Archive for March, 2011

Mar 12 2011

Waves in Santa Cruz damage docks, jostle boats like a ‘major car collision’

Mar 12 2011

Tsunami: Docks ripped out in Fort Bragg fishing community

March 11, 2011

Surges of water hit the tiny town of Fort Bragg, 200 miles south of Crescent City, witnesses say, ripping out docks and filling the water with debris, and closing off exits and entrances to the port.

Fort Bragg is an epicenter of California’s fishing community, and dozens of boats leave from there to fish crab, black cod and salmon.

“It’s pretty brutal,” said Charles D. Smith, a fisherman who owns a boat called the Miss Smith. “The ends of the docks are floating around all over the place.”

Smith got down to the harbor early in the morning and battened down his hatches. Other fishermen sailed to sea earlier Friday to escape damage in port. There won’t be anywhere for them to dock when they return, he said.

Read the rest of the story here.


Mar 12 2011

Crescent City harbor destroyed; 4 people swept into sea, 1 feared dead

Crescent City Harbor (Jeff Barnard / Associated Press)

By Mike Anton and Shan Li

Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

March 11, 2011, 12:01 p.m.

Eight-foot waves from the Japan tsunami destroyed much of Crescent City harbor, battered boats, closed the 101 Freeway and left one person missing.

KDRV-TV reported that four people were washed out to sea Friday. Three were hurt and one is feared dead.

Local residents reported that about three dozen boats were “crushed” in the harbor and that surging waters significantly damaged or destroyed most of the docks. Ocean water surging up Elk Creek north of the harbor reportedly lapped up to front doors of the community’s cultural center.

Read the rest of the story here.

Mar 11 2011

Waves destroy Crescent City Harbor docks


Posted: 03/11/2011 10:03:13 AM PST

Officials in Crescent City are reporting damage after tsunami waves began hitting the harbor this morning.

“The harbor has been destroyed,” said Crescent City Councilman Rich Enea in a phone interview at 9:45 a.m.  “Thirty-five boats have been crushed and the harbor has major damage. Major damage.”

Del Norte County Sheriff Cmdr. Bill Steven said most of the docks at the harbor are gone. Additionally, a recent surge filled the entire harbor and they are expecting that some of the other waves could send water into the harbor’s parking lot, Steven said.

Enea said no injuries have been reported at this point, which he attributed to plenty of tsunami preparedness exercises and the diligent work of first responders in sealing off the harbor.

The councilman said he’s heard about 100 people have shown up to a Red Cross shelter at Del Norte High School. He said tsunami waters have made it near the doors of the Crescent City Cultural Center, and he fears the worst is yet to come.

Read the rest here.


Mar 11 2011

Reuters Video: Millions of Dead Fish Puzzle Californians

Mar 10 2011

35 tons of dead sardines scooped from King Harbor so far; cleanup costs top $100,000

March 9, 2011

The effort to rid King Harbor of millions of dead fish before they start to decay had the look of a lab experiment Wednesday.

Boats trawled slowly through the Redondo Beach marina, dragging nets behind them to capture fish from a thick layer of carcasses deposited on the harbor bottom.

Volunteers wearing rubber gloves went from slip to slip scooping floating clusters of sardines with fishing nets and plucking individual, hot-dog sized fish from the water.

Firefighters aimed a hose at the harbor bottom to try to agitate the fish for a diver to capture. And a sewer vacuum truck was converted to suck fish from the water with a long plastic hose that had the look of an elephant’s trunk.

Redondo Beach officials said it will take several days and cost at least $100,000 to clean up King Harbor after the sudden fish die-off that began Monday evening.

Read the rest of the story here.


Mar 10 2011

Millions of dead fish blanket Redondo’s King Harbor Marina

By Larry Altman, Torrance Daily Breeze Staff Writer
March 9, 2011

Millions of sardines created a massive stink and an even bigger cleanup effort in Redondo Beach’s King Harbor Marina on Tuesday after they swam inside overnight, became trapped and died.

Millions of sardines suffocated Tuesday night during windy storm that altered currents trapping them in King Harbor Marina where there was not enough oxygen in the water to sustain them. Photo by Brad Graverson.

Twelve to 18 inches of dead sardines blanketed the water’s bottom in Basin 1 off Marina Way. Another thick layer of dead fish coated the surface from the breakwall to the inner docks, surrounding boats and walkways.

Authorities with the California Department of Fish and Game, along with other ocean biologists at the scene, declared the mass death a natural event. The fish, they said, sucked every drop of oxygen from the water and couldn’t breathe.

“They are in every slip and every dock,” said Fish and Game spokesman Andrew Hughan. “It’s a whole lot of fish.”

Hughan said authorities believe the huge school of sardines, perhaps blown in by the night’s 40-mph winds and crashing waves, swam into King Harbor and became disoriented.

Those who chose other basins were fine, but the schools that headed into Basin 1 “backed themselves into a corner” and were unable to find their way out, he said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Mar 9 2011

Shifting spring: Arctic plankton blooming up to 50 days earlier now

By Brian Vastag
Washington Post Staff Writer

A light micrograph of plankton including water fleas (family Daphniidae) (Getty Images/oxford Scientific)

Climate researchers have long warned that the Arctic is particularly vulnerable to global warming. The dramatic shrinking of sea ice in areas circling the North Pole highlights those concerns.

A new report finds that the disappearing ice has apparently triggered another dramatic event – one that could disrupt the entire ecosystem of fish, shellfish, birds, and marine mammals that thrive in the harsh northern climate.

Each summer, an explosion of tiny ocean-dwelling plants and algae, called phytoplankton, anchors the Arctic food web.

But these vital annual blooms of phytoplankton are now peaking up to 50 days earlier than they did just 14 years ago, satellite data show.

“The ice is retreating earlier in the Arctic, and the phytoplankton blooms are also starting earlier,” said study leader Mati Kahru, an oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.

Read the rest of the story here.

Mar 9 2011

What Role Is Ocean Acidification Playing In Shellfish Losses?

No new Pacific oysters recruiting to oyster “beds.”
Shellfish larvae dying at commercial hatcheries.
Corrosive, acidified seawater measured for the first time off the Pacific Coast.

These and other observations, beginning in 2005 on the West Coast, prompted members of the shellfish industry to seek help from scientists to explore what is causing the shellfish losses, what role ocean acidification (OA) and other factors might be playing, and how to adapt to sustain West Coast shellfish resources.

Scientists, oceanographers, state and federal agency managers, and industry members participated in a workshop in 2010 to frame the problems, assess what information is available and what is needed, and to suggest future actions.

Photo credit: Richard Wilson, Willapa Bay, WA

The California Current Acidification Network (C-CAN) evolved from that meeting as participants and others interested in ocean acidification agreed on the need to facilitate and enhance communications, education and research collaborations among scientists, academia, agencies and industry.

The need for education is clear:, Increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere, a consequence of fossil fuel use, are causing immediate, measurable impacts on ocean chemistry.

About one-third of the carbon dioxide produced every day around the world is absorbed by the oceans. As CO2 reacts with seawater, it lowers seawater pH and reduces the concentration of carbonate ions, an essential component in the calcium carbonate that makes up the shells of shellfish and the skeletons of corals. Recently scientists have begun measuring changes in ocean chemistry and investigating the possible consequences to marine life, food webs and people. These studies find that ocean acidification is ongoing and may have significant biological impacts. The West Coast is vulnerable to the enhanced ocean acidification associated with seasonal upwelling, potentially causing serious impacts to ecosystems and some recreationally and commercially important shellfish.

Watch this video produced by NBC Learn for more information.

Mar 9 2011

NOAA: U.S. ‘Turning a Corner’ in Ending Overfishing

March 8, 2011

At a hearing today in front of the Senate Commerce Committee on the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Assistant NOAA Administrator for Fisheries Eric Schwaab said that the U.S. is making good progress toward meeting the mandate to end domestic overfishing.

“We know that nearly $31 billion in sales and as many as 500,000 jobs are lost because our fisheries are not performing as well as they would if all stocks were rebuilt,” Schwaab said. “While we are turning a corner toward a brighter future for fishermen and fishing communities, many fishermen are struggling in part as a result of years of decline in fishing opportunity.”

Schwaab said that NOAA is committed to working with fishermen and communities during this period of transition.

Our nation’s fisheries have been vital to the economics and identities of our coastal communities for hundreds of years. According to the most recent estimates, U.S. commercial and saltwater recreational fisheries support almost two million jobs and generate more than $160 billion in sales.

Schwaab talked about fishery management challenges, including improving collection, analysis, and accuracy of scientific information used to manage both recreational and commercial fisheries. He indicated that NOAA Fisheries will continue to work hard with the regional fishery management councils, fishermen and the coastal communities to increase confidence in the management system and ensure productive and efficient fisheries.

Read the full story here.