Here’s Some Recent Ocean News We Find To Be Important
January 15, 2020 – Scientists highlight effects of climate change on UK’s plankton
A wide-ranging report by the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP), from more than 150 scientists at over 50 leading research organizations across the UK, shows there have been extensive changes in plankton ecosystems around the British Isles over the last 60 years.
Populations of previously dominant and important zooplankton species (the cold water species Calanus finmarchicus, a major food source for fish, shrimp and whales) have declined in biomass by 70% since the 1960s.
The decline of the European cod stocks most often attributed to overfishing has clearly been exacerbated by declines in plankton production.
Dr. Abigail McQuatters-Gollop, Associate Professor of Marine Conservation at the University, is the lead scientist for pelagic habitats policy for the UK and North Atlantic within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive noted:
“Plankton are vital for many aspects of our lives. Their health affects that of the entire marine ecosystem, they create half of the oxygen we breathe and are crucial for the global food web. To ensure they thrive in the future, we need to understand why changes in the marine biodiversity are happening so policy makers can be prepared and manage for them. This study gives us an overview of what is happening in UK seas and is a key step in evaluating the environmental status of the pelagic habitat.”
This information is crucial to not only help develop adaptation measures and management actions to support vulnerable marine life and habitats, but also to help UK industries and wider society prepare for and adapt to these far-reaching marine climate impacts.
Read the full report here.
May 5, 2022 – Maine’s lobster industry in danger: Lobstermen sound alarm as new rules go into effect
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — Local lobstermen recently asked members of the community to help them in their fight against new federal rules they fear could drive a harpoon through their industry.
At issue is the federal government’s plan that aims to protect the North Atlantic right whale by reducing the risk to them by 98% by the year 2030, according to materials presented to selectmen for their meeting on April 28.
“We must hold the government accountable for failing to use the best scientific information possible,” Welch said.
There are fewer than 350 right whales remaining in the world, according to Allison Ferreira, a spokesperson for the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. The new rules, which took effect on Sunday, May 1, seek to address the whales’ vulnerability to becoming entangled in gear used by the fishing industry.
More than 85% of all right whales show scars caused by entanglements, and about 100 new scars are detected each year, according to statistics Ferreira provided in a recent email. Of the 1,600 entanglement scars and incidents evaluated by New England Aquarium researchers, only about 16 have been traced back to a fishing location, she added.
Welch, a lobsterman, said that the MLA’s research shows that right whales hardly ever enter state waters and are instead moving away as they follow their food sources.
Welch said he and his fellow lobstermen fear that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has “stamped the Maine lobster industry with an expiration date.”
“Our industry could be wiped out within the next decade,” he said. “This will have a huge economic impact on our state, our hotels, all of our local restaurants as well as on small fishing families and villages around us and up and down the coast.”
While the new rules may have taken effect on Sunday, the government is not yet actively enforcing them. The government has acknowledged fishermen’s complaints that supply chain issues have prevented many of them from acquiring the gear they need to comply. NOAA has said it would use “graduated enforcement effort” until those problems have been resolved.
Such tensions between lobstermen and the federal government occur at a time when Maine’s fishing industry set a state record for the value of seafood species brought to the docks in 2021.
Maine is one of the most important commercial fishing states in the country, in part because it is home to by far the largest lobster fishing industry. The Maine Department of Marine Resources said Monday the value of commercially harvested species in 2021 was more than $890 million.
Read more of this story in Maine’s Portsmouth Herald at this link
Sept 2, 2021 – Why are so many seabirds washing up dead or starving on our coasts?
Nearly 30 staving seabirds have been rescued from north-east beaches in the last month during an alarming period of increased bird deaths thought to be related to climate change.
Every bird was severely emaciated.
Throughout August and September many walkers and wildlife watchers reported a great deal of seabirds washing up dead on beaches all along the east coast.
Keith Marley, who runs New Arc, said during a visit to Cruden Bay last week he counted almost 50 dead birds, including kittiwakes, in just one 15 minute walk where he also recovered two live, but hungry, guillemots.
What’s causing the deaths?
Although predation could have played a part in their deaths, because all of the animals that Mr Marley took in but sadly died were found to have nothing in their stomachs, Mr Marley believes the rise in seabirds washing up dead is due to a lack of food.
“There’s been a great number of puffins, guillemots and razorbills washed up, and a lot of kittiwakes too, which is surprising. The birds we’re having taken in for us to care for are exhausted, underweight, and in very poor condition, and there’s been an unfortunately very low survival rate.”
“Keep in mind that what washes up on shore is only a small percentage of the number that actually die out there or get picked off.”
Read more of this tragic story via this link