Thursday, August 10, 2017

FishNews - August 9, 2017

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NOAA Fish News
August 9, 2017


FishNews 249 baby sturgeon UGA
Photo credit: University of Georgia. NMFS Permit #1420
Announcing 2017 Species Recovery Grants
Today, NOAA Fisheries announced a total of $5.8 million in grants awarded under the 2017 Species Recovery Program. These grants will fund new and ongoing projects implementing high-priority recovery actions for threatened and endangered species. The application periods for 2018 Species Recovery Grants to States andTribes are now open through November 1.

Pacific Bluefin Tuna illustration
Pacific Bluefin Tuna Listing Not Warranted
NOAA Fisheries conducted a formal status review of Pacific bluefin tuna and determined that listing under the Endangered Species Act is not warranted at this time. The United States is committed to sustainable, science-based management of Pacific bluefin tuna, which requires a balance of international and domestic management.

Three Leadership Job Openings at NOAA Fisheries
Three key Senior Executive positions were posted on on Monday, August 7. Find more information on the positions and the application process below:
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NOAA to Offer Electronic Monitoring Option
NOAA Fisheries is integrating electronic monitoring into the North Pacific Observer Program for the 2018 fishing year. Alaska fishermen, some of whom may not have the space or life raft capacity for a NOAA Fisheries observer, will have the option to use an electronic monitoring system instead.

Steller Watch sea lions
Steller Watch – Help with Sea Lion Research
Researchers studying Steller sea lions in Alaska have added new images to the Steller Watch project, through which volunteers can help count sea lions in aerial photos. The data collection will help scientists work toward a solution to the continued decline of Steller sea lions in the Aleutian Islands.

Marbled eelpout illustration
Field Dispatch: Bottom-Dwelling Fishes in the Eastern Bering Sea
Check in with researchers studying bottom-dwelling fishes and crabs of the Eastern Bering Sea. One interesting species found in the coldest waters is the marbled eelpout, which produces an antifreeze-like protein that keeps their blood from freezing.

Bowhead whales
NMFS Permit # 20465
Field Dispatch: Arctic Marine Mammal Surveys
The 2017 aerial surveys of arctic marine mammals has begun. In July, scientists sighted an amazing feeding aggregation of bowhead whales—the earliest documented “krill trap” on record for bowhead whales in the western Beaufort Sea.

West Coast

Salmon hiding
Monitoring Salmon Habitat in Puget Sound
A team of researchers led by a scientist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center has begun an ambitious, long-term program to monitor the habitat essential to threatened steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon in Puget Sound. Using aerial photographs and satellite images, the team has devised a new methodology for tracking habitat changes over time.

Pacific Islands

Spinners and Swimmers
Tour Operator Fined for Harassing Dolphins
A judge fined a tour operator $2,500 for illegally harassing Hawaiian spinner dolphins. In efforts to clarify and reduce human activities that harass and disturb these dolphins, NOAA Fisheries published a proposed rule in 2016 that prohibits swimming with or approaching a Hawaiian spinner dolphin within 50 yards.

August Monk Seal
August’s Monk Seal of the Month
The Monk Seal of the Month for August is TT40, an adult male born in 1984 who lived to the ripe old monk seal age of 27. In 2004, he was the first-ever Hawaiian monk seal to undergo an anesthetic and surgical procedure to remove an ingested fish hook.


King Mackerel illustration DP
Illustration by Diane Peebles
Final Rule for Mackerel Permit Restrictions
NOAA Fisheries announced a final rule to allow vessels with federal commercial permits for king and Spanish mackerel to fish recreationally for these species in zones or regions when commercial harvest is closed. The final rule applies to the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Cobia illustration DP
Final Rule for Atlantic Cobia Management
NOAA Fisheries announced a final rule to revise management measures for Atlantic cobia (Georgia through New York.) In 2015 and 2016, recreational landings of Atlantic cobia exceeded catch limits. This final rule, implementing the recommendations of the Gulf and South Atlantic councils, is intended to reduce the likelihood of exceeding those limits again.

Greater Atlantic

Green Crab Christopher Katalinas
Photo credit: Christopher Katalinas
Photo credit: Christopher Katalinas
The Unexpected Tastiness of Green Crab
Maine Sea Grant checks in on recent successes in the quest to find commercial uses for invasive European green crab. With help from Italian fishermen who fish for a similar species, researchers have made progress in identifying the “molt indicators” that identify green crabs ready to shed—and therefore ready to be cooked and served in soft-shell.  

Lobster Trap Cornell Extension
Photo credit: Cornell Cooperative Extension
Photo credit: Cornell Cooperative Extension
Derelict Fishing Gear in the Northeast
NOAA’s Marine Debris Program is working with many partners in the Northeast to prevent, remove, and better understand the impacts of derelict fishing gear. Efforts include working with commercial lobstermen to remove derelict lobster gear in Massachusetts, and partnering to support innovative strategies to prevent gear loss.

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Nominees for NAFO Consultative Committee
The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization is a regional management body that coordinates scientific study and cooperative management of many of the fisheries resources in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. NOAA seeks nominations for the NAFO Consultative Committee.

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Final Rule Reducing Northern Red Hake Limit
NOAA Fisheries reduced the commercial possession limit for northern red hake for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year. The reduction is required to prevent fishing vessels from exceeding the total allowable landings.