New study highlights the value of local knowledge in recovering endangered species – Pyys.org

As we move into the era of “Big Data”, one of the positive aspects to it is that we can start seriously incorporating a lot more of local up-to-date  knowledge into planning, and better understand trends and issues based on large data sets collected by the people on the ground themselves. This is good news folks. Here’s a concrete example of how it can work.

A new study (http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/home_page_story_publications/marine_policy_article.pdf) highlights the value of local knowledge in recovering endangered species. The collaborative research, co-authored by NOAA Fisheries, the University of Washington, and researchers from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, is specifically designed to incorporate the knowledge of recreational anglers into recovery planning for three rockfish species in Puget Sound—bocaccio, canary rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish, each of which was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2010. The study explores how recreational anglers’ understanding of the ecosystem and fishing practices influence their views of conserving Puget Sound rockfish. Through surveys of 443 recreational boat-based anglers, which included scoping questions related to their knowledge of rockfish biology, fishing practices, perceptions of threats to rockfish, and preferences for rockfish recovery measures, several key findings arose. (Pyys.org)

http://phys.org/news/2015-04-highlights-local-knowledge-recovering-endangered.html

Feds to protect Puget Sound habitat for rockfish – Various sources

A small ray of good news shines through the bad this morning, as National Marine Fisheries has required that federal agencies take rockfish protection into their future planning, meaning that fishing, and other activities related to the species will need greater scrutiny before being allowed. This affects us here in Jefferson County, because our near shore activities, such as rule making with the Shoreline Master Program, includes protecting kelp beds and other shores where the fish might live and breed. Our local Marine Resources Committees are also gearing up to do kelp bed monitoring (there is a significant one off North Beach and the area around the lighthouse at Admiralty Inlet) over the next year. If you are wondering where the kelp beds might be, check out our new tool, SoundIQ that lists near shore areas. A link to it can be found at the front left side of this blog.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is set to designate about 1,000 square miles in Puget Sound as critical habitat for three species of imperiled rockfish. The habitat protection follows a 2010 decision to list yelloweye, canary and bocaccio rockfish under the Endangered Species Act. The agency says the rockfish are vulnerable to overfishing because they have long lives and mature slowly with sporadic reproduction. The designation will require federal agencies to make sure their actions don’t harm rockfish habitat. The rule is scheduled to be published on Thursday. The protected area will cover about 340 fewer square miles that originally proposed, excluding some tribal lands and military areas. (Associated Press)

This is one of the many press releases that were picked up by dozens of news outlets last night.

 http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/rockfish-11-12-2014.html

The entire document can be found at the link below. For those of you actively engaged in monitoring activities of kelp beds and also fisheries, this is worth reading or at least skimming. The science and the way that they made their decisions is found in the document.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/fish/pdfs/rockfish_critical_habitat_2014.pdf

I want to thank Norm Baker of Sequim, who has worked tirelessly on this issue for years. He has been a key local contact for many of the bureaucrats in our state. He knows probably more than anyone around on the issue, and the benefits of this particular announcement.

West Coast groundfish certified as sustainable – Bellingham Herald

It appears to be a political compromise to the commercial fishing industry. It’s considered by some a necessary evil, even though the many of these stocks are actually not yet at levels that some scientists feel is sustainable. While California and Oregon are ahead of Washington on protection of habitat for rockfish and other groundfish, there is still huge pressure by the commercial fisheries to label the species sustainable. The positive side is that this will allow a greater co-management of the catch, but likely the numbers will decline.  We’ll have to follow up over the years and see if they are actually doing what they claim they are going to do. 

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/06/03/3678286/west-coast-groundfish-certified.html

More than a decade after overfishing led to the collapse of the one of the West Coast’s most valuable fisheries, it has been certified as sustainable. The international Marine Stewardship Council announced Tuesday in Portland, Oregon, it has certified that 13 bottom-dwelling species collectively known as groundfish are harvested in an environmentally sustainable way. That applies to species sold as red snapper, Dover sole and lingcod. In a 400-page report, the council said federal regulations are in place to protect habitat, hold fishermen responsible and set harvest quotas based on scientific data. The action led the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watchlist to move six West Coast rockfish species from “Avoid” status, to “Good Alternative.” Jeff Barnard reports. (Associated Press)

Report from the Front: Dan Tonnes on Rockfish Recovery & Critical Habitat in Puget Sound

From the 2013 NW Straits Annual Meeting. Dan Tonnes has worked for NOAA as a biologist since 1999, where he has focused on diverse issues, ranging from long-term watershed habitat conservation plans to fisheries management and research on nearshore estuary environments. Dan has a US Coast Guard Inalnd Master 100 Gross Tons Merchant Marine License and has worked as a boat captain on sport fishing boats in the Puget Sound and Alaska, as well as on passenger ferries and oil spill response vessels. He received his bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning from Seattle Pacific University and a master’s in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington. He is a Kinship Conservation Fellow.

Dan covered the spectrum of issues related to rockfish protection.

Yo! Rockfish ReCompression Video – Funny and really worth watching

Are you a fisherman? Catch rockfish? Check out this newer rap video on how to get rockfish back safely into the water and save it. Remember that rockfish take a long time to grow, and they stay in their local territory. So it’s important to get them back in the water quickly. I was unaware that the recompression techniques can save even severely barotraumaed fish. Barotrauma often kills rockfish if not recompressed. Luckily we, and those fabulous little rockfish, can get down with our bad selves and the help of this most epic video montage. The following Rockfish PSA was concocted by the masterminds of California Sea Grant and NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

be sure to catch the rap at the end as well.

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose to designate critical habitat for three species of rockfish in Puget Sound & Strait

Big news. The Federal Government is proposing designating critical habitat for certain rockfish. Public comment now open. Comments on this proposed rule must be received by 5 p.m. P.S.T. on November 4, 2013. Requests for public hearings must be made in writing by September 20, 2013. Comments close on 11/04/2013. The Feds say “Puget Sound” but actually are also including some areas of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. To them, it’s apparently all the same. They delineate it deeper in the document.  From the people I’ve talked to close to this decision, this has been studied a great deal and a lot of meetings have been held getting to this decision.  It likely will raise some objections, likely intense. But the stocks are in such critical shape in many places,  this appears to be needed. It’s not a new issue, the fact that the Feds have finally moved on it is. Hopefully (and apparently) we still have time to save some of them.  As you may or may not know, rockfish do not migrate. They hang out in their habitat, and can live  a long long time. They are often bycatch of other fisheries, and if you bring them up from a great depth, they end up often getting ‘the bends’ (barimetric poisoning) and die.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose to designate critical habitat for three species of rockfish listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the threatened Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus), the threatened DPS of canary rockfish (S. pinniger), and the endangered DPS of bocaccio (S. paucispinus) (listed rockfish). The specific areas proposed for designation for canary rockfish and bocaccio include approximately 1,184.75 sq mi (3,068.5 sq km) of marine habitat in Puget Sound, Washington. The specific areas proposed for designation for yelloweye rockfish include approximately 574.75 sq mi (1,488.6 sq km) of marine habitat in Puget Sound, Washington. We propose to exclude some particular areas from designation because the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion and exclusion of those areas will not result in the extinction of the species.

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/08/06/2013-18832/endangered-and-threatened-species-designation-of-critical-habitat-for-yelloweye-rockfish-canary

 

And more from Mike Satos’ blog:

The National Marine Fisheries Service proposes to designate almost 1,200 square miles of Puget Sound as critical habitat for three species of endangered rockfish. The habitat protection follows the 2010 decision to list yelloweye, canary and bocaccio rockfish under the Endangered Species Act. The Fisheries Service says the rockfish are vulnerable to overfishing because they have long lives and mature slowly with sporadic reproduction. Tuesday’s designation will require federal agencies to make sure their actions don’t harm rockfish habitat. The protected area in Puget Sound overlaps existing critical habitat for Puget Sound Chinook and Hood Canal summer-run chum, bull trout and Southern Resident killer whales. Critical habitat listed for Puget Sound rockfish http://kplu.org/post/critical-habitat-listed-puget-sound-rockfish Also, if they haven’t erected a paywall, Chris Dunagan reports: Habitat protection proposed for endangered rockfish in Puget Sound http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2013/aug/06/habitat-protection-proposed-for-endangered-in/#axzz2bGUhM000

 

Lawsuit threatened over Puget Sound rockfish – News Tribune

This is long overdue. The declining health of Puget Sound rockfish has been a known situation for decades and our DOE and DFWS have dithered with endless meetings and virtually no real action to protect this fish that rarely leaves it’s neighborhood during it’s lifetime. You fish them out, and they are gone. While the Feds say “it will have little effect” we’ll see whether that’s true, as the designation could be used for other recovery purposes, apparently. The fact that the Feds are 3 years late in getting this done is just another indicator of how broke the whole system seems at times.

The Center for Biological Diversity said Thursday it intends to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service for missing a deadline to designate protected habitat for endangered Puget Sound rockfish.

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/07/11/2674247/lawsuit-threatened-over-puget.html

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