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News Article | May 4, 2017
Site: www.fao.org

Over 150 fisheries scientists, managers, policy-makers and fishers gathered in Rome to share and discuss ways to generate better information about the world’s fisheries and the fish stocks on which they depend.Studying fish and the fisheries that exploit them is complex and challenging. ”Fish stocks are invisible to normal means of observation because they live underwater and are often highly mobile," observed Bill Karp, Director of the NOAA* Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center in the United States. "In recent decades many of the world’s fish stocks have been heavily fished or even overfished. Sustainable management of these stocks in an ecosystem context requires new and different types of information which often necessitates effective collaboration among government, academic and fishing sectors. Trust and respect among managers, policy-makers and fishers is essential to this process."Using data and information from fishers while fishing and through collaborative research is considered to be a relatively untapped source of information about the world’s fish stocks and the consequences of human interactions with them. “The Rome meeting highlighted innovative approaches for capturing and using such information and emphasized the importance of involving fishers and other stakeholders in the collection of the data and in fisheries management and related policy making,” explains FAO Senior Fisheries Officer Gabriella Bianchi. The conference provided a unique opportunity for resource managers, scientists and players from the fishing sector to share and discuss better ways to collect, use and interpret information about fisheries in the context of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. During the closing session, several important findings were noted, including: Changes in public policy requiring more comprehensive documentation of fishing activities and their impacts on ecosystems are powerful drivers of change. Effective solutions for implementing these policies require multiparty collaboration end empowerment of fishers. Establishment of an environment for collaboration and participatory science and management that are built on a foundation of trust and respect is essential to successful fisheries management. Social scientists should be encouraged to participate in these processes because they play an essential role in improving our understanding of interactions between humans and marine ecosystems, bring scientific method to understanding resources management economics, and bring professional insight that is useful in breaking down communications barriers. For more information, contact info@fisherydependentdata.com * National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


News Article | February 22, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - February 22, 2017) - Omega Protein ( : OME) has become the newest industry partner at the Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCeMFiS). SCeMFiS is a partnership between the fishing industry, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and the University of Southern Mississippi, and is part of the National Science Foundation's Industry/University Cooperative Research Center program. SCeMFiS connects the industry with the most up-to-date scientific and academic resources. In joining SCeMFiS, Omega Protein partners with an organization that shares its commitment to sustainable fishery management. It includes private and publicly traded companies, trade organizations, non-profits and government agencies. Some of the non-industry members include the National Marine Fisheries Service -- Northeast Fisheries Science Center, SeaWatch International and the National Fisheries Institute. "I want to extend our sincere appreciation to Omega Protein as they become a collaborating member of SCeMFiS. The future of our fishing communities depends upon sustainable fisheries, and we believe it is part of responsible fishing today to be making these investments in research," said Jeff Kaelin, who sits on SCeMFiS's Industry Advisory Board (IAB) of Officers and is head of Government Relations for Lund's Fisheries. "We are pleased Omega Protein will be joining us in this important work." SCeMFiS is responsible for several projects that have led to major breakthroughs in fisheries science, such as a 2015 report on improving the accuracy of marine mammal stock assessments, as well as measuring the impact marine mammal regulations have on East Coast and Gulf fisheries. "Since SCeMFiS' inception, Omega Protein has had respect for the organization and has continued to be impressed by the quality of the research being conducted," said Omega Protein Director of Public Affairs Ben Landry. "The objective of SCeMFiS is to develop research proposals to address scientific uncertainty in order to develop best management practices. We felt that there was no better group with which to partner than SCeMFiS, and we are excited to join." SCeMFiS currently has 17 projects underway covering a broad spectrum of fisheries issues. Several of these projects are especially relevant to the work of Omega Protein. One project in particular is a winter survey of menhaden in the Mid-Atlantic, which aims to "address data deficiencies and better inform the menhaden assessment," according to Mr. Kaelin. New SCeMFiS members are required to be affiliated with an academic institution, and Omega Protein has chosen to partner with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Roger Mann, a Professor of Marine Science at VIMS and the Virginia Site Director at SCeMFiS, has signed the agreement. According to Dr. Mann, there are many ways industry members benefit from partnering with SCeMFiS. "Members gain access to an international group of experts who can focus on technical problems that are challenging your sector of the fishing industry," said Dr. Mann. He also noted that SCeMFiS follows the research standards of the National Science Foundation, the "gold standard" in US scientific research. "This places the results of any IAB funded effort beyond reproach as these results are used to advance the goals of sustainable harvest." Omega Protein is the 11th industry partner to join the SCeMFiS team. Other partners include Atlantic Capes Fisheries, Bumblebee Foods/Snow's, Garden State Seafood Association, LaMonica Fine Foods, Lund's Fisheries Incorporated, and Surfside Seafood Products. Access to this premier scientific resource will ensure that Omega Protein remains at the forefront of the latest developments in fisheries science management. As a new industry partner at SCeMFiS, Omega Protein can continue to expand upon its current commitment to sustainable and responsible fishing. Omega Protein Corporation ( : OME) is a century old nutritional product company that develops, produces and delivers healthy products throughout the world to improve the nutritional integrity of foods, dietary supplements and animal feeds. Omega Protein's mission is to help people lead healthier lives with better nutrition through sustainably sourced ingredients such as highly-refined specialty oils, specialty proteins products and nutraceuticals. The Company operates seven manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Canada and Europe. The Company also uses over 30 vessels to harvest menhaden, a fish abundantly found off of the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Its website is www.omegaprotein.com.


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

An acoustic buoy recently deployed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and WCS's (Wildlife Conservation Society) New York Aquarium is making its first near real-time detections of two rare great whale species in the New York Bight, including the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale. On November 14th, the hi-tech buoy named "Melville" detected the telltale "up call" of the North Atlantic right whale, one of the world's highly endangered whale species that numbers only 500 individual animals. It is the second detection of a North Atlantic right whale made by the buoy since October 26th. The acoustic buoy made another rare find on October 31st with the detection of a sei whale, a species that grows up to 65 feet in length and is rarely observed in New York waters. North Atlantic right whales are particularly vulnerable to getting hit by ships, so any information on the whereabouts of these animals along the coast is important. Researchers from WCS and WHOI report that the North Atlantic right whale detected on October 26th was outside of the New York Harbor Seasonal Management Area (SMA), one of a series of zones along the eastern seaboard established to protect the slow-swimming whales with boat speed restrictions during their migration periods. Vessel speed restrictions for the mid-Atlantic seasonal management areas -- including the SMA in New York Bight -- runs between November 1st and April 30th. "Having the ability to detect North Atlantic right whales and other species rarely seen in New York waters is extremely important given their endangered status," said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum of WCS's Ocean Giants Program and co-lead of the WCS New York Aquarium-WHOI project. "In particular, our ability to detect North Atlantic right whales in this area near the shipping lanes but outside these seasonal management areas will hopefully help with efforts to safeguard this highly endangered species in the New York Bight." "Ships are a significant hazard to whales in the New York region; the highest incidence of ship struck whales on the U.S. east coast occurs between the New York Bight and Chesapeake Bay. This new technology can help ships avoid lethal encounters with whales by alerting ship captains to the presence of the whales," said WHOI scientist Dr. Mark Baumgartner, developer of the whale detection software for the acoustic buoy and co-lead of the acoustic buoy project. The North Atlantic right whale grows up to nearly 60 feet in length and is called the "right" whale because the first commercial whalers deemed it the best species to hunt. Consequently, this coastal whale was nearly wiped out by whaling fleets before receiving international protection in the 1930s. Recent research indicates that, despite modest population growth during the 2000's, the species is now in decline and its existence remains threatened by ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. Sei whales are currently listed as "Endangered" on the IUCN's Red List and were also heavily exploited by commercial whaling fleets before becoming protected by federal and international laws. Little is known about this elusive giant, so any data on its presence in New York's coastal waters can help in management decisions. The WCS-New York Aquarium/WHOI research effort has now detected three whale species in New York Bight: the North Atlantic right whale, the sei whale, and the second largest animal on the planet, the fin whale. The acoustic buoy's most recent detection (made November 16th) was a fin whale, one of several detections of fin whales made since the buoy was deployed to its current location 22 miles south of Fire Island on July 23rd. Information about sounds detected by the buoy, including whale vocalizations, are transmitted by satellite to computers in Baumgartner's laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The data are analyzed by Julianne Gurnee of the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, a partner in the buoy project, and posted on a public website as well as through WCS's New York Aquarium as part of its Blue York Campaign. The acoustic work by the WCS-New York Aquarium/WHOI complements previous acoustic research conducted by the Cornell's Bioacoustics Research Program, efforts by New York's Department of Environmental Conservation, along with collaborations with local NGOs such as the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI), Gotham Whale, and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. "WCS is known for working to save elephants, tigers, and other threatened species around the world," said Jon Forrest Dohlin, Vice President and Director of WCS's New York Aquarium. "We're also doing important science right here in New York Bight by learning more about the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered whales on the earth."


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

New York (November 16, 2016) - An acoustic buoy recently deployed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and WCS's (Wildlife Conservation Society) New York Aquarium is making its first near real-time detections of two rare great whale species in the New York Bight, including the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale. On November 14th, the hi-tech buoy named "Melville" detected the telltale "up call" of the North Atlantic right whale, one of the world's highly endangered whale species that numbers only 500 individual animals. It is the second detection of a North Atlantic right whale made by the buoy since October 26th. The acoustic buoy made another rare find on October 31st with the detection of a sei whale, a species that grows up to 65 feet in length and is rarely observed in New York waters. North Atlantic right whales are particularly vulnerable to getting hit by ships, so any information on the whereabouts of these animals along the coast is important. Researchers from WCS and WHOI report that the North Atlantic right whale detected on October 26th was outside of the New York Harbor Seasonal Management Area (SMA), one of a series of zones along the eastern seaboard established to protect the slow-swimming whales with boat speed restrictions during their migration periods. Vessel speed restrictions for the mid-Atlantic seasonal management areas--including the SMA in New York Bight--runs between November 1st and April 30th. "Having the ability to detect North Atlantic right whales and other species rarely seen in New York waters is extremely important given their endangered status," said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum of WCS's Ocean Giants Program and co-lead of the WCS New York Aquarium-WHOI project. "In particular, our ability to detect North Atlantic right whales in this area near the shipping lanes but outside these seasonal management areas will hopefully help with efforts to safeguard this highly endangered species in the New York Bight." "Ships are a significant hazard to whales in the New York region; the highest incidence of ship struck whales on the U.S. east coast occurs between the New York Bight and Chesapeake Bay. This new technology can help ships avoid lethal encounters with whales by alerting ship captains to the presence of the whales," said WHOI scientist Dr. Mark Baumgartner, developer of the whale detection software for the acoustic buoy and co-lead of the acoustic buoy project. The North Atlantic right whale grows up to nearly 60 feet in length and is called the "right" whale because the first commercial whalers deemed it the best species to hunt. Consequently, this coastal whale was nearly wiped out by whaling fleets before receiving international protection in the 1930s. Recent research indicates that, despite modest population growth during the 2000's, the species is now in decline and its existence remains threatened by ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. Sei whales are currently listed as "Endangered" on the IUCN's Red List and were also heavily exploited by commercial whaling fleets before becoming protected by federal and international laws. Little is known about this elusive giant, so any data on its presence in New York's coastal waters can help in management decisions. The WCS-New York Aquarium/WHOI research effort has now detected three whale species in New York Bight: the North Atlantic right whale, the sei whale, and the second largest animal on the planet, the fin whale. The acoustic buoy's most recent detection (made today--November 16th) was a fin whale, one of several detections of fin whales made since the buoy was deployed to its current location 22 miles south of Fire Island on June 23rd. Information about sounds detected by the buoy, including whale vocalizations, are transmitted by satellite to computers in Baumgartner's laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The data are analyzed by Julianne Gurnee of the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, a partner in the buoy project, and posted on a public website as well as through WCS's New York Aquarium as part of its Blue York Campaign. The acoustic work by the WCS-New York Aquarium/WHOI complements previous acoustic research conducted by the Cornell's Bioacoustics Research Program, efforts by New York's Department of Environmental Conservation, along with collaborations with local NGOs such as the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI), Gotham Whale, and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. "WCS is known for working to save elephants, tigers, and other threatened species around the world," said Jon Forrest Dohlin, Vice President and Director of WCS's New York Aquarium. "We're also doing important science right here in New York Bight by learning more about the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered whales on the earth." The acoustic buoy project is supported by the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation. To speak with Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, please contact John Delaney at 718-220-3275 (jdelaney@wcs.org). To speak with Dr. Mark Baumgartner, please contact the WHOI Media Office, 508-289-3340 (media@whoi.edu). MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world's oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242. Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium is open every day of the year. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Fall/winter/spring hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., daily. Tickets are $11.95 per person (ages 3 & up), and include Aquarium admission plus one admission to the new 4-D Theater; children age 2 and under are admitted free. Fridays after 4 p.m. in the summer and after 3 p.m. in the fall, Aquarium admission is by pay-what-you-wish donation. The aquarium is located on Surf Avenue at West 8th Street in Coney Island. The New York Aquarium is located on property owned by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. For directions, information on public events and programs, and other aquarium information, call 718-265-FISH or visit our web site at http://www. . Now is the perfect time to visit and show support for the WCS New York Aquarium, a beloved part of Brooklyn and all of the City of New York. Due to Hurricane Sandy we are partially opened. Check our website for more information. http://www. . The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean's role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit http://www. . The G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation was established in 1955. The Foundation provides support in the Earth sciences for institutions of excellence. It also awards the Vetlesen Prize, recognizing scientific achievement resulting in a clearer understanding of the Earth, its history and its relation to the Universe. For more information, please visit http://www. . Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a Web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to wcs.org.


The findings, to be published March 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that the current life-history model for western Atlantic bluefin, which assumes spawning occurs only in the Gulf of Mexico, overestimates age-at-maturity. For that reason, the authors conclude that western Atlantic bluefin may be less vulnerable to fishing and other stressors than previously thought. Prior to this research, the only known spawning grounds for Atlantic bluefin tuna were in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea. The evidence for a new western Atlantic spawning ground came from a pair of Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) research cruises in the Slope Sea during the summer of 2013. "We collected 67 larval bluefin tuna during these two cruises, and the catch rates were comparable to the number collected during the annual bluefin tuna larval survey in the Gulf of Mexico," said David Richardson of NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), lead author of this study. "Most of these larvae were small, less than 5 millimeters, and were estimated to be less than one week old. Drifting buoy data confirmed that these small larvae could not possibly have been transported into this area from the Gulf of Mexico spawning ground." Larvae collected during the cruises were identified as bluefin tuna through visual examination and genetic sequencing. To confirm the identification, larvae were sent to the Alaska Fisheries Science Center laboratory in Juneau, where DNA sequences verified that the larvae were Atlantic bluefin tuna. A single bluefin tuna can spawn millions of eggs, each of which is just over a millimeter in diameter, or the size of a poppy seed. Within a couple of days these eggs hatch into larvae that are poorly developed and bear little resemblance to the adults. Larval bluefin tuna can be collected in plankton nets and identified based on their shape, pigment patterns and body structures. Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is a high value species with a unique physiology that allows it to range from the tropics to the sub-arctic, in coastal to international waters. As a highly migratory species, Atlantic bluefin tuna is assessed by the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) as distinct eastern and western stocks separated by the 45 degree west meridian (or 45 w longitude). The U.S. fishery harvest from the western Atlantic stock is managed through NOAA Fisheries' Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan. For many years, global overfishing on this species was prevalent, resulting in substantial population declines. However, recent international cooperation in managing catches has contributed to increasing trends in the abundance of both the eastern and western management stocks. The western stock, targeted by U.S. fishermen, is harvested at levels within the range of the SCRS' scientific advice. This research may help to resolve a longstanding debate in Atlantic bluefin tuna science. It had long been assumed that bluefin tuna start spawning at age 4 in the Mediterranean Sea and age 9 in the Gulf of Mexico. Electronic tagging studies begun in the late 1990s revealed that many bluefin tuna, assumed to be of mature size, did not visit either spawning ground during the spawning season as expected. This led some to propose that these larger fish were not spawning, and instead the age-at-maturity for western Atlantic bluefin tuna was 12-16 years, rather than 9 years, as was assumed in the stock assessment. Molly Lutcavage at the Large Pelagics Research Center of the University of Massachusetts Boston, a co-author on the study, was a consistent supporter of an alternate hypothesis—fish that did not visit the Gulf of Mexico and Mediterranean Sea were spawning elsewhere. The research team used electronic tagging data from the Lutcavage lab to present an alternate model of western Atlantic bluefin tuna spawning migrations. Only the largest bluefin tuna, those over about 500 pounds, migrate to the Gulf of Mexico spawning area. After these fish exit the Gulf of Mexico, they swim through the Slope Sea rapidly, on their way to northern feeding grounds. On the other hand, smaller fish, ranging in size from 80 to 500 pounds, generally spend more than 20 days in the Slope Sea during the spawning season, a duration consistent with spawning. "Last year, we demonstrated using endocrine measurements that bluefin tuna in the western Atlantic mature at around 5 years of age. That study, and ones before it, predicted that these smaller fish would spawn in a more northerly area closer to the summertime foraging grounds in the Gulf of Maine and Canadian waters," Lutcavage said. "The evidence of spawning in the Slope Sea, and the analysis of the tagging data, suggests that western Atlantic bluefin tuna are partitioning spawning areas by size, and that a younger age at maturity should be used in the stock assessment." Researchers also found that individual tuna occupy both the Slope Sea and Mediterranean Sea in separate years, contrary to the prevailing view that individuals exhibit complete fidelity to a spawning site. Reproductive mixing between the eastern and western stocks may occur in the Slope Sea and the authors contend that population structure of bluefin tuna may be more complex than is currently thought. "Past analyses of Atlantic bluefin tuna population structure and mixing between the western and eastern Atlantic stocks may need to be revisited because they do not account for the full spatial extent of western Atlantic spawning," Richardson said. "So much of the science and sampling for Atlantic bluefin tuna has been built around the assumption that the Gulf of Mexico and Mediterranean Sea are the only spawning grounds. This new research underscores the complexity of stock structure for this species and identifies important areas for future research." The authors expect these findings could potentially lead to a lower estimated age-at-maturity, a critical component of the stock assessment, and could reopen consideration of the nature and level of mixing between the western and eastern Atlantic populations. This new information will be considered along with other pertinent research as part of the regular ICCAT SCRS stock assessment process. The scientific team for this study comprises researchers from NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC), the Large Pelagics Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the School of Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and NOAA's Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO). The sampling for this study was supported by NOAA, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the US Navy through interagency agreements for the Atlantic Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species (AMAPPS). Explore further: New study maps spawning habitat of bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico More information: Discovery of a spawning ground reveals diverse migration strategies in Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, , www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1525636113


News Article | November 16, 2016
Site: phys.org

On November 14th, the hi-tech buoy named "Melville" detected the telltale "up call" of the North Atlantic right whale, one of the world's highly endangered whale species that numbers only 500 individual animals. It is the second detection of a North Atlantic right whale made by the buoy since October 26th. The acoustic buoy made another rare find on October 31st with the detection of a sei whale, a species that grows up to 65 feet in length and is rarely observed in New York waters. North Atlantic right whales are particularly vulnerable to getting hit by ships, so any information on the whereabouts of these animals along the coast is important. Researchers from WCS and WHOI report that the North Atlantic right whale detected on October 26th was outside of the New York Harbor Seasonal Management Area (SMA), one of a series of zones along the eastern seaboard established to protect the slow-swimming whales with boat speed restrictions during their migration periods. Vessel speed restrictions for the mid-Atlantic seasonal management areas—including the SMA in New York Bight—runs between November 1st and April 30th. "Having the ability to detect North Atlantic right whales and other species rarely seen in New York waters is extremely important given their endangered status," said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum of WCS's Ocean Giants Program and co-lead of the WCS New York Aquarium-WHOI project. "In particular, our ability to detect North Atlantic right whales in this area near the shipping lanes but outside these seasonal management areas will hopefully help with efforts to safeguard this highly endangered species in the New York Bight." "Ships are a significant hazard to whales in the New York region; the highest incidence of ship struck whales on the U.S. east coast occurs between the New York Bight and Chesapeake Bay. This new technology can help ships avoid lethal encounters with whales by alerting ship captains to the presence of the whales," said WHOI scientist Dr. Mark Baumgartner, developer of the whale detection software for the acoustic buoy and co-lead of the acoustic buoy project. The North Atlantic right whale grows up to nearly 60 feet in length and is called the "right" whale because the first commercial whalers deemed it the best species to hunt. Consequently, this coastal whale was nearly wiped out by whaling fleets before receiving international protection in the 1930s. Recent research indicates that, despite modest population growth during the 2000's, the species is now in decline and its existence remains threatened by ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. Sei whales are currently listed as "Endangered" on the IUCN's Red List and were also heavily exploited by commercial whaling fleets before becoming protected by federal and international laws. Little is known about this elusive giant, so any data on its presence in New York's coastal waters can help in management decisions. The WCS-New York Aquarium/WHOI research effort has now detected three whale species in New York Bight: the North Atlantic right whale, the sei whale, and the second largest animal on the planet, the fin whale. The acoustic buoy's most recent detection (made today—November 16th) was a fin whale, one of several detections of fin whales made since the buoy was deployed to its current location 22 miles south of Fire Island on July 23rd. Information about sounds detected by the buoy, including whale vocalizations, are transmitted by satellite to computers in Baumgartner's laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The data are analyzed by Julianne Gurnee of the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, a partner in the buoy project, and posted on a public website as well as through WCS's New York Aquarium as part of its Blue York Campaign. The acoustic work by the WCS-New York Aquarium/WHOI complements previous acoustic research conducted by the Cornell's Bioacoustics Research Program, efforts by New York's Department of Environmental Conservation, along with collaborations with local NGOs such as the Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island (CRESLI), Gotham Whale, and the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation. "WCS is known for working to save elephants, tigers, and other threatened species around the world," said Jon Forrest Dohlin, Vice President and Director of WCS's New York Aquarium. "We're also doing important science right here in New York Bight by learning more about the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most endangered whales on the earth." Explore further: First whale detected by newly deployed acoustic buoy in New York Bight


News Article | February 23, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

Researchers classify marine fishery species according to similar temperature and depth distribution and found that the groups respond similarly to climate change effects. Interactions between individual species, however, may be affected by different factors like food competition, predator-prey relationships and available habitat. For a study published in PLOS One, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) evaluated the magnitude and pace of the effects of climate change for bottom-dwelling species in the U.S. Northeast Shelf. Almost 70 of these species were grouped into four assemblages, or species groups sharing a common environmental niche. "Regional differences in the effects of climate change on the movement and extent of species assemblages hold important implications for management, mitigation of climate change effects and adaptation," said Kristin Kleisner, study's lead author and from the Ecosystem Assessment Program of NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC). Earlier studies have been done to look at how climate change affects species, but research has not been taken to the ecosystem's community level, where variations in local climate, oceanographic conditions and topography play a crucial role. According to the study's hypothesis, species groups moving in the same depth and temperature distribution respond similarly to climate effects. To test this, the researchers compared shifts in species distribution using data from bottom trawl surveys carried out in the spring and fall by the NEFSC between 1968 and 2012. Based on their analysis, the researchers found that species assemblages follow consistent patterns in rate and direction of distribution. For instance, species groups associated with the shallower, warmer waters of the Georges Bank and the Mid-Atlantic Bight tend to shift northeast strongly, following changes in temperature bands along the shelf. Aside from implications in how predator and prey interact, the results also hint at the possible economic impact of shifting species distribution. For instance, local fishing communities may lose access to stocks or will have to deal with higher travel and fuel costs as they seek out species distances away. The study was carried out in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and with financial support from a Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Malin Pinsky, Katherine Weaver, Laurel Smith, Vincent Saba, Jay Odell, Christopher McGuire, Sean Lucey, Jonathan Hare, Jennifer Greene, Paula Fratantoni, Analie Barnett, Sally McGee and Michael Fogarty also contributed to the research.


News Article | February 5, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

In this Jan. 7, 2016 photo released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a gray seal mother and pup lie on the beach of Muskeget Island at Nantucket, Mass. NOAA scientists are using a pair of drones as part of an effort to photograph the country's biggest seal breeding colony on the island. The pictures will help them find how many gray seals there are in Northeastern waters, said Kimberly Murray, coordinator of the seal research program at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. (Kimberly Murray/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via AP)

More On a remote island off of Nantucket, scientists are using a tool most commonly associated with war and surveillance to get a look at fuzzy baby seals. Researchers who want to get a handle on the growth of New England's gray seal population have been using drones as part of an effort to photograph the animals, which gather in huge numbers on remote islands. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used a pair of unmanned aircraft on Muskeget Island off of Massachusetts to take pictures of seal pups in January. The island is the biggest gray seal breeding colony in the country. The pictures will help scientists find how many gray seals there are in Northeastern waters, said Kimberly Murray, the coordinator of the seal research program at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center. "We need to know how many seals there are before we can know what's going on, and how to manage them. Or, I should say, manage us," Murray said. The population of gray seals, which can grow to more than 600 pounds as adults, has rebounded since the mid-20th century after being decimated by hunting. The growth of the seals has generated some complaints from charter fishing boat operators and beachgoers, creating a need for data about their population. The scientists used two drones on Muskeget — a six-wing aircraft than resembles a helicopter and another that looks somewhat like a foam bird. Two-person research teams launched them from dunes on the island, surrounded by seal pups. One researcher operated the drone via joystick while the other monitored a real-time video screen. "One of the hardest parts was accessing the island," said Elizabeth Josephson, a data manager and drone pilot. The research focused on the six-week gray seal pupping period, and the video/data will be used for ongoing studies and research for seals It will be many months before the results are known. The work with the drones was part of a larger effort to photograph seals that also took place elsewhere in Massachusetts and in Maine involving the use of manned aircraft.


News Article | February 5, 2016
Site: phys.org

Researchers who want to get a handle on the growth of New England's gray seal population have been using drones as part of an effort to photograph the animals, which gather in huge numbers on remote islands. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used a pair of unmanned aircraft on Muskeget Island off of Massachusetts to take pictures of seal pups in January. The island is the biggest gray seal breeding colony in the country. The pictures will help scientists find how many gray seals there are in Northeastern waters, said Kimberly Murray, the coordinator of the seal research program at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center. "We need to know how many seals there are before we can know what's going on, and how to manage them. Or, I should say, manage us," Murray said. The population of gray seals, which can grow to more than 600 pounds as adults, has rebounded since the mid-20th century after being decimated by hunting. The growth of the seals has generated some complaints from charter fishing boat operators and beachgoers, creating a need for data about their population. The scientists used two drones on Muskeget—a six-wing aircraft than resembles a helicopter and another that looks somewhat like a foam bird. Two-person research teams launched them from dunes on the island, surrounded by seal pups. One researcher operated the drone via joystick while the other monitored a real-time video screen. "One of the hardest parts was accessing the island," said Elizabeth Josephson, a data manager and drone pilot. The research focused on the six-week gray seal pupping period, and the video/data will be used for ongoing studies and research for seals It will be many months before the results are known. The work with the drones was part of a larger effort to photograph seals that also took place elsewhere in Massachusetts and in Maine involving the use of manned aircraft. In this Jan. 7, 2016 photo released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made from a drone flying at 200 feet, gray seals and their pups lie on the beach of Muskeget Island at Nantucket, Mass. NOAA scientists are using a pair of drones as part of an effort to photograph the country's biggest seal breeding colony on the island. The pictures will help them find how many gray seals there are in Northeastern waters, said Kimberly Murray, coordinator of the seal research program at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center. (Jennifer Johnson/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via AP) Explore further: Harp seals from Canada take a liking to US waters


Brooks E.N.,Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Fisheries Research | Year: 2013

Analytical and simulation results with hypothetical vectors of biological parameters were employed to demonstrate the impact of variable reproductive potential on reference points based on spawning potential ratio (SPR). Implications for stock recruit function parameterizations are also noted. For the range of variability explored in this illustration, skipped spawning had a negligible impact on reference points, while factors related to spawner condition or experience and density independent survival of recruits (i.e. slope at the origin) had greater effects. When estimating yield per recruit (YPR) associated with a specified SPR, the variability in the biological parameters was greatly dampened. Estimating correlations between the observed trends in maturity and fecundity, and developing models to forecast the probabilities associated with observing a biological state in the future, would be an important contribution to understanding uncertainty in rebuilding projections and future catch advice. © 2012.

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