Scores of studies have established that neonicotinoids, the most widely used pesticides in the world, are contributing to the steady decline of bees and other insects across North America and Europe. Now evidence is growing that these compounds, tailored to take out invertebrates, can also harm mammals, birds, and fish, as Elizabeth Royte explains in FERN's latest story, published with National Geographic.(No paywall)
Oceans could provide far more protein for the world’s food supply than they do now, especially from aquaculture, but aggressive action is needed to better manage fisheries and mitigate the impact of climate change, according to two reports released Thursday.
The House reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Act in a roll call vote on Wednesday. A multi-hour debate over the bill, which regulates fishing in federal waters, centered on its two controversial measures: weakening catch limits for several species of fish, and eliminating a 10-year deadline for fish stock rebuilding.
More than 100 organizations submitted a letter to members of Congress on Wednesday asking them to oppose ocean aquaculture. The letter was delivered as the looming renewal of the “fish bill,” the Magnuson-Stevens Act, reveals divides between the fishing industry and environmentalists, ocean advocates, and other stakeholders about the future of fisheries regulation.
Mercy for Animals, a U.S.-based animal welfare group, is launching a campaign to bring awareness to the plight of fish in industrial aquaculture. The groups key concerns include “too many fish routinely crammed into pens and tanks, fish being raised in dirty water, high disease and mortality rates,” writes Clare Leschin-Hoar in FERN’s latest story with NPR’s The Salt.
Work by two USDA molecular biologists shows that tilapia, a commonly consumed food fish in the United States, can be selectively bred for resistance to two types of streptococcosis bacteria. Fish farmers frequently turn to antibiotics to fight diseases such as strep in farm-raised tilapia.
Cooke Aquaculture — the company responsible for the estimated 105,000 farmed salmon that spilled out of a ripped net and into Puget Sound this summer — offered to pay the Lummi Nation an extra $12 per fish if the tribe would not push for the prohibition of net-pen aquaculture.
Jon Rowley, who “helped make and shape Seattle’s reputation as a food destination while earning his own reputation as a culinary evangelist nationwide,” has died at 74, said the Seattle Times.
Around the world, low-income women are exposed to high amounts of mercury, thanks to mining and marine-based diets, says a report from IPEN, a nonprofit focused on global health and toxic chemicals, and Biodiversity Research Institute, an ecology research organization. Of the 1,0444 women …
Fish species could shrink in size by as much as 30 percent thanks to climate change, says a study in the journal Global Change Biology. “Fish, as cold-blooded animals, cannot regulate their own body temperatures. When ocean waters become warmer, a fish’s metabolism accelerates, and it needs more oxygen to sustain its body functions,” says Nexus Media.
Kenya has passed the strictest plastic bag ban in the world, punishing anyone who sells or uses plastic bags with four years in prison or a $40,000 fine. Proponents of the law say that marine animals often end up strangled by or ingesting plastic. “If we continue like this, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish,” said Habib El-Habr, an expert on ocean trash working with Kenya’s UN environment program.
A group representing farmers in Washington State and Oregon is urging the Interior Department to convene the “God squad” — an interagency committee empowered to override the Endangered Species Act — over complaints that the act's protections on salmon are hurting growers and others.
Where your yellowfin tuna was caught can dramatically change the level of pollutants in its flesh, say researchers at the University of San Diego’s Scripps Institute of Oceanography, after testing 117 yellowfin tuna from 12 locations in a first-of-its-kind global study.
After a commercial fisherman pulled a live Asian carp out of a northern Illinois river that empties into Lake Michigan, authorities have expressed concern that more of the invasive species have made it past electric barriers meant to keep them out of the Great Lakes, says the LA Times.
Unless critical habitat is protected and restored, researchers say three-quarters of California's 31 native trout, steelhead and salmon species "will be extinct in the next 100 years," says the Sacramento Bee. "California’s record-breaking drought that officially ended this winter wreaked havoc on many of the already-struggling fish, which depend on cold water."
Ahead of the enforcement date for its catfish inspection program, USDA said it will inspect catfish plants once per shift rather than its original plan of having inspectors in the plant whenever it was in operation. In a Federal Register notice, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said catfish plants are more like processing plants than slaughterhouses, which by law cannot operate unless an inspector is present.
Retailers across the country, including Whole Foods, are upping their tuna game with new sustainability standards focused on how the fish was caught. “Last Wednesday Whole Foods Market announced that by January 2018, all canned tuna sold in its stores or used in its prepared foods departments will be sourced from fisheries that use only pole-and-line, troll or handline catch methods that eliminate bycatch (accidental harvest of other fish, birds or mammals) because fishermen are catching tuna one at a time,” says NPR.
“Counting fish is like counting trees, but the trees are invisible and constantly on the move,” says The Atlantic, explaining the often unreliable science behind marine population estimates. To get more accurate numbers, marine scientists are putting artificial intelligence, autonomous submarines, and drones to work.
In a rare bit of positive news about the U.S. diet, Americans upped their seafood intake by a pound last year to 15.5 pounds, according to the annual Fisheries of the United States Report released by NOAA last week. Even though that only amounts to about four extra seafood meals per person per year, it constitutes the “biggest biggest leap in seafood consumption in 20 years," says NPR.