FishNews – October 11, 2017

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NOAA Fish News

October 11, 2017

Seafood Month 2017

October Is National Seafood Month
Join us all month long as we celebrate the bounty of sustainable seafood! Check out our seafood feature stories, last week’s leadership message from Chris Oliver, and a delicious video.



FishWatch.Gov screenshot

Seafood Month: Spotlight on
This month, we invite you to explore, the nation’s database on sustainable seafood. FishWatch has information on the status of more than 100 of the most of valuable marine fish and shellfish harvested or farmed in the United States. It includes information about stock assessments, economic impacts, and partnerships with commercial and recreational fishermen to reduce bycatch and protect habitat. You can even find tasty recipes for some of your favorite seafood species.

Coral Reef Economy screenshot2

Video: The Coral Reef Economy
Coral reefs contribute more than $3.4 billion to the U.S. economy annually. A new animated video from NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program explains how healthy coral reef ecosystems do everything from supporting millions of jobs to protecting lives and coastal infrastructure. However, despite all they do for us, coral reef ecosystems are threatened.

National Wetlands Awards

National Wetlands Awards – Call for Nominations
Sponsored by NOAA Fisheries and other federal agencies, the National Wetlands Awards Program celebrates individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary dedication, innovation, or excellence in wetland conservation. Please submit nominations for the 2018 National Wetlands Awards by December 22.


West Coast


Hexacopter Whale Blow

Monitoring Whale Health with Hexacopters
A scientist from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center, working alongside university and nonprofit partners, used a small, unmanned hexacopter to collect exhaled breath condensate (blow) from two populations of humpback whales. The researchers analyzed the blow samples to characterize their respiratory microbial communities and gain insight into population health.


Atmospheric Rivers

Atmospheric Rivers and the Russian River
A new story map from NOAA’s Climate Program Office explains “atmospheric rivers”—narrow bands of moisture moving through the atmosphere—and their impacts on rainfall and water supply in the western United States. It includes a case study on NOAA’s Russian River Habitat Focus Area and the partnerships that have grown out of learning to predict and adjust to atmospheric river events.

Pacific Islands


1000th Sea Turtle

1,000th Sea Turtle Released
On September 22, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center released the 1,000th sea turtle rescued and rehabilitated in the Hawaiian Islands. For more than 30 years, NOAA Fisheries’ stranding program in Hawaii has responded to dead or injured sea turtles, collecting important information about population threats and impacts.


Monk Seal Runku

October’s Monk Seal of the Month
The Monk Seal of the Month for October is R1KU (or “Runku”), first seen on Niihau in 2014. One of her eyes was damaged, so NOAA and partners brought her in for an examination and determined that the eye needed removal. Veterinarians performed a successful surgery and made sure she could still catch and eat live prey before releasing her back to the wild.




Hurricane Katrina Debris

How NOAA Responds to Hurricane Debris
Marine debris is often an unfortunate and unavoidable side effect of severe coastal weather. The past couple months have been particularly difficult for the Gulf of Mexico, Southeast, and Caribbean regions. Learn how NOAA’s Marine Debris Program works to respond to hurricane-caused debris.

SAFMC Logo v3

September 2017 South Atlantic Council Update
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council met in Charleston, South Carolina, last month to continue to address snapper-grouper management issues. Read a summary of the Council’s actions.


Gulf Council logo

October 2017 Gulf Council Update
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met in Biloxi, Mississippi, this month to welcome new and returning members and to discuss a number of fishery issues. Read a summary of the Council’s actions.


Law Enforcement Awards

Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Awards
At their September meeting, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council presented the annual Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Lieutenant Bryan Lee. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council presented their 2016 Law Enforcement Office of the Year Award to Mississippi Marine Patrol Officer Roy Lipscomb at their October meeting.

Greater Atlantic


Whale Disentanglement GARFO

You Spot An Entangled Whale … Now What?
If you’re out on the ocean and spot a large whale entangled in rope, your first step should be to call NOAA’s Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement Network, which operates a 24/7 hotline. Learn more about the response efforts and meet GARFO’s Disentanglement Coordinator, David Morin.


Skate Swimming NEFSC

Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment –
Open for Public Comment

By December 5, please submit your comments on the New England Fishery Management Council’s Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2. The amendment would revise the essential fish habitat designations for all species managed by the Council, add Habitat Areas of Particular Concern and establish two Dedicated Habitat Research Areas, and make other adjustments.

Oyster Restoration Chesapeake Bay

Restoring Oyster Reefs in Virginia’s Lafayette River
Virginia’s Lafayette River in the Chesapeake Bay watershed is rebounding from historic water quality problems. NOAA has been a key partner in supporting oyster restoration efforts, including reef construction, river mapping, and restoration coordination. Now, funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation will help the tributary reach goals for oyster restoration.


Copepod Collage

Copepods: Cows of the Sea
Zooplankton are tiny aquatic animals that drift with the ocean currents. Copepods, a group of tiny crustacean zooplankton, graze on phytoplankton—playing a similar food web role as cows grazing on grass. These copepods—some of the most abundant animals on the planet—also serve as a primary food source for North Atlantic right whales.


Ken Keene Observer Lead

Safety a Priority for New Observer Program Lead
Meet Ken Keene, the new Mid-Atlantic Area Fisheries Observer Program lead. Keene will be based at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Howard Laboratory in his native New Jersey. He will be working with the fishing industry in ports from New Jersey to North Carolina as the point of contact for the observer program.


ASFMC Newsletter

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission News
The August/September 2017 issue of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s newsletter, Fisheries Focus, is now available online. Read about recent and proposed management actions, upcoming meetings, stock assessment updates, and more.



October 12
Last day of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Riverhead, New York.

October 12 and 25
Two free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshops in Florida and
New Jersey.

October 14
California Leatherback Celebration Day at Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center in
Santa Cruz, California.

October 17–19
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in American Samoa.

October 19
Free public tours of NOAA Research Vessel Gloria Michelle at New Bedford Harbor in Massachusetts.

October 24
Quantitative Ecology and Socioeconomics Training (QUEST) webinar on the California Collaborative Research Fisheries Program.

October 25
Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Somerville, Massachusetts.


October 17
Applications due for FY 2018 John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grants.

November 1
Applications due for FY 2018 Species Recovery Grants to States.

November 1
Applications due for FY 2018 Species Recovery Grants to Tribes.

November 6
Proposals due for 2018/2019 Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Funding.

December 22
Nominations due for 2018 National Wetlands Awards.

Federal Register Actions

Visit for a list of only those actions open for public comment. Scroll search for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For a list of all daily actions, check the Federal Register online.