The Blog Aquatic » fishing http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Tue, 12 Aug 2014 18:48:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Don’t Mess With Success http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/23/dont-mess-with-success/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/07/23/dont-mess-with-success/#comments Tue, 23 Jul 2013 12:30:42 +0000 Ellen Bolen http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6368 fishermen load scallops onto a boatThanks to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, our nation now benefits from dozens of rebuilt fish populations. But even as we have seen remarkable progress made, we have also seen an increase in political challenges that threaten this crucial law.

This vital US. fishing law is due to be reauthorized this year, and this morning the Senate will hold a hearing to discuss the progress made under the law and next steps for U.S. fisheries management.

Lawmakers should strengthen the law to ensure continued progress in transitioning our fisheries to long term sustainability. Just one example of recent efforts: last week’s historic decision to increase red snapper catch limits in the Gulf due to success in restoring the population back to healthy levels.

Ocean Conservancy worked with The Pew Charitable Trusts to produce a report that highlights some of the successes we’ve seen due to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

“The Law That’s Saving American Fisheries: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act” is a primer and collection of stories that highlight pioneers of American fishery management as well as innovators who are opening fishing frontiers.

In addition to driving many coastal economies, the fish featured in the stories of this report are some of the most popular fish to end up on our plates, like salmon, red snapper and scallops.

Here’s an excerpt from the report that helps tell the story of how successful fishermen from Alaska to Maine helped turn around decades of overfishing:

Glen Libby: Port Clyde: The little port that could—and still can

Decades after the collapse of New England’s top fish populations, including cod and flounder, only a few communities continue the region’s rich fishing tradition. The tiny enclave of Port Clyde in Maine is one of them, and Glen Libby is a reason.

“It was either make this work or quit, and I’m too stubborn to quit,” he says. Libby has been fishing for groundfish and shrimp out of Port Clyde for almost 40 years. His father fished there before him, and his brother Gary and son Justin have followed the family tradition.

Libby’s humility aside, credit Port Clyde’s survival to more than stubbornness. Libby and his peers have learned to deal with hardship, creating opportunities amid a legacy of beaten-down fish stocks.

A former member of the New England Fishery Management Council, Libby helped found the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, which has rallied the tenacious few remaining draggers in Port Clyde and other small ports to find ways of adapting. Inventive and determined, fishermen in this port are using the tools afforded them under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to earn a sustainable living …

Check out the full report to read more of these stories and learn how we can protect the future of fish.

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UPDATE: The Ocean in a High CO2 World http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/06/25/update-the-ocean-in-a-high-co2-world/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/06/25/update-the-ocean-in-a-high-co2-world/#comments Tue, 25 Jun 2013 17:29:06 +0000 Andreas Merkl http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6189 polar bearsPresident Obama’s plan to address climate change is a step in the right direction on the long road toward making real progress in reducing carbon pollution. There is no greater threat to the life on our planet than the effects of putting too much carbon into the atmosphere, and we are already seeing the impacts. It’s urgent, and we must act now.

The Arctic is experiencing the effects of climate change more than anywhere else, with air temperatures warming about twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Water temperatures are rising and seasonal sea ice is melting at a record-breaking pace.

As we have increased the amount of carbon pollution pumped into the air, the ocean has absorbed more and more of it, becoming 30 percent more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. This has a ripple effect up the food web and across livelihoods.

There is something we can do about it. The ocean should be at the center of our solutions to the rising threat of carbon pollution. You can learn more about Ocean Conservancy’s work on this issue in my blog, The Ocean in a High CO2 World:

It’s easy to take for granted the many ways that the ocean keeps us alive—it sustains much of the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the climate that surrounds us. The complex ocean systems that produce these benefits—from currents and photosynthesis to food chains—are often chaotic and unpredictable at smaller scales, but at large scales they come together in a dynamic equilibrium to ensure that life can thrive.

One of the ocean’s most important life-giving functions is its absorption of carbon dioxide emissions. But we have increased the amount of carbon pollution pumped into the air, and in turn, the ocean has absorbed more and more of it. As a result, the ocean’s chemistry is changing—it has become 30 percent more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. There is no uncertainty or doubt about this; it is a simple and eminently replicable chemical process.

Several of the comments posted by our readers on my last blog focused on this growing concern. My answer to those comments is this: overall there is no greater threat to the life on our planet than the effects of putting too much carbon into the atmosphere, and ocean acidification is a very large part of the problem.

It is, simply put, the largest chemistry experiment ever attempted. It is happening now, and it has real impacts on people and local economies today. Shell-building animals like oysters and sea snails are having trouble building their shells in overly acidic waters, and this has a ripple effect up the food web and across livelihoods. These impacts are likely small compared to what could come if CO2 concentrations keep increasing under the current “business as usual” scenario. At a certain point, shell-building animals will not be able to produce calcium carbonate, with immeasurable effect on the entire food chain.

We’re working with the world’s top ocean acidification scientists to raise awareness about this growing threat and on solutions with the people on the front lines who are already being affected, from oyster growers in Washington state to mussel growers in Maine. In the weeks and months to come, we at Ocean Conservancy will dive deeper to take a very hard look at carbon pollution. For instance, what impact might the Keystone XL pipeline, if approved, have on the ocean? It’s a vitally important question to answer.

At Ocean Conservancy, we understand that the ocean is not just a victim—it must be the part of the solution. The way we manage the ocean and the decisions we make about fishing, shipping, energy extraction and production, and more have huge implications for the future of carbon emissions and the ocean’s continued ability to sustain life.

As we explore this critical issue, we will do so from an “ocean-centric” point of view—we must determine what management decisions and policies we can inform and work on with fishermen, shippers, drillers, windmill builders and oceanographers that can transform ocean health.

We would love to hear from you on this.  There are solutions to be found, and it will take all of our ideas, passion and ingenuity to get there.

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The Fish We Need to Feed 9 Billion People http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/05/22/the-fish-we-need-to-feed-9-billion-people/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/05/22/the-fish-we-need-to-feed-9-billion-people/#comments Wed, 22 May 2013 15:50:26 +0000 Andreas Merkl http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5848

Salmon in the Ketchikan, Alaska harbor credit — Chris Howerton

The following is an excerpt from a post that first appeared on National Geographic’s Ocean Views:

Smart fisheries management is a great place to start a conversation about putting the ocean at the center of the world’s biggest challenges.  This is because the most profitable type of fishing is sustainable fishing – better management helps fishermen and the ocean at the same time.

Sustainable fishing means keeping enough fish in the water to reproduce and ensure a bountiful catch in the future. It’s a balancing act, but sustainable fisheries are in everyone’s best interest – from fishermen to distributors to gear manufacturers to retailers to consumers. If you’re a fisherman and you want to pass on your traditions to the next generation, or you want to be able to make good money 10 years from now, the most profitable way to fish is sustainably.

Unfortunately, overfishing due to poor fisheries management remains a global problem that threatens ecosystem health and human survival. For example, without enough forage fish—small fish like anchovies, sardines, and squid—the larger predators, like tuna, that feed on them will start to disappear as well.

That matters because we are facing a future with 9 billion people on the planet, and with that future comes huge concerns for food security.

Read the full post at National Geographic

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The Ocean in a High CO2 World http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/03/25/the-ocean-in-a-high-co2-world/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/03/25/the-ocean-in-a-high-co2-world/#comments Mon, 25 Mar 2013 15:24:13 +0000 Andreas Merkl http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5269 Taylor Shellfish worker shucks oysters

Shell-building animals like oysters and sea snails are having trouble building their shells as the ocean’s chemistry changes, and this has a ripple effect up the food web and across livelihoods.
© 2013 Barbara Kinney/Ocean Conservancy All Rights Reserved

It’s easy to take for granted the many ways that the ocean keeps us alive—it sustains much of the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the climate that surrounds us. The complex ocean systems that produce these benefits—from currents and photosynthesis to food chains—are often chaotic and unpredictable at smaller scales, but at large scales they come together in a dynamic equilibrium to ensure that life can thrive.

One of the ocean’s most important life-giving functions is its absorption of carbon dioxide emissions. But we have increased the amount of carbon pollution pumped into the air, and in turn, the ocean has absorbed more and more of it. As a result, the ocean’s chemistry is changing—it has become 30 percent more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. There is no uncertainty or doubt about this; it is a simple and eminently replicable chemical process.

Several of the comments posted by our readers on my last blog focused on this growing concern. My answer to those comments is this: overall there is no greater threat to the life on our planet than the effects of putting too much carbon into the atmosphere, and ocean acidification is a very large part of the problem.

It is, simply put, the largest chemistry experiment ever attempted. It is happening now, and it has real impacts on people and local economies today. Shell-building animals like oysters and sea snails are having trouble building their shells in overly acidic waters, and this has a ripple effect up the food web and across livelihoods. These impacts are likely small compared to what could come if CO2 concentrations keep increasing under the current “business as usual” scenario. At a certain point, shell-building animals will not be able to produce calcium carbonate, with immeasurable effect on the entire food chain.

We’re working with the world’s top ocean acidification scientists to raise awareness about this growing threat and on solutions with the people on the front lines who are already being affected, from oyster growers in Washington state to mussel growers in Maine. In the weeks and months to come, we at Ocean Conservancy will dive deeper to take a very hard look at carbon pollution. For instance, what impact might the Keystone XL pipeline, if approved, have on the ocean? It’s a vitally important question to answer.

At Ocean Conservancy, we understand that the ocean is not just a victim—it must be the part of the solution. The way we manage the ocean and the decisions we make about fishing, shipping, energy extraction and production, and more have huge implications for the future of carbon emissions and the ocean’s continued ability to sustain life.

As we explore this critical issue, we will do so from an “ocean-centric” point of view—we must determine what management decisions and policies we can inform and work on with fishermen, shippers, drillers, windmill builders and oceanographers that can transform ocean health.

We would love to hear from you on this.  There are solutions to be found, and it will take all of our ideas, passion and ingenuity to get there.

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Want to restore ocean ecosystems? Involve people making a living from the sea. http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/01/29/want-to-restore-ocean-ecosystems-involve-people-making-a-living-from-the-sea/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/01/29/want-to-restore-ocean-ecosystems-involve-people-making-a-living-from-the-sea/#comments Tue, 29 Jan 2013 21:54:22 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=4434

photo by Richard Nelson

This is a guest post from Richard Nelson, a lobsterman from Friendship, Maine

With a background as a lobsterman in the small midcoast town of Friendship, ME, I decided a couple of years ago to follow and become involved in those aspects of the National Ocean Policy that affect me as both a fisherman and concerned individual.

The goals of the planning, as set forth by the National Ocean Council, are to find ways to support sustainable ocean uses that contribute to the economy, while at the same time protecting, maintaining and restoring the ocean ecosystems. This would involve creating a regional plan to reduce conflicts among fishing, offshore energy, shipping conservation and recreation.

I am hopeful that this process will involve a group made up of oceanographers, fishermen, conservation groups, tugboat operators and others with either a tradition of, or aspirations toward, ocean use.  The input of the federal officials, state planners and agency heads as well as the tribal representatives that are all official members of the regional planning bodies is certainly important, but it is critical that some form of direct participation is extended to those whose livelihoods depend on the ocean, such as me. Given that regional planning has the backing of most of the major conservation groups, the scientific community, ocean renewable energy and other industries, all seeking to start the process off in a somewhat similar direction, now is the perfect time and place to shape the format of the ocean planning process. We need to directly include stakeholders and make sure that they have a real seat at the table, rather than engaging in the old model of top-down management which would, in my mind, lead to a future of second guessing, protestations and eventually an “occupy oceans” mentality.

As we begin this process let us take advantage of the opportunity to start ocean planning off right. This is the point at which you might ask, “Well what do you suggest?”

Instead of the “How would I know? I’m a fisherman” route, allow me to ask for the help and guidance of those out there whose thoughts are more in tune with governance and the political sciences, that they may come to our aid with suggestions for alternative structures. There have been methods suggested, such as stakeholder advisory groups, which could be used to invite traditional ocean users to the table, bringing their knowledge and experience to bear.  They could then be included in the initial establishing of a vision and setting of goals, not just sought out after plans are drawn, to be queried as to, “Can you live with that?” I am hopeful that workable methods can be found to engage stakeholders in successful Regional Ocean planning.

As an “impacted stakeholder” and almost daily “ocean user” I fully support the National Ocean Policy and most of its many important directives, including the implementation of Regional Ocean planning. This process seems to offer a better alternative than single agency, case-by-case decision making. It has a regional goal in mind, a vision for the future of our oceans that should be a shared endeavor of fishermen, scientists, planners and business alike.

In that sense, I would like to look up at the table and see a few faces that I can imagine seeing out on the water someday.

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Hooked a Friend on Conservation Yesterday
 http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/15/hooked-a-friend-on-conservation-yesterday%e2%80%a8/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/15/hooked-a-friend-on-conservation-yesterday%e2%80%a8/#comments Wed, 15 Aug 2012 13:25:18 +0000 TJ Marshall http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=3839

Fishing from a Stand Up Paddleboard. Photo by TJ Marshall

As a die-hard surfer I’ve picked up just about every kind of board to surf with and one of my favorites is a Stand Up Paddle board (SUP). Recently, my long time “surf brah” Kevin swung over from Orlando wanting to enjoy some small wave fun here in Cocoa Beach but the tide came up and, well, the surf didn’t look to good.

No problem! I grabbed the fishing poles, threw the boards on the truck and we headed over to the Banana River. Kev had been going on flat water crusies every since I gave him a “bro rate” on my old SUP when I stepped up to a new one. Yet he’d never wet a line from one — it was time to change that.

We headed over to my local park that had two boat ramps and a dedicated kayak/SUP ramp, specifically made with a fabric liner so not to damage the numerous yaks and SUPs dropping in the water these days like a concrete boat ramp will do. There were 6 other people launching so we waited our turn to head out into the 1000 Island chain – a great spot for catching redfish, snook, speckled trout and when you’re lucky a fun, fighting tarpon.

Like most folks, Kev was completely unaware that it was likely tax dollars from fishing licenses, gear and boat fuel sales that paid for the park boat ramps and the state biologists to study the fisheries we were fishing. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers an industry supported Sportfish Restoration Program where a surcharge is added to items related to fishing and the money goes back to the states to ensure we have both abundant fish and wildlife as well as access to sustainably enjoy them.

And enjoy them we did. We paddled over 5.5 miles twisting and winding through islands often fishing the mangrove banks with the wind at our backs. We saw ospreys, manatees, redfish and mullet galore. We had a grand time messing with some poor man’s tarpon – a school of ladyfish busting all over some bait fish.

Kev kept telling me, “My wife is going to be missing me now that I’ve learned to fish from this SUP.” Which isn’t a bad thing – each time he buys a little piece of gear, some bait to take with him, or renews his fishing license, a piece of that purchase will circle back toward the management and use of a priceless resource.

If you’re interested in getting out and trying some fishing, the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s www.takemefishing.org has everything you need to know on where and how to go fishing near you. Fresh water, salt water, back bay, heck even ice fishing! Don’t forget that fishing license, think of it as the best conservation tool in your tackle box.

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Pirate Fishing Bill Could Help U.S. Fishermen Protect Their Booty http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/06/20/pirate-fishing-bill-could-help-u-s-fishermen-protect-their-booty/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/06/20/pirate-fishing-bill-could-help-u-s-fishermen-protect-their-booty/#comments Wed, 20 Jun 2012 16:05:02 +0000 Ellen Bolen http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=1129

See below to learn how to make your own pirate fish. Credit: Digitprop.

A hearing was held yesterday on a bill being considered by the House Natural Resources Committee that could improve protections for fish across the globe and for fishermen here in the United States.

The bill, HR 4100, would strengthen enforcement mechanisms to stop illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing – also known as pirate fishing. While this term may conjure up an image of Captain Hook or Treasure Island, pirate fishing poses a serious threat to global fisheries and could jeopardize the successes we have made in U.S. fisheries.

You may be surprised to learn that up to 20 percent of all fish caught worldwide are taken illegally or in unregulated waters – that’s one in every five fish caught. This bill would strengthen the ability of the United States to combat this problem.

This also calls attention to our ongoing need to conserve and sustainably manage our fisheries, but these efforts must be coupled with support for the law that established our commitment as a nation to end overfishing.

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Act was written to ensure that there will be healthy fish populations for generations to enjoy and has successfully ended overfishing on most species by using science-based decision-making.

It doesn’t make sense to improve conservation in some ways while simultaneously trying to weaken other protections in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. With bipartisan support over three decades, this legislation has stood the test of time and continues to restore fish populations and the well-being of fishing communities.

We must build on the progress we’ve already made toward ending overfishing and rebuilding fish stocks by standing behind this important law and allowing it to continue working.

Pirate fishing is a serious problem.  But if you want to make your own paper pirate fish like the one pictured, check this out!

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