Issue: June 2022

Calif. Officers Arrest Eight Suspected Sturgeon Poachers

Calif. Officers Arrest Eight Suspected Sturgeon Poachers

California wildlife officers have arrested eight people on suspicion of poaching white sturgeon from Sacramento Valley waterways, and intent to sell the fish and their products on an illegal market. At least two of the men were known repeat offenders. A ninth man was arrested on suspicion of selling Dungeness crab and red abalone to illegal markets. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said on April 21 that it was initially investigating two separate poaching cases when they discovered a connection between the suspects, leading the CDFW to merge two cases into one. In May 2021, wildlife officers began investigating Oakland residents Andre Chao, 31, and Ay Pou Saechao, 35, for allegedly catching sturgeon removing the sturgeon’s eggs and selling them to three San Francisco indi...
Three Oregon Fish Passage Projects Awarded $750,000 in Funding

Three Oregon Fish Passage Projects Awarded $750,000 in Funding

Three fish passage projects in Oregon’s Tillamook County have received a total of $750,000 in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds as part of a long-term effort to restore 95% of historic habitat connectivity for five types of Endangered Species Act-listed salmonids and Pacific lamprey. The projects, part of the “Salmon SuperHwy” strategic effort, are also intended to reduce flooding and improve public safety in the flood-prone coastal community. The funding is through a $200 million package from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service for restoring fish and wildlife passage by removing in-stream barriers and providing technical assistance under the National Fish Passage Program. The ‘Salmon SuperHwy’ is an effort to restore access to nearly 180 miles of blocked habitat throughout six major s...
Crab Traps Banned for Remainder  of Recreational Dungeness Season

Crab Traps Banned for Remainder of Recreational Dungeness Season

Crab traps have been banned through the end of the 2022 recreational Dungeness season in California due to increased risk of whale entanglement. The decision from California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charlton J. Bonham came in mid-April, after Bonham had assessed entanglement risk under the Risk Assessment Mitigation Program and in accordance with regulations adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission for the recreational crab fishery. The Dungeness crab fishing season ends on July 30 for Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino counties and for all other counties on June 30. The trap restriction went into effect April 24 due to an unusually large numbers of humpback whales migrating back to California waters earlier than in previous years, and because of several recen...
Environmental DNA Generating Critical Data on Nearshore Fisheries, NOAA Says

Environmental DNA Generating Critical Data on Nearshore Fisheries, NOAA Says

DNA technology is helping NOAA Fisheries use bottles of water collected from the ocean to determine critical data about the fish living in those waters. A new NOAA Fisheries report says scientists have now demonstrated that environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding can characterize nearshore fish communities in different marine habitats and tidal conditions in Southeast Alaska.  Collaborators on the project include the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Auke Bay Laboratories, the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences and the Alaska regional office’s Habitat Conservation Division. Wes Larson, manager of the science center’s genetics program, notes that “environmental or eDNA can revolutionize how we assess nearshore fish communities in Alaska.” “Traditiona...
Study: Climate Change Results in Fewer Productive Fish Species

Study: Climate Change Results in Fewer Productive Fish Species

A new Rutgers University study finds that as temperatures warm during climate change, predator-prey interactions could prevent some species from keeping up with conditions where they could thrive, resulting in fewer productive fish species to catch in the future. The study, published April 13 in the biological research journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, presents a mixed picture of ocean health. Not only could large species and commercially important fisheries shift out of their historical ranges as climate warms, but they would likely not be as abundant even in their new geographic ranges. For instance, a cod fisherman in the Atlantic might still find fish 200 years from now but in significantly fewer numbers. According to study coauthor Malin Pinsky, the findings suggest from...
Industry Veterans Join Peter Pan Seafoods

Industry Veterans Join Peter Pan Seafoods

Food service industry veteran Rich Wolverton has rejoined Peter Pan Seafood Company as vice president of sales, bringing years of experience with a focus on seafood distribution to the firm. In addition, two other industry veterans have also joined the company. Wolverton first worked in food sales for Peter Pan under previous ownership in 1989. In 2001, Wolverton served as president of the Northwest Fisheries Association. He also held a handful of roles at seafood companies before transitioning to Food Services of America in 2003 where he went from corporate category manager of seafood and poultry to director, then to vice president of category management. With the 2019 buyout of FSA by US Foods, he led the FSA side of merchandising integration. Wolverton then launched his own consulti...
Commercial Fisherman to Pay $11,000 Fine for Illegal Fishing in Marine Protected Area

Commercial Fisherman to Pay $11,000 Fine for Illegal Fishing in Marine Protected Area

A commercial fisherman who violated California’s Fish and Game Code by engaging in illegal commercial fishing in a Marine Protected Area has settled the case against him, according to Santa Barbara County, California District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley. Commercial fisherman Royce Renchard Zachary pleaded no contest to violating Section 12012.5 of the Fish and Game code after he was seen commercially diving and taking urchin in a Special Closure Area off the coast of San Miguel Island, the DA’s office said March 29. “Santa Barbara County, with the Channel Islands off its coast, is home to some of the most pristine marine resources in the United States. Marine Protected Areas are critical to ensuring that these resources are preserved, and my office is committed to holding accountable thos...
USCG Unloads $223M in Cocaine, Marijuana in San Diego

USCG Unloads $223M in Cocaine, Marijuana in San Diego

The combined efforts of U.S. Coast Guard crews and a Canadian military vessel resulted in a seizure in the Eastern Pacific Ocean of 11,300 pounds of cocaine and over 4,000 pounds of marijuana. The drugs, worth over $223 million on the street, were recently unloaded from the Coast Guard cutter Kimball in San Diego. The authorities seized the cocaine and marijuana in international waters off the coasts of Central and South America. The haul included contraband seized and recovered during eight interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels between late February and early March. “At-sea interdictions of pure cocaine are the most effective way to limit cartel’s destabilizing effects throughout the Western Hemisphere,” said Vice Admiral Michael McAllister, the Coast Guard’s Pacific Area ...
New Mapping and Analysis Portal Helping NOAA Track Marine Species

New Mapping and Analysis Portal Helping NOAA Track Marine Species

A new Distribution Mapping and Analysis Portal (aka DisMAP) is giving NOAA Fisheries a clearer picture of the way many marine species are shifting expanding and contracting in response to changing ocean currents. NOAA officials announced the new tool in mid-April, saying the website would improve data sharing and collaboration facilitate decision-making about fishery management and science and boost overall knowledge of species distribution for stock assessments. The portal displays data from NOAA Fisheries bottom trawl surveys for five regions, including the Northeast, Southeast, Gulf of Mexico, West Coast and Alaska. It includes a map viewer and graphing capabilities for over 800 marine fish and invertebrate species caught during the surveys. Understanding how species are distribute...
NOAA Fisheries Designates Critical Habitat for Ringed and Bearded Seals

NOAA Fisheries Designates Critical Habitat for Ringed and Bearded Seals

NOAA Fisheries has designated critical habitat in U.S. waters off Alaska’s coastline for Arctic ringed seals and the Beringia distinct population segment of bearded seals, both of which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The act requires that NOAA Fisheries designate critical habitat for listed species in areas within U.S. jurisdiction. Critical habitat identifies geographic areas that contain features essential to conservation of such listed species. For these species, critical habitat includes marine waters of the Northern Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort seas. The habitat boundaries differ between the two species, reflecting differences in where the essential habitat features for each species are found. The final rule to designate critical habitat for Arctic ring...