senoritafish: (fisheries observer by ray troll)
Good grief, June is almost over. How did it fly by so fast?

The second week of June I had to go to a PFMC meeting in Spokane, WA. If you're wondering why a body having to do with mostly ocean-going fishing meets occasionally on the eastern side of Washington (and sometimes in Idaho), the answer is "salmon." Which I have nothing to do with, but salmon drags everything after it. My flight had a transfer in Seattle and I had a 2½ hour layover between planes. [ profile] tikistitch was kind enough to come down and meet me at the airport and chat between planes; we got some dinner and I hope I didn't babble at her too much - I really didn't expect that glass of wine to be so big, especially at an airport, and it turns out I'm really a lightweight lately. I brought her a little Stitch something from Downtown Disney she'd mentioned she couldn't find, just in gratitude for all the fun I've had reading her Mythklok stories. Really great to meet you, Pam, and thanks for putting up with me!

Boring fisheries shtufs... )

Geocaching, whee... )
senoritafish: (fisheries observer by ray troll)
Huh. Wonder why I never noticed this before. Or I did and I just forgot - it is 15 years old. In this article, pg. 224 (and don't worry,it starts on pg. 222) Fig. 2. The diagram of longline gear? I drew that. I think it was originally to illustrate the manual for our shark tagging cruises on the R/V Mako, but the gear is the same. No acknowledgement, but they probably just found it a file drawer somewhere. Not great artwork by any means, of course, but hey, I guess I can say I have at least one piece published. ;p
senoritafish: (fisheries observer by ray troll)

Of course, most scientists are in term of their projects, which take on life as their children.

But some biologists especially, share a commonality with parents of very young children. Pre-potty-training children. In that you develop a fascination with poop. My boss forwarded me and my coworkers the following article:

Whale Shark Poops on Camera - Scientists Rejoice!!!!

If you're not anywhere near mealtime, my coworker found the actual video:

Shark-cam captures ocean motion

I suppose if McCain/Palin had found any similar experiments funded with government money, you can imagine the brouhaha they would have raised. However, studies like this are quite legitimate in terms of fisheries management and looking at the health of entire ecosystems. As the scientist in the second articles says, "One way to work out what is going in one end is to look at what is coming out of the other."

I work on a project that studies what are called Coastal Pelagic Species, that is, species of small fish that form large schools near the coast and are thus a target of fairly large fisheries by humans. The major species in my area are Pacific mackerel, Pacific sardine, northern anchovy, and market squid. Another term for the these species is "Forage Fish," meaning that numerous other animals - larger fish, birds, and mammals - use them for food as well. My agency once did a study of sea lion poo, maybe not as extensive as the articles linked to, but looking through for the undigestible hard parts - squid beaks, otoliths (fish ear bones), scales - that could then be identified to species and the proportion of that species in their diet. This became one variable in a large mathematical model called a biomass assessment, that predicts how much of a particular species is out there swimming around this year, and how it should be divided up to a) keep enough adults out there to spawn for next year, 2) allow enough fish to be eaten by all the other animals that prey on them, 3) provide a percentage of the total to allocate to the people who fish for them for a living. Throw climate change into the mix - the reproduction of many of these species is heavily tied to water temperatures - and it begins to make things pretty complicated.

Something to think about the next time you enjoy a tin of sardines. Or not...* ;)


*Enjoying the sardines that definitely should be thought about...
senoritafish: (That's Ms. señoritafish to you!)
Is that Futurama episode where anchovies went extinct (and Fry had the only remaining can) coming to pass?

I don't know that much about the situation in Europe, but here off California, anchovies are less abundant because of oceanic warming trends, not overfishing. They do better in cooler temperature regimes, which have been shown to oscillate over a period of about 40 years. Sardines are more abundant now for the same reason; studies of shed scales in seabed cores in the Santa Barbara Channel show this has been occurring for thousands of years. However, there's a lot of uncertainty as to what's going to be happening with oceanic conditions in the future. An entire CalCOFFI conference dealt with recent oceanic changes several years ago, and papers continue to be submitted on that topic every year since then.
senoritafish: (fisheries observer by ray troll)
The Monitor has been running an interesting series on fisheries management:

Empty Oceans

Which I think is a bit of a misnomer because fisheries managers are trying to do their best to keep the ocean from being completely emptied. The most recent article, Alaska fishing: the merits and costs of a tamed frontier, could be echoed off almost every coast in this country, and in most of the meetings I attend for my job.


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August 2011

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