Archive for the Breaking News Category

Dec 12 2018

Arctic Report Card Shows ‘Most Unprecedented Transition in History’

Arctic Report Card: Update for 2018 – Tracking recent environmental changes, with 14 essays prepared by an international team of 81 scientists from 12 different countries and an independent peer-review organized by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme of the Arctic Council. See https://www.arctic.noaa.gov/Report-Card
 

Those are two takeaways from the 2018 Arctic Report Card, which was released Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union conference in Washington, D.C. The 13th year of this peer-reviewed report card features 14 essays by 81 scientists from 12 countries.

Few places will feel the blight of climate change as hard as the Arctic. Our upper pole is warming faster than any other region on Earth, a trend that may be tied to erratic weather patterns across the northern hemisphere.

For the first time, the report card includes a warning about red tide and harmful algal blooms, which are expanding due to a lack of ice and warming ocean temperatures. Toxins from these micro-organisms are threatening marine wildlife and coastal fisheries, imperilling communities that depend on these species.

This year will also enter the record books as the second warmest for the Arctic since 1900, said Emily Osborne of the NOAA Arctic Research Program.

“The only warmer year occured in 2016,” Obsorne said, adding that Arctic air temperatures for the past five years have exceeded all records since the beginning of the 20th century. “The Arctic is experiencing the most unprecedented transition in history.”

Here are three things you need to know about the Arctic Report Card.

Red tide

When you hear about harmful algal blooms, the mind typically wanders to Florida, where thick scums of blue-green algae and clouds of red tide have floated in the state’s warm waters for more than a year.

Due to a warming Arctic Ocean, at least five families of these harmful micro-organisms are now present in other northern waters, like the Chukchi and Bering seas.

“The vast majority of the Arctic ocean has experienced clear long- term trends of warming,” said Karen E. Frey, a geographer and biogeochemist at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Microscopic creatures are thriving in these waters. Near St. Lawrence Island, for instance, west of the Alaska mainland, aquatic biomass in 2018 increased between 275 and 500 percent relative to the average over the last 14 years.

These harmful algal blooms produce a range of toxins, which can poison other plankton, fish, shellfish, birds and humans. One study of stranded marine mammals — like whales and seals — found the algal toxin domoic acid in all species tested.

Mounting microplastics

This explosion in tiny creatures has been paralleled by the rapid rise of microplastics in the Arctic Ocean. The Arctic Basin contains more microplastic than all other ocean basins in the world, according to a study published in June and cited in the report card, with the highest concentrations stuck in the Beaufort Sea.

These microplastics have made multiple intrusions into the food web, being found in everything from polar cod and seafloor-hugging invertebrates to Arctic birds. The plastic waste has also been found buried in sea ice, which scientists are using to study its abundance.

The major sources of these microplastics remain unclear. They could be floating to the Arctic from other oceans, but some contribution is due to waste like fishing nets and other gear from shipping activities, which have increased substantially since 2009.

The greening of the Arctic continues to gradually grow. Vegetation has expanded overall in the Arctic for the last 36 years, according to the new report card. As shrubs and grasses expand, some species of birds and mammals are thriving. Caribou and wild reindeer, both herbivores, are not part of this lucky class.

Despite growing food sources overall, caribou and wild reindeer are dying

Arctic caribou in North America and Greenland and reindeer in Russia and Norway have declined 56 percent over the last two decades, with their populations dropping from 4.7 million to 2.1 million. Why?

Increased drought and longer spans of hotter weather are causing outbreaks of infectious bacteria and parasites, said Howard Epstein, an ecologist at the University of Virginia. The caribou and reindeer populations are also declining due to a boon in predators and because extreme weather events are occasionally triggering droughts.

 

 

Wacky weather and the eviction of older ice

The Arctic pattern most pertinent to our daily lives, here in North America, revolves around warmth.

Warm air temperatures, which are increasing at twice the rate of the remaining world, continue to disrupt the polar jet stream, making it sluggish and unusually wavy. A surge of warm Arctic weather in 2017 coincided with severe winter storms in the eastern United States at the beginning of 2018 and a cold snap in Europe in March. Osborne said the jury is still out on the strength of the connection between Arctic warming and wacky weather in the mid-latitudes, but at the moment, the correlation is solid.

This atmospheric warming also drove declines in Arctic snow cover and caused melting of the Greenland ice sheet. But the biggest loser, in terms of frozen water, is Arctic sea ice. Older packs of Arctic sea ice, which used to be impervious to the annual melting cycle, are thinner and covering less area than they have in the past. The oldest ice has declined by 95 percent in the last 33 years.

“During two weeks in February, which is typically the height of ice growth, the Bering Sea lost a piece of ice the size of Idaho,” said Donald Perovich, a sea ice geophysicist at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. March witnessed the second lowest sea ice extent in 39 years.

Perovich said this loss is being felt hardest by coastal communities, which used to be buffered by the sea ice. The loss is also exposing communities to massive storm surge and disappearing shorelines. It is also depriving coastal residents of a safe route for hunting and travel.

“In 2018, the effects of persistent Arctic warming continue to mount … pushing the Arctic into unchartered territory,” Obsorne added.


Original post: https://www.kqed.org/

Oct 25 2018

Seaport developer, fishermen reach deal to help save San Diego’s storied fishing industry

Commercial fishermen David Haworth (left) and Peter Halmay talk on the G Street Mole on Sept. 24, 2018. (Brad Racino/inewsource)

 

After years of negotiations, San Diego’s fishermen and a local developer have signed an agreement to recapture a lost piece of the city’s history – a thriving commercial fishing trade that once employed thousands of people while netting hundreds of millions of dollars.

Much of the agreement focuses on five acres called Tuna Harbor, and the role it will play within Seaport San Diego, the billion-dollar waterfront development expected to break ground in 2022.

The marina is expected to provide a true “working waterfront” – a unique attraction for the Seaport project, an economic boon for the region and an opportunity for the fishermen to revive their struggling industry.

Throughout the talks, inewsource monitored the arguments, near-implosions and compromises that finally led to a deal being signed last month. It was a rare and noteworthy episode in San Diego history: Downtown land was up for grabs, and the two sides vying for a part of its future couldn’t have contrasted more in their history, finances or motivations.

“It wasn’t easy,” Peter Halmay said.

The 77-year-old urchin diver, representing San Diego’s commercial fishermen, sat next to Seaport San Diego developer Yehudi Gaffen at the conference room table of the American Tunaboat Association on Sept. 24. For years, Halmay had worked for this moment, though in a way he’d been planning it for decades – as one of the biggest advocates for commercial fishing’s “fantastic future” in San Diego.

Gaffen signed for Seaport and sat a head shorter from the tip of Halmay’s shock of white hair.

“I was 6 foot when I started,” Gaffen said.

“And I had wavy blond hair,” Halmay said.

The papers on the table were an ending point — but also a beginning. There are still government agencies, private interests and the public to appease. Not easy steps, said Alex Buggy, seated to Halmay’s right. The former Navy SEAL has spent the past three years as the intermediary between the fishermen and developer.

“But if we do it together, we have a better chance of succeeding,” Buggy said.

San Diego’s commercial fishermen rarely cooperate with outsiders. Monied interests – including developers – are naturally interested in their bayfront properties. Hotels line the downtown North Embarcadero. Two different billion-dollar developments are coming to the Central Embarcadero (home to Tuna Harbor). A third waterfront project – one of the largest on the West Coast – is expected to break ground on the Chula Vista bayfront in 2019.

Halmay, who had been negotiating on behalf of a disparate and unruly group of fishermen for the past three years, pointed to Gaffen and Buggy.

“And one thing these people never said was, ‘How do we get rid of these guys?’”

Gaffen smirked.

“We thought we could until we met you,” he said.

Setting the scene

Two years earlier – at the same table – Peter Flournoy considered the news media’s portrayal of his clients as “cowboys of the sea.” From Washington, D.C., to Papua New Guinea, the 74-year-old maritime attorney has represented fishermen for decades. A map of the world took up much of the wall behind him. San Diego Bay lapped outside his windows.

“I guess it depends on what you think of as a cowboy,” Flournoy said. “If you think of cowboys as outlaws or cattle rustlers or stuff like that, that’s not commercial fishermen. If you think of cowboys as independent, tough, resilient, hard working, with deep character, kind of people, then yeah, maybe you can call them cowboys.”

Many of these San Diego “cowboys” displayed those traits in public meetings, private talks, aboard their boats and underwater during the years of negotiations with Gaffen. They also showed volatility, a lack of organization and a level of distrust that sometimes bordered on paranoia.

Few interviewed had high hopes for Gaffen when his Seaport project cleared a hurdle on July 13, 2016.

“This has been a competition for ideas,” then-San Diego Port Commissioner Bob Nelson said to a packed house that afternoon, “and I believe there is one clear winner.”

The competition was over 70 acres of public land and water along the Central Embarcadero. Six companies presented redevelopment plans to the port – a government agency that manages thousands of acres of public land and water across San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Coronado and Imperial Beach.

The winner was 1HWY1 – Seaport’s umbrella organization managed by Gaffen, Jeffrey Essakow and Jeff Jacobs. The estimated cost for the project was $1.2 billion, funded entirely by private investment. It is now around $1.6 billion, and includes hotels, office space, retail, a school, an aquarium, public parks and more within the area from the San Diego Convention Center to the USS Midway Museum.

Five acres of that land are protected by law for San Diego’s commercial fishermen. The California Coastal Act recognizes their industry’s “economic, commercial, and recreational importance.” It’s one of the few protections the fishermen have.

“People wonder why fishing has been on a downturn, and it’s because it’s difficult to operate our businesses on a day-to-day basis,” fisherman Kelly Fukushima said.

“Everything’s a struggle.”

What’s at stake

Fishermen around the country have been on the defensive for decades. Developers are just one threat. Federal and state regulations, an overabundance of imported seafood, low wages, a lack of public awareness and an aging fleet are a few others.

These factors nearly sank the commercial fishing industry in San Diego – and the U.S. – over the past half century, and the maritime economy along with it:

  • San Diego – once known as “The Tuna Capital of the World” – went from employing more than 4,100 people in boats and canneries in 1971 to closing its last factory in 1984.
  • California fishermen went from hauling in more than 1.5 billion pounds of fish in 1950 to landing little more than 11 percent of that in 2016.
  • Foreign competition cornered the national market. Today, 85 percent to 95 percent of the fish we eat is imported, and the U.S. ran a $16 billion seafood trade deficit in 2017.

Despite these numbers, San Diego’s commercial fishermen believe opportunities abound: the Port Commission’s new chairman openly advocates for a vibrant maritime industry; fish off the California coast are plentiful after “spectacular rebuilding efforts”; the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market, a 4-year-old commercial enterprise formed and run by local fishermen, is drawing hundreds of customers each Saturday; and a panel discussion about the future of Tuna Harbor drew close to 200 people in April 2017.

“From an industry standpoint, we’re seeing a big bright light,” said Fukushima, who has been catching swordfish, shark and tuna off the coast for more than 20 years.

“The demand for our products is increasing. The public awareness of what we do is on a scale that hasn’t been recognized in a long time. There’s a great opportunity for fishing, and we need to promote it better,” he said.

“We also need to have the infrastructure to do it right.”

From Gaffen’s perspective, if San Diego fishermen are equipped with that infrastructure and support, they’ll generate a true “working waterfront” – like those in Morro Bay, San Francisco, Seattle and Tacoma.

A working waterfront also opens the door to possible apprenticeships, branding campaigns, a network of local buyers and a fishing museum, Gaffen and others said. Those elements could create a maritime district in downtown San Diego.

But key to that future is the physical state of Tuna Harbor.

On the docks

David Haworth looked around the marina this past August. The tuna, lobster and squid fisherman pointed out rotting piers and dilapidated docks before motioning toward a landscaper.

That guy is out here every day, tending to the flowers, Haworth said, while what really needs to be maintained is ignored.

The Port of San Diego is responsible for taking care of the harbor, but it hasn’t been doing the best job. Docks are falling apart – many are unusable. Storage is lacking. One study from 2010 found it would take $2.4 million to $8.4 million to renovate Tuna Harbor.

Port Chairman Rafael Castellanos acknowledged the marina’s backlog of deferred maintenance but said it’s not unique to Tuna Harbor.

“We have 34 miles of coastline, 6,000 acres,” Castellanos said of the port. “We would like for all of that to be in perfect condition, but the reality is we have to make choices every year.”

He hopes the Seaport development will fund the Tuna Harbor improvements.

That’s where the past several years of negotiations come into play. To reinvent Tuna Harbor, the developer and fishermen would have to find a compromise. The fishermen would need to overcome a silo mentality, spend much of their time on land, and learn how to work with a person who represented everything they’ve long despised – waterfront development.

Gaffen and his team had to put in long hours, organize hundreds of meetings with stakeholders, and find a way to work with a splintered faction of gruff older men who labeled his initial plans for Tuna Harbor “HS1” and “HS2” – the HS short for horseshit.

If they hadn’t worked out a deal, the fishermen could have gone to the California Coastal Commission, the port or the news media – and possibly killed Gaffen’s project.

Gaffen could have ignored the marina, or found a way around the fishermen by developing the surrounding land and taking millions of dollars off the table for reinvestment in Tuna Harbor.

‘’I don’t like to be forced by very wealthy people to do something I don’t want to do,” Halmay told inewsource. “It goes against a fisherman’s nature.‘’

Trouble on the horizon

Gaffen guessed that by August 2016 he’d already spent at least nine months meeting with Halmay and his colleagues.

“In the beginning,” Gaffen recalled, “they just said, ‘We don’t trust you, we don’t even know if we want to work with you.’”

Though the meeting locations would change every other week – from the American Tunaboat Association to the Chesapeake Fish Co. to the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute to the downstairs dining room of the Harbor House restaurant – the distrust remained constant.

Phil Harris, a second-generation fisherman, spoke to inewsource about Gaffen while piloting his boat, the Seanag.

Phil Harris was a part of the Seaport negotiations and is pictured here aboard his boat, the Seanag, in July 2016. (Brad Racino/inewsource)

“He’s a typical developer,” Harris said, then paused.

“Well, I don’t know about typical, but he is a developer and you gotta just take that into consideration in dealing with him.”

He said Gaffen had been pleasant to work with, but he was in a “position to either help us a lot, or sink us.”

“We’re headed for a confrontation, I’m sure,” Harris said.

Harris remembered the “fiasco” of the North Embarcadero development project. The Port of San Diego promised that swath of land to the public in the early 2000s, but powerful interests privatized it piece by piece. Gaffen was involved with that project, and Harris would clash frequently with the developer over the next two years.

At a crowded meeting in January 2017, Harris broke up what was becoming a productive discussion between the fishermen and Gaffen.

“What are your intentions,” Harris shot at the developer. “We’re not going to give anything up.”

During the negotiations, Harris, Halmay and dozens of other fishermen would meet on Saturday mornings at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market to sell fish and trade the latest gossip. Was Gaffen going to allow yachts inside Tuna Harbor, next to fishing boats? What was going to happen to their parking spaces? Was he going to jack up the rent?

The Tuna Harbor Dockside Market on Oct. 7, 2016. (Megan Wood/inewsource)

Even after more than a dozen meetings, they continued to doubt Gaffen.

“They are suspicious of the outcome and why this is being done,” Gaffen told inewsource at the time. “They don’t trust the data, and to some extent don’t trust us.”

He said he didn’t blame them – that they had been taken advantage of in so many areas over the decades that the lack of trust was well-founded.

A growing rift was over allowing anything other than commercial fishing boats within Tuna Harbor. From Gaffen’s standpoint, empty slips didn’t make sense: Why not fill them with sportfishing or pleasure boats when the fishermen weren’t using them? From the fishermen’s perspective, once those boats got in, they’d never leave – and there are only about 100 spots in the harbor.

Halmay’s plan for “a fantastic future” for commercial fishing would have no room to flourish if this happened.

The urchin diver and the developer could find no common ground. In February 2017, Halmay sent an email: Gaffen was pulling out of Tuna Harbor.

A turning point

Seaport’s financial backers “do not see any possibility of running the marina in the black even in the distant future,” Halmay wrote, without allowing yachts and sportfishing boats in Tuna Harbor.

Gaffen later told inewsource he didn’t know where that rumor came from, but it wasn’t true. The issue, however, would pop up again. Gaffen promised the fishermen no recreational activities would be allowed in the marina, and he presented them with plans for upgrading facilities and structures at the harbor.

Shortly after that, Halmay told inewsource at an interview in a North Park coffee shop that he had changed his mind about the Seaport developer. Gaffen had proved he was listening.

“It looks like the stuff we wanted is there. Now the real work starts,” he said.

Commercial fisherman Peter Halmay aboard the Erin B., on July 27, 2016. (Brad Racino/inewsource)

Halmay was joined that day by Theresa Talley, a scientist and researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She specializes in coastal ecosystems and had been at the negotiations from the beginning.

She started by helping the fishermen find a unified voice, then transitioned to being what she called a “referee” at the meetings.

In the summer of 2016, Talley and her colleagues at the University of California San Diego published a research paper. It found only 8 percent of San Diego’s 86 seafood markets consistently carried locally sourced fish.

Reasons cited included “a small fishing fleet, prevalence of imported seafood, limited waterfront and urban infrastructure needed to support a local seafood system, and a lack of public awareness about local fisheries.”

The week after inewsource met with Halmay and Talley, Gaffen sat for an interview at his office in Sorrento Valley.

“This is taking almost every waking moment of my day, seven days a week,” Gaffen said.

“It’s at a very critical stage of the project right now.”

But things were going better than he expected. There was mutual trust and collaboration developing, Gaffen said. The two sides were on a path together.

“I must say that after our last meeting a couple of weeks ago, it felt really good,” he said. “I think it was the ‘Aha’ moment.”

That good faith lasted a month or so.

Then, at an April 2017 port meeting, the fishermen erupted when the board proposed zoning Tuna Harbor as “mixed use.” To them, that was a nebulous term that meant removing protections given to them by state law.

“The fishermen thought we did it,” Gaffen told inewsource the morning after the meeting.

“We had nothing to do with it. It came as a surprise to us,” he said.

The port ended up dropping the “mixed use” designation, though the fishermen’s distrust would persist for months.

Deal falling apart

This year, on Feb. 3, Gaffen told inewsource the negotiations were crumbling.

Talks with the fishermen were transitioning from a “win-win” to a “lose-lose,” he said, because a small group of mavericks wouldn’t accept anything he offered. He said his team was willing to pump millions into Tuna Harbor, but the fishermen needed to give up something. They needed to agree to having secondary uses at the harbor when fishing boats weren’t filling up the piers.

Halmay, Haworth, Harris and Flournoy gathered on the G Street Pier that day. They said they were in the same position as they were 10 months before, but that Gaffen had become secretive and stopped listening to their concerns.

But before a big meeting in front of the Port Commission on March 13, the fishermen got some concessions and decided it was better to stick with Gaffen than risk everything they’d work toward.

The meeting drew people from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Tourism Authority, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, the San Diego Waterfront Coalition and others. Almost all spoke in support of Gaffen’s Seaport project – as did Halmay and Flournoy.

“When we started, we were almost talking two different languages,” Halmay said to the commission. “We look at the port from the water in, and most developers look at it from the land, from the buildings, all the way to the edge of the water. … I think we can make it into a beautiful area that would not only reflect on the history and tradition, but would be an efficient way of marketing our fish. I think we’re working towards that goal.”

Minor issues still needed to be worked out, Halmay said, but “I think we can get there.”

Gaffen, seated in the front row, was visibly happy with what he was hearing.

Port Commissioner Robert “Dukie” Valderrama from National City said to Gaffen, “When the fishermen first approached us regarding this project, there was a war going on – and it was them against you. … But the good point is you guys are meeting and you’re communicating and you’re evolving.”

He added: “Overall I’m pleased with where we’re headed.”

A done deal

The signed agreement – dated Sept. 24, 2018 – was on the table in front of Halmay and Gaffen. It described what each side was willing to give – and give up.

Seaport will keep rates low for fishermen and designate Tuna Harbor solely for commercial fishing. The developer will provide space in a waterfront building for seafood buyers and processors, along with cold storage, ice machines, live seafood tanks and other items necessary for direct marketing – something Halmay has advocated for long before Gaffen came along.

“He may be in his 70s,” liaison Alex Buggy said of Halmay, “but he honestly has the perspective of a millennial, and understands that you need to be out in the community marketing what you do, and letting Americans know that American products can be sold here locally.”

Seaport will also provide cranes, an offloading dock, more dedicated parking and berths, signage, improved storage areas, sufficient space for a fish auction, and a strong effort to help fishermen restore a pier on the North Embarcadero.

In exchange, the fishermen won’t object if Seaport wants to commercialize the bay west of the Fish Market Restaurant. They will actively support the developer’s interests in the community and at related government meetings. And they’re still negotiating how much space to cede in Tuna Harbor for other uses when there is no demand for a commercial fishing slip – but no recreational boating is allowed.

Shortly after signing the deal, Gaffen reflected on the past three years dealing with Halmay.

“A lot of credit goes to him for persevering through,” Gaffen said. Halmay could have been out fishing and making a living, but instead his dedication to building a future for San Diego’s commercial fishermen helped lay the groundwork for the agreement on the table, Gaffen said.

“Without him, we would never have got here,” the developer said.

Halmay accepted the praise in his own way – joking that those kind words will make his fellow fishermen think he’s been paid off.

The ink had dried. The two sat back in their seat.

“The treaties that the fishermen have signed with the port haven’t been very good for the last 30 years,” Halmay said. “We’ve kept losing and losing and losing. … Finally – I don’t think we’re losing in this.”

By year’s end, Gaffen said Seaport will present a final project description, which for Tuna Harbor means a “fairly precise” layout of infrastructure, slip sizes, building footprints and square footage. Then it will to the Port Commission, the California Coastal Commission and the State Lands Commission.

Once an environmental impact report is finished, Gaffen said, Tuna Harbor could be rebuilt in less than a year.

“It’s gonna be a slow build,” Buggy said. “But once it crests, it’s going to have this huge upland economic impact that’s going to be great for San Diego.”

But Halmay did exercise a note of caution, quoting “the famous philosopher Mike Tyson.”

“A plan is good,” Halmay said, “until you get punched in the face.”


Originally published: https://inewsource.org/  |  by Brad Racino | October 23, 2018 | Full article including video files

Oct 4 2018

Climate scientists are struggling to find the right words for very bad news

A much-awaited report from the U.N.’s top climate science panel will show an enormous gap between where we are and where we need to be to prevent dangerous levels of warming.

In Incheon, South Korea, this week, representatives of over 130 countries and about 50 scientists have packed into a large conference center going over every line of an all-important report: What chance does the planet have of keeping climate change to a moderate, controllable level?

When they can’t agree, they form “contact groups” outside the hall, trying to strike an agreement and move the process along. They are trying to reach consensus on what it would mean — and what it would take — to limit the warming of the planet to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, when 1 degree Celsius has already occurred and greenhouse gas emissions remain at record highs.

“It’s the biggest peer-review exercise there is,” said Jonathan Lynn, head of communications for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “It involves hundreds or even thousands of people looking at it.”

Delegates and experts attend the opening ceremony of the 48th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Incheon, South Korea, on Oct. 1, 2018. (Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images) (Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images)

The IPCC, the world’s definitive scientific body when it comes to climate change, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a decade ago and has been given what may rank as its hardest task yet.

It must not only tell governments what we know about climate change — but how close they have brought us to the edge. And by implication, how much those governments are failing to live up to their goals for the planet, set in the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

1.5 degrees is the most stringent and ambitious goal in that agreement, originally put there at the behest of small island nations and other highly vulnerable countries. But it is increasingly being regarded by all as a key guardrail, as severe climate change effects have been felt in just the past five years — raising concerns about what a little bit more warming would bring.

“Half a degree doesn’t sound like much til you put it in the right context,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development. “It’s 50 percent more than we have now.”

The idea of letting warming approach 2 degrees Celsius increasingly seems disastrous in this context.

Parts of the planet, like the Arctic, have already warmed beyond 1.5 degrees and are seeing alarming changes. Antarctica and Greenland, containing many feet of sea-level rise, are wobbling. Major die-offs have hit coral reefs around the globe, suggesting an irreplaceable planetary feature could soon be lost.

It is universally recognized that the pledges made in Paris would lead to a warming far beyond 1.5 degrees — more like 2.5 or 3 degrees Celsius, or even more. And that was before the United States, the world’s second-largest emitter, decided to try to back out.

“The pledges countries made during the Paris climate accord don’t get us anywhere close to what we have to do,” said Drew Shindell, a climate expert at Duke University and one of the authors of the IPCC report. “They haven’t really followed through with actions to reduce their emissions in any way commensurate with what they profess to be aiming for.”

The new 1.5 C report will feed into a process called the “Talanoa Dialogue,” in which parties to the Paris agreement begin to consider the large gap between what they say they want to achieve and what they are actually doing. The dialogue will unfold in December at an annual United Nations climate meeting in Katowice, Poland.

But it is unclear what concrete commitments may result.

At issue is what scientists call the ‘carbon budget’: Because carbon dioxide lives in the atmosphere for so long, there’s only a limited amount that can be emitted before it becomes impossible to avoid a given temperature, like 1.5 degrees Celsius. And since the world emits about 41 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, if the remaining budget is 410 billion tons (for example), then scientists can say we have 10 years until the budget is gone and 1.5 C is locked in.

Unless emissions start to decline — which gives more time. This is why scenarios for holding warming to 1.5 degrees C require rapid and deep changes to how we get energy.

The window may now be as narrow as around 15 years of current emissions, but since we don’t know for sure, according to the researchers, that really depends on how much of a margin of error we’re willing to give ourselves.

And if we can’t cut other gases — such as methane — or if the Arctic permafrost starts emitting large volumes of additional gases, then the budget gets even narrower.

“It would be an enormous challenge to keep warming below a threshold” of 1.5 degrees Celsius, said Shindell, bluntly. “This would be a really enormous lift.”

So enormous, he said, that it would require a monumental shift toward decarbonization. By 2030 — barely a decade away — the world’s emissions would need to drop by about 40 percent. By the middle of the century, societies would need to have zero net emissions. What might that look like? In part, it would include things such as no more gas-powered vehicles, a phaseout of coal-fired power plants and airplanes running on biofuels, he said.

“It’s a drastic change,” he said. “These are huge, huge shifts … This would really be an unprecedented rate and magnitude of change.”

And that’s just the point — 1.5 degrees is still possible, but only if the world goes through a staggering transformation.

An early draft (leaked and published by the website Climate Home News) suggests that future scenarios of a 1.5 C warming limit would require the massive deployment of technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the air and bury it below the ground. Such technologies do not exist at anything close to the scale that would be required.

“There are now very small number of pathways [to 1.5C] that don’t involve carbon removal,” said Jim Skea, chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III and a professor at Imperial College London.

It’s not clear how scientists can best give the world’s governments this message — or to what extent governments are up for hearing it.

An early leaked draft of the report said there was a “very high risk” that the world would warm more than 1.5 degrees. But a later draft, also leaked to Climate Home News, appeared to back off, instead saying that “there is no simple answer to the question of whether it is feasible to limit warming to 1.5 C . . . feasibility has multiple dimensions that need to be considered simultaneously and systematically.”

None of this language is final. That’s what this week in Incheon — intended to get the report ready for an official release on Monday — is all about.

“I think many people would be happy if we were further along than we are,” the IPCC’s Lynn said Wednesday morning in Incheon. “But in all the approval sessions that I’ve seen, I’ve seen five of them now, that has always been the case. It sort of gets there in the end.”

Jun 25 2018

El Nino, squid tariffs concern California’s ‘wetfish’ sector as prices dive

A California market squid. Photograph courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

Facing difficulties in the other pelagic species it catches, squid was a much needed bright spot for the ‘wetfish’ sector in the US state of California. Until last week.

Landings of California market squid (Doryteuthis loligo opalescens) totaled over 68,211 metric tons for the 2017 to 2018 season, which ran from April 2017 until March. That compared to 38,510t for the 2016/17 season, a sign the fishery was climbing back from years of depressed catches due to El Nino.

Nearly 8,200t have been caught during the first three months of the current season, and with the news that the sector’s key export market, China, will impose 25% tariffs on the product on top of existing 27% tariffs, a bountiful season this year may not be a good thing.

“Fishing is slow right now which is probably better because it gives it a chance to adapt,” John DeLuca, president and CEO of the J DeLuca Fish Company, told Undercurrent News.

He said that like other ‘wetfish’ harvesters, his San Pedro, California-based firm has seen China-bound orders cancelled ahead of the July 6 deadline when the new rates are supposed to come into effect.

The solution, DeLuca said, will be to “wake up old customers and markets” such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, although none of those countries buy squid at the prices and volumes that China does currently.

The result, DeLuca predicted, will be lower prices for processors and fishermen. Ex-vessel prices for squid, currently around, $1,000 per metric ton, are poised to go lower to $700, perhaps even as low as $500, he said.

“How far its going to go down, what’s the bottom going to be, we still don’t know,” he said.

‘Wetfish’ worries

Days earlier, squid processors told Undercurrent that prior to the new tariffs China was paying roughly $3,500/t for squid, which included a 27% tariff already. However, once the new 25% tariff ($911.25) is added on, the cost of squid in China will go from a total of $3,645/t to $4,556.25/t, which Chinese buyers likely won’t bear.

For Diane Pleschner-Steele, the executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association, that means the fishermen and processors could be forced to receive less for their efforts.

“That gets down the slippery slope of, if you’re going to reduce the price you have to pay the boats less and are the boats going to be able to go fishing at the lower price given the fact that fuel is now $4 per gallon?” she said.

New markets remain an option, she added, although it will depend on global supply and demand for squid.

The processors that her group represents are historically known as “wetfish” producers because their target pelagic species —  sardine, anchovy and mackerel — were canned while still wet.

But in addition to the trade woes, Pleschner-Steele said that the return of El Nino conditions could cause further issues. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration issued an “El Nino watch” earlier this month for the Pacific.

The agency predicted “neutral” El Nino conditions for the Northern Hemisphere for the rest of the summer with “the chance for El Nino increasing to 50% during fall, and ~65% during winter 2018-19”.

“We’re starting to see all the signs of it again. We’re seeing the red crabs coming again. We’re seeing fish pushing north. Usually when they start catching squid in Oregon it means that El Ninos aren’t far behind,” Pleschner-Steele said.

Unfortunately for wetfish fishermen, conditions for the pelagic species they catch haven’t been optimal either. Anchovy landings have been low, and a judge recently invalidated a rule allowing for a 25,000t quota, mackerel haven’t been plentiful, and the sardine fishery has been closed to directed commercial fishing although an incidental fishery is allowed.


Originally posted: https://www.undercurrentnews.com/ | Author: jason.smith@undercurrentnews.com

Jun 22 2018

China stops buying US squid in advance of tariffs

A California market squid. Photograph courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The 25% retaliatory tariffs that China has promised to slap on about a billion dollars worth of US seafood imports don’t go into effect for another three weeks, but US squid producers already are feeling the pain.

Chinese buyers have started cancelling their orders out of concern that shipments won’t arrive in time, Undercurrent News has learned.

“People are not buying anything right now,” said Jeff Reichle, president of Lund’s Fisheries, a squid harvester, processor and exporter based in Cape May, New Jersey. “China is completely dead.”

China issued its retaliatory tariffs late on Friday, including nearly 200 seafood items along with numerous agricultural goods in a list of some 545 total items worth a combined $50bn, as part of a tit-for-tat trade battle with US president Donald Trump. Trump earlier in the day had updated the list of Chinese products for which he had levied a 25% import tariff, increasing the number to 1,102 worth $50bn.

Calamari. Photo courtesy of Del Mar Seafoods.

Following China’s response, the White House on Monday night further upped the ante by ordering the US Trade Representative to draw up a new list of $200bn-worth of Chinese goods to hit with an additional 10% tariff.

Beijing’s tariffs threaten to hit a number of seafood sectors particularly hard when they go into effect in a few weeks, including the US lobster industry, which counted on China to buy 7,894 metric tons of lobster in 2017 worth $136.9 million.

Not too far behind the US lobster industry in its reliance on China is the US squid industry.

The US sent China 34,713t of squid worth $92.8m in 2017, nearly half of its overall 71,165t squid export volume and more than half of its $181.9m overall export value, based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data (NOAA).

By comparison, the second and third largest markets for US squid are Vietnam, which imported 8,855t worth $25.4m last year, and Japan, which imported 8,055t worth $21.5m.

‘We’re all dazed and confused here’

In particular, it’s the California market squid (Doryteuthis loligo opalescens) that the Chinese love. China imports roughly 70% of the 107,048 metric tons of the species caught off the California coast, estimates Joe Cappuccio, founder and president of Del Mar Seafoods, the US’ largest harvester and processor of the species.

Smaller and less expensive than most other squid, the California market squid can reach a total “tube length” of 28 cm, though a more typical size is 10 to 15 cm. They live just six to nine months, dying shortly after they reproduce, but are known for being able to handle a high amount of fishing pressure.

The California squid fishery was started in 1863 by Chinese immigrants, who used torches at night to attract them and skiffs to encircle a net around them. Today they’re caught by purse seiners and light boats who still use lights to draw them in.

When it comes to consuming the creature, “there is no substitute for California squid”, Reichle said. “The person that goes to a restaurant in China and orders a lobster is not the same person that orders squid. The squid, in China, is eaten by everyone, regardless of income level.”

Americans see squid and think calamari. But in China, squid is often served in a hotpot, dropping it into boiling water at a table. As a result, it’s popular during winter months.

China’s move was a punch to the gut for Del Mar, Cappuccio said. His company maintains eight of its own squid harvesting vessels and contracts with three other independent boats to harvest 20% to 25% of the California quota.

Lund’s, which also maintains a West Coast operation, catches and processes about 10% of California’s squid, said Reichle.

“We’re all dazed and confused here,” Cappuccio said on Tuesday.

China recently has paid top dollar for the California squid – roughly $2,700 per metric ton – plus a roughly 27% tariff based on a “minimum price” set by the Chinese government of $3,500 ($945). However, once the new 25% tariff ($911.25) is added on, the cost of squid in China will go from a total of $3,645 per metric ton to $4,556.25, an amount he and Reichle are both convinced the Chinese importers will not being willing to bare.

There are few remaining options for the US companies, except for reducing costs in order to keep the pain as low as possible for the Chinese buyers, the two men said.

“We’re all going to have to cut our margins back, the harvesters and the processors,” Cappuccio said.

On the bright side, as the price of squid is reduced, doors might open in other countries that were outbid by China. Cappuccio mentioned the Philippines, which he suggested could buy eager to buy more than the 1,732t of squid it spent $4.2m on in 2017.

Chinese importers similarly will struggle to replace California squid, Reichle said. There aren’t other kinds of squid that can easily take its place. In recent years when El Ninos, bands of warm ocean water that develop in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific, have hurt production, China simply went without importing as much squid, he said.

Solution needed before October

Undercurrent confirmed at least one report of squid containers on the water that may not get into China. Cappuccio said his company is keeping its fingers crossed for a few that were en route to China on Friday when the news broke about the tariffs.

But it could be worse, he said.

The Monterey Bay area of the California coast where squid are being harvested now accounts for only 20% to 30% of the total annual quota. The much larger portion, roughly 80%, will get harvested in the more southernly California coast between early October and late December.

However, should the Trump administration not be able to work out its differences with China before early October, the US squid industry could be in trouble.

“Come October, our company alone will be packing and shipping 30 containers a day, and we’ve done as many as 40,” Cappuccio said, noting that a single container typically contains 50,000 lbs.

Multiple trade experts have been quoted in the press as expressing skepticism that a deal can be reached between China and the US before July 6, and one trade expert said it could take the rest of the year. But Cappuccio is trying to remain optimistic.

“I think it’s too early right now to know what to think,” he said Tuesday. “We’re all guessing at this point.”


Originally posted: https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2018/06/20/china-stops-buying-us-squid-in-advance-of-tariffs/

Contact the author jason.huffman@undercurrentnews.com

Apr 23 2018

Dr. Ray Hilborn and Team Launch New Sustainable Fisheries Website

The website and education tools make learning and reporting about seafood sustainability easier than ever.

 

SEATTLE, WA April 23, 2018 – Dr. Ray Hilborn and his network a fisheries scientists launch SustainableFisheries-UW.org. The website is built around Sustainable Seafood 101, a series of posts meant to explain the science, policy, and social aspects of global fisheries.

 

“Our goal is that anyone interested – a high school student, PhD candidate, or reporter alike – could read Sustainable Seafood 101 and walk away with a good understanding of the complexities of global fisheries,” said Dr. Hilborn, professor at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington.

 

The new website also offers free fact-checking and source-finding for any interested journalist. Sustainable Fisheries UW can quickly put journalists, or other interested parties, in touch with the right expert to answer questions or fulfill interview requests.

 

The Sustainable Fisheries UW blog will keep readers up-to-date on events and research, as well as management and policy actions from around the world. Sustainable Seafood 101 coupled with up-to-date blogging gives readers access to fisheries science and policy in context, providing more complete information than can be gathered from a typical article. Sustainable Fisheries UW is a resource that explains fisheries news and provides relevant, supporting information quickly and easily.

 

The site also includes “Fishery Features” where long form posts detail the history and status of compelling fisheries around the world. The “Fact Check” section will highlight controversies in fishery science and stress the correct information.

 

Finally, SustainableFisheries-UW.org will serve as the archive for CFoodUW, our former website meant to give fishery scientists and experts a platform to discuss recent research and fishery policy.

 

You can find Sustainable Fisheries UW on twitter @SustainFishUW and Facebook. For a more in-depth description of the site and Sustainable Seafood 101, visit the about page, contact us, or see the introductory blog.

 

 

 

Jan 24 2018

California Sea Lion Population Rebounded to New Highs

Sea lion numbers reflect conditions in California Current through the decades.
California Sea Lion Population Rebounded, Photo credit: Jeff Harris

California sea lions have fully rebounded under the protection of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), with their population on the West Coast reaching carrying capacity in 2008 before unusually warm ocean conditions reduced their numbers, according to the first comprehensive population assessment of the species.

The sea lion population is healthy and robust, the new research found, and its recovery over the past several decades reflects an important success for the MMPA. The landmark 1972 legislation recognized marine mammals as a central element of their ocean ecosystems, setting population goals based on levels that would contribute to the health and stability of those ecosystems.

The MMPA calls those levels the Optimum Sustainable Population (OSP), and provides options for states to take over management of species that have reached their OSP.

California Sea Lion Rookery, Photo credit: Sharon Melin
Adult male California sea lions are identified by their large size, dark brown fur and conspicuous crest on their forehead. Adult females are blonde to light brown and are smaller than the adult males. Pups are dark brown to black.

 

California sea lions have now reached those levels, according to the new assessment by scientists from NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Fisheries Science Center and Southwest Fisheries Science Center. They published the results of the long-term collaborative study today in the Journal of Wildlife Management.

“The population has basically come into balance with its environment,” said coauthor Sharon Melin, a research biologist at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center who has tracked sea lion numbers in Southern California’s Channel Islands for years. “The marine environment is always changing, and their population is at a point where it responds very quickly to changes in the environment.”

California Sea Lion Rookery, Photo credit: Jeff Harris
California sea lion frolicking near the rookery at San Miguel Island, California.

Scientists combined the results of sea lion pup counts in the Channel Islands, aerial surveys of sea lion rookeries, survival rates and other information to reconstruct the growth of the sea lion population from 1975 to 2014. They gained enough insight into the dynamics of the population to fill in gaps from a few years with little data.

Video: California Sea Lion Rookery on San Miguel Island

Market hunting, bounties, pollutants such as DDT and other forces depressed sea lion numbers in the middle of the last century. The new study found that the species then rose from less than 90,000 animals in 1975 to an estimated 281,450 in 2008, which was roughly the carrying capacity for sea lions in the California Current Ecosystem at that time. It then fluctuated around that level, reaching a high of 306,220 in 2012 before declining below the carrying capacity in the years since as ocean conditions changed.

Such a long-term reconstruction of the sea lion population has never been done before, said Robert DeLong, leader of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s California Current Ecosystems Program and a coauthor of the new research.

California Sea Lion Graphic

California Sea Lion Graphic

The researchers found sea lion numbers very sensitive to environmental changes, especially changes in ocean temperatures that affect their prey. Their models based on past population shifts predict that an increase of 1 degree C in sea surface temperature off the West Coast will reduce sea lion population growth to zero, while an increase of 2 degrees will lead to a 7 percent decline in the population.
“When the California Current is not productive, they respond pretty fast and dramatically,” Melin said. “They’re out there in the ocean sampling it all the time. That makes them a very powerful indicator of what’s happening in the marine environment.”

Marine conditions since 2012 have illustrated that. An unusual marine heat wave off the West Coast known as “the blob” combined with an El Niño climate pattern reduced pup production and survival, with thousands of malnourished pups stranding on Southern California beaches. NOAA Fisheries declared the elevated number of deaths an Unusual Mortality Event in 2013.

The sea lion population dropped to just over 250,000 in 2013 and 2014.

“This is not just a story about continued growth of the population,” DeLong said. “These last several years have brought new environmental stresses to the California Current, and we’ve seen that reflected by the sea lions.”

Understanding the relationship between sea lion numbers and the environment can help scientists detect signals of coming change. Wildlife managers can then use that information to anticipate and prepare for shifts in the ecosystem and its inhabitants.

“It helps us to understand the factors driving this population, because we can incorporate them into management decisions,” said Chris Yates, Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources in NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region.

The general recovery of sea lion numbers has had other consequences on the West Coast, including conflicts with people over beach access where sea lions haul out and concern about sea lion predation on threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead in the Northwest. NOAA Fisheries has authorized Oregon, Washington and Idaho to remove individually identifiable sea lions near the Columbia River’s Bonneville Dam that have been spotted repeatedly preying on fish protected under the Endangered Species Act.

The species maintained OSP levels even when small numbers of adult males were being removed to protect salmon runs in the Columbia River and climate events were depressing growth. That suggests that the removal of a limited number of sea lions in such programs is unlikely to affect the population as a whole, Melin said.

She stressed the value of long-term data in understanding the dynamics of the population. “If we had looked only at the last five years, we would have thought sea lions were in a tailspin,” she said. “Because we know the history of the population, we can put the recent decline in perspective.”

Breeding group with branded females, Photo credit: Sharon Melin
Territorial adult male California sea lion (large dark brown animal) with his group of adult females (large blonde animals) and their newborn pups (small black animals) at San Miguel Island, California. Five of the females with brands are part of the survival and reproductive studies.


Read the original post: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/

Jan 24 2018

A quarter million?! California sea lion population has tripled, new study finds

Sea lions bask in the winter sun Monday afternoon, Dec. 14, 2015, at Pier 39 in San Francisco, Calif. A research study published in this week’s issue of the journal Science reports an increase in the number of the mammals sickened by domoic acid, a toxin produced by naturally occurring marine algae. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

The West Coast’s population of California sea lions — the playful marine animals that delight tourists on the Santa Cruz waterfront and San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf while competing with salmon fishermen for valuable catches — has tripled in the past 40 years to more than 250,000.

In a study released Wednesday, federal biologists say strict environmental laws to protect marine mammals have worked so well that California sea lions have become the first marine mammal that lives along the entire West Coast to recover to its natural carrying capacity. That’s the maximum population size a species can reach based on an area’s available food.

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“There have been ups and downs, but generally the trend has been upward,” said Sharon Melin, a biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle.

In 1972, with the public alarmed that the hunting of whales and other animals was threatening to drive some species to extinction, President Richard Nixon signed the Marine Mammal Protection Act. One of the landmark environmental laws of the 20th century, the law cleared Congress on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote that would likely be impossible today. The U.S. Senate passed it 88-2 and the House of Representatives 362-10. The law brought sweeping changes, making it illegal to hunt, kill, injure or harass any marine mammal, including whales, seals, dolphins and sea otters.

No longer hunted for their dense fur, sea otters have risen in number, and California gray whales — which were being killed from a whaling station in Richmond for Kal-Kan dog food as recently as 1972 — have bounced back so much that they have been removed from the federal Endangered Species list.

But California sea lions — which range from Mexico to Alaska — have exploded the most in number, jumping from an estimated 88,924 in 1975 to 257,606 in 2014, according to the new NOAA study.

But all the sea lions have caused problems.

They have broken docks and sunk boats at marinas. They have vexed salmon fishermen, following their boats and eating valuable fish off their lines.

“With some fishing days seeing as few as five to 10 fish, a commercial fisherman can still make money with 10 fish if they are $10 per pound, but if you’re losing them to sea lions that can have a major effect,” said John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association in San Francisco.

The water boils with activity as sea lions, birds, dolphins and humpback whales feed on schools of anchovies less than a mile outside of the Moss Landing, Calif., in the Monterey Bay on Aug. 10, 2014. (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

In December, three swimmers at Aquatic Park Cove in San Francisco suffered sea lion bites, causing puncture wounds on their legs and arms that sent them to the hospital. The National Park Service closed the cove for a week, then reopened it Dec. 20, only to have another swimmer bitten last week. The area, popular with distance swimmers in San Francisco Bay, is now open, but posted with warning signs.

“Biting is an unusual activity,” said Lynn Cullivan, a spokesman for the National Park Service. “Swimmers are still seeing animals out there, but they aren’t being aggressive. We are telling people to stay toward the shore and swim with a buddy.”

Sea lions were once shot in large numbers. From 1900 until the early 1930s, Oregon paid a bounty of up to $10 per dead sea lion to make it harder for them to compete with commercial fishermen. Washington state paid $5 per dead sea lion in the 1950s, causing thousands to be killed. Until the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972, fishermen regularly shot them off the California coast.

NOAA’s Melin noted that federal lawmakers have amended the act to allow the killing of a few California sea lions that have eaten large numbers of endangered salmon. In 2008, federal officials gave a permit to Washington, Oregon and Idaho to kill about 80 sea lions a year that were congregating at the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, eating large numbers of endangered spring run chinook salmon. The permit, which caused an outcry among animal welfare groups, calls for sea lions that are repeat offenders to be branded with a mark. Then, if they continue to eat the fish, they’re trapped and euthanized.

“It is kind of a garbage-can bear situation where animals learn the behavior,” Melin said. “If you can keep animals from learning it, then they don’t go in there. It’s not a population level problem; it’s an individual problem.”

The reason that California sea lions have rebounded faster than other West Coast species is that they have a wide variety of prey they eat, including squid, herring, sardines, mackerel and salmon, she said.

But the sea lions are vulnerable to changing water temperatures. During recent El Niño winters, when warm water caused some fish species to move hundreds of miles from their normal habitats, California sea lion populations dipped, and coastal residents reported malnourished pups along the shoreline.

The population peaked in 2012 at 306,000. If climate change causes the ocean to warm another 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, that could cause their population growth to stop. And if the temperatures rise at twice that amount, the population would fall by up to 7 percent a year, the NOAA study found.

For now, experts say, the sea lion rebound is a good sign that the Pacific Ocean is fairly healthy.

“This is the day that people who wrote these laws really envisioned,” said Jerry Moxley, a research scientist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. “It’s a grand success. It’s something we can all celebrate as part of our shared heritage.”


Read the original post: https://www.mercurynews.com/

Nov 9 2017

Several hundred tons of squid offloaded in Ventura

Ventura Harbor saw a haul of around 300 to 400 tons of squid Tuesday morning, which harbor officials say is a good sign. TYLER HERSKO/THE STAR

 

The smell of squid filled the air Tuesday morning at Ventura Harbor, where workers were bustling to offload hundreds of tons of it.

The morning’s activities represented one of the largest squid hauls the harbor has seen in recent history. Approximately 300 to 400 tons of squid were brought into the harbor, representing a positive turn of events, said Frank Locklear, manager of commercial fisheries and technology at the Ventura Harbor Village Marina.

Locklear noted that squid season typically begins in April and the harbor saw squid through June. That said, Locklear added that squid numbers were practically nonexistent from July through September, which forced the harbor’s fishing companies to carefully save their resources until squid returned. Beyond that, the past three years have been particularly difficult for squid fishing due to poor weather conditions.

While the harbor prefers to receive around 500 to 600 tons on an average day, Locklear was confident that Tuesday’s haul represented a change of fortune. Squid fishing is one of the leading factors in the harbor’s success, according to Locklear.

“The harbor is a huge economic ball that is supported by the fishing industry,” Locklear said. “Fishing is the lifeblood of this harbor, and squid is the key.”

The squid fishing businesses that use the harbor export a significant majority of their yields to China, Locklear said.

Most of the squid sold in restaurants is imported from Asia, where squid cleaning and processing is cheaper.

Regardless, Locklear stressed that squid fishing is crucial to the economic well-being of both local fishing companies and the harbor as a whole. The harbor uses part of the revenue it receives from squid fishing companies to send representation to Washington, D.C., to get the funding it needs for dredging, which removes sand and sediment from the bottom of the harbor’s entrance.

Regular dredging is of paramount importance, and squid fishing is the primary thing that makes dredging possible, according to Locklear.

“Ventura Harbor is home to three large recreational marinas that have dive boats, island excursion boats and sport fishermen that need to get out of the harbor to survive,” Locklear said. “Without the funds that we get for our squid, we can’t go to Washington to get the funding we need for dredging. If we don’t dredge yearly, our boats can’t come in and out.”


Read original post: http://www.vcstar.com/

Oct 25 2017

Testimony of Ray Hilborn to U.S. Senate subcommittee

Testimony of Ray Hilborn to U.S. Senate subcommittee.

 


 

Subcommittee to Continue Hearing Series on Magnuson-Stevens Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene the hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Fisheries Science,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. The hearing is the fourth of the series and will focus on the state of our nation’s fisheries and the science that supports sustainable management.

Witnesses:

– Mr. Karl Haflinger, Founder and President, Sea State, Inc
– Dr. Ray Hilborn, Professor, University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
– Dr. Michael Jones, Professor, Michigan State University Quantitative Fisheries Center
– Dr. Larry McKinney, Director, Texas A&M University Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
2:30 p.m.
Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.