Archive for September, 2012

Sep 27 2012

Fishery Management: An Analysis of Fish Stock Assessments

Center for American Progress

Counting Fish 101

An Analysis of Fish Stock Assessments

George Lapointe, Linda Mercer, and Michael Conathan   

Science is integral to fishing operations. Without the ability to estimate how many fish exist in the ocean there’s no way to determine how many of them we can catch while allowing the remaining fish populations to stay viable. But fish live in a mostly invisible world beneath the ocean surface, they move around constantly, and they eat each other.

This creates a dynamic population structure that’s incredibly difficult to track, making fish virtually impossible to count. Thus, fisheries scientists—like political pollsters or other statisticians—must rely on imperfect data to make their predictions about the status and health of fish populations.

They take these data—some of which they collect, some of which come from fishermen—and plug them into scientific models which, in turn, create estimates of population health. Because the entire population of a given species is frequently divided into subpopulations known as “stocks,” these estimates are called “stock assessments,” and they form the backbone of modern fishery management in the United States.

These assessments provide an estimate of the current state of a fish population and, in some cases, forecast future trends. This tells us whether fishery management goals are
being met and indicates the type of conditions to which the fishery will have to adapt in the near future. In an ideal world, scientists would have the resources to provide managers with updated stock assessments for each species every year, but their expense and complexity mean they can only be updated periodically.

Regardless of how frequently they can be updated, strong, science-based stock assessments are the key to future sustainability, not just of the fish but also of the fishing industry. Fishing is an inherently unstable business, yet strong, accurate science can give fishermen a better understanding of whether their resource will remain healthy, and if it does, how many fish they will be allowed to catch. This in turn allows fishermen to make informed business decisions and stabilizes coastal economies.

Read the full report here.

Sep 14 2012

Sea Level’s Rise Focus of Summit

Projections of dramatic change draw group to UCSD to strategize about vulnerabilities of affected areas

LA JOLLA — Climate researchers, social scientists and policy experts from across the Pacific Rim convened at UC San Diego last week to get ahead of seas projected to rise so dramatically that they could create some of the most visible effects of global warming.

Representatives from about 20 leading research universities and nonprofit groups in South Korea, Russia, Indonesia and elsewhere met to prepare for potentially catastrophic effects on 200 million people and trillions of dollars of coastal assets.

Sea levels off most of California are expected to rise about 3 feet by 2100, according to recent projections by the National Research Council. Higher seas create challenges for port cities from San Diego to Singapore, including the potential for dramatically increased damage to coastal roads, homes and beaches — especially during storms.

“All future development has to be assessed in regards to future rises in sea level,” Steffen Lehmann, professor of sustainable design at the University of South Australia, said during the conference. “Reducing the vulnerabilities of urban (areas) is the big topic, the big task ahead of us now.”

Potential responses include managing a retreat from eroding bluffs and reshaping coastal areas to buffer development from higher water levels. “The missing link (is) between the science and those guys in planning offices and architecture firms and city municipal offices,” Lehmann said.

David Woodruff, director of the University of California San Diego’s Sustainability Solutions Institute, organized the workshop to address that problem with cross-disciplinary discussions that move toward international action.

“We are trying to affect societal change,” he said. “The sooner we start scoping options, the less expensive it will be to save current infrastructure.”

The workshop was sponsored by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, a consortium of 42 leading research institutions. Participants drafted a report about rising sea levels for top university leaders so they can make the topic a priority with national-level leaders around the Pacific Rim.

“I really think universities can play a key role,” said UC San Diego’s Charles Kennel. “They are right at the pivot point between connecting knowledge to action. … One of the places they need to transfer their knowledge to is adaptation to climate change.”

A warming climate causes sea levels to rise primarily by heating the oceans — which causes the water to expand — and by melting land ice, which drains water to the ocean. Sea levels at any given spot depend on a complex interaction of factors, such as ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns and tectonic plate movements.

Global sea level has risen about 7 inches during the 20th century, the National Research Council said.

While sea-level-rise projections aren’t a sure thing, they are widely accepted by mainstream scientists. Skeptics see it as a waste of money to plan for problems that may not materialize for decades, or may be more modest than predicted.

Read more on the Union-Tribune San Diego.

Sep 7 2012

Sardines stuffed with cream cheese & herbs

Stock up on your Omega-3 with sardines. Sardines are cheap and they are worth their weight in gold. If there are people that don’t really like sardines, you can stuff them with cream cheese and herbs. They taste differently and I am sure they will be a hit.



500 gr sardines
150 gr cream cheese (Philadelphialight)
Finely chopped chives
Finely chopped dill
Finely chopped parsley
Salt, pepper
Olive oil
Lemon juice


First you have to clean the sardines, which many of you absolutely hate. Perhaps you can get your fishmonger to do it for you.

In case you want to do it yourself, here is how: Put the fish in a bowl with water, and lightly scrape off the scales. You can use a knife or a special scraper. Take care not to scratch the skin. The sardines have very soft scales that come off very easily. Then you have to cut off the head with the gills and everything. Cut open the belly and remove the intestines. Rinse the fish.

Use a very sharp knife for the next step. Insert the knife in the fish from the cut side. You must feel that it touches the backbone. Run your knife along the bone to the tail. Be careful not to separate the two fillets completely. They must be joined at the back.  Open the fillet and insert your knife below the bone and slide it towards the tail, so that you can remove the bone. Gently scrape off the soft bones and your sardine is ready to be stuffed. It sounds complicated but it is very easy and it doesn’t take long once you get the hang of it.

Rinse each fish as you finish filleting it and place it in a colander to drain. Sprinkle some salt over the fish and let them drain while you prepare the stuffing.

In a bowl place the cheese and the chives, dill and parsley. Mix well with a fork. Lay the sardines in a baking pan, the one next to the other. With a teaspoon, put some stuffing between the two fillets of fish. Press the two fillets lightly together. When you have stuffed all the fish, sprinkle a little salt over them and some oregano if you wish, and drizzle some olive oil and  lemon juice.

Bake them in a preheated oven at 180oC for about 20 minutes. You can serve them with a nice green or Greek salad and some fries.

If you wish, you could leave some sardines whole after having removed the head and the intestines. Place them in the pan, drizzle some oil and lemon juice over them and sprinkle some salt and oregano. They are very tasty this way as well.

Another way to cook the sardines is to barbecue them. These little fish packed with vitamins and minerals are a real powerhouse, and should be added to your menu.

This delicious recipe is the courtesy of  Cooking In Plain Greek