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Saving Sharks One Photo at a Time

    Oceans have been a part of my childhood exploring dreams for as long as I can remember. Truth is, the seas and its creatures that I fantasized about back then, are permanently being affected by human actions. The first time you jump in the water with a great white shark, your fears melt…

The Bottom Line: A Better Way to Manage fish

In 1996, I worked in the fisheries service at NOAA. That year, Congress passed legislation to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the primary law that governs our nation’s ocean fish. The updated law established an important mandate for the agency: conserve fish. Our previous goal, decades long, was simply to promote fishing. Along with subsequent reforms…

The Bottom Line: Don’t Remove Protection When Cod Need It Most

New England is famous for cod fishing. But the industry is ailing—and the cure being proposed might be worse than the disease. Three months ago, the U.S. Commerce Department declared a “commercial fisheries disaster” off the coast of New England because populations of groundfish—cod, haddock, and flounder, among others—were still struggling to recover. Substantial cuts…

The Bottom Line: Big Turnout for Little Menhaden

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has seen a lot in its 70-year history but nothing quite like this. More than 128,000 people flooded the commission’s inboxes with postcards and emails last month, a new record for public comment. Scientists, small business owners, nature lovers, and anglers sent letters and spoke out at public…

The Bottom Line: A Historic Milestone for America’s Ocean Fish

I recently wrote about some good news from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Service regarding improvements in the health of U.S. ocean fish populations. In a little publicized but very important milestone, NOAA fisheries and the regional fishery management councils have completed a task set out by Congress in 2006: establishing enforceable, science-based annual catch limits (ACLs)…

The Bottom Line: Fatter Snapper Put Fishermen on a Diet

Note: Holly Binns, director of Pew’s Southeast and U.S. Caribbean Fish Conservation campaigns, is my guest author today. She is going to provide some important information regarding the recreational fishing of red snapper. Recreational fishermen heading to the Gulf of Mexico face a conundrum if they want to hook a red snapper. Fishery managers have increased the total weight…

The Bottom Line: Bluefin Tuna Need You Now

In the Gulf of Mexico, surface longlines intended to catch yellowfin tuna and swordfish indiscriminately catch and kill more than 80 other species of ocean wildlife, including severely depleted western Atlantic bluefin tuna. This species is particularly at risk: Scientific studies have identified it as a distinct population (as compared to eastern Atlantic bluefin) that reproduces…

The Bottom Line: A Small ‘Catch’ in Recent Fisheries Coverage

Last week, the New York Times published a blog and an editorial recognizing the progress made in the management of U.S. ocean fisheries. Overall, more than 100 newspapers across the country have covered a promising new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that I discussed in my most recent blog post. I want to follow up to make an…

The Bottom Line: A Short Season for Big Fish

This year’s purse-seine fishing for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea kicked off this week, but don’t blink or you might miss it. On Tuesday, May 15, large commercial purse-seine vessels with massive nets set out to catch literally tons of tuna by encircling entire schools of breeding bluefin. The season officially ends June 15,…

The Bottom Line: Bluefin Tuna Up Close and Personal

Read the full “The Bottom Line” series here. Rick Rosenthal has seen things that most ocean lovers only dream about. For the past 25 years, this filmmaker has had front-row seats to baitball feeding frenzies—when small schooling fish swarm together to defend against hungry predators—sleeping sperm whales, and mating right whales. During a career that includes…

The Bottom Line: Little Fish, Big Fishery

Within the next few weeks, alewife and blueback herring, collectively known as river herring, will begin their annual migration from coastal waters to their native rivers. The platinum-colored fish spend most of the year in the ocean, migrating to rivers to spawn each spring before returning to sea. River herring were once plentiful in Northeast…

The Bottom Line: How Investing in Our Fisheries Pays Off

Sometimes, an idea comes forward in Washington that actually brings together people who normally disagree. The Fisheries Investment and Regulatory Relief Act (FIRRA) of 2012 does that and more. This bipartisan bill would provide financial support to fishermen and improve management of our oceans. Restoring our depleted fish populations would create jobs, protect existing ones,…

The Bottom Line: Tracking Tuna in the Cloud

Several months ago, I wrote about a study showing that Atlantic bluefin tuna were being caught at a rate much higher than scientists recommended and regulations allowed. Furthermore, fishermen were not reporting their catches to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the body that manages tuna in the Atlantic Ocean. This underreporting undermines measures designed…

The Bottom Line: An Inconvenient Truth About Gulf of Maine Cod

Jud Crawford, science and policy manager of the Pew Environment Group’s Northeast Fisheries Program, is my guest author today. He is going to provide some important perspectives about the recent scientific assessment of Gulf of Maine cod. Many in New England were recently stunned by the news that the region’s prized codfish are in much deeper trouble than…

New Year’s Resolution 2012: Let’s Gain Weight in the Ocean

Note: This post is the first in a new blog series: The Bottom Line. Thanks for following along with my “Overfishing 101” series. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m kicking off 2012 with a new series, “The Bottom Line.” I’ll be covering more ground and broader fisheries-related topics and hope you’ll enjoy my…