year-old from Bareneed, Conception Bay North, was one of 40 high school students hired by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) for its inaugural Citizen Science Cod Project.,, The pilot project involved having pairs of students located at 20 landing wharves in communities on the Northeast Avalon, Conception Bay, Trinity Bay, Bonavista Bay and Notre Dame Bay throughout the course of the province’s summer and fall recreational food fisheries. The students were charged with recording data on how many fish are being caught, the length of each fish, and the arrival and departure of participating vessels. click here to read the story 22:06

Live Cam May Show True Status of Atlantic Cod Fishery

Atlantic cod, New England’s most iconic fish, has been reported at historic lows for years, but fishermen hope a new video monitoring technique will prove there are more of the fish than federal surveyors believe. Ronnie Borjeson, who has been fishing for more than 40 years, says the federal surveys don’t match up with what fishermen are seeing. “I don’t care if you’re a gillnetter, a hook and line guy, a trawl guy,” he said, “there’s codfish everywhere up there. Everywhere. You can’t get away from them.” Borjeson helped test a video rig designed by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth that allows them to record fish underwater and count them on the video later. With this rig, scientists can sample a larger area in the same amount of time and hopefully improve federal estimates of how many cod are left. click here to read the story 16:26

Counting Fish – A film by Don Cuddy click here to watch 

Gulf of Alaska cod stocks at all-time lows

Pacific cod numbers in the Gulf of Alaska are at all-time lows, according to early looks at data collected from the 2017 summer survey. Steve Barbeaux, a fisheries biologist for the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, said scientists believe that the warm water mass known as the blob may be responsible for the low numbers. “It seems that this warm water that occurred that we’re calling the blob may have increased natural mortality for the 2012 year class and probably 2014, 2015, and 2016 as well,” Barbeaux said. click here to read the story 13:32

Baltic clams and worms release as much greenhouse gas as 20,000 dairy cows

Scientists have shown that ocean clams and worms are releasing a significant amount of potentially harmful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. The team, from Cardiff University and Stockholm University, have shown that the ocean critters are producing large amounts of the strongest greenhouse gases – methane and nitrous oxides – from the bacteria in their guts. The researchers estimate that this is equivalent to as much methane given off as 20,000 dairy cows. This is as much as 10 per cent of the entire Welsh dairy cow population and 1 per cent of the entire UK dairy cow population. click here to read the story 16:23

The Ocean’s Low-Oxygen Dead Zones Are Getting Worse

Along the West Coast, low-oxygen levels in bottom layers of the ocean, known as hypoxia, have become a big concern for scientists and fishers alike—fish and crabs are vital to ecosystems, research, and an entire industry. “We’re always on the lookout to see, is this going to be a bad year?” says Francis Chan, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University who studies the effects of ocean chemistry. And by all accounts, 2017 shaped up to be a bad year. Scientists first got reports of crabs dying in pots off the Oregon coast back in 2002. Since then, says Chan, there have been some years when the oxygen levels in some places drop to zero and stay that way for weeks or even months.  Video, click here to read the story 17:16

Many fishermen believe Stokesbury saved the scallop industry

Well, I guess that I had better start writing some of this stuff down, as it seems that my memory is getting fuzzier by the day. Not an uncommon affliction for an old fisherman, who has been put ashore, but who still has enough recall to remember some things that are just too important to allow to fade into obscurity! I had been a scalloper out of New Bedford for 32 years, both as a deckhand, and as a captain of several high-line scalloper vessels. Over all those years there were several trips that stay relatively fresh in my mind’s eye, but one of the most important and fulfilling ones actually occurred after I came ashore. By Jim Kendall click here to read the story 21:55

After collapse, researchers find a comeback for capelin in Barents Sea

Marine researchers found significant stocks of capelin during their comprehensive Barents Sea Ecosystem Expedition this year. That could open the way for renewed commercial fishing on the stocks. According to expedition leader Georg Skaret, prospects for the capelin is better than in many years. Data presented by Skaret during a presentation on Wednesday show that big stocks of capelin were discovered in the northern parts of the Barents Sea, in the waters east of the Svalbard archipelago. click here to read the story 15:18

Thousands of Sharks, Other Sea Life Mysteriously Die in San Francisco Bay, State Says No Funding Available to Determine Cause

As many as 2,000 leopard sharks have mysteriously died in the San Francisco Bay over the past few months. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says determining the cause is not a priority for the state since the sharks are not threatened or endangered, however, scientists say additional research and resources are crucial since the threat is now believed to be preying on other marine life. “This pathogen can tackle a variety of different species … we’ve had a much more diverse group of fish that have been found dead in the San Francisco Bay.” At least 500 bat rays, hundreds of striped bass, 50 smooth-hound sharks and about 100 halibut died in the bay between February and July, according to Okihiro’s estimates. Video, click here to read the story 09:24

The Japanese like to see sea urchins with big gonads, but not too big.

Newfoundland and Labrador has made a dollar on urchins, but could potentially make more in future. “It needs to have the right shape, the right colour, the right texture and most importantly the right taste,” said Philip James, a scientist with the Norwegian institute of food, fisheries and aquaculture research (Nofima), describing the seafood market demand, at the recent World Seafood Congress in Reykjavik, Iceland. About 90 per cent of the globally produced urchin gonad — or roe, as is more commonly known — is sent to the Japanese market. It can be hard at times for the world’s producers to source good roe, with urchins plucked from the ocean not always having consistent quantity and quality. click here to read the story 11:18

SMAST East opening draws interest nationally

The official opening of the second SMAST facility created ripple effects beyond its location on South Rodney French Boulevard. Construction crews erected SMAST East at a cost of $55 million. The names on the guest list, which packed into the first floor of the 64,000 square foot building Friday, displayed its incalculable value to the SouthCoast. From the political arena, Cong. Bill Keating, Sen. Mark Montigny, Rep. Antonio Cabral and Mayor Jon Mitchell addressed the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremony. NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator and former New Bedford Mayor John Bullard and former dean of SMAST Brian Rothschild sat in attendance. Eastern Fisheries President Roy Enoksen and Executive Director of New Bedford Seafood Consulting Jim Kendall each listened to the 90-minute presentation that ended with a ribbon cutting. click here to read the story 09:34

Parasitic sea lice plagues global farmed salmon industry

A surge of parasitic sea lice is disrupting salmon farms around the world. The tiny lice attach themselves to salmon and feed on them, killing or rendering them unsuitable for dinner tables. The lice are actually tiny crustaceans that have infested salmon farms in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, Norway and Chile, major suppliers of the high-protein, heart-healthy fish. Scientists and fish farmers are working on new ways to control the pests, which Fish Farmer Magazine stated last year costs the global aquaculture industry about $1 billion annually. click here to read the story 20:26

Orange, yellow, blue, and even ‘Halloween’: The rarest lobster colors, explained

It may feel like a new, brightly colored lobster has been pulled off the New England coast and onto your social media feeds every other week over the last few months. Maybe you’ve seen a rare, blue lobster before. But what about yellow? Or the ghostly, one-in-100-million white lobster caught last month in Maine? However, according to New England Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse, this has actually been a “slow summer.” Ever wonder why lobsters come in so many distinct colors? Here’s why.  click here to read the story 09:01

2017 Sweep Efficiency Study Targets Summer Flounder – Cooperative research program effort reveals a few surprises

Testing the efficiency of different sweep types on fishing nets was the focus of twin trawling operations August 18-28 aboard the F/V Karen Elizabeth from Point Judith, RI.  Chris Roebuck and his four-person crew aboard the 78-foot western-rigged stern trawler Karen Elizabeth conducted this year’s study with five staff members from the NEFSC’s Northeast Cooperative Research Program and the Fisheries Ecology and Oceans and Climate branches. The team targeted summer flounder in Southern New England from Montauk, Long Island to Nantucket and red hake in the western Gulf of Maine off Cape Ann, making a total of 103 good tows and collecting over 73,000 fish from species targeted by the study.   click here to read the story 11:41

Former NOAA Expert, High-Accuracy Hurricane Predictor Says “Natural Cycles” Major Driver

A former NOAA meteorologist and 40-year veteran of hurricane predictions believes Irma will continue to move move west toward Florida and reach near the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula around Sunday, September 11th, as a major category 4 hurricane. Both David Dilley of Global Weather Oscillations and the National Hurricane Center now believe Irma will make landfall near the southern tip of Florida, from near or just west of Miami to just west or near Jacksonville and then run up the coast into eastern Georgia. Dilley had predicted a harsh hurricane season already back in early February, long before most forecasters were ready to go public with their forecasts.So far his predictions for the current season have been impressively accurate.  click here to read the story 10:20

Scientists concerned over health of fish species as wastewater treatment plants fail to remove drugs

Human antidepressants are building up in the brains of bass, walleye and several other fish common to the Great Lakes region, scientists say. In a new study, researchers detected high concentrations of these drugs and their metabolized remnants in the brain tissue of 10 fish species found in the Niagara River. The discovery of antidepressants in aquatic life in the river raises serious environmental concerns, says lead scientist Diana Aga, PhD, the Henry M. Woodburn Professor of chemistry in the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences. “These active ingredients from antidepressants, which are coming out from wastewater treatment plants, are accumulating in fish brains,” Aga says. “It is a threat to biodiversity, and we should be very concerned. click here to read the story 16:57

Study links fish farms to spread of antibiotic resistance

New research that finds a possible link between fish farms and the spread of antibiotic resistance doesn’t surprise marine biologist Inka Milewski. “Anytime you have animals grown in very concentrated conditions in these intensive livestock operations, whether it’s pigs or chickens, or in this case, fish, you’re going to have the potential for disease problems,” Milewski said in an interview Sunday from her home in the Miramichi in New Brunswick. “The solution to a lot of these problems is to put antibiotics into the feed. And so it should come as no surprise to anyone that they have found antibiotic resistance associated with fish farms.” The study released last week by Jing Wang of Dalian University of Technology in China concluded that genes for antibiotic resistance are getting into ocean sediments through fish food. click here to read the story 09:49

“It Just Consumed Me”

Normally, not something you want a shark scientist to say. But Eric Stroud is talking about his chemistry-lab quest for the ultimate shark repellent, which he appears to have found. The questions that remain: Does it work on the great white, the ocean’s most fearsome predator? And can a couple of rookie entrepreneurs get it to market? There’s a house in Mossel Bay, South Africa, high on a hill overlooking the Indian Ocean, five hours east of Cape Town, where shark nerds from around the world come to live each year. I arrived this past June, after a long day on a small boat watching great whites chasing roped tuna heads. click here to read the story 12:00

Cooperation between fishermen, regulators not just a fluke

Fisheries management is only as good as the science that it’s based upon. The better the science, the more effective the management. For the past three years, Point Judith fisherman Chris Roebuck has partnered with federal regulators to get a better handle on fish stocks, taking scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration out to sea on his 78-foot Western-rig stern trawler the Karen Elizabeth to help figure out where groundfish are and in what numbers. This summer’s trip wrapped up this week when the team of five researchers led by John Manderson, a senior ecosystem field scientist with NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and a four-man crew headed by Roebuck returned to port in Galilee with new information on summer flounder, red hake and other species. click here to read the story 21:48

Fish Stocks And Our Balance Of Payments

Our balance of payments is overly burdened by our consumption of seafood: We import approximately 90% of the seafood that we eat. Given our natural resources, we should be net exporters of seafood. The total value of edible and non-edible fishery imports in the United States was $35.8 billion in 2016. The total value of edible and non-edible exports was $21.3 billion. The imbalance does not imply only a shipment of dollars abroad. It also implies a number of jobs exported, a number of jobs that could be created in this country, were we not to import that much more seafood than we export.,,, The reason for the imbalance in our accounts with other nations is not due to lack of fish in our waters. Not to put too fine a point on it, the imbalance is due to rules and regulations imposed by our National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that prevent our fishermen from catching fish. click here to read the article by Carmine Gorga 09:21

What happens in the sea during a solar eclipse?

On July 20th, 1963, three scientists sat on a research ship 200 miles south of Woods Hole, MA, waiting for something remarkable. They were nearly 4000m above the seafloor, and using sonar, they could ‘see’ a line of creatures resting in the deep. By this time, biologists were beginning to unravel the mystery of this ‘false bottom’–a layer in the ocean that looks the the sea floor on sonar but isn’t–which covered much of the ocean. This false bottom rises in up at night and sinks down during the day. This rising and falling is in fact caused by the largest migration of animal on Earth–everything from fish, shrimp and jellyfish, moving hundreds of meters in unison up and down each day. But how and why these animals rose in fell in the ocean wasn’t clear. As the scientists watched their instruments, the light began to fade. Not from the setting sun, but from something else. click here to read the story 13:27