With oceans covering over 75% of Earth’s surface, nearly one billion people depend on seafood for sustenance. As more people continue to add seafood into their diets, our seafood resources are becoming depleted. Some seafood such as bluefin tuna are very valuable, resulting in unmanaged fisheries. To keep up with the demands and profits, products are purposely being mislabeled in hopes that the consumers will continue buying these products. Today, around 25 – 75% of the seafood we consume is mislabeled. This is an alarming issue, as seafood fraud encourages increased illegal fishing activities and impairs consumers right choices in seafood and can impact our health.
Archive for the ‘Take Action!’ Category
By Melissa Nehmens, PSRC
On January 25th and 26th, the Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf held its 4th annual Whalefest event to celebrate the migration of grey whales. Thanks to the efforts of fellow Pacific Shark Research Center (PSRC) student, Kristin Walovich, the PSRC and Friends of Moss Landing Marine Labs, hosted a booth at the event, speaking to attendees and passersby about what Moss Landing Marine Labs is all about!
Table attractions for the PSRC included a dehydrated Mako shark head and shark fin from our museum collection, and an anatomical model of a great white that allows you to see the inside of a shark. An interactive matching game, created by PSRC student Jessica Jang, was another favorite allowing people to test their shark knowledge by matching a shark to its description and name. We also showcased a story done by Central Coast News, interviewing PSRC director, Dave Ebert, about the lab’s role in international shark research.
By Dorota Szuta
Benthic Ecology Lab
To be honest, I was sure this would have been over by now. When the government shutdown first started, I didn’t think it could reasonably last more than a couple of days. Even now in the second week, many people are still not seeing serious ramifications of the shutdown in their own lives. I, however, am feeling its effects greatly.
I started the Moss Landing Marine Lab graduate program last year after working as a research assistant in the Benthic Ecology Lab for a couple of years. My thesis work focuses on changes in Antarctic bottom-dwelling communities along a depth gradient, under the guidance of Dr. Stacy Kim. I’ve taken this current semester off from coursework in order to go to Antarctica to do field work for three months. Despite not being in any classes, I’ve been surprisingly busy getting ready for the trip. In order to physically qualify to work in Antartica, there are a series of medical tests everyone must pass involving EKG’s, full dental x-rays, blood work, and vaccinations. The diving we were planning on doing in Antarctica is deep, in sub-zero temperatures, and under a thick sheet of ice—considerably different than diving here in the Monterey Bay, so I had a lot of dive training to complete. Our team (you can read more about our work here: http://scini-penguin.mlml.calstate.edu/) was scheduled to live in a field camp where we would be collecting data through a hole in the ice with our remotely operated vehicle (ROV) called SCINI, so since the summer we’ve been testing its functioning and practicing driving it. Needless to say, our engineers have been busy.
Beyond the Obituaries: the shinning stars of conservation work
By Michelle Marraffini
Invertebrate Zoology and Molecular Ecology Lab
Conservation science can sometimes feel like it is all doom and gloom stories with reports of have few of a species are left or what factors may lead a species to go extinct. Dr. Knowlton, a career scientist with the Smithsonian, realized that after attending conferences and taking surveys of conservation scientist, people tend to think of conservation science as a losing business. Nancy Knowlton and her work on a project called “Beyond the Obituaries” is trying to change that image. She highlights stories of groups that make conservation work; they include fishing villages that enact their own Marine Protected Areas, species saved by local activists, protecting turtles and sharks by reducing by-catch, and many more success stories of ocean science. “I felt it was really important to give people a reason to think that there is something you can do” Dr. Knowlton explained when asked about her recent work. By focusing on solutions rather then failures, hopefully she will reassure people that there is still time to save the coral reefs and safeguard marine biodiversity around the world.
Dr. Knowlton recently gave a seminar at MLML and in an hour inspired many of our students to take a more positive outlook on science. By focusing on the victories and learning what works we can help preserve more of the world’s oceans for the future. So now I am challenging you to listen to Dr. Knowlton’s talk (linked below) and do your small part to save the world’s oceans and inspire those around you to do the same.
You can hear Dr. Knowlton’s “Beyond the Obituaries: Success Stories in Ocean Conservation” on youtube and find more information on their website. She also has a book with National Geographic!
Help create a wave of change this World Oceans Day! Today is a day to spread the word about conservation and our responsibility of improving the health of the oceans. To find out ways to celebrate go to worldoceans.org. Your promise to the oceans could be to start using a reusable water bottle or bringing reusable grocery bags to the store. We will have a large positive impact on the health of the oceans if each one of us reduces the amount of plastic we use. You can read in this article about MBARI’s observations of trash in the deep sea. Of 1100+ observations of garbage in Monterey Bay, 32% were plastic and 23% metal. Our impacts were detected as deep as 13,000 feet and 300 miles offshore. We need to reduce our reliance on single use items! Celebrate in your own way to rise up and be the voice of the ocean!
by Angela Szesciorka, Vertebrate Ecology Lab
Warning, this is about horses — terrestrial mammals, yes. But as you may know, cetaceans did come from an ungulate lineage. So settle down kids.
I wanted to tell you all a little bit about my sister’s upcoming epic journey.
On May 25, my sister, Samantha, will embark on a 28-day journey across Nevada on horseback.
Why you ask?
Because no one ever has!
This will be the first solo equestrian ride along the Nevada portion of the American Discovery Trail, the coast-to-coast trail across the United Stated from Point Reyes National Seashore in California to the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware. (more…)
by Angela Szesciorka, Vertebrate Ecology Lab
A few Sundays ago — Super Bowl Sunday, in fact — I took a three-hour walk along the beach at Fort Ord in Monterey, CA with Don Glasco, a systems engineer and former cartographer.
This wasn’t a leisurely pursuit, but my volunteer service to the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network’s (SIMoN) Coastal Ocean Mammal and Bird Education and Research Surveys, also known as Beach COMBERS.
I meet Don at Fort Ord Dunes State Park in Marina around 9 a.m. After downing the last of my coffee, we head out into the foggy morning.
By Stephanie Hughes, Vertebrate Ecology Lab
If marine mammals are deemed the “canary in the coal mine” for our oceans, how can we predict threats to oceans and human health if funds that support long-term monitoring of these sentinels are eliminated?
The importance of monitoring the health of marine mammals goes beyond our “good Samaritan” duties of saving the cute and cuddly. Rescue and recovery attempts don’t always result in a happy ending, even though we hope for the best outcome. Regardless, our efforts are never in vain, for even failed attempts present us with the opportunity to discover clues for how the animal lived, so we may (hopefully) reveal how and why it died. Responding to diseased, injured, distressed, and even deceased marine mammals is our gateway to unveiling what these animals, and even humans, may be up against as environmental conditions are in flux.
The Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Response Network operates through the Vertebrate Ecology Laboratory (VEL) at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) and is a participant of the National Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. The VEL-MLML stranding network has been in operation for over 20 years under the direction of Dr. Jim Harvey, professor and interim director of MLML. At its infancy, VEL-MLML stranding response, in collaboration with other stranding response organizations such as The Marine Mammal Center and Long Marine Laboratory, was conducted voluntarily. Students, faculty, and members of the community would volunteer for rescuing, recovering, or collecting data on live and deceased stranded marine mammals. During the early years, equipment for stranding response was limited, thereby making the sample collection and storage to support long-term research difficult, though not impossible. Volunteers often lacked proper transportation, sampling equipment, and protective gear, and many were without formal training on data or sample collection. Despite these shortcomings, dedicated volunteers would drag hundreds of pounds of dead, beached marine mammal heads, tails, flippers, etc. (yes, without latex gloves) through miles of sand dunes, then would strap their prized possession on top of their ’78 Toyota pick up, tails and flippers flapping in the wind on Highway 1 as they returned to the lab. During the early 1990s, the VEL-MLML stranding network had many willing, committed, and dedicated volunteers (still does). What it didn’t have were sufficient funds to support the infrastructure necessary for rapid, large scale, and long-term stranding response.
Help create a wave of change this World Ocean Day! Today is a day to spread the word about conservation and our responsibility of improving the health of the ocean. To find out ways to celebrate go to worldoceans.org. Today I am continuing to make a lifestyle change and rode my bike to get to the UC Santa Cruz library to study and make this post! Celebrate in your own way to rise up and be the voice of the ocean!