It’s Time to Stop Drift Gillnet Fishing off the California Coast

Earlier this week, federal fishery managers imposed emergency measures on the California drift gillnet fleet to protect endangered sperm whales. The action came two years after a pair of endangered sperm whales were killed in a single gillnet in 2010 in deep water west of San Diego.

The new measures from the National Marine Fisheries Service require that the swordfish fleet stop fishing for the season if a single endangered sperm whale is seriously injured or killed in a gillnet. All gillnet vessels that fish in deep waters (defined as 6,500 feet) must now carry on-board fishery observers at all times; before now, less than 20 percent of boats carried observers. And, for the first time, the gillnet fleet will be fitted with mandatory vessel monitoring systems that track the locations of every boat.

While these protections may prevent sperm whale deaths in the short term, the new regulations do little to stop the ongoing capture and accidental death of 130 or more other whales, dolphins, sea lions, and marine animals in the gillnet fishery every year. During the past decade, more than 1,300 whales, dolphins, and turtles drowned after getting tangled in California’s large-mesh drift gillnets. More than 100,000 giant ocean sunfish and 10,000 blue sharks were also caught and discarded during the last 10 years.

It’s time for this fishing practice to end. Drift gillnets are so deadly to marine life that the gear is banned in Oregon and Washington and on the open ocean. The method should be halted along the entire West Coast …

See on www.earthisland.org

Plastics “Unwrapped” at University of Washington’s Burke Museum

  By: Courtney Arthur, Marine Debris Research Coordinator

New exhibit called “Plastics Unwrapped” takes a look at the cultural changes that have led to the increasing use of plastics in the last 50 yrs. @University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

See on marinedebrisblog.wordpress.com

Photos: Coral Species Proposed for Protections

Ocean News

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration proposes protections for 66 coral species.

See on news.nationalgeographic.com

Scientists Provide First Large-scale Estimate of Reef Shark Losses in the Pacific Ocean

Shark!

Shark! (Photo credit: guitarfish)

First study to provide estimates of reef shark losses in the Pacific Ocean are sobering. Researchers noted the enormous detrimental effect that humans have on reef sharks.

Many shark populations have plummeted in the past three decades as a result of excessive harvesting — for their fins, as an incidental catch of fisheries targeting other species, and in recreational fisheries. This is particularly true for oceanic species. However, until now, a lack of data prevented scientists from properly quantifying the status of Pacific reef sharks at a large geographic scale.

In a study published online April 27 in the journal Conservation Biology, an international team of marine scientists provide the first estimates of reef shark losses in the Pacific Ocean. Using underwater surveys conducted over the past decade across 46 U.S. Pacific islands and atolls, as part of NOAA’s extensive Pacific Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program the team compared reef shark numbers at reefs spanning from heavily impacted ones to those among the world’s most pristine …

Continue reading on www.sciencedaily.com

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Japanese Tsunami Aftermath: Marine Debris

Via Scoop.itOcean News

The powerful Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami in March, 2011, washed untold tons of marine debris into the Pacific Ocean. This video explains what N…
Via www.youtube.com

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