Apr 15 2012

Scientists To Set Sail To Monitor Sardines

Scientists On Bell M. Shimada To Survey Coastal Waters From Mexico To Santa Barbara. News10 Video

SAN DIEGO — The sardine population is dwindling and that could have a major impact on San Diego’s economy and food supply.

On Tuesday, the research ship Bell M. Shimada made preparations to head out again. This time, scientists will survey coastal waters from Mexico to near Santa Barbara looking for sardines.

Southwest Fisheries Science Center scientist Roger Hewitt, Ph.D., said forage fish like sardines are critical.

“They feed everything that we care about,” he said.

Sardines feed not only people – which results in $12 million in commercial fishing revenue in 2010 – but they also feed birds and mammals such as whales and sea lions which are cornerstones of tourism.

“Sardines are used as bait,” said Hewitt.

They help fuel the massive sport fishing industry, which brings in more than 250 million a year for San Diego, according to the United Anglers of Southern California, citing a 1985 study.

The last coast-wide survey occurred in 2006 going from Baja California to British Columbia. Scientists will be using echosounding, which is similar to sonar.

Read the rest of the article on 10News.com.

 

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