Archive for the Events Category

Jun 30 2017

Seafood meets science at new marine conservation center

June 26, 2017 – Opah crudo, prepared by chef Davin Waite of Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub, for a sustainable seafood event at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. (Jessica Waite)


A new Scripps Oceanography center will include labs, classrooms — and a test kitchen, where chefs and scientists will develop tasty, marketable dishes from sustainable seafood.

Marine researchers discussed the project with top chefs at a forum Monday, where they considered how to take pressure off popular seafood such as tuna and swordfish by creating markets for new delicacies.

Guests at the event sampled some of those specialties, prepared by seafood experts such as San Francisco Michelin Star Chef Matthew Dolan, and Davin Waite, owner of the pioneering Oceanside sushi bar, Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub. Offerings included fresh sea urchin, halibut crudo, veggies with fish sauce, and bacon sliders made from Opah, a round predator also known as moonfish.

“How do we get those to market?” asked Richard Norris, a professor of paleobiology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. “How do we get people to eat these kind of odd-looking things on their plates?”

That’s the question they’ll explore in the new marine conservation facility, to be located in the old National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building adjacent to the Scripps campus. The building will undergo renovation starting this December, and open in December 2018, said Steve Gallagher, assistant vice chancellor for Scripps Oceanography.

The facility will have research labs piped with local saltwater, and classrooms where university students, as well as local elementary and high school students, can learn about fisheries and marine ecosystems. It will also feature the test kitchen, where researchers from Scripps and NOAA will collaborate with chefs to determine the best kinds of fish to use and the best way to cook them.

They’ll develop novel recipes using locally caught seafood and parts of fish — such as heads and stomachs — that aren’t typically part of the American diet. The facility will also include a cafe where students, staff and visitors can try out the new creations, Gallagher said.

The plan is part of a push to produce sustainable seafood — including farmed fish, less sensitive species and underutilized parts of fish — that appeals to consumers’ appetites. It capitalizes on San Diego’s unique intersection of marine science and adventurous eating.

“We have the ingredients for a solution,” said Sarah Mesnick, an ecologist and science liason for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. “We are poised to be the sustainable seafood capital of the world. The chefs in town are setting the bar for seafood at an entirely new level.”

They’re setting it even higher at the new center, where Mesnick compared their vision to that of famed Berkeley chef Alice Waters, whose restaurant “Chez Panisse” popularized the use of local, organic food in gourmet cuisine.

“Not unlike the revolution that Alice Waters did with ‘farm to table,’ they’re doing it with ‘ocean to table,’” Mesnick said.

To accomplish that, Waite said, they’ll need to push consumers past their comfort zone. He’s succeeded in that experiment at the “Wrench and Rodent,” where his zero waste approach to seafood preparation has resulted critically acclaimed dishes such as Kentucky fried tuna heads and sausage made from fish egg casing.

At the new center, chefs and scientists will put their heads together to bring those unconventional but sustainable tastes to a broader group of consumers.

“How do we market it to the American public and what they’re used to?” Waite asked. “How do you make it cool?”

Originally posted:

May 27 2016

Ray Hilborn receives international fisheries science prize

Ray Hilborn, a UW professor of aquatic and fishery sciences, this week will receive the 2016 International Fisheries Science Prize at the World Fisheries Congress in Busan, South Korea.

rhilbornRay Hilborn

The award is given to Hilborn by the World Council of Fisheries Societies’ International Fisheries Science Prize Committee in recognition of his 40-year career of “highly diversified research and publication in support of global fisheries science and conservation,” according to a news release.

For Hilborn, who has received numerous awards for his research — including the Volvo Environment Prize and the Ecological Society of America’s Sustainability Science Award — this recognition is particularly significant because it comes from other experts in fisheries science.

“It’s very gratifying in that it is experts in fisheries that are doing the evaluation and selection for this award,” Hilborn said.

As part of his award, Hilborn will give a keynote talk May 27 about how to sustain fisheries in the future by building on management success stories.

“We know how to sustainably manage large fisheries in rich countries. But the real challenge is those approaches won’t work for small-scale fisheries around the world or in countries that don’t have the wealth or governance that we do,” he said.

Hilborn’s research and teaching at the UW is in natural resource management and conservation. He has authored several books, including “Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know,” and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles. He is a fellow of the Washington State Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of Canada and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The World Fisheries Congress meets every four years in different locations, bringing together fisheries scientists from academic institutions and nongovernmental organizations. This is the seventh meeting; the first took place in Athens, Greece, in 1992.

Originally published:   For more information, contact Hilborn at

Oct 9 2015

Savoring Sustainable Seafood

A Message from Eileen Sobeck, Head of NOAA Fisheries

October is National Seafood Month and across the country, there’s a bounty of delectable seafood choices to enjoy from U.S. fisheries.

Our fisheries are among the largest and most sustainable in the world, and all U.S. seafood is responsibly harvested and grown under a strong monitoring, management, and enforcement regime that works to keep the marine environment healthy, fish and shellfish populations thriving, and our seafood industry on the job.

A steady, sustainable supply of safe, healthy seafood is a critical ingredient to keeping our coastal communities and working waterfronts resilient, both environmentally and economically. And we know that our investments in science-based fisheries management are paying off. In 2013, U.S. fishermen landed 9.9 billion pounds of fish and shellfish worth $5.5 billion—that’s an increase of 245 million pounds and an additional $388 million compared to 2012. And in 2014, the number of U.S. fish stocks rebuilt since 2000 increased to 37. As a result of the combined efforts of NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils, and all of our partners, the number of stocks listed as subject to overfishing or overfished continues to decline and are at an all-time low.

For more facts about what makes U.S. seafood sustainable, seafood lovers can turn to FishWatch, the nation’s database on sustainable fisheries. And some great news—coming soon, consumers can find FishWatch information when they’re on the go—right on their phone or tablet.

Stay tuned throughout National Seafood Month as NOAA Fisheries features stories and updates on our website highlighting:

  • The dynamic process of sustainably managing living marine resources in an ever-changing ocean environment;
  • Getting to know your seafood from ocean-to-plate;
  • Recent advancements in aquaculture, and much more.

You can also learn more about the 100 marine species profiled on FishWatch with our daily #SeafoodMonth facts coming soon.

This October, we encourage you to take some time to stop and savor the season, as well as the healthful and tasty seafood available.

Eileen Sobeck
Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries

May 23 2015

In the same boat: Breaking bread and stereotypes with Monterey fishermen

From left, Sicilian fishermen Sal Tringali, Anthony Russo, Neil Guglielmo, Sam Mercurio and John Aliotti stand in front of Guglielmo’s boat, the Trionfo, at the Monterey Harbor. With them is Russo’s dog, Diesel. (David Royal — Monterey Herald)


Monterey >> When seven Sicilian fishermen invite me to lunch I happily accept, even when it’s clear they seem perturbed by media misrepresentation and daily threats to their livelihood.

“Why do they want to have lunch with you?” asks my adoring wife, eyebrows arched.

“It’s an offer I can’t refuse.”

“If you’re not home in an hour I’m going to worry.”

Three hours later we’re deep into our 10th course at Domenico’s on the Wharf, hosted by restaurateur and fisherman Sam Mercurio. At this point my bilge is full, and more than a few empty wine bottles stand as sentries to a ceremonial clearing of stereotypes.

There is no anger here — perhaps exasperation. These men are intelligent, charismatic, hilariously witty, and care deeply about protecting the oceans for future generations. They fit none of our ignorant labels save a few: They love to talk and eat, often at the same time.

Meet Neil Guglielmo. He’s widely known as The Anchovy King. For 57 years he’s fished the Pacific Ocean for everything from anchovies to barracuda. At the helm of his fishing vessel Trionfo, Guglielmo makes a living up and down our coast.

Guglielmo has a weathered face brightened by lively eyes that reflect something deeper. He’s affable and funny and you aren’t surprised to discover he spent several years on Broadway performing in musicals such as “Mamma Mia” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

We start our feast with fresh-caught anchovies, lightly floured and fried … headless. I grab them by the tail and devour them like French fries. A mound disappears as Guglielmo recounts the record squid catch of last year.

“There’s a lot of life on the bay right now,” he said. “The squid will come.”

That’s debatable. The ocean is fickle, and under attack. Take the sardines. After record seasons over the last decade, the Pacific Fishery Management Council canceled the upcoming season due to declining populations.

The fishermen agree with such management, and see the value in closing the sardine fishery this year. They just resent being blamed for the problem, especially when many scientists agree that the marine environment, predation and ocean temperatures lead to periodic sardine population fluctuations.

What bothers these tablemates most (rounding out the group are Sal P. Tringali, Anthony Tringali and Sal M. Tringali, owners of Monterey Fish Co.) are the accusations made by groups they feel are threatening their livelihood and reputations.

“Oceana said we overfished the sardines. That’s an outright lie, and irresponsible to report that in the paper,” said Anthony Russo, the outspoken captain of the vessel King Phillip.

Table silence.

“And they said we’re responsible for sea lions dying off,” he said. “That’s wrong, too. People write whatever they want to write. We’re busy working. We’re tired of hearing that fishermen are outlaws raping the ocean. We live here. Raise families here. The ocean is our livelihood and we see value in protecting it. Of course we do.”

They point to the rockfish fishery, which has made a comeback in large part because of fishermen who used their boats to work with scientists to monitor the fishery. Fishermen raised funds to purchase other boats and licenses to make the current fishery a limited entry. It proved that fishermen, government agencies and scientists could work together in an effective way.

The bad vibes dissipate with the arrival of a gigantic antipasti platter, laden with lightly fried calamari, pickled celery and plump Sicilian olives. Another pulled cork. Another story, this one about sustainability.

John Aliotti is practically the poster boy for the movement. He’s just finished the spot prawn season aboard his vessel Defense. His family helped start this fishery, creating special handmade traps that capture the spot prawns in the water column (around 800 feet deep off Carmel Canyon near Point Lobos). The pots allow smaller prawns to escape, limit by-catch and don’t destroy the sea bottom.

“We are here to preserve the fishery, catch enough to make a living and make sure we protect it for the future,” he said, slurping sweet Fanny Bay oysters from the shell along with the rest of us.

During the season Aliotti sets his pots six days a week at 2 a.m., and works through holidays and weekends. “If you have 30K worth of gear in the water, you can’t leave,” he said. “It’s your life.”

The Japanese call spot prawns “amaebi,” meaning “sweet shrimp,” and Aliotti sells much of his haul to Asian markets in San Jose because they will buy in large quantities. Monterey restaurants stand second in line, but friends such as Mercurio get their share.

“I haul them up in buckets right from the boat to the restaurant,” Mercurio said.

No spot prawns on the menu this day, but Mercurio brings out sand dabs, breaded and sautéed, spritzed with fresh lemon. Simple. Bacon-wrapped scallops and long spears of asparagus share the plate.

Next, oysters Rockefeller. This decadent spin on a classic includes spinach, pancetta, Parmesan and hollandaise, with a splash of Pernod in the mix, and a dollop of caviar on top.

At this point I’m listing considerably, and fear an actual coma. The stories continue. They talk seasickness, dogs, poetry, falling asleep at the wheel, the rising cost of fuel and the many perils at sea.

More food. Tiny pearls of acini de pepe pasta with Dungeness crab, roasted corn, garlic, lemon, tomatoes, scallions and Reggiano Parmigiano. Even a watchful pelican perched on a post outside the window seems impressed.

Thankfully, a palate cleanser (housemade orange sorbet) primes us for the finale: enormous Alaskan king crab legs from the Bering Sea, caught by some other fishermen friends of Mercurio, Jonathan and Andy Hillstrand from the vessel Time Bandit (and the popular TV show “Deadliest Catch”).

“Doesn’t need butter,” Mercurio said. “It’s so fresh you want to taste the crab.” He’s right.

Someone pours a round of Averna, a Sicilian liqueur that aids digestion. I hear my chair groan. Maybe it’s me. My notebook is filled with hieroglyphics. I will have to interpret another day.

I vaguely remember eating a few cannoli. Finally I rise with a wobble to excuse myself.

I leave with a new appreciation for commercial fishermen, their lives and their daily conundrum: They live to fish, and fish to live, but if they catch them all then all is lost. No boat, no income, no seafood feasts with friends.

“I’m the only one left, third generation from the old country,” Russo said. “It’s over after me. In the end we just want to be seen for who we are and what we stand for.”

Anthony Russo, left, and Neil Guglielmo talk about where the fish are while standing on a walkway at the Monterey Harbor. Russo owns the King Phillip and the Sea Wave, docked in Moss Landing Harbor. Guglielmo owns the Trionfo, docked in Monterey. (David Royal — Monterey Herald)

May 22 2015

Declaration of Fisheries Closure Due to a Public Health Threat Caused by an Oil Spill Affecting Marine Waters


UPDATE: Declaration of Fisheries Closure Due to a Public Health Threat Caused by an Oil Spill Affecting Marine Waters

On May 19, 2015 a pipeline break occurred near Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, affecting shorelines to the east and west. The initial statement estimated that 500 barrels of heavy crude oil was released and the responsible party has been identified as Plains All American.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) was informed of this spill. OEHHA recommended that a fisheries closure be initiated. On May 19, 2015 a closure was issued, prohibiting the catch and consumption of finfish and shellfish in the area of the closure.

OEHHA has revised its recommendation regarding the  geographic boundaries of the closed area, and is advising that fishers avoid fishing in areas where there is visible sheen on the water. In consultation with OEHHA, the fishery closure area set on May 19, 2015 has been extended. The geographic boundaries of the closure include coastal areas from Canada de Alegeria at the western edge to Coal Oil Point at the eastern edge. The closure boundary includes the  shoreline and offshore areas between these points to 6 miles offshore. This closure is effective immediately. This closure prohibits the take of finfish and shellfish either from shorelines or from vessels on the water. An updated map is available online.


The official CDFW fisheries closure declaration is available online. For more information, please visit the CDFW Office of Spill Prevention and Response web page.



May 21 2015

CDFW Closes Fishery Following Spill in Santa Barbara


The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) closed fishing and shellfish harvesting in Santa Barbara County from 1 mile west of Refugio State Beach to 1 mile east of the beach at the recommendation of the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) following the crude oil pipeline spill May 19.

The closure went into effect on May 19, 2015. It remains in place until OEHHA, part of the California Environmental Protection Agency, advises CDFW that it is safe for fishing to resume. Land markers for the closure are near the intersection of Highway 101 and Calle Real Road (west) to near the intersection of Highway 101 and Venadito Canyon Road (east). OEHHA also advises that anglers avoid fishing in areas where there is visible sheen on the water.

The United States Coast Guard and CDFW responded to the initial report of 21,000 gallon spill. The source was secured, but an unknown amount reached the Pacific Ocean.

Clean up operations and investigation into the incident is ongoing. The Oiled Wildlife Care Network has activated recovery teams to collect oiled animals. Anyone seeing oiled wildlife should report it to 1-877-UCD-OWCN (877-823-6926).

For a map of the fishery closure area and more information about this incident, please visit the CDFW Office of Spill Prevention and Response web page.
# # #


Alexia Retallack,
CDFW Office of Spill Prevention and Response
(916) 952-3317



Nov 25 2014

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Opens Dec. 1 in Northern California


The northern California Dungeness crab season will open at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 north of the Sonoma-Mendocino county line.

Prior to the season opening, commercial fishermen are allowed a 64-hour gear setting period. This year, crab trap gear can be set no earlier than 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 28.

Quality tests conducted in northern California in November indicate that California Dungeness crabs are ready for harvest. For the results from the pre-season quality tests, please visit the PSMFC website.

Oregon and Washington Dungeness crab seasons will also open on Dec. 1. The central California Dungeness crab season (Sonoma-Mendocino county line to Mexico border) opened on Nov. 15.

For more information on Dungeness crab, please visit the Invertebrate Management Project web page.
Nov 18 2014

Dungeness crab fishery opens on Central California Coast, hundreds of boats participate

Published with permission from SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton Nov. 18, 2014
The Central California dungeness crab season opened on Saturday, and initial reports are that the catches are going well.

“”We’re guardedly optimistic,” said Zeke Grader executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association.

“We could very well be looking at year records for this time of year, but that doesn’t mean there’s necessarily more crab than in previous years, it just means more crab has been harvested earlier.”

Each year vessels in the northern zones of California and Oregon have to make a decision whether to participate in the early Bay Area fishery that opens November 15th, or wait until the regular season opens in the Northern sections, which usually is around December 1st, but can be delayed by slow growth of the crabs.

Any vessel fishing in the southern zone has to wait 30 days after the northern seasons open before itr can return to fish in the northern areas.

This year, most boats from Crescent city in Northern California set out to fish the Bay area, based on reports of abundant crabs, and the recent facts that the central area has landed more crab than the north.

Last year, the northern area landed about 6.68 million lbs, while the southern area landed 10.41 million lbs.  This is different than the historical average, where landings are generally higher in the north.

In Northern California, Oregon and Washington, the opening is determined by when a test fishery operated by the three states shows the crabs have sufficient meat fill, above 25%.  This year, the tests are being done as late as possible.

Anecdotal reports from some of the sport fisheries suggest the crabs have good meat fill, and that the season may open on December 1st.

Tests for Eureka and Crescent city should be available later this week.

Between 2013 and 2014, dungeness landings coast wide fell about 28%.  The shortfall, combined with strong live market demand from china, has led to consistently high dungeness prices over the past year.

View original post at:

Oct 1 2014

Celebrating Seafood, Sustainability, and Stewardship

A Message from Eileen Sobeck, Head of NOAA Fisheries | October 1, 2014

The arrival of fall can mean only one thing: Seafood.

Yes, while we at NOAA Fisheries appreciate the changing of the leaves and cooler temperatures that signify the change in seasons, for us fall is a celebration of seafood.

October is National Seafood Month and a chance for the “seafoodie” in each of us to rejoice. Nationwide, restaurants and markets showcase new seafood choices on their menus that are healthy and flavorful, and that highlight the sustainability of U.S. fisheries from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico.

We know a little something about sustainably caught and farmed seafood, the jobs supported, and enjoyment experienced. Our science-based management process is delivering results benefiting both the environment and the economy. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the contributions and commitment of our partners and stakeholders who have helped make the U.S. a world leader in the successful stewardship of marine resources.

Seafood has become a powerful ambassador for global ocean stewardship—effectively connecting the wellbeing of human populations to the health and productivity of our ocean resources; and, more importantly, our collective responsibility for their stewardship.

Throughout National Seafood Month, NOAA Fisheries will feature stories and updates underscoring the successes and challenges of sustainable fisheries and the seafood they provide. We’ll also highlight the collaborative efforts of the commercial fishing, seafood and aquaculture industries, recreational and subsistence anglers, and conservation communities that will help us move forward and build on our successes.

So we invite you to explore seafood this month, knowing that you and NOAA Fisheries have helped make that enjoyment possible.

e_sobeck_leader_messageEileen Sobeck
Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries



Photo Journey: Fisheries Research Expedition
Black Sea Bass is Rebuilt
Have Your Hake and Eat It Too
Efforts to Support and Streamline Seafood Trade
Fine Cooking on the High Seas

The ABCs of Stock Assessments
Sustainable Seafood: A U.S. Success Story
Healthy Habitat: Key to Our Seafood and Fisheries
Get to Know Your Seafood from Ocean to Plate
U.S. Marine Aquaculture: A Promising Future
Getting Back to Local
The Great American Surfclam
Protecting Our Seafood and Marine Resources

Seafood Fraud—Detection and Prevention
Keeping an Eye on Pollock
Feeds of the Future

Oct 1 2014

Celebrating Seafood, Sustainability and Stewardship

Join the Celebration of Seafood, Sustainability and Stewardship – National Seafood Month 2014

“Seafood has become a powerful ambassador for global ocean stewardship–effectively connecting the wellbeing of human populations to the health and productivity of our ocean resources; and more importantly, our collective responsibility for their stewardship.”

Eileen Sobeck, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries
National Seafood Month, 2014

In honor of this year’s National Seafood Month, today NOAA Fisheries launched an online celebration of the science, management and partnerships behind the stewardship of U.S. fisheries and their leadership role in sustainable seafood. Please book mark our web page, see what’s new on FishWatch, and join the conversation.

e_sobeck_leader_messageEileen Sobeck
Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries