Archive for October, 2012

Oct 30 2012

Video: Beached Humboldt squid in Santa Cruz

LIVE OAK — Sentinel reader Mark Shwartz was taking his daily walk on the beach when he discovered this beached Humboldt squid Saturday afternoon. He caught this video before returning it to the ocean and contacted his friend, professor Bill Gilly of Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station, who confirmed it was a Humboldt squid, Shwartz said via email. Gilly also told Shwartz that many more Humboldt squid were washing up in the Pacific Grove area.

Story from Santa Cruz Sentinel


Oct 29 2012

State lifts advisory for Ventura County shellfish, sardines, anchovies

State officials have lifted an advisory to avoid shellfish harvested recreationally off the Ventura County coast and all sardines and anchovies caught locally because of elevated levels of domoic acid.

The Aug. 20 advisory warned against eating recreationally caught mussels and clams; all anchovies and sardines caught locally, both commercially and recreationally; and internal organs of all crabs and lobsters from Ventura County.

The California Department of Public Health says recent samples confirm the levels of domoic acid have declined to safe or undetectable levels. Domoic acid is a naturally occurring nerve toxin that can cause illness or death in humans, according to the agency.

No cases of human poisoning from the acid are known to have occurred in California, state officials said.

For additional information click here.



Oct 24 2012

Silvery fish bend a law of physics

Silvery fish such as herring, sardine and sprat are “breaking” the basic physics law of reflection, according to a study from the University of Bristol published this week in Nature Photonics.

Silvery fish. (Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium/Rick Browne)

Reflective surfaces polarize light, but PhD student Tom Jordan and his supervisors Professor Julian Partridge and Dr Nicholas Roberts in Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences have discovered that these silvery fish have defeated this basic law of reflection, which helps protect them from predators.

Until now, it was believed that the fish’s skin, which contains “multilayer” arrangements of reflective guanine crystals, would fully polarize light when reflected, thereby reducing reflectivity and making them more visible to predators.

Full story here.

Oct 23 2012

Be happy! Eat more sardines!

As the days grow shorter, considering the role of omega-3s in keeping everything sunny


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) was discovered by Dr. Norman Rosenthal after noticing that his own sluggish mood — first noticed after moving from sunny South Africa to New York — improved after exposing himself to bright light. SAD affects about 8 percent of people in wintry New Hampshire but less than 2 percent in Florida. Lack of sunlight may alter sleep-wake cycles by means of nerve signals from the eye to the brain’s biological clock (the suprachiasmatic nucleus) with the help of melatonin from the pea-sized pineal gland.

Although Iceland’s daylight diminishes, due to their near-arctic latitude, from over 9 hours on October 20 to just over 4 hours in December, its SAD prevalence of less than 4 percent is much lower than that of U.S. or European locations with equivalent levels of seasonal darkness. In fact, Icelanders are among the happiest people in the world — despite their 2008 financial crisis, volcanic eruptions, and the predominant winter darkness.


In addition to their helpful social support and encouragement of out-of-the-box lifestyles — the mayor of the city of Reykjavik, Jon Gnarr, who is also a comedian, as an example — Icelanders believe that their high consumption of ocean fish and fish oil helps them cope. Oil-rich cold-water fish like salmon, cod, and sardines, fish oil supplements, and some plant-based foods like walnuts contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which research on other mood disorders suggests have an antidepressant effect. We’ve known for quite a while that eating fish correlates negatively with major depressive disorder.

Read complete story here.




Oct 19 2012

RECIPE: Kalamarakia Yemista-Stuffed Squid

If you read my post about the Top Fish competition, then you know that I recently made a stuffed squid dish that landed me in third place. I am pretty proud of that recipe, and I’d like to share it with you.

I have served this dish to many friends, and they all enjoyed it. What is difficult about cooking squid is that you either need to cook it quickly or over a very long period of time, making sure that it doesn’t get rubbery. The way I prepare it is to bake it quickly, and it doesn’t take ages to chew—win win.

The prep for this dish takes about 10 to 15 minutes depending on your knife skills; I usually like a chunky chop, but with the squids being so little, you are going to want to chop everything pretty small.

Full recipe and story here

Oct 17 2012

DFG and Partners use Aircraft and Submersible Camera to Count Pacific Sardine

Department of Fish and Game (DFG) pilots and biologists, along with partners, used new technological tools above and below the water to study the sardine fishery.

DFG, in partnership with the California Wetfish Producers Association, flew over Southern California waters in DFG’s Partenavia P68 Observer aircraft to complete surveys for Pacific sardine in coastal waters. Also for the first time, DFG confirmed the aerial identification of the fish from a vessel positioned on the schools, using a submersible video camera. During the August surveys, DFG biologists photographed schools of sardine to capture distribution and abundance.

“These surveys will help DFG to manage this sustainable fishery and add to our limited understanding of sardine distribution throughout the Southern California Bight,” said Michelle Horeczko, Senior Environmental Scientist on the Coastal Pelagic Species Project. “Data from these surveys may also be used by West Coast scientists as part of a new effort to look at the full range of sardine data from Canada to Mexico.”

Continue reading full story here.


Oct 12 2012

Is Fish Poop Critical To The Ocean?

Professor Deborah Steinberg of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) has dedicated her professional life to investigating crustaceans and their role in the “biological pump,” which is the process by which marine life transports carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and ocean’s surface to the deep sea. This cycle removes the carbon to a depth where it contributes nothing to global warming.

In a new study published in Tuesday’s issue of Scientific Reports, professor Steinberg partnered with Dr. Grace Saba of Rutgers
University and retrained her focus from crustaceans to small forage fish in order to gain an understanding of their role in this carbon removal process.

The research pair collected their data off the coast of southern California on an exploratory expedition aboard the research vessel Point Sur. Building on Steinberg’s knowledge of copepods and other small, drifting marine animals, gleaned from two decades of research, the team wanted to explore whether forage fish like crustaceans played a discernible role in the biological pump through their consumption of photosynthetic surface algae and subsequent release “fecal pellets”.
Read full story here.

Oct 12 2012

Eating Fish While Pregnant Halves the Risk of ADHD

The amount of fish a woman eats while pregnant may affect her child’s chances of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Eating fish twice a week was linked to about a 60 per cent lower risk of a child developing certain ADHD-like symptoms, according to research from the Boston University School of Public Health.

But the type of fish eaten is key.

Elevated mercury levels, which can occur from eating certain types of fish, such as tuna and swordfish, were also tied to a higher risk of developing ADHD symptoms such as a short attention span, restlessness or being easily distracted.

‘The really important message is to eat fish,’ said assistant professor Sharon Sagiv, the study’s lead author.

Read full story here.


Oct 9 2012

Fish on Fridays: Omega 3s vs. Mercury – Is Seafood Good For You?

It seems there’s a never-ending see-saw battle in scientific research about certain consumables. Red wine will decrease incidence of cardiovascular disease! No it won’t. Dark chocolate will lower your body mass index! Or not.

Seafood is no different. For every report that Omega 3 fatty acids are the fountain of youth, there’s another study warning seafood lovers about looming poison from excessive quantities of heavy metals, especially mercury. But are Omega 3s really that beneficial? And what to make of reports that selenium in fish can counterbalance the negative effects of mercury? And just what the hell is selenium, anyway? What’s the truth about fish?

Of course, there’s no black-and-white answer, but I’ll try to sort through a few of the bigger issues and provide a bit of guidance about what to look for at the fish counter to maximize the benefits and reduce your risk.

First of all, a disclaimer: I’m an ocean policy wonk, not a doctor, so take all this info with a grain of salt (figuratively, people, watch that blood pressure!) and ask your doctor if you have deeper questions—particularly if you’re pregnant.

Read more here



Oct 9 2012

Fishermen Cash In On Giant Demand For Squid


Seeing more restaurants offer calamari on their menus brings a huge smile to Neil Guglielmo’s face.

The rising popularity of the marine delicacy has helped Guglielmo and fishermen like him in Ventura County rake in more revenue, especially within the past few years.

Owner of the Captain Squid company and captain of the 70-foot squid fishing boat the Trionfo, which unloads its catch in the Port of Hueneme five days a week, Guglielmo said the past few seasons have been some of the most profitable years he has seen in his more than 50 years of fishing.

“The past couple of years have been phenomenal for squid fishing and so far, we’re doing really good,” Guglielmo said. “A few years ago, we would come back with our catch and fish market (officials) would tell us they already had enough. Nowadays, they get mad when we don’t go out.”

Fishermen throughout the nation saw some of their highest catch numbers in years in 2011. According to a recent report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. seafood catch logged a 17-year high last year.

Read full story here