Posts Tagged sardines

May 7 2018

THE REAL STORY BEHIND SARDINES — Neil Guglielmo

Reporter Anne Roth quoted me in her article “When will sardines return? Not any time soon say scientists.” But she got many of her facts wrong, missed the point, and misquoted what I said. Here’s the true story.

I’m one of the fishermen whose observations Diane Pleschner-Steele relied on when she said ‘fishermen are seeing more sardines, not less.” We began seeing an abundance of small sardines beginning around the fall of 2014, leading up to the 2015 El Niño.

In fact, independent surveys as well as NOAA surveys also encountered record numbers of young of the year – both sardines and anchovies. The NOAA acoustic-trawl cruise caught a bunch of young sardines in its trawl net in 2015, but when scientists included the length composition data from those fish into the stock assessment model, it blew up the biomass estimate to more than a million tons. Scientists thought that was unreasonable, so they threw out the data.

The reporter quotes Oceana’s Geoff Shester extensively as an “authority” on sardine, but fails to acknowledge objective, and contradictory, scientific evidence on two important points: the first is that sardine abundance is driven primarily by ocean cycles with negligible impact from fishing pressure, especially considering the precautionary modern-day harvest allowance, and sea lions are now found to be at or above carrying capacity, and higher pup mortality rates are expected, along with an increase in disease that is also apparent now.

Oceana is quick to accuse the fishery of “overfishing,” but this is grounds for libel, as this allegation has been debunked not only by scientists but also by the [former] NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries.

The reporter also misunderstood the reason why incidental catch rates are low now. It’s not because sardines are scarce and they don’t school – it’s just the opposite. Sardines often school with other fish like anchovy, and the mix can be 50:50 percent or higher. We don’t catch many sardines now because the percentage of sardine in mixed schools is often ABOVE the 40 percent rate allowed, so we must forego catching them.

The truth is that fishermen have seen an increasing abundance of sardines since at least 2015, but the government is only now beginning to realize and acknowledge that they’re missing fish in their stock assessments. We think they’re missing a lot of fish, and we’ve offered to help them document the abundance inshore of their surveys. But that’s going to take time, and the bureaucracy moves slowly. It may take years for government surveys to fully assess and account for sardines in the area where most of the sardines are, and I only have a few years of fishing left. But I hope I do see a return to sardine fishing in my lifetime. Fishermen know far better than scientists how many fish are in the ocean. It’s time they start listening to us.

 


When will sardines return? Not any time soon say scientists

Neil Guglielmo, a 76-year-old commercial fisherman, says he doubts the sardine stock will bounce back in his lifetime. (Annie Roth — Herald Correspondent)

Monterey >> Less than 30 years after the Pacific sardine population was deemed “recovered,” the stock has once again fallen into a severe slump according to stock assessments conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Scientists estimate the West Coast population of Pacific sardines has declined by 95 percent since 2006. Although sardine populations naturally fluctuate in response to shifting climatic conditions, overharvesting is believed to have accelerated the stock’s collapse. Although no one knows exactly how long it will take for the sardine supply to replenish, many scientists are certain it won’t be anytime soon.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the stock didn’t come back for 20 years.” said Dr. Geoff Shester, California program director and senior scientist at Oceana, the world’s largest ocean conservation non-profit.

In 2012, scientists from the National Marine Fishery Service warned that another collapse was imminent — but this warning went largely unheeded. When this warning was issued, sardine biomass was still above the 150,000 ton threshold required for commercial fishing. The Pacific Fishery Management Council — whose members include fishermen, industry stakeholders, and federal and state officials from the National Marine Fisheries Service — said there wasn’t enough evidence of decline to justify a moratorium on commercial sardine fishing.

Sardine fishing continued until 2015, when the stock fell below the commercial cutoff and the directed fishery was closed. Shester believes the council’s failure to take precautionary measures made a bad situation worse.

“Because the population was already declining, and fishing made it worse, the stock is going to have a lot more trouble recovering than it would have had had we stopped fishing earlier,” said Shester.

Pacific sardines were on the rise during the early 2000s, but in 2006 the population took an unexpected downturn. Estimates suggest the Pacific sardine population decreased from 1.8 million tons to 86,000 tons between 2006 and 2017. The latest assessment puts the size of the Pacific sardine stock at a mere 52,065 tons, a fraction of the 150,000 ton threshold required for commercial fishing.

“Ultimately, a trade off was made to fish in the short term, and that’s now having this detrimental consequence that may last for decades,” said Shester.

Sardines are an important food source for several marine species including sea lions, salmon, brown pelicans, dolphins, and whales, and in California — whose coastal waters boast relatively large numbers of Pacific sardines — the fallout of their decline continues to be evident from shore.

Starving California sea lion pups have been washing up on beaches by the thousands since 2012, most suffering from malnutrition. According to a press release issued by the Marine Mammal Center in 2013, “The sardine and anchovy fish numbers were extremely low in 2012, and it appears this resulted in female adult sea lions having a difficult time providing enough nourishment to their pups.” Scientists estimate that 70 percent of California sea lion pups born between 2013 and 2014 died before weaning age due to a lack of nutrient rich food.

Even though the commercial sardine fishery is closed, you might still see sardines on the menu. The Pacific Fishery Management Council allows a few thousand tons to be harvested by fishermen who catch them incidentally or intend to sell them as live bait. In April, the council set an incidental catch limit of 7,000 tons for the 2018 fishing season.

Shester says this year’s incidental catch quota is “irresponsibly high” and considers the council’s decision to continue allowing a limited harvest a step in the wrong direction.

“There is no level of sustainable fishing on a stock that’s collapsing,” said Shester.

Fishermen rarely meet incidental catch quotas simply because it is very difficult to catch sardines by accident. In order to commercially land sardines caught incidentally, they have to make up less than 40 percent of your catch. Because sardines rarely form schools with other marketable species, achieving this ratio can be challenging.

If Pacific sardine biomass falls below 50,000 tons, fishery managers are required to close the live bait fishery and implement a moratorium on incidental harvest. In 2018, the estimated sardine stock was only 2,000 tons over this threshold. If current trends continue, it’s unlikely the stock will make this cutoff next year — but many fishermen have high hopes that it will.

In a press release issued earlier this month, Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association, said “fishermen are seeing more sardines, not less, especially in nearshore waters.”

Not only does Pleschner-Steele reject the notion that overfishing played a role in the decline of the sardine stock, she calls the stock’s collapse “fake news.”

“Oceana claims that overfishing is the cause of the sardine fishery decline, but the absolute opposite is true: fishing is a non-issue and more importantly, the sardine stock is not declining.”

Pleschner-Steele believes the way the National Marine Fishery Service conducts its sardine stock assessments is fundamentally flawed and urges members of her organization to disregard them.

“This [latest] stock assessment was an update that was not allowed to include any new methods and was based primarily on a single acoustic survey that reached only as far south as Morro Bay and totally missed the nearshore coastwide,” said Pleschner-Steele.

The National Marine Fishery Service has acknowledged its inability to survey nearshore areas, but the agency doesn’t believe the lack of this data has compromised the accuracy of its assessments.

“We’re likely missing some sardines but maybe not at a huge portion,” said Josh Lindsay, a fishery policy analyst from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

“There is a broad understanding from the agency that we are not sampling the entire population, and a lot of that uncertainty gets built into our stock assessment model,” said Lindsay

For the last several years, scientists from the National Marine Fishery Service have been developing new ways to improve the accuracy of the agency’s stock assessments. The agency recently announced plans to use solar powered autonomous drones, also known as saildrones, to survey waters that their ships can’t reach.

Pleschner-Steele hopes surveys of nearshore areas will prove her theory that the stock is increasing, but not all fishers share her optimism. Neil Guglielmo, a commercial fisherman and member of the California Wetfish Producers Association, fears the stock won’t bounce back in his lifetime. The commercial purse-seiner says he began to suspect the stock was crashing seven years ago, because sardines were becoming increasingly difficult to catch.

“When there’s a lot of fish around, they’re easy to catch,” said Guglielmo.

Guglielmo, who has been catching sardines, anchovies and squid off the California coast for more than 40 years, shares Pleschner-Steele’s view that the latest stock assessment underestimated the true size of the stock, but unlike Pleschner-Steele, Guglielmo doesn’t think the sardine population is bouncing back.

“I’m 76 years old. Unless something drastic happens, I don’t think I’ll ever fish sardines again,” said Guglielmo.

May 2 2018

Why this millionaire investor eats five cans of sardines every day

Venture capitalist and entrepreneur Craig Cooper has some interesting life hacks up his sleeve.

He says his body automatically goes to sleep every night at 10:24 p.m., he’s an exercise rat who never works out in an actual gym, and he takes 22-minute naps in the afternoon to boost his productivity.

If that weren’t enough, the millionaire co-founder of telecommunications company Boost Mobile (USA) also hacks his diet: He eats five cans of sardines every day to maintain his health and energy.

“Sardines are the No. 1 superfood for guys,” said Cooper, who co-hosts CNBC’s reality pitch series “Adventure Capitalists.” “They’re a powerhouse of nutrition, so I’m kind of an evangelist for sardines amongst everyone I meet.”https://www.cnbc.com/adventure-capitalists

Claudia Totir | Getty Images  Cold-water oily fish such as sardines are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Indeed, the silver-scaled fish in a can are dense with nutrients. One serving of the oily pilchards packs as much as 17 grams of protein and 50 percent of your recommended daily calcium intake for just 90 to 150 calories. Whether in oil or in water, they also are laden with omega-3 fatty acids (61 percent), which are good for lowering cholesterol levels and preventing blood clotting, and vitamin B12 (338 percent), known for assisting in red blood cell formation.

Cooper said that on the set of “Adventure Capitalists,” where entrepreneurs pitch their adventure sport products to investors, he became known as “Sardine” among the production staff. “Not the best nickname, but it stuck.”

While a bit unusual, he says his daily sardine habit works. When his blood and nutrition profile was taken by the head nutritionist for Red Bull, who also supervises big-name professional athletes, he said Cooper had the best omega-3 profile of anyone he’d ever tested, according to the investor.

Cooper relies on health and wellness to maintain his packed schedule. He runs a digital media company, CooperativeHealth, and published the book “Your New Prime” last year.

The 53-year-old said his best decades have been his 40s and 50s, and he hopes to inspire other men to reach for peak performance later in life.

“I’m trying to promote to other guys that your 50s and beyond are a time of opportunity,” he said. “You can be stronger and healthier and just as active as you were in your 30s and early 40s.”

Nov 3 2017

Why a small, oily, strong-tasting fish is showing up on restaurant menus

You probably didn’t expect to see sardines on the list of 2017 food trends. The small, oily fish have an assertive flavor that can be a turnoff for some. Most people associate them with cans, which runs contrary to our notion that the best food is fresh. They feel like a throwback to an era when people didn’t understand exactly how good food could be.

Americans “weren’t going to embrace grandpa’s can of sardines on the supermarket shelf,” says Elizabeth Moskow, culinary director for the Sterling-Rice Group, a branding agency that put sardines on its trend forecast for the year. But high-quality canned sardines, as well as fresh ones, are making more appearances on restaurant menus. “I think the American palate may be ready for something as strong as sardines,” Moskow says.

Sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. They’re also environmentally friendly, because they’re lower on the food chain.

“They were considered kind of a trash fish, and not something as prized as they currently are or could be in the future,” says Jon Sybert, chef and co-owner of Adams Morgan’s Tail Up Goat restaurant, which has rotated through several sardine dishes throughout the year. He particularly likes preparing them in a salt crust, which keeps them super moist, and serving them with a chocolate rye bread.

A fisherman uses a hook to bring sardines onto a fishing boat in Matosinhos, Portugal. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

The sardine’s popularity is benefiting from a recent wave of travel to Portugal, one of this year’s “it” destinations. There, tourists encounter tinned sardines with beautiful packaging, canned in high-quality oils, often with spices, pickles or peppers.

“The reality is you can’t get fresher,” says Kathy Sidell, owner of the Saltie Girl restaurant in Boston, pointing out that the fish are often canned directly off the docks. Saltie Girl has sold sardines fried, grilled, marinated and canned, served with bread and a house-made butter, similar to how the fish are presented in Portugal. “We often say it’s like a charcuterie board, but with seafood,” she notes.

At Mola, a Spanish restaurant in Mount Pleasant, you’ll find a house-cured sardine plate with an aioli and piquillo pepper, a riff on a dish co-owner Erin Lingle had in Madrid, or pan-roasted sardines with paprika vinaigrette and a side of Swiss chard.

The dishes have proved popular, thanks in part to the enthusiasm of her staff.

“People are learning to embrace those aspects of sardines rather then find them off-putting,” Lingle says. “I love sardines because they are an oily, strong-flavored fish that stand up well to bold flavors.”


Originally posted: https://www.washingtonpost.com/

Apr 20 2017

NOAA Fisheries Scientists Spawn Pacific Sardines For The First Time In Captivity

Biologists at NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) have cracked the code for how to spawn Pacific sardines in the laboratory, opening a new window on the life cycle of the commercially important species.

Like many species, sardines require just the right conditions to reproduce. Researchers working with sardines in the SWFSC’s Experimental Aquarium had tried for decades to identify those conditions. Then in early March, they hit upon the right combination of conditions and documented sardine spawning for the first time in captivity.

“The biggest challenge is getting them comfortable enough in captivity to get them ready to spawn, because we’re trying to replicate the conditions they would experience in the ocean,” said John Hyde, leader of the Experimental Aquarium and Fisheries Genetics Program at the Science Center.

The advance will allow scientists to more closely study and better understand the early life cycle of the species that is known for wide swings in abundance. That in turn will help biologists refine the life-cycle models they use to estimate the size of the sardine population and determine whether enough fish are available to support commercial harvest.

Scientists from the SWFSC’s Fisheries Resources Division varied the lighting, temperature, feed and other conditions in tanks holding the small silvery fish to encourage them to reproduce. Once they recognized that the sardines were ready to spawn, they injected the fish with hormones to induce spawning. The sardines spawned for the first time on March 1, and then again the next day when researchers observed a second batch of fertilized eggs in the tanks.

Researchers collected newly spawned eggs on March 1 and reared them in incubators at three different temperatures: 11°C, 13°C, and 15°C, chosen to mimic the range of temperature conditions they are likely to encounter during sardine spring spawning in the southern California Bight. Staff continued to rear the eggs over the following days until they hatched, sampling the eggs in each incubator every two hours to track their progress. Then they sampled the larvae once or twice per day through exhaustion of the yolk. The preliminary results of the egg-rearing data are still being analyzed.

Spawning sardines in the laboratory can give scientists new insight into early development of the fish, since it is very difficult to capture sardine larvae in the wild without damaging them. For example, sardine ear bones (called “otoliths”) provide natural records of the water conditions experienced by individual fish throughout their life. “By combining the chemistry of these bones with genetics, we can better understand where larvae and young fish are spending their time and how they may respond to changing ocean conditions such as shifting temperatures or ocean acidification,” said Emmanis Dorval, the lead scientist of the spawning experiment. “Ultimately, the research can lead to a better understanding of how biological and ecological factors influence sardine populations along the U.S. West Coast.”

The experiments to develop methods of sardine spawning are a collaborative effort between various FRD programs (including the Life History, Ichthyoplankton Ecology, and Genetics, Physiology and Aquaculture groups) in sample collection, processing, and fish rearing.

Stage 5-6 sardine eggs subsampled from the 15°C incubator. Each major unit on the ruler represents approximately 0.33 mm. Larger circles represent the chorion of the eggs.

FRD contractor, Megan Human, taking a subsample of eggs during the egg-rearing experiment at the SWFSC Aquarium.


Originally posted at: https://swfsc.noaa.gov/

Apr 18 2016

Sardine stories

hilborn
Ray Hilborn is a professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington and a founding partner of cfooduw.org. Find him on twitter @hilbornr.

At the end of February, Dr. Geoff Shester, California campaign director for the nonprofit advocacy group Oceana, criticized the Pacific Fishery Management Council for the persistence of low numbers of California sardines. The lack of a population recovery may cause the commercial moratorium to last until 2017.

The author explained this sardine population decline as being 93 percent less than it was in 2007. Shester does not believe this is because of environmental causes like climate change, El Niño or natural fluctuations in forage fish species, however. Instead he blames the management body.

“They warned of a population collapse, and the fishery management body basically turned a blind eye and continued moving forward with business as usual.”

Shester also cited recent sea lion deaths, specifically 3,000 that washed ashore in California in 2015.

“When fishing pressure occurs during a decline, which is exactly what happened here,” says Shester, “it puts the stock at such dramatically low levels it impedes any recovery potentially for decades.” Shester’s comments are some of the most dishonest commentary I have seen in the fisheries world.

He knows the NOAA scientists and Professor Tim Essington, in work funded by the Pew Foundation, have stated clearly that the decline in sardine abundance is due to natural causes. He also knows that sea lions are not dependent upon sardines; the die-off of sea lions is caused by the oceanographic conditions — not the result of fishing. In fact, reproductive failures of sea lions have occurred repeatedly in the past at times of high sardine abundance.

If he has read Essington’s paper (“Fishing amplifies forage fish population collapses”) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he would also know that there is no relationship between fishing and the duration of periods of low abundance of sardines and other forage fish.

The harvest rule for sardines is highly precautionary, even when sardines are at high abundance, the harvest rate is low. Indeed the harvest control rule for sardines matches very well the recommended harvest rule for forage fish that emerged from the Lenfest report — that is a low target harvest rate at high abundance with the fishery closed when the stock reaches low abundance.

Members of the Science and Statistical Committee of the Pacific Fishery Management Council have explained all this to Shester before. He simply continues to ignore science and pursue his own agenda.


Download the PDF of this article: http://www.nationalfisherman.com/images/pdfs/Article_PDFs/05_2016_NF_Sardine_Stories.pdf

Oct 7 2015

Researchers Keep Missing Picture on Sardines, Where there is a 1400 Year History of Boom and Bust

— Posted with permission of SEAFOODNEWS.COM. Please do not republish without their permission. —

Copyright © 2015 Seafoodnews.com

Seafood News


In an article in International Business Times (August 5, 2015), Aditya Tejas quoted researcher Malin Pinsky in his recently published paper that claims smaller, faster-growing fish like sardines and anchovies are more vulnerable to population collapses than larger fish.

“Climate variations or natural boom-and-bust cycles contribute to population fluctuation in small fast-growing fish, ” Pinsky said, “but when they are not overfished, our data showed that their populations didn’t have any more tendency to collapse than other fish. ” He called these findings counterintuitive because the opposite dynamic holds true on land: “Mice thrive while lions, tigers and elephants are endangered, ” he said.

While it’s common these days to blame the ocean’s woes on overfishing, the truth is Pinsky’s conclusions don’t paint a complete picture. Fortunately, we do have an accurate picture and it’s definitely better than the proverbial thousand words.

The picture is a graph (adapted from Baumgartner et al in CalCOFI Reports 1992, attached) that shows sardine booms and busts for the past 1,400 years. The data were extracted from an anaerobic trench in the Santa Barbara Channel which correlated sardine and anchovy recoveries and collapses with oceanic cycles.

(Click on Image for larger Version)

It’s important to note that most of sardine collapses in this timeframe occurred when there was virtually no commercial fishing. The best science now attributes great fluctuations and collapses experienced by sardines to be part of a natural cycle.

“Pinsky has never been a terrestrial biologist or naturalist or he would have known that small rodents have boom and bust cycles brought about by combinations of environmental conditions and the mice’s early maturity and high fecundity rates, ” says Dr. Richard Parrish, an expert in population dynamics now retired from the National Marine Fisheries Service, .

“All fish stocks show boom and bust cycles in recruitment unrelated to fishing, ” says Dr. Ray Hilborn, internationally respected fisheries scientist from the University of Washington. “Sardines in particular have been shown to have very great fluctuations and collapses long before commercial fishing. Fast growing, short-lived species will be much more likely to decline to a level called “collapse” when recruitment fluctuates because they are short lived — longer lived species won’t decline as much. ”

As a further poke in the eye to the truth, Pinsky cites sardines off the coast of Southern California as a species that has seen fluctuations for thousands of years, but “not at the levels that they’ve experienced in recent decades due to overfishing. ”

Again, this simply is not true.

Since the fishery reopened in 1987, Pacific sardines have been perhaps the best-managed fishery in the world – the poster fish for effective ecosystem-based management. The current harvest control rule, updated to be even more precautionary in 2014, sets a strict harvest guideline that considers ocean conditions and automatically reduces the catch limit as the biomass declines.

If the temperature is cold – which scientists believe hampers sardine recruitment – the harvest is reduced. And if the population size declines, both the harvest rate and the allowable catch will automatically decrease, and directed fishing will be stopped entirely when biomass declines below 150,000 mt.

In fact, the current sardine harvest rule is actually more precautionary than the original rule it replaced. It does this by producing an average long-term population size at 75 percent of the unfished size, leaving even more fish in the water, vs. 67 percent in the original rule. The original harvest rule reduced the minimum harvest rate to 5 percent during cold periods. The present has a minimum rate of 0 percent during cold periods.

Compare this to the 1940s and ’50s when the fishery harvest averaged 43 percent or more of the standing sardine stock with little regulatory oversight and no limit on the annual catch. This, coupled with unfavorable ocean conditions, culminated in the historic sardine fishery collapse that devastated Monterey’s Cannery Row.

But that was nearly 70 years ago, not “recent decades. ” Our current fishery harvest is less than a quarter of the rate observed during that historical sardine collapse.

As a scientist, Pinsky should be aware of the complex, proactive management efforts that have been in place for decades to prevent overfishing in California and the west coast. He should also be aware of the data from Baumgartner that contradicts his faulty conclusions.

D. B. Pleschner is executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association, a nonprofit dedicated to research and to promote sustainable Wetfish resources.


Copyright © 2015 Seafoodnews.com

Jun 29 2015

Book shows Monterey’s fishing, Italian history go hand in hand

MikeMike Ventimiglia talks about “Italians of the Monterey Peninsula” at the site where a plaque marks the approximate spot of his great uncle Salvatore Ventimiglia’s cannery on Cannery Row. (Vern Fisher — Monterey Herald)

 

MONTEREY >> The story of Italians in Monterey is the story of the local fishing industry.

Sicilians came here in waves in the early 1900s when a shift to sardine fishing required their special know-how. They kept Fisherman’s Wharf stocked and the canneries humming for nearly 50 years, turning Monterey into a boom town and establishing a cultural legacy that stands today.

Author Mike Ventimiglia chronicles their history in the recently published book “Italians of the Monterey Peninsula,” part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series. He will give a slide-illustrated talk and book signing at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Monterey Public Library.

Italian fishermen built on a foundation laid by Chinese immigrants, who commercialized fishing in Monterey Bay in the mid-1800s. Over half a century, squid and abalone gave way to salmon and sardines. When a Sicilian fisherman named Pietro Ferrante introduced lampara nets here, allowing for a bigger catch of sardines, the industry took off, sparking what came to be known as the Silver Harvest. Italian fishing families who had set up in Pittsburg, Martinez and other points north started flocking to the Monterey Peninsula.

Ventimiglia’s family was among them, moving here from Martinez in 1917. His father and uncles were fishermen, and his great uncle would eventually own a cannery here, near the present-day Monterey Bay Inn.

Two things were important to Italian fishermen, Ventimiglia said: their boats and their families.

“A fishing boat was probably the mainstay of most Italians,” he said. “The boats came before the house.”

The industry was on its way out by the time Ventimiglia was born in 1944, so his earliest memories of his father are not of him fishing on the Vagabond, but dealing cards on lower Alvarado Street.

Still, the feeling of a close-knit community ran deep.

“(My dad) was Sicilian, but he never spoke it in the house or around his children,” Ventimiglia said. “Then I would go down to the wharf with him and all of a sudden he’d start sputtering this weird language.”

Ventimiglia notes that Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf are still a major part of Monterey’s economy, with the emphasis now on tourism instead of fishing. He gives Italians credit for turning from fishermen into business owners.

“They were smart enough to switch gears,” he said.

Ventimiglia spent a year researching and writing the book. The hardest part, he said, was collating the hundreds of photos that are hallmarks of Arcadia books.

“I can get all the pictures of Italians in the world, but who are they?” he said “… I wanted to identify as many Italians as I could in the book, and that was the hard thing to get.”

The book covers Italians’ move to Monterey, the canneries, fishing boats and nets, and Santa Rosalia and other traditions. It has sparked another project to collect and publish a series of mini biographies of local Italians.

“To me what’s important is getting a piece of history out there,” Ventimiglia said.


Read the original post and view the video: MontereyHerald.com

Jun 23 2015

Letters: Grossman Article on Reasons for Sardine Decline Inaccurate

— Posted with permission of SEAFOODNEWS.COM. Please do not republish without their permission. —

 

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Letters] – June 23, 2015

Editor’s Note: The following letter from D.B. Pleschner was reviewed and supported by Mike Okoniewski of Pacific Seafoods.

To the Editor: I take exception to your statement:  “The author of this piece, Elizabeth Grossman, buys into the argument, but in a fair article.”

In no way was this “fair” reporting.   She selectively quotes (essentially misquotes) both Mike Okoniewski and me (and this after I spent more than an hour with her on the phone, and shared with her the statements of Ray Hilborn, assessment author Kevin Hill and other noted scientists.) She does not balance the article but rather fails to emphasize the NOAA best science in favor of the Demer-Zwolinski paper, published in NAS by NOAA scientists who did not follow protocol for internal review before submitting to NAS (which would have caught many misstatements before they saw print).

NOAA’s Alec MacCall later printed a clarification (in essence a rebuttal) in NAS, which pointed out the errors and stated that the conclusions in the Demer paper were “one man’s opinion”.

Oceana especially has widely touted that paper, notwithstanding the fact that the SWFSC Center Director also needed to testify before the PFMC twice, stating that the paper’s findings did not represent NOAA’s scientific thinking.

After the Oceana brouhaha following the sardine fishery closure, NOAA Assistant Administrator Eileen Sobeck issued a statement. SWFSC Director Cisco Werner wrote to us in response to our request to submit Eileen’s statement to the Yale and Food & Environment Reporting Network to set the record straight:

“The statement from the NMFS Assistant Administrator (Eileen Sobeck) was clear about what the agency’s best science has put forward regarding the decline in the Pacific Sardine population. Namely, without continued successful recruitment, the population of any spp. will decline – irrespective of imposed management strategies.”

It is also  important to note that we are working closely with the SWFSC and have worked collaboratively whenever possible.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would again post Sobeck’s statement to counter the inaccurate implications and misstatements in  Elizabeth Grossman’s piece.

Diane Pleschner-Steele
California Wet Fish Producers Association

PS:   I also informed Elizabeth Grossman when we talked that our coastal waters are now teeming with both sardines and anchovy, which the scientific surveys have been unable to document  because the research ships survey offshore and the fish are inshore.

Sobeck’s statement follows:

Researchers, Managers, and Industry Saw This Coming: Boom-Bust Cycle Is Not a New Scenario for Pacific Sardines
A Message from Eileen Sobeck, Head of NOAA Fisheries
Apri 23, 2015

Pacific sardines have a long and storied history in the United States. These pint-size powerhouses of the ocean have been — on and off — one of our most abundant fisheries. They support the larger ecosystem as a food source for other marine creatures, and they support a valuable commercial fishery.

When conditions are good, this small, highly productive species multiplies quickly. It can also decline sharply at other times, even in the absence of fishing. So it is known for wide swings in its population.

Recently, NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council received scientific information as a part of the ongoing study and annual assessment of this species. This information showed the sardine population had continued to decline.

It was not a surprise. Scientists, the Council, NOAA, and the industry were all aware of the downward trend over the past several years and have been following it carefully. Last week, the Council urged us to close the directed fishery on sardines for the 2015 fishing season.  NOAA Fisheries is also closing the fishery now for the remainder of the current fishing season to ensure the quota is not exceeded.

While these closures affect the fishing community, they also provide an example of our effective, dynamic fishery management process in action. Sardine fisheries management is designed around the natural variability of the species and its role in the ecosystem as forage for other species. It is driven by science and data, and catch levels are set far below levels needed to prevent overfishing.

In addition, a precautionary measure is built into sardine management to stop directed fishing when the population falls below 150,000 metric tons. The 2015 stock assessment resulted in a population estimate of 97,000 metric tons, below the fishing cutoff, thereby triggering the Council action.

The sardine population is presently not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. However, the continued lack of recruitment of young fish into the stock in the past few years would have decreased the population, even without fishing pressure. So, these closures were a “controlled landing”. We saw where this stock was heading several years ago and everyone was monitoring the situation closely.

This decline is a part of the natural cycle in the marine environment. And if there is a new piece to this puzzle — such as climate change — we will continue to work closely with our partners in the scientific and management communities, the industry, and fishermen to address it.

 

Read/Download Elizabeth Grossman’s article: Some Scientists and NGO’s Argue West Coast Sardine Closure was too Late


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May 14 2015

West Coast sardine fishery being shut down

Sardine commercial fishery shutdown: Story and video — www.kionrightnow.com

Includes interviews with CWPA Board members Anthony Russo and David Crabbe.

Crabbe

Apr 29 2015

State and Federal Agencies Halt Commercial Sardine Fishing off California

Media Contacts:
Kirk Lynn, CDFW Marine Region, (858) 546-7167
Chelsea Protasio, CDFW Marine Region, (831) 649-2994
Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191

State and Federal Agencies Halt
Commercial Sardine Fishing off California

 

All large-volume commercial sardine fishing in state and federal waters off California has been prohibited as of Tuesday, April 28, 2015. The closing will remain in effect until at least July 2016.

“This may be an end of an era, but fortunately, the tough management decisions were made several years ago,” noted Marci Yaremko, CDFW’s representative to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), and fishery manager for coastal pelagic species, including sardines.

At its April 12 meeting, the Council recommended regulations that prohibit directed commercial fishing for Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) in California, Oregon and Washington for the upcoming fishing season, which would have begun July 1, 2015, and run through June 30, 2016. In light of revised stock biomass information and landings data for the current season, the Council also requested the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) close the fishery in the current season as quickly as possible. This closure takes effect today.

“The stock is in a state of decline, and now is too low to support large-scale fishing,” Yaremko explained. “Industry, government agencies and those looking out for non-consumptive interests have all worked together over the years to develop the harvest control rule we are using today, which defines when enough is enough.”

The Pacific sardine fishery in California was actively managed by the CDFW until 2000, when it was incorporated into the Council’s Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan. Since then, the fishery has been actively co-managed by the Council, NMFS, CDFW and Oregon and Washington’s Fish and Wildlife agencies.

California’s historic sardine fishery began in the early 1900s, peaked in the late 1930s and then declined rapidly in the 1940s. A 20-year moratorium on the directed fishery was implemented in the late 1960s. In the 1990s, increased landings signaled the population’s recovery. Numbers have since dropped again, significantly.

The Pacific sardine fishery continues to be a significant part of California’s economy at times. At the recent fishery’s peak in 2007, 80,000 metric tons (mt) of Pacific sardine was landed resulting in an export value of more than $40 million. The majority of California commercial sardine landings occur in the ports of San Pedro/Terminal Island and Monterey/Moss Landing.

The Pacific sardine resource is assessed annually, and the status information is used by the Council during its annual management and quota setting process. The Council adopted the 2015 stock assessment, including the biomass projection of 96,688 mt, as the best available science. Current harvest control rules prohibit large-volume sardine fishing when the biomass falls below 150,000 mt. The Council recommended a seasonal catch limit that allows for only incidental commercial landings and fish caught as live bait or recreationally during the 2015-16 season.

The decrease in biomass has been attributed, in part, to changes in ocean temperatures, which has been negatively impacting the species’ production. While the estimated population size is relatively low, the stock is not considered to be overfished. The early closure of the 2014-15 fishing season and the prohibition of directed fishing during the 2015-16 season are intended to help prevent the stock from entering an overfished state.

“Hard-working fishermen take pride in the precautionary fishery management that’s been in place for more than a decade,” said Diane Pleschner-Steele, Executive Director of the California Wetfish Producers Association. “Thankfully the Pacific Fishery Management Council recognized the need to maintain a small harvest of sardines caught incidentally in other coastal pelagic fisheries. A total prohibition on sardine fishing would curtail California’s wetfish industry and seriously harm numerous harbors as well as the state’s fishing economy.”

Pacific sardine is considered to be an important forage fish in the Pacific Ocean ecosystem and is also utilized recreationally and for live bait in small volumes. CDFW protects this resource by being an active participant in this co-management process. CDFW has representatives on the Council’s advisory bodies, works closely with the industry to track Pacific sardine landings in California and runs a sampling program that collects biological information, such as size, sex and age of Pacific sardine and other coastal pelagic species that are landed in California’s ports. These landings and biological data are used by CDFW in monitoring efforts and are also used by NMFS in annual stock assessments.

For more information about Pacific sardine history, research and management in California, please visit CDFW’s Pacific sardine webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/cpshms/.

 

sardinesSchool of sardines, Channel Islands CDFW file photo

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