SUFB 130 Ocean Talk Friday

Speak Up For Blue Podcast

Sardine populations still frustratingly low – The Pacific coast of the U.S. is already one year into a closure of the sardine fishery and this once-abundant fish has yet to show any significant signs of recovery. This species, which is currently at about 7% of its 2007 peak, has been hit hard by industrial fishing and climate change over the last few decades. Warming waters have caused a drop in zooplankton productivity, which translates into less available food for Pacific sardines. While any stock recovery initiative likely takes more than just one year to come to fruition, it remains frustrating to see such an ecologically and financially-important fish like the sardine remain scarce in the Pacific.

New breeding population of Atlantic bluefin tuna? – An article published this past week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that researchers have discovered a new, third breeding area for the Atlantic bluefin tuna. The authors also present data that suggest these sexually mature tuna are smaller and younger than sexually mature bluefin from other populations. If these results are confirmed by subsequent studies, this could be a huge break for a species that the IUCN lists as endangered. However, for such a heavily fished species its important to collect more data before any fishery restrictions are lifted.

Offshore oil rig ecosystems surprisingly productive – An article in the New York Times this week discusses the controversies surrounding offshore oil rig habitats, which have been shown to not only provide feeding grounds for marine life but also act as a productive ecosystem that can actually create new habitat. While some researchers and conservationists believe that these decommissioned rigs should be removed from the ocean as financial incentive to decrease offshore oil drilling (the removal process is quite expensive), others claim that since these rigs are already here, removing them not only costs large amounts of money that could be used to further study these habitats, but actually destroys a unique and productive ecosystem.

Canada and the U.S. collaborate on Arctic protection – It’s been twenty years, but a Canadian Prime Minister has finally visited its neighbor to the south. President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau met this past week to discuss, among other things, establishing protective measures in the Arctic regions most likely to be detrimentally impacted by climate change. Obama and Trudeau vowed to work towards creating designated shipping corridors and protected areas within Arctic territories controlled by these two countries. They also hope to foster reductions in methane emissions that would cut current emissions to 45% below 2012 levels. While Obama may have less than a year left in office, it’s great to see that some of his last measures are to create a safe and productive Arctic region for future generations.

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