Wednesday, July 19, 2017

FishNews - July 19, 2017

NOAA Fish News
July 19, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS


Celebrating Habitat Month

Coastal Resilience Grants
NOAA Names Coastal Resilience Grant Recipients
NOAA is recommending 19 projects for funding through the Coastal Resilience Grant Program, totaling $13.8 million. The grants will improve state and local governments’ abilities to prepare for and recover from a variety of coastal threats, including hurricanes, tsunamis, and sea level rise.
Choptank Video still
In this video, residents and scientists envision a healthier Chesapeake Bay. The Choptank River Complex, a major tributary to the Chesapeake, is one of NOAA Fisheries’ Habitat Focus Areas. NOAA Fisheries is focusing resources toward habitat protection and restoration, scientific studies to inform management, and community engagement.
Tidmarsh restoration Audubon border
The Tidmarsh restoration project in coastal Massachusetts has so far restored 225 acres of a former commercial cranberry bog to functioning wetland habitat. Additional restoration, public access, and long-term monitoring will follow. Now 15 years in the making, the project results from a successful partnership of state and federal agencies, nonprofits, and private landowners that can serve as a model for future restoration efforts.

Announcing the 2017 MAFAC Appointments
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross appointed five new advisors to NOAA’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee. MAFAC advises the Secretary and NOAA on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce.

Tuna Exempted Fishing Permit – Comments Request
By August 1, please submit your comments on an application from the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance for an exempted fishing permit. The Alliance seeks an exemption from the regulation that prohibits having unauthorized gear on board while fishing for bluefin tuna, arguing that electronic monitoring can be used to verify that bluefin tuna are caught with authorized gear.

TAS Sian Proctor
A Teacher's View of the Alaska Pollock Survey
NOAA scientists’ field season is underway, with research conducted on land, by air—and at sea. NOAA’s Teachers at Sea (TAS) bring a fresh perspective to these annual surveys. TAS ’17 Sian Proctor, a community college instructor from Arizona, joined the most recent leg of the Gulf of Alaska pollock survey on NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson and created a video explaining the Acoustic Trawl Survey.

IUU site header
Reminder: Seafood Import Monitoring Roundtables
The next roundtable to discuss the Seafood Import Monitoring Program’s traceability and record-keeping requirements will be held tomorrowJuly 20, in Newark, New Jersey. The last one will take place next week in Miami.


Alaska


FishNews 246 fur seal
Field Dispatch: Fur Seals and Saildrones
NOAA Fisheries scientists are back for a second year of exciting research on the relationship between fur seals and their prey, Alaska pollock. Scientists from NOAA Research's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Fisheries Science Center are teaming up to use the Saildrone to measure pollock abundance and distribution in the fur seals’ feeding range.

Field Dispatch: Beluga Whale Aerial Survey
NOAA Fisheries scientists wrapped up the aerial survey of the Eastern Bering Sea stock of beluga whales at the end of June. The last survey in this area was conducted in 2000. Aerial images collected in this survey will be used to update the estimate of the stock’s abundance.


Pacific Islands


FishNews 246 Leatherback Hero
NOAA Honors Pacific Leatherback “Recovery Hero”
At the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, NOAA Fisheries honored Dr. Fitry Pakiding, of the State University of Papua (UNIPA), as a “recovery hero” for her work in Pacific leatherback sea turtle conservation. The Species in the Spotlight Recovery Hero Award recognizes people helping to recover NOAA Fisheries' eight Species in the Spotlight. Dr. Pakiding accepted the award on behalf of the all of those at UNIPA working to recover the sea turtles.

Program Review of Economics, Human Dimensions
To ensure that we use the best-available science, NOAA Fisheries conducts a standardized 6-year cycle of peer review and evaluation of our fundamental science programs. In 2017, the focus will be on our economics and human dimensions science in each region. The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center will host their regional program review, which is open to the public, 
July 31–August 2.

July’s Monk Seal of the Month
The Monk Seal of the Month for July is R5AY, also known as Honey Girl. At least 20 years old, Honey Girl is a long-time resident of Oahu. In 2012, she was seriously injured (and nearly starved) by an interaction with fishing gear, but NOAA, the Waikiki Aquarium, and the Honolulu Zoo were able to rescue, treat, and rehabilitate her.


Southeast


FishNews 246 Gulf ADV
Abandoned, Derelict Vessels Become Marine Debris
Abandoned and derelict vessels are a marine debrisproblem in many places around the United States, but they pose a particular problem in Florida and the Caribbean. The region’s beautiful weather and waters draw a high number of recreational and commercial boaters—which unfortunately leads to a high number of derelict vessels.


Greater Atlantic


John Bullard Retirement
GARFO Administrator Announces Retirement
NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator John Bullard formally announced his plans to retire in January 2018. Bullard, who assumed the role in 2012, will leave a legacy of improved relationships with industry, researchers, environmentalists, and a host of federal and state partners.

Continue to Watch Out for Whales
The voluntary vessel speed restriction zone south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, has been extended to protect an aggregation of three right whales sighted on July 16. The zone is now in effect through July 30.

Harris Creek Oyster Restoration Shows Success
The newly-released 2016 Oyster Reef Monitoring Report indicates that 97% of oyster reefs restored in Harris Creek in 2013 met requirements for oyster density and biomass in 2016.  The 30 reefs studied, totaling 90 acres, were constructed as part of the 350-acre Harris Creek oyster restoration project. Harris Creek was one of the first areas selected for large-scale restorations under the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

Thermal Habitat Key for Northern Shrimp
Off the northeastern U.S. coast, northern shrimp—a cold-water species—are mainly found in the western Gulf of Maine, where water temperatures are coolest.  During the past decade, ocean temperatures in the western Gulf of Maine have warmed. This warming is likely playing a role in keeping stock abundance low, and the northern shrimp fishery has now been closed for several years.

EVENTS


July 20 First Ambrose Jearld Jr. Diversity Lecture at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, delivered by Dr. David J. Asai of Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

July 20 and 25 Four roundtables on the U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program reporting and record-keeping compliance.

July 26 Public meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Executive Finance Committee.

July 31–August 2
Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center Program Review in Honolulu, open to the public.

August 8 - 10
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Philadelphia.

ANNOUNCEMENTS


August 3
Applications due for the summer flounder Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW) Working Group.

August 16 Applications due for open seats on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Advisory Panels.

FEDERAL REGISTER ACTIONS

Visit regulations.gov for a list of only those actions open for public comment. Scroll search for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
For a list of all daily actions, check the Federal Register online.


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