Increased spill over dams will help Columbia River spring Chinook

The Columbian – Touted as a big win for fish, a plan to increase springtime spill at eight federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers was approved last week by a federal judge. In a prepared statement, Rhett Lawrence, conservation director for the Sierra Club in Oregon, said “Increased spill levels in 2018 will provide a much-needed boost for our struggling salmon and steelhead Read More…

California floodplains and the fish that use them

Mavens Notebook – How restoring functional flows to floodplains could help restore native fish. Two centuries ago, the floor of the Central Valley was largely a marshy wetland.  In the springtime, the snowpack would melt, swelling the rivers beyond their banks and casting the young fish out onto the floodplains.  There they would stay for months, fattening up on the abundant zooplankton Read More…

Draft Recovery Plan Promotes Recovery of Threatened Green Sturgeon

NOAA News – One of Central California’s most ancient fish, the green sturgeon, will soon have a new recovery plan to steer it toward sustainability. NOAA Fisheries released a draft recovery plan under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for public comment on January 9, 2018. The plan itself is non-regulatory. Rather, it identifies steps to guide state and federal actions that will promote Read More…

Curious by Nature: Do hatchery fish hamper wild king and coho?

Juneau Empire – Record-low king salmon returns on the Taku River have readers rightly looking for answers. Spend any time around fishermen and you’ll hear plenty, with concerns about the state of Alaska’s hatchery programs a recurring theme. So how do hatchery fish interact with wild king and coho salmon? Do they compete for food? With the Board of Fisheries meeting this week and next Read More…

Marine scientists steer trawlers away from sensitive sea floors

Horizon Magazine – Bottom (benthic) trawling indiscriminately catches bottom-feeder fish and seafood like plaice, cod, shrimp, scallops and mussels, with unwanted by-catch often thrown back into the ocean and wasted. The biodiversity of marine ecosystem is also threatened because heavy trawler nets can bulldoze cold water coral and sea sponge habitats on the seafloor, which then take Read More…

2017 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean

EurekAlert – 2017 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean according to an updated ocean analysis from Institute of Atmospheric Physics/Chinese Academy of Science (IAP/CAS). The oceans in the upper 2000 m were 1.51 × 1022 J warmer than the second warmest year of 2015 and 19.19 × 1022 J above the 1981-2010 climatological reference period. Owing to its large heat capacity, the Read More…

Sampling the Sea During California’s Apocalyptic Wildfires

News Deeply – In December, a team of researchers and students at the University of California, Santa Barbara made the best of a local tragedy. The Thomas Fire, the largest in the state’s history, burned nearly 300,000 acres (120,000 hectares) in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties north of Los Angeles. The smoke plume could be seen from space. Around that time, oceanographer Kelsey Read More…

California sea lions rebound; population triples over four decades

VC Star – The California sea lion has rebounded its population nearly three times what it was 39 years ago. That's according to a recent study published this week in the Journal of Wildlife Management. The work by NOAA Fisheries researchers showed the population reached its carrying capacity of 275,000 sea lions in 2008. By 2014, however, its numbers had dropped after unusually Read More…

Global analysis reveals how sharks travel the oceans to find food

Science Daily – A major international collaboration led by the University of Southampton could help global efforts to overturn recent declines in the world's shark population by providing greater insight into the feeding habits of the world's most misunderstood fish. Led by Dr. Christopher Bird during his PhD at Southampton, the study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, used Read More…

Save the Snowpack, Save the Water Supply

Bloomberg – Between droughts and floods, the last decade has offered water managers in the southwest a preview of how climate change could impact a supply largely dependent on winter snow. This year’s disappointing snowpack has them worried again. "Water and climate change are joined at the hip,” said Brad Udall, a researcher at Colorado State University who published a paper Read More…