Ocean News, Sept. 9, 2012

The Titanic’s Passengers – What Were Their Fates? Follow the fate of the Titanic’s passengers and the route of their tragic voyage on this interactive map produced by esri. Who lived? Who died? The answers are in the map.

We Know Very Little About the Ocean.  NASA Earth Explorer and scientist Gene Feldman has studied the ocean for 25 years, he says that “even with all the technology that we have today — satellites, buoys, underwater vehicles and ship tracks — we have better maps of the surface of Mars and the moon than we do the bottom of the ocean. We know very, very little about most of the ocean. This is especially true for the middle and deeper parts far away from the coasts. ”

Medical Care from the Ocean. Mercy ships travel the developing world to provide medical care to those unable to afford it. Learn about the benefits of this work in Benin in West Africa.

Optimum Fisheries Could Yield $138 Million More.  A new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts indicates the Southeast U.S. suffers $138 million in economic output annually because some fish populations are not managed at optimum levels.

Jellylfish Blooms Could be Caused by Human Structures.  A study from the University of Western Australia concludes that jellyfish blooms could be caused by human structures such as harbors and tourist facilities that are perfect sanctuaries for jellyfish polyps. Most theories used to explain the blooms cite lack of predators or competitors to jellyfish at their more mature swimming stage.

New Camera to Help Protect Scallop Fisheries.  A new stainless steel instrument housing a camera is being used on the East Coast of the U.S.to take millions of pictures of ocean floor where scallops are found. The idea is to better understand and protect the half-billion dollar Atlantic scallop catch.

Gulf Funding Awards Top $130 Million. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative has now awarded more than $130 million of the $500 million that BP committed to independent research into the effecte of the Deepwater Horizon oils spill.

Brazil Now the 26th Country to Join International Ocean Drilling Study. Brazil has become the 26th country to take part in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, which allows scientists to conduct research aboard specialized scientific drilling vessels to advance understanding of the Earth through drilling, coring, monitoring, and documenting Earth processes and effects, solid Earth cycles, the subsurface biosphere, and geodynamics.

Ocean Observation Efforts Move Forward. The Interagency Ocean Observation Committee’s work continues to move forward, with the next step the IOOS Summit 2012 in Herndon, Virginia, November 13-16, 2012.

Guide to Ship Navigation Published. Marine Insight has launched a new eBook: “A Guide to Ship Navigation Techniques.” The book is available online at no cost.

World’s Largest Marine Park Established in the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands and New Caledonia have created the world’s largest marine park, placing nearly 2.5 million square kilometres of the South Pacific Ocean under protection.

Freighter Refloated After Running Aground in Great Lakes. Salvage professionals were able to refloat the freighter Paul R. Tregurtha after it went aground in the St. Mary’s River Channel.

Phyto’pedia Published – An Encyclopedia of Coastal Phytoplankton.  Phyto’pedia, a freely accessible encyclopaedia of the coastal phytoplankton of the Pacific northeast is now live and available.

Sustainable Fisheries Address in SeaWeb Marine Science Review. The most recent SeaWeb Marine Science Review is a special issue focused on trends in seafood sustainability.  Two key articles stand out. The first, published in Fisheries Research, estimates that “the intensification of global fishing effort and the ensuing depletion of marine fish stocks causes economic losses of 50 billion US dollars annually.” The article points out that “data deficiencies current ly hamper analysis of global fishing effort.” The second paper, published in Conservation Biology, points out that perceptions on the status of globally fisheries might partly stem from how data on trends in catches over time have been used. The authors say that on the basis of trends “it has been suggested that about 70% of all stocks are over-exploited due to unsustainable harvesting and 30% of all stocks have collapsed to <10% of unfished levels. The new study concludes that conclude that “at present 28–33% of all stocks are over-exploited and 7 – 13% of all stocks are collapsed.” This new assessment also suggests that the proportion of fished stocks that are over-exploited or collapsed has been fairly stable in recent years.

Study Suggests Dolphins Increase Reproduction After Hurricanes. A recent article in a Scientific American blog suggests that the noticeable increase in dolphin calves following Hurricane Katrina off Mississippi was due at least in part to the reduction of fishing effort and commensurate increase in Gulf of Mexico fish populations. Fishing effort was reduced in the Gulf following Katrina due to damage to fishing vessels. The blog says that “according to one estimate, 87% of commercial fishing vessels were damaged or destroyed, which meant a decrease in the amount of seafood brought into shore by nearly fifteen percent, in 2005 and 2006, compared with 2004. There were also forty to fifty percent fewer commercial and recreational fishing licenses granted by the state of Mississippi in 2005 and 2006.”


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