NOAA and partners have launched an unprecedented, decades-long coral reef restoration effort titled, “Mission: Iconic Reefs,” to restore coral at seven iconic sites in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The project will rely on the work and support of numerous partners, investors, and interested stakeholders. It calls for restoring nearly 3 million square feet of coral reefs, making it one of the largest coral restoration strategies ever proposed.
NOAA Fisheries has released the findings of two studies on the economic contribution of private recreational fishing trips and tournaments targeting Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS). The analyses use survey data collected in 2016.
On November 18, a dedicated group of scientific divers gathered on a southern California dock to release hundreds of juvenile white abalone grown in captivity. This marked the first release of endangered white abalone into the wild off southern California, a key recovery strategy for the native species.
New research shows that the manipulation of rivers in California is jeopardizing the resilience of native Chinook salmon. It compresses their migration timing to the point that they crowd their habitats and may miss the best window for entering the ocean and growing into adults. The good news is that even small steps to improve their access to habitat and restore natural flows could boost their survival.
Biologists have estimated that almost 3.8 million juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon headed down the Sacramento River toward the ocean this year. This is the most offspring in a decade for the highly endangered population. The rebounding numbers reflect the critical help of a conservation fish hatchery and balanced water management.
On November 6–7, several federal, state, university, and NGO partners hosted a symposium to discuss coral bleaching in Hawai‘i—and how to combat this growing threat. The Hawai‘i 2nd Coral Restoration and Bleaching Symposium, hosted by the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology, brought together coral experts and representatives from across the state.
North Atlantic right whale migration is underway. As of December 2, biologists have five confirmed sightings of potential right whale moms. The first right whale of the 2019–2020 season was spotted on November 23, six miles off Jacksonville, Florida. The whale, known to biologists as “Harmonia,” is a 19-year-old female. According to scientists, she last gave birth in 2016.
The Chesapeake Bay is full of special places, including Virginia’s Middle Peninsula. Much of this area, which is bounded to the north by the Rappahannock River and to the south by the York River, is rural. Many residents make their livelihoods from farming or fishing, thanks to the region’s vibrant ecosystem.
December 18 Nominations due for the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species SEDAR Pool. December 20 Nominations due for Outstanding Leaders in Wetland Conservation award.
January 15 Proposals due for ASMFC Regional Pilot Projects in Support of Sustainable Aquaculture.
January 16 Proposals due for Pacific Islands Region’s Marine Education and Training Mini Grant Program.
January 19Nominations due for MAFAC’s Recreational Electronic Reporting Task Force.
January 31 Proposed Rule To Designate Critical Habitat for the Central America, Mexico, and Western North Pacific Distinct Population Segments of Humpback Whales: Open for Comment
December 10–12 Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Annapolis, Maryland.
December 23 Applications due for participation in 2020 Shark Research Fishery.