I risk appearing way-too-jaded, but can’t help being inspired by endeavors like this one:


Would this area of Guppies Science (GS) perhaps qualify as a worthwhile Fisheries Research Project (FRP) for EDF-CLF-Pew-NOAA to invest in for some Best Available Science (BAS)? Along with money for Aquaculture Start-Ups (AQS-U) and Deep Sea Minerals Exploration (DSME) they might be tempted to throw a few $mil towards this Post-Doctoral Guppy Research (P-DGR).

Also along the lines of the Guppy Science article, I’ve included below some more Aquarium Fisheries Research Science (AFRS)(allright I’ll stop!) on the Yellow Tang “Fishery” from Oregon State University and a brilliant piece by Jane Lubchenco concerning turtle deaths in the Gulf of Mexico, as well.

Jane’s article and the OSU work from a few years ago certainly seems to be representative of the ridiculous level that these NOAA academics operate on.  The tragedy is that their “science”—with push from EDF, CLF, and Pew—is turned into policy, then law, then fishery regulations that have devastated a vital domestic industry.

Associated Press / February 12, 2010


LONDON (AP) — When it comes to mating, guppies treasure their ugly friends — because they look so good by comparison.

An article published Wednesday by Britain’s Royal Society says that male guppies prefer to associate with their drab-colored counterparts when females were around.

‘‘Males actively choose the social context that maximizes their relative attractiveness,’’ the article said. Or, as lead author Clelia Gasparini put it, ‘‘If you are surrounded by ugly friends, you look better.’’

Gasparini and her colleagues at Italy’s University of Padua built their theory on a kind of guppy dating game. An aquarium was set up with one female in partition on either end. Guppy bachelorette No. 1 had two attractive, brightly-colored males placed on either side of her. Guppy bachelorette No. 2 was stuck with uglier, drab-colored fish.

When a male guppy was put in the middle of the tank, and given the choice of which female to sidle up to, Bachelorette No. 2 was the more popular pick, with male guppies spending about 62 percent of their time hanging around her side of the aquarium.

What’s more, the researchers found that the time guppies spent with bachelorette No. 2 correlated with their unattractiveness. The uglier the guppy, the less likely it was that he would hang around the brightly colored fish placed next to bachelorette No. 1.

Because it could be argued that that guppies avoided their brightly colored pals because attractive fish were more aggressive, or because predators were more likely to spot them, the experiment was repeated. Researchers ran it without any females, and again with the lights in the male enclosures turned down so that the test guppies couldn’t see them.

Gasparini, who’s now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Western Australia, said the extra experiments helped confirm her theory. But she was cagey when asked whether the results from the aquarium could be applied to a night out at the bar.

‘‘Usually in my research we don’t really compare humans and animals,’’ she said, chuckling.

Oh, come on. If this works for guppies — small fish popular for use in home aquariums — shouldn’t it work for guys?

She admitted that she had seen this same tactic work ‘‘pretty well’’ for humans.

If you hang out ‘‘with someone better looking than you, sure, you have less chance to be picked up,’’ she said. ‘‘If you want to impress someone, do you think you will look more attractive in comparison with Mr. Bean or George Clooney?’’

In a more serious moment, Gasparini said the comparison between guppies and humans was hard to resist. But human dating tricks were far harder to measure.

A subject for further study, then.

From an email I sent around a few years ago after being astounded by the “research” that was coming out of Oregon State University and Jane Lubchenco’s post-Deepwater Horizon catastrophe article on the real causes of turtle deaths in the Gulf.

Posted on Wed, Dec. 29, 2010

Oil spill clarifies road map for sea turtle recovery


Sea turtles have roamed the oceans for millennia. But in the course of just a few decades, hunting, coastal development, fishing and pollution have driven their populations to dangerously low levels. Some, such as Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, were beginning to make a comeback, thanks to efforts in Mexico and the United States to protect their nesting beaches and reduce accidental entrapment in shrimp nets.

And then along came the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.

Marine biologists feared the spill would be catastrophic for sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico.

And for good reasons. Five of the world’s seven species of sea turtles live in the Gulf, and the spill coincided with nesting season for two of those species, the loggerhead and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles. For the Kemp’s ridley, the Gulf is the only known nesting ground.

For many living in the Gulf and around the country, these charismatic animals became the public face of the impact of the oil spill on wildlife. An extraordinary effort was needed to save as many sea turtles as possible.

It will take many years if not decades to fully understand the long-term impact of the spill on sea turtles. And there is no question many died, especially younger sea turtles. But thanks to an aggressive effort to capture and rehabilitate oiled sea turtles, and the final capping of the well, there is now hope for these magnificent creatures.

NOAA, the Gulf states, and many nonprofit partners teamed up to rescue more than 400 sea turtles from oiled waters and take them to aquariums and other facilities for de-oiling and rehabilitation. Charter fishermen from the Gulf coast assisted biologists and veterinarians in capturing turtles by locating Sargassum algae habitat where turtles might be found in oil.

NOAA and the Gulf states also helped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other partners to move more than 25,000 sea turtle eggs from the northern Gulf shoreline to the Atlantic coast of Florida, to prevent hatchlings from entering oiled waters. NOAA, state wildlife agencies, and other partners also collected dead stranded sea turtles to determine, when possible, their cause of death.

In August, more than a month after the well was finally capped, I had the pleasure of helping release the first rehabilitated sea turtles into Gulf waters where habitat was healthy. Of the more than 400 sea turtles brought into rehabilitation, more than 96 percent have survived.

Over 300 of these turtles have now been released back into healthy surface habitat in waters off Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Some turtles with more severe injuries require longer rehabilitation. We expect that all the turtles will be returned to the wild.

While nearly all the rescued sea turtles were visibly oiled, to our surprise, most of the dead stranded sea turtles had no observable oil on their bodies and were in good health prior to their death. Necropsies (autopsies on animals) on more than half of 600 carcasses point to the possibility that a majority may have drowned in fishing gear. The evidence is that natural causes of death were ruled out, and that shrimp and fish – not a natural part of turtle diets – were found in their digestive tracts. (Underlines and emphases are mine)

When NOAA became aware that a large number of stranded turtles may have drowned in fishing operations, we alerted state marine resource officials. In response, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources issued a rule in June to further restrict the time shrimp skimmer trawls could be towed to help prevent sea turtles from being caught and drowning.

The high level of turtle strandings also prompted NOAA to consider a rule to require turtle excluder devices, or TEDs, in skimmer trawls. These devices consist of a grid built into the trawl and an escape hatch that allows turtles to swim away. TEDs are required in most shrimp fisheries and have proven effective in reducing sea turtle drownings when properly installed and maintained. Shrimp skimmer trawls are allowed to operate without TEDs, and are regulated with tow time limits.

The heightened scrutiny of the Gulf of Mexico during the oil spill brought to light the need for stronger cooperation between NOAA, the Gulf states, and the fishing industry to address the significant ongoing problem of sea turtles drowning in fishing operations. More enforcement is needed for TED requirements and tow time limits.

As NOAA and the states continue to assess the natural resources damaged by the spill, we are gaining a much clearer map of the important pathways to recovery for sea turtles. The fishing community has played a prominent role in the past in developing gear and techniques to prevent sea turtles from being unintentionally caught. These animals, which are already endangered, require our strong collective efforts for their long-term recovery. The recovery of sea turtle populations is essential to the Gulf’s overall restoration.


Jane Lubchenco is under secretary for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA Administrator. Readers may write to her at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 5128, Washington, D.C. 20230.

This essay is available to McClatchy-Tribune News Service subscribers. McClatchy-Tribune did not subsidize the writing of this column; the opinions are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of McClatchy-Tribune or its editors.


© 2010 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved. http://www.miamiherald.com


Only a great scientific mind like Jane’s can conclude that pretty much any negative impact on the marine environment can be traced back to overfishing and destructive fishing methods.  The article below in the Miami Herald posits that the Gulf turtles died from drowning in fishing gear—the 2 million gallons (that they’ll admit to) of oxygen robbing Corexit had absolutely nothing to do with it —not even worth a mention?

Here’s the numbers game she’s playing in the above farce of an article.  400 “oiled” turtles were able to be saved by “NOAA and nonprofit partners”; but the majority of 600 carcasses had no oil on them and that fact points to the “possibility that they drowned in fishing gear”?  Score: NOAA and Nonprofits a plus 400; Fishing Industry a minus 600.

And add yet another example of pornographic “science” to Jane’s Joke, in the “scientific” breakthrough by the great marine ecologist minds at Oregon State University (Alma Mater and employer of Jane’s— Andy Rosenberg, Stephen Gaines, David Festa, as well).  They are showcasing the recovery of the Yellow Tang “Fishery” (yup, the salt water aquarium Yellow Tang “Fishery”), claiming it’s a result of the implementation in 1999 of 9 Marine Protected Areas off of the west coast of the Island of Hawaii.  http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-12/osu-ssd122210.php

Public release date: 22-Dec-2010 Contact: Mark Hixon [email protected] 541-737-5364 Oregon State University

Study shows drifting fish larvae allow marine reserves to rebuild fisheries

IMAGE: Studies done with this tropical fish show that fish larvae can drift with ocean currents and repopulate fisheries some distance away.

Click here for more information.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Marine ecologists at Oregon State University have shown for the first time that tiny fish larvae can drift with ocean currents and “re-seed” fish stocks significant distances away – more than 100 miles in a new study from Hawaii.

The findings add credibility to what scientists have believed for some time, but until now been unable to directly document. The study also provides a significant demonstration of the ability of marine reserves to rebuild fishery stocks in areas outside the reserves.

The research was published this week in PLoS One, a scientific journal.

“We already know that marine reserves will grow larger fish and some of them will leave that specific area, what we call spillover,” said Mark Hixon, a professor of marine biology at OSU. “Now we’ve clearly shown that fish larvae that were spawned inside marine reserves can drift with currents and replenish fished areas long distances away.

“This is a direct observation, not just a model, that successful marine reserves can sustain fisheries beyond their borders,” he said. “That’s an important result that should help resolve some skepticism about reserves. And the life cycle of our study fish is very similar to many species of marine fish, including rockfishes and other species off Oregon. The results are highly relevant to other regions.”

The findings were based on the creation in 1999 of nine marine protected areas on the west coast of the “big island” of Hawaii. They were set up in the face of serious declines of a beautiful tropical fish called yellow tang, which formed the basis for an important trade in the aquarium industry.

“This fishery was facing collapse about 10 years ago,” Hixon said. “Now, after the creation of marine reserves, the fishery is doing well.”

The yellow tang was an ideal fish to help answer the question of larval dispersal because once its larvae settle onto a reef and begin to grow, they are not migratory, and live in a home range about half a mile in diameter. If the fish are going to move any significant distance from where they are born, it would have to be as a larva – a young life form about the size of a grain of rice – drifting with the currents for up to two months before settling back to adult habitats.

Mark Christie, an OSU postdoctoral research associate and lead author of the study, developed some new approaches to the use of DNA fingerprinting and sophisticated statistical analysis that were able to match juvenile fish with their parents, wherever they may have been from. In field research from 2006, the scientists performed genetic and statistical analyses on 1,073 juvenile and adult fish, and found evidence that many healthy juvenile fish had spawned from parents long distances away, up to 114 miles, including some from marine protected areas.

“This is similar to the type of forensic technology you might see on television, but more advanced,” Christie said. “We’re optimistic it will help us learn a great deal more about fish movements, fishery stocks, and the genetic effects of fishing, including work with steelhead, salmon, rockfish and other species here in the Pacific Northwest.”

This study should help answer some of the questions about the ability of marine reserves to help rebuild fisheries, the scientists said. It should also add scientific precision to the siting of reserves for that purpose, which is just one of many roles that a marine reserve can play. Many states are establishing marine reserves off their coasts, and Oregon is in the process of developing a limited network of marine reserves to test their effectiveness. The methods used in this study could also become a powerful new tool to improve fisheries management, Hixon said.

“Tracking the movement of fish larvae in the open ocean isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do,” Hixon said. “It’s not like putting a radio collar on a deer. This approach will provide valuable information to help optimize the placement of reserves, identify the boundaries of fishery stocks, and other applications.”

The issue of larval dispersal is also important, the researchers say, because past studies at OSU have shown that large, fat female fish produce massive amounts of eggs and sometimes healthier larvae than smaller fish. For example, a single two-foot vermillion rockfish produces more eggs than 17 females that are 14 inches long.

But these same large fish, which have now been shown to play key roles in larval production and fish population replenishment, are also among those most commonly sought in fisheries.

The study was done in collaboration with the University of Hawaii, Washington State University, National Marine Fisheries Services and the Hawaii Department of Natural Resources. It was funded by Conservation International.

“The identification of connectivity between distant reef fish populations on the island of Hawaii demonstrates that human coastal communities are also linked,” the researchers wrote in their conclusion. “Management in one part of the ocean affects people who use another part of the ocean.”

Editor’s Note: Digital images are available to illustrate this story:

Yellow tang: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/5278933342/

Fish analysis: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/5278338677/

School of fish: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oregonstateuniversity/5278952604/

The Yellow Tang scientists developed a way to show that fish larvae will drift with ocean currents and can wind up over one hundred miles away from their place of origin.  This earth shaking discovery through studying the resurgence of the Yellow Tang population is presented as evidence that Marine Protected Areas are successful in replenishing endangered stocks.  Where would we be as a culture without this kind of devotion to innovative thinking and just sheer brilliance from our institutes of “higher” learning? OSU is clearly a leader in this arena.  Naturally if you stop the aquarium suppliers from depleting the reefs, the population of Yellow Tang will recover. Presenting that as a blessing of MPA’s however, is just a bit of an agenda-driven stretch.

“This [referring to his own research method] is similar to the type of forensic technology you might see on television, but more advanced,” Christie said.  [maybe as seen on the cartoon network]. Mark Christie is an OSU postdoctoral research associate and lead author of the study.  He should be well proud of his Piled Higherand Deeper with this one.

I also wonder why they’re studying “Yellow Tangs” in Hawaii and ultimately generalizing their findings to Marine Protected Areas off of the California, Washington, Oregon, Alaskan, and New England coasts. Why aren’t they carrying out their research on the Columbia River Bar, or Georges Bank, or the Bering Sea —it’s nice out there this time of year too?  Why go all the way to Hawaii?

Aside from the scientific breakthroughs that fish swim and “drift”, the article is just filled with great discoveries: they also found that large females lay more eggs than smaller ones.  Like I said…where would we be?

This mentality is so ridiculous and obvious it’s embarrassing to even respond; yet this legacy of agenda-driven science devolved to statistical mathematics, a template set by Jane Lubchenco and her predecessors years ago, persists today and is currently being used as a basis for fisheries regulations. It seems almost as if they were hell-bent on exacting our demise.

The very first step in the scientific method is unbiased, open-minded observation, i.e., without pre-disposition or prejudice.  Essentially this condition must be met even before a relevant question can be asked or a problem discerned that’s worthy of hypothesis and further study.  What’s being thrown at us and called “science” fails miserably in this most preliminary requirement of any worthwhile intelligent inquiry.  It’s political JUNK we’re getting, not science.

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