Archive for July, 2011

Jul 19 2011

Squid School Surprisingly Near Surface!

By Danna Staaf

Some people might be surprised by the sheer number of squid in the photo–but rest assured, that’s quite normal. This is the California market squid, a gregarious creature that often travels in large shoals. (Or should I say schools? They certainly seem to be swimming in a coordinated manner.)

Other folks might find the squids’ vivid colors astonishing–especially if they’ve ever purchased a box of market squid for bait or dinner.

Read the rest of the story on Science 2.0 here.

Jul 19 2011

The (Nonsensical) Politics of Fisheries Funding

Fisherman Larry Collins stands next to his boat the Autumn Gale at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. SOURCE: AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

By Michael Conathan

All eyes in Washington are focused up these days. They’re peering cautiously at that ever-encroaching debt ceiling and the economic ruin pundits and politicians are forecasting if we allow ourselves to bump into it. Meanwhile, spending-phobia has gripped the less headline-grabbing, more mundane aspects of congressional operations as well. So we’re going to spend a bit of time today in one of Capitol Hill’s metaphorical windowless rooms crunching numbers to find out what Congress is doing to fund (or not fund) fisheries management.

Let’s start with a quick note about the congressional appropriations process. Per the Constitution, Congress holds the “power of the purse.” The president asks for money by submitting a budget but the legislature dictates how much will actually be spent.

Like all pieces of legislation—recall your “Schoolhouse Rock”—spending (also known as appropriations) bills originate in committee. In this case, that’s the Appropriations Committee, which passes them on, accompanied by an explanatory report, for consideration of the full body. Ultimately, both House and Senate must pass identical versions of legislation that are then sent to the president to be signed into law. The bill that contains funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and thus for fisheries management, is the Commerce, Justice, and Science, or CJS, Appropriations Act.

House appropriators talked a good game this year in the CJS bill’s report, stating “healthy levels of investment in scientific research are the key to long-term economic growth.” One would think that in these days of anemic job growth9.2 percent unemployment, and an angry electorate, if Congress held “the key to long-term economic growth,” they might use that key to unlock America’s potential. Instead, line-in-the-sand politics rose up and trumped common sense. In short, the “cut spending now” mantra seems to have all but obliterated the more reasoned and storied catchphrase of entrepreneurs everywhere: “You have to spend money to make money.”

Read the rest of the story here.

Jul 18 2011

Sacramento Bee: Fishery legislation is redundant, wasteful – and harmful

By D.B. Pleschner

As an ocean scientist, actor Ted Danson needs to go back to school.

In his recent commentary he distorts the health of California fisheries and the precautionary management that already protects marine resources, including his “little fish” known as forage species.

California has done an excellent job managing forage species.  Besides strict fishing quotas and other restrictions, the state implemented no-take reserves, including many adjacent to bird rookeries and haul-out sites, to protect forage.  Danson does not tell readers this.

To propose legislation like Assembly Bill 1299, as if no regulation exists, is redundant, fiscally wasteful and disrespectful of California’s management history.

Read more at:

Jul 11 2011

Thinking calamari? Smoke it

Calamariphoto © 2008 Robin | more info (via: Wylio)

What you might find interesting about this calamari recipe from Michael Sargent is the grill.

There are a growing number of people who are buying the Big Green Egg for their backyard grilling and becoming fanatical about its qualities. Sargent often gives cooking demonstrations using the Big Green Egg at Foster’s Grill Store on Eastern Avenue.

Calamari is the Italian name for squid, and the squid is a mollusk that is related to cuttlefish and octopus. They range in size from an inch or so up to 80 feet, but the most common size for eating is less than 12 inches. The meat is white and firm with a mild, sweet and what some describe as a nutty flavor. Although you can eat the tentacles, the main body is the prime section of meat. It can be stuffed whole, cut into flat pieces, or sliced crosswise into perfect rings. Here only the main body part is used.

This is a simple recipe that takes no time to prep or cook. The thin slices look wonderful as they curl atop a bed of spring mix greens. And the flavor of the delicate calamari comes through without being overpowered by the usual ingredients or preparations, drowning the creature in bread crumbs and hot oil, or smothering it in peppers.

Click here for the Grilled Calamari recipe.












Jul 11 2011

Here’s how to finesse those fishy sardines

Sophie Brickman

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Northern California’s sardine season opened July 1, but not all of us have spent the last week flocking to our local fishmonger to buy sardines by the pound.

Why not?

Most people would say it’s because sardines taste, well, fishy.

But there are plenty of ways to temper that strong flavor. And there are plenty of reasons to eat them: They’re local, sustainable and oh-so-good for you.

Pacific sardines sit toward the bottom of the food chain, are low in mercury levels, reproduce prolifically and are called a “best choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.

They are a good source of vitamins A and D and are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, consumption of which has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including reducing cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

Basically, they’re the super-fish of the month. But there’s that fishy factor
Read more here.

Jul 5 2011

Florida Fishermen Catch 25-Foot-Long Giant Squid, Offering Rare Opportunity to Study Elusive Creature

By Alisa Opar

Giant squid are creatures of the deep ocean. So it was quite a surprise when recreational fishermen spotted one floating on the surface some 12 miles off of Florida’s Jensen Beach on Sunday. They hauled the 25-foot-long dying invertebrate on to their 23-foot-long boat. “I thought we definitely need to bring it in, because no one’s going to believe us if we don’t,” said Robert Benz, who was fishing with friends Joey Asaro and Paul Peroulakis. “I didn’t want to leave it out there and just let the sharks eat it.”

University of Florida researcher Roger Portell injects preservative into a 25-foot-long giant squid Monday night. Photo: Jeff Gage, University of Florida/Florida Museum of Natural History

On Monday scientists at the University of Florida’s Florida Museum of Natural History preserved the squid, which died shortly after it was found. John Slapcinsky, the museum’s malacology collection manager, explained that giant squid reproduce just once in their lifetime, and then often become lethargic and die slowly. That’s probably what happened to this animal, as it was discovered barely alive near the surface. The finding offers a rare opportunity to learn more about the elusive creatures, which can grow to be 60 feet long, top 1,000 pounds, and have pigment cells on their white-and-red skin that allow them to rapidly change color, presumably for communication or camouflage.

Read the rest here.

Jul 5 2011

Fish and Game Commission Votes on Effective Date for South Coast MPAs

Media Contact:

Jordan Traverso, DFG Communications

The California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) today selected Oct. 1, 2011 as the effective date for implementation of the marine protected areas (MPAs) in Southern California.

In a 4-1 vote, Commissioners selected this day to better inform affected ocean users of the new regulations in the South Coast Study Region, which spans from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County to the U.S./Mexico border. Commissioner Daniel Richards was the only vote in opposition.

On Dec. 15, 2010 the Commission adopted regulations to create a suite of MPAs in this study region. Developed under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) planning process, this network of 49 MPAs and three special closures covers approximately 354 square miles of state waters and represents approximately 15 percent of the region. The regulatory package is being prepared for the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) and the date selected today allows time for OAL review and approval, finalizing the lawmaking process.

For more information on the south coast MPAs or MLPA, please visit


Jul 3 2011

Marine preservation proposal would allow Indian tribal harvests

By Matt Weiser
American Indian tribes on California’s North Coast will retain the right to harvest plants and wildlife for subsistence purposes under a plan for new marine preserves north of Fort Bragg.

The California Fish and Game Commission, meeting in Stockton on Wednesday, approved the subsistence gathering language as its preferred option for additional environmental study.

Though not yet final, it indicates a major shift in state policy toward coastal protection.

“I hope if one thing comes out of this process, it’s the beginning of long-term trust between sovereign tribal governments and the state of California,” said John Laird, secretary of the state’s Natural Resources Agency.

Read more here.