All posts by Hannah Soland

Shrimp Harvest Ban in Everett, Washington



In Everett, Washington a ban was put on commercial shrimp fishing in Puget Sound.   This ban was put in place to boost sport fishing in the more urban areas of the state.   One commercial shrimp fisherman in particular will be affected greatly, along with his customers.   His name is Kevin Nihart, and he used commercial fishing off of the shores of Puget Sound to make a living.   When the reporter had talked to Kevin he said that he felt bad for his customers and that he wouldn’t be able to go out into the straight to fish for shrimp because he cannot afford to drive his boat all the way out there and truck his shrimp back to the Everett market that he always sells his shrimp at.   I have sympathy for this man and his customers.   It is a real bummer when you have that favorite food or thing that you want but only one special person has that and then it is no longer there.   I feel like the reasoning behind the ban isn’t exactly the best, promoting sport fishing does not seem quite as important as the customers who enjoy buying shrimp from the same guy because it is fresh and easy.   I think that it is more important to support that a local man harvested those shrimp himself instead of a large vessel or company running it.   It is sad that this man will not be able to harvest and sell his shrimp to his loyal customers next year at the market so that the state could promote sport fishing when I am sure this man’s harvesting of shrimp did not affect the sport fishing in the urban areas of the state.

Ban on shrimp fishing enacted for inland waters

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning in Alaska

This isn’t a very long article but I thought it was very relevant, especially to previous lessons we have had concerning PSP.   It is especially relevant because it is about Alaska!   Last week there was three cases of PSP in Alaska, one from razor clams that were harvested from Admirality Island and the other two cases were from a couple of people that ate butter clams from Lincoln or Ralston Island.   All three cases had the same symptoms which were numbness and tingling of the lips, tongue, face and eventually hands which started a couple of hours after consuming the clams.   The article says, “According to the state of Alaska’s news release, locally harvested shellfish-including clams, mussels, oysters, geoducks and scallops- can contain paralytic shellfish poison.   Crabmeat is not known to contain the PSP toxin, but crab guts can contain unsafe levels of toxin and should be discarded.’   This article alarmed me because My family used to always go down toward Juneau and get razor clams and can them every couple of years and it is scary to think that we could have gotten PSP too!   I guess we were really lucky to not have that happen to us.



Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning Strikes Three in Alaska

Fish McBites!


I found an interesting article on Pollock fishery in Alaska.   The new Fish McBites that are now advertised and popular at McDonald’s fast food restaurants all over the country actually come from “Wild caught Alaskan Pollock’.   These fish that are now the Fish McBites, are certified as a well-managed, sustainable fishery by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and the Marine Stewardship Council.   The bites aren’t exactly healthy, though.


“According to McDonald’s the snack size McBites are 210 calories, including 100 calories from fat, 330 milligrams of sodium, and 12 grams of protein. The regular size McBites have 320 calories, including 140 from fat, 500 milligrams of sodium and 18 grams of protein. The larger, shareable size of McBites is 630 calories, including 290 from fat, 1,000 milligrams of sodium and 36 grams of protein. None of these figures include additional calories and sodium content of the tartar sauce.’


The above paragraph shows that just because these fish are “Wild caught Alaskan Pollock’, that they are not necessarily healthy.   McDonalds definitely used the MSC certification as a selling point.   Even though McDonalds claims that the Pollock fishery is sustainable, the Association of Village Council Presidents in Bethel says that it cannot be considered sustainable because of the incidental harvests of wild salmon. Former Alaska legislator Nels Anderson sent emails to McDonalds and the MSC saying:


“If the Marine Stewardship Council and McDonald’s were to check with the North Pacific Fishery management Council and get the bycatch numbers of king salmon, chum salmon, other salmon species, marine mammals and birds, the would be shocked beyond measure and McDonald’s should immediately cease and desist selling pollock under the MSC ‘sustainable’ label and MSC remove pollock from their list of ‘sustainably’ caught fish’


I found the above very interesting because it really goes to show that if you research the food you are eating that claims to be “helping: the environment, or a specific community, that you might figure out that it may not be the complete truth.   These certifications are a way to sell the product, and try to make the customer feel as if they are doing good by eating food from a sustainable fishery.

100 MILLION Sharks Die Every Year!!!

Since we had recently discussed shark finning in class I decided to look up some news reports on it.  I had never heard much or known much about shark finning before this class, and I found a very interesting news article that was posted recently about shark fisheries.  The article discusses the importance of sharks within the ecosystem and that a change in the amount of sharks present in an ecosystem can affect it all the way down to even marine plants.  Shark finning is popular and shark fins are in high demand now, causing more and more sharks to be killed in the process.  The article said that 1 in 15 sharks are killed.  When I read that I thought to myself “Wow! I never knew sharks were so high in demand, and 1/15 is a lot of sharks!”.  The main reason this is so tragic, and this amount of sharks killed is such a serious issue is because of the rate at which sharks mature and grow.  Sharks are much like humans, whales, and such-like animals and they mature slowly and produce minimal offspring.  Basically the shark population cannot reproduce fast enough to keep up with the amount that the sharks are being exploited.  There have been previous regulations set for certain shark species and the harvest of such species, but we will need more than just that to save sharks and the ecosystems in which they live.  “Based on data collected for the latest study, shark deaths were estimated at 100 million in 2000 and 97 million in 2010. The total possible range of mortality is between 63 and 273 million annually.”- Straight from the article.  I think this is one of the most important parts of the article because it really makes the reader think about how many sharks are actually being killed each year.  This is a serious issue that most people don’t hear anything about, so I hope the word is spread soon!

-Hannah Soland




Lota lota


Mariah, the lawyer, eelpout, poor man’s lobster, ling, lingcod, loache, methyl, lush, gudgeon, mud-blower, cusk, mother eel




Burbot males tend to be smaller than burbot females and females mature faster than males. Adult burbot are about 24-36 inches long.   They weigh around 8-15 pounds and the Alaskan record being 24 pounds.

Burbot Size



Promiscuous.   Spawning season is mid-winter into early spring when ice still covers their habitat.   They spawn in pairs and sometimes in a group of many fish.   They spawn in shallow water over sand or gravel.   The sperm and eggs are released into the water and are thrashed around by the burbot and eventually fall to the bottom.   Females can lay up to 1 million eggs.   Embryos develop for 4-5 weeks and hatch at less than 0.15 inches.




Young burbot eat insects or other invertebrates.   Around five years of age they eat mostly fish such as whitefish, sculpins, lampreys, and other burbot.     At times they may even eat mice or shrews.

Baby Burbot

Where can you find burbot?

Burbot is common in streams and lakes in North America and Europe.   They are found above 400N latitude, giving them a circumpolar distribution.

What kind of habitat does burbot like?

Burbot like to live in cold water usually including cold rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams.   They often live in the coldest water (on the bottom) and go to more shallow water to spawn.   They like to reside on different types of ground including mud, sand, gravel, rubble, and silt.   Burbot do not always change their habitat preferences over their life span, but adult burbot usually burrow in the sand/mud/silt during the day for protection, and hunt at night.



Where Northern pike and burbot live together, they are known to feed on each other.   Many other fish living in the same habitat as burbot are known to feed on small, larval burbot or immature burbot.   In some places the sea lamprey feeds on burbot as well.   Humans are also a threat to burbot due to fishing activities.

Pike eating Burbot



How much time does it spend over various aspects?

Burbot move with seasons, meaning it migrates to shallow water in mid-winter to early spring to reproduce.   Burbot that live in rivers and streams may migrate to different parts of the rivers and streams as well, but consistently stay in cooler water until it is time to reproduce.

Active or lethargic?

Burbot hide during the day by burrowing in the sand/mud/silt/gravel to protect themselves from potential predators.   They are active at night when they feed and often move to shallower areas to feed at night.

Hiding Burbot


“Ugliest fish I’ve ever caught, slimiest too, but tastes just as good, if not better, than most fish I’ve caught’

“In butter and garlic it tastes and feels like lobster!’

“Sit around and wait to catch a burbot on a fishing pole during the day? You’re hilarious!’



Many use this method of fishing for burbot because several hooks can be put on a line and left in an ice fishing hole over night.   This method is fairly simple and not as time-consuming as sitting at the ice fishing hole with a rod for the entire day.   Multiple burbot may be caught as well.

Set Lines

Underwater Burbot Video

Burbot Cleaning

Burbot set lines



Did Pollution Drive Fish’s Evolution?

While I was searching for an article to write my current events assignment on I came across a very interesting adaptation one.   The article I have chosen is about the killifish, also known as the mummichog.   The mummichog is a small 2-3 inch long fish that lives in Virginia’s Elizabeth River.

The Elizabeth River is one of the most polluted rivers in North America, according to the news report.   The mummichog was used in an experiment by Richard T. Di Giulio to test the effects of pollution on the animals that inhabit such a polluted place, such as the Elizabeth River.   When Di Giulio took some of the fish home to study them many of them died in the new, clean tank that he provided for their new home.   He thinks that at least 50 generations of this small fish have survived in the polluted waters, and that they have adapted to the pollution.   While studying the fish he also noticed that they are unable to protect themselves from fungal disease and some bacteria.   Di Giulio believes that they are unable to protect themselves from such diseases because the pollution in the river killed the diseases that would normally be found in the water, so the mummichog’s immune system adapted and stopped fighting the diseases and bacteria because they were no longer present in their environment.   Some of the fish also had liver cancer that Di Giulio thinks is from the carcinogens in the river.

Some of the fish that were brought home and put in clean tanks did survive, and had offspring.   Di Giulio studied the offspring and noticed that by the third generation they had lost approximately half of their resistance to some toxins, therefore not all adaptations altered the mummichog’s genome.   He did notice some genetic changes though, such as the mummichog’s susceptibility to changes in the oxygen levels in the water throughout generations.   Di Giulio suggests that we are changing the evolution of organisms, in this case through pollution.   I found this article very interesting, yet very terrifying.   There are efforts to rid the Elizabeth River of toxins, but it will take many years.


mummichog2 images