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New Addition to Sustainability Menu: Cownose Ray

From Slashfood.com by way of the National Review Online comes an innovative answer to invasive species.Move over Asian carp, you’re not the only pesky species to be eyed by the seafood industry as a potential food source. Officials in Virginia have set their sights on the homely cownose ray, whose population has exploded, in part because of a sharp decline in their natural predator, the inland coastal shark. The population boom is bad news for valuable Chesapeake oysters, clams and scallops. Hungry rays have been known to wipe out entire shellfish beds with their powerful crushing jaws.Mike Hutt, executive director for the Virginia Marine Products Board has been working to develop a market for the red-fleshed cownose ray (renamed a more appealing Chesapeake Ray), but don’t expect it to tas...
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Temperature Experiments on Hatchery-Cultured Red King Crabs at NOAA

NOAA researchers at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center Behavioral Ecology Laboratory in Newport, Oregon, conducted experiments to explore how temperature mediates growth and energy allocation in newly settled red king crab juveniles. Crabs used in the experiments were reared at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery and were shipped to Newport in May 2009. Juvenile crabs were held at four temperatures, ranging from 1.5 to 12°C, for 60 days. Temperature did not affect survival; however, growth increased exponentially with temperature. Crabs molted more frequently in warmer temperatures and had a greater increase in size with each molt. Twenty percent of the crabs held at 1.5°C never molted, while more than 90% of the crabs at 12°C molted four or more times. Biochemical analysis showed that l...
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California Sea Grant Announces Funding for 17 New Projects

California Sea Grant has awarded funding to 17 marine research projects to further the program’s expertise along new avenues of scientific inquiry.In total, about $550,000 was awarded to the year-long projects, including traineeships for 13 graduate student researchers.“We are excited to see some new faces in the Sea Grant fold and some new research approaches,” says California Sea Grant Assistant Director Shauna Oh.Some of the new names – people who have never before received California Sea Grant research funds – include Diana Steller, a marine biologist at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, who will be studying red coralline algae nodules around the Channel Islands. Not your typical slimy algal goo, these algae (called rhodoliths) tricked even the first scientists into thinking they were ...
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From Deadliest Catch to Safest Catch

Alaska’s Bering Sea crab fisheries have gone from being the nation’s deadliest catch to the safest catch.A new study by the Anchorage-based National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) details 504 fishing-industry deaths from 2000 through 2009. Shrimp fishing in the Gulf of Mexico was by far the most deadly fishery with 55 lives lost. That compares to a death toll of 12 Bering Sea crabbers during the same time. In fact, the Bering Sea crab fisheries can claim the lowest loss of life for all of Alaska’s major fisheries.Since 2005, when the crab fishery began operating under a slower paced catch share system, one life has been lost in the Bering Sea; there have been no vessel sinkings.Prior to catch shares, hundreds of boats would race to load up with Bering Sea crab in wild...
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Newport Wild Seafood Weekend

Newport Fishermen's Wives has announced an exciting new annual event premiering in Newport, Oregon on September 11& 12 of 2010.The Newport Wild Seafood Weekend is a two day celebration of our Northwest's vital wild-caught seafood industry and the men and women who make it thrive; hard working fishermen and families who are small business owners harvesting our seafood.On Saturday the Newport Wild Seafood Weekend will feature the third annual Great Newport Wild Seafood Cook-Off, which has become one of the most popular culinary events in the Northwest. Twenty teams, both professional and amateur will battle for mroe than $2,500 in prize money and the honor of being “Best at the Bay.”Sunday's The Wild Brunch will feature a delicious wild seafood dining experience on the Bayfront overlooki...
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From The Fleet

Jack FeeTrout Lake, WashingtonSince the start of the Iraq War, the US Has spent approximately $720 million a day, every day for more than seven years. The National Marine Fisheries Service and NOAA have a $60 million a year budget of which most is spent on studies to make technological fixes on the Dams on the Snake and Columbia River to improve Salmon restoration.The Columbia River drains a 259,000-square-mile basin covering parts of seven states and one Canadian province. It is arguably the most significant environmental force in the Pacific Northwest. In the last 150 years, 400 dams have been built, of which 11 are run-of-the-river dams across the main stream. This capitalistic domestication of the River has been a disaster for the once strong runs of salmon and the native people tied t...
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Fisheries Projects Escape Governor’s Vetoes

By Bob TkaczAlaska Gov. Sean Parnell vetoed just 2.8 percent from the $12 billion total state budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 and not a penny came out of fisheries projects.“There were no vetoes to ADF&G’s FY 11 capital or operating budgets,” wrote Tom Lawson, the Dept. of Fish and Game’s budget manager, in a June 4 email. Beside leaving the department’s $65.3 million operating budget alone Parnell’s veto pen also bypassed tens of millions of dollars in hatchery, harbor and other fisheries support projects.Facing tough primary and potentially general election battles, Parnell cut $36 million from an almost $8 billion state operating budget and $300 million from the $3.1 billion capital projects budget approved by lawmakers in April.At a June 3 news conference Parnell noted h...
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Industry Fishing For Top Profits, Not Top Predators

People who fish for a living pursue top profits, not necessarily top predators, according to the first-ever analysis of worldwide catch and economic data for the past 55 years by the University of Washington.This differs from the observation raised 10 years ago that humans were "fishing down" the food web. It was assumed that catches of the predators at the top of the food chain, such as halibut and tuna, were declining after fishers started landing more fish from lower on the food chain, such as herring and anchovies.The idea was that people had targeted fish at top of the food web causing declines that forced harvests of fish at ever lower "trophic levels" in the food web. Proponent of the idea at the time wrote, "If we don't manage this resource, we will be left with a diet of jellyfish...
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Gulf of Mexico Blowouts

The website for UK based partnership Step Change in Safety posted a piece by former Shell International Health and Safety Group auditor Bill Campbell, who looked at public data on blowouts. Some of his conclusions, below:World-wide since 1955 and prior to Deepwater Horizon there have been 44 notable blowout events causing 79 deaths, with significant loss of assets and one event in 1979 causing massive pollution. In this 55-year period, 1955 – 2010, the mean time between blowouts was 15 months.What does history tell us about the Gulf of Mexico?In the 37-year period 1964 – 2001 there were 10 blowouts or 23% of the world-wide events. This resulted in 27 deaths or 34% of the deaths world-wide. One event, the blowout on the Semi-submersible Sedco 135F caused pollution into the Gulf of an estima...
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Help clean up the Gulf oil spill and support local salmon fishermen at Scoma’s

Scoma’s, San Francisco’s venerable seafood restaurant, is launching another fundraiser to support both Gulf oil spill clean-up and the Pacific Coast’s salmon fishers. On Thursdays - July 15, 22 and 29 -100 percent of the proceeds from the restaurant’s popular Triple Play lunch menu will be donated to United Commercial Fisherman’s Association, Louisiana, and Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen, San Francisco.Lunch Triple Play is just $23.95 including complimentary valet parking.Scoma’s customers and employees raised $7,000 in May’s fundraiser for the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation.“ Both the San Francisco and Louisiana fishing communities and seafood habitats are being devastated by poor environmental practices. On the West Coast, what should now be our thriving salmon season is prac...