Tagged: Marine Conservation

This is an example of an off-bottom oyster culture technique used today in New England. (Credit: NOAA)

Sea Grant Supports A Culture Of Success

Imagine a trip to the Chesapeake Bay without feasting on their iconic oysters. In recent years, wild oyster populations have been devastated by factors both manmade and natural. Although wild-caught oysters face restoration issues, aquaculture (which is essentially seafood farming) is a growing industry providing shellfish to the market. After success in the Chesapeake region, entrepreneurs around the country have jumped on board over the past three decades to begin their own aquaculture businesses raising oysters, fish, and even seaweed.

Fish swim around a decommissioned oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico acting as an artificial reef. (Credit: BOEM)

One Man’s Trash Is Some Fish’s Treasure

Iron isn’t just good for your bones and growth – it’s good for the ocean, too. That’s what advocates of the “Rigs-to-Reefs” program, which converts decommissioned oil rigs into artificial marine habitat, claim. But what if that iron is also steeped in a toxic substance like oil waste products? In a Wednesday hearing, the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources heard a variety of views on the program’s benefits to the natural ecosystem, taxpayers, and oil companies.

The hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. (Credit: Matt Kieffer)

The Three Cs Of The Endangered Species Act

You can’t spell ‘Endangered Species Act (ESA)’ without the letter C – three of them. At a Wednesday hearing that gave a name to those three “Cs” — conservation, consultation, and capacity — the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works heard from state officials regarding the need to modernize the 44-year old law (16 U.S.C. §1531 et seq.). Chairman John Barrasso (WY) described three areas for modernizing the law (identified by state and private sector groups) as conservation (incentivizing activities to avoid listing), consultation (facilitating decision making between federal and state governments), and capacity (providing sufficient resources to fulfill the ESA’s mission and better allocating those to species most in need).

A number of new bills introduced in this Congress were of relevance to the ocean science community. One relates to ocean acification research.(Credit: NOAA)

New Congress Means New Legislation

In a scene more appropriate for a college laboratory than the Capitol building (lab safety protocols aside), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) measured pH on the Senate floor during an ocean acidification demonstration. The act...

NOAA announced a recovery plan for Beluga whales in Alaska. (Credit: Mike Johnston/Flickr)

NOAA Releases Plan for Alaska Endangered Beluga Whales

A federal plan for the recovery of an endangered Alaska beluga whale calls for a reduction in threats of high concern while scientists try to pinpoint what has kept the population from growing. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday announced its recovery plan for Cook Inlet beluga whales, a population listed as endangered since 2008.

Researchers from multiple agencies developed a report and online database to provide regional sea level and extreme water level scenarios for the future. (Credit: Infrogmation/Wikipedia).

Resiliency Reaches All Corners Of The Coast Thanks To Sea Grant

Students in Alaska take a field trip to a local salmon stream. An artificial reef is built off the coast of Florida. A duck hunter cleans his gear in Wisconsin. A lifeguard in Delaware explains rip currents to a family on their beach vacation. Even though these differing coastal activities take place over the entire continental U.S., they all have the National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant), in common. Sea Grant is comprised of a network of 33 programs along the nation’s coasts that support “research, education, outreach, and extension activities that provide communities with the tools to increase their resiliency capacities.” Sea Grant and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a briefing on the necessity of economic resiliency in coastal communities in the U.S. and featured three speakers who attested to the importance of resiliency and of Sea Grant’s support.

Deep in the oceans exist some of the world's oldest and most mysterious sea canyons and mountains, or seamounts. (Credit: NOAA)

First U.S. Marine National Monument Created In Atlantic

Deep in the oceans exist some of the world’s oldest and most mysterious sea canyons and mountains, or seamounts. Formed millions of years ago by extinct volcanoes and sediment erosion, sea canyons and seamounts are biodiversity hot spots — home to many rare and endangered species.