All posts by slcorsetti

Drought Intervention

 

Due to the recent drought in California, biologists have been relocating salmon smolt to places further downstream, nearer the ocean. A lack of water in the rivers has led to some fish being stranded. For the smolt, who are still weak swimmers, this is bad news. Because of the drought, the river current that would normally help them get downstream to the ocean is failing to do its job.

To remedy this, biologists began a 10-week process of trucking the smolt and depositing them farther downriver, where the smolt will be able to reach the ocean without difficulties. While this will enable the smolt to survive and grow, there have been concerns that the adult fish will be unable to find their way back to the breeding ground to spawn. It is unclear what this will mean for future generations. However, this move is the smolt’s best chance at survival in this unusual dry spell.

 

https://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_25417567/emergency-convoy-trucking-salmon-hatchlings-safety-downriver

 

Holy Fish

 

Some people may dread Lent, since it brings about a time to give up a favorite food or habit, but for Alaska’s fisheries, Lent is a very good time to do business.

As per religious obligation, during the Lenten season many more people observe the custom of abstaining from eating meat on Fridays. The obvious solution for this is to eat fish instead.

McDonald’s restaurants sell about 25% of their Fillet-O-Fish sandwiches during Lent. Add this to the amount of fish sold in grocery stores as well as other restaurants during Lent alone, and the number adds up fast.

This is excellent news for Alaska, since our fisheries export 60% of our commercially caught seafood to the Lower 48. Increased demand for fish during Lent means a greater opportunity to sell fish and bring revenue back to our state. This is all the more reason to find appreciation for markets that may not be immediately obvious to us when we think of who buys our fish.

 

https://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/22693/alaska-fish-factor-demand-for-seafood-expected-to-rise-during-lent

Save the Snapper

 

New Zealand’s government has established new regulations to monitor the commercial fishing industry as a result of a dramatic decline in aquatic life due to over-fishing.

Snapper were hit particularly hard. Commercial fishers were harvesting and selling not only adult snappers, but baby snappers too. This resulted in a sharp population decline since the juvenile fish were being wiped out along with the adults.

A decade ago, the fisheries of the Tairua Harbor and the Coromandel Peninsula were thriving with life. Now, there are small schools of fish where there once were massive schools that caused the water to boil. This decline threatens the area’s tourism industry, and obviously the snapper and other species in the area.

Luckily, management organizations and the government realized that they needed to take quick action to put regulations into place if they wanted the snapper and other species to survive and rebuild their populations. Now, it has been reported that the populations are improving.

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/snapper-review/9773211/Baby-snapper-ending-up-in-overseas-fish-markets

Informing the Public

 

The Lake Huron fisheries are planning on offering research and information workshops this spring. Recently, this fishery has been hit by invasive species and has gone through ecological changes. While the fisheries managers and scientists may be able to understand everything that goes on, the general public likely does not. To change this, the fisheries decided to put on a series of workshops to help educate those who might have questions.

This seems like an excellent way to help people become more informed so that they can be aware of how their local fisheries function and what they can do to help preserve them. These workshops cover not only recreational fishing advice, but they will also explain the details of the fisheries business, and government research.

Obviously, not everyone will be interested in all aspects of these workshops. Some might only attend to learn some new tips for catching the biggest fish. But for those who are truly interested in the fisheries, this will be an invaluable way to gain more understanding.

 

https://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/spring_lake_huron_fishery_workshops_offer_current_research_and_information_about_the_fishery

Hello, Dolly

 

Name:  Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma)

Location:  Coastal waters extending from Puget Sound to the Arctic Sea, and also in Northern Japan

Size:  Can grow over 30 inches long and weigh over 27 pounds

Interested in:  Whoever wants to fertilize my eggs after I lay them

 

I’m a Dolly Varden trout, not to be confused with an Arctic Char or a bull trout. Until 1978, everyone thought I was a bull trout, but then some smart scientist found out that though we’re closely related, we’re actually different species.

I am anadromous and monogamous, meaning I spawn in fresh water and once I lay my eggs in a gravel bed, multiple males will fertilize them.

I am carnivorous, and I really like catching bugs. Salmon eggs are even better, when I can find them. Unfortunately, sometimes I see something that looks like a tasty bite to eat, and it turns out to be one of those nasty fishermen.

 

Ugh…fooled again.

I’m a fairly slow grower. It takes me five to six years to reach maturity, and after that I can live to be eight to 16 years old. I can spawn more than once in my lifetime, but it’s a lot of work. I don’t usually do it more than three times.

After I hatch, I spent two to four years in freshwater before going out to sea. Then in the winter, I come back to the freshwater.

I don’t really have any enemies. The Arctic Char and bull trout are bigger bullies than I am. In terms of feeding, some call me a scavenger. I don’t hunt baby salmon like similar species do, even though they are tasty at times.

Humans really like to eat me when they can catch me. Back in 1921, for about 20 years there was a bounty on my head, er, tail. The US Bureau of Fisheries wanted to control my population because they thought I was being too much of a predator to salmon. They paid people for each of my tails that they brought in. However, they discovered that people were bringing in salmon and rainbow trout tails more often than they brought in my tails, so the bounty was abandoned.

So I guess if you see me, I won’t be too sad if you decide to eat me instead of just saying hi. After all, I am pretty delicious.

 

Links:

https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=dollyvarden.main

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_Varden_trout

 

 

It’s all in the eyes?

Even though they don’t have fins, crabs play an important role in the fisheries. As I was looking for something to report on, I spotted an article with a title that peaked my interest. The article explained that the female blue crabs in Chesapeake Bay have a produce a hormone in their eyestalks that aid in reproductive growth and development. This is a unique finding, because it is the first time that a sex hormone has ever been observed in female crustaceans specifically.

This hormone is very important because it affects the maternal instincts of the blue crab, and aids in brooding and mating. Obviously, this is an extremely important thing for the crab to develop, in order to continue the survival and fitness of the species. What interested me most thought, was the fact that this hormone is produced in the eyestalks. Eyes are clearly important for survival because they help the crab see where food is and if there are predators. But now, they have an even greater importance. They hold the hormone for maternal instinct.

Does this fact make the crab instinctively be more protective of their eyes than they would be of some other appendage? In some species, eyes are useless and therefore disappear over time. But for these female blue crabs, the eyes are now incredibly important. Will this cause female crabs to develop stronger eyestalks than males? Or will they develop more protective mechanisms to guard their eyes? Only time will tell how these crabs will evolve to improve their fitness. In the meantime, it is fascinating to think about, and to realize how different species all have different reproductive mechanisms that sound so foreign to us as humans.

 

https://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/22420/hormone-in-crab-eyes-important-for-breeding-and-development