‘Extensive flooding’ to continue through May

Spring rains and melting snow are helping to create the potential for major or moderate flooding in 25 states, with the greatest threat in the northern Plains and the upper Mississippi River basin, said NOAA in a spring outlook issued on Thursday.

2018 joins the roll of five hottest years, all since 2014

Last year was the fourth-warmest worldwide since 1880, said NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday, ranking behind 2016, 2017 and 2015. "2018 is yet again an extremely warm year on top of a long-term global warming trend," said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

As climate warms, toxic algae blooms expand into Arctic

In NOAA’s annual Arctic Report Card, scientists highlighted the recent rise of toxic algae blooms in the region. The blooms, common in more temperate climates, are expected to increase in the Arctic, affecting people who depend on wild foods.

Looming renewal of ‘fish bill’ reveals industry-advocate divide

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.

Hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters cost U.S. $306 billion

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ranked 2017 as the most expensive year ever for natural disasters in the United States, reported the Washington Post. Hurricanes, wildfires and other catastrophes caused a combined $306 billion in damage, with 16 events that cost $1 billion apiece.

California and Oregon urge feds to send relief to salmon fisheries

Officials in California and Oregon are calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division to release emergency funding after salmon fisheries were closed in both states.

The Codfather gets 46 months in prison

Criminals don't come more colorful than Carlos Rafael, once the most powerful fisherman in the nation’s most valuable seafood port. Rafael, who was the subject of a FERN story published earlier this year with Mother Jones, was known widely as the Codfather. He conquered the fishing industry in New Bedford, Mass., through a combination of guile and rule-bending; he famously described himself as a pirate, and told regulators it was their job to catch him. On Monday, the law finally caught up to the Codfather: A federal judge sentenced Rafael to 46 months in prison for masterminding one of the biggest fisheries frauds in American history. (No paywall)

Fraudulent fishing tycoon exposes weakness in New England ‘catch shares’

After decades of gaming and monopolizing the system governing commercial fishing rights in New England, a crime lord known as The Codfather has been kicked from his throne in New Bedford, Massachusetts, writes Ben Goldfarb in FERN’s latest story, co-produced with Mother Jones. Rafael will plead guilty for fraud before a federal judge in Boston on Thursday, facing 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

White House hopes to make big cuts at climate-science agency

The White House wants to cut funding 17 percent at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), one of the government’s chief resources for climate science, according to a budget memo from the Office of Management and Budget obtained by The Washington Post.

Scientists scramble to download U.S. climate data ahead of Trump

Worried that federal climate databases might soon be taken offline, scientists are frantically trying to download as much data on climate change as they can before the Trump administration takes office, says The Washington Post.