The Truth Behind Catch-and-Release of Atlantic cod

The study area in Norway

By Jessica Wingar, RJD Intern With decreasing fish stocks, there has been an increase fishing regulations. One of these categories of fishing is recreational fishing, which includes catch and release fishing. In catch and release fishing, the fish is released back into the ocean after being reeled in. Despite the fact that this practice puts the fish back in its habitat, the process can have detrimental effects on the fish. An example of one of these disadvantages is the damage caused by the hook; the hook can become lodged in the body cavity of the fish and cause damage that … Continue reading

Threats to Sea Otters

Figure 1. A sea otter at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium laying on its back, a characteristic pose of this animal (Cohn 1998).

by Daniela Escontrela, RJD intern Sea otters are a very charismatic species due to their very cute and cuddly appearance; however, sea otters are quite interesting animals for many reasons. For one sea otters lack a blubber layer like many other marine mammals. To make up for this, they have the thickets fur of any animal coming in at one million hairs per square inch, 800 million total (compare that to humans who have a mere 100,000 hairs on their entire heads) (Cohn 1998). Otters are also the only marine animal known to use tools. They place a rock on … Continue reading

Shark Tagging with Maritime Academy

A fin-mounted satellite tag on a juvenile tiger shark.

by Jacob Jerome, RJD student Last Sunday the RJD crew had a VERY exciting and successful day of shark tagging with citizen scientists off the coast of Miami. We left the dock on Key Biscayne early Sunday morning and headed for the waters off Miami Beach. Blessed with calm seas and beautiful weather, we set out our first ten drumlines and waited to see what we were going to get. After the short one hour soak time, we headed to the first line and started pulling. On just our second line there was tension on the monofilament and we knew … Continue reading

Current threats to coastal seagrass ecosystems

A green sea turtle grazes on seagrass, an important food source for this endangered species. Photo courtesy of P. Lindgren via Wikimedia Commons

By Hanover Matz, RJD Intern If asked what marine ecosystems are currently most at risk, many people would probably identify coral reefs and mangrove forests. Climate change, sea level rise, and habitat degradation are all terms that come to mind when addressing the decline of corals and mangroves worldwide. However, equally important and at risk are seagrass ecosystems. Seagrasses are marine flowering plants that form ecologically important coastal habitats in tropic and temperate oceans, playing a key role in unison with coral reefs and mangroves (Short et al., 2011). These three habitats exchange nutrients and organic matter, and seagrasses provide … Continue reading

The aquarium hobby’s impact on freshwater fish conservation

An adult male (below) and female crescent zoe.

by Jacob Jerome, RJD student From small bowls that house beta fish, to extensive aquariums with hundreds of individuals, fish are found in homes around the world. Through this hobby, people have the opportunity to experience the world of fish in a way that was never possible before. But there can be drawbacks to the aquarium hobby that concern researchers in regards to freshwater fish conservation. While acknowledging these problems, Maceda-Veiga et al aim to change the perception of hobbyists and show their potential to help conserve the fish that they love. The major drawbacks of the aquarium hobby are … Continue reading

What 19th century stories can tell us about modern fish stocks

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By Stephen Cain, RJD Intern Shifting baselines, a term introduced by Daniel Pauly in 1995, occur when successive generations view contemporary environmental conditions as the baseline to measure future change against. The problem with this sort of bounded rationality is that it fails to account for long-term historic trends, and risks myopic decision-making in the greater context. This has been the error of monitoring global fish stocks. In 2001, Jeremy Jackson and several researchers suggested that humans began interacting in coastal ecosystems 10,000 years ago. However, developed nations only recently implemented monitoring fish stocks after the Second World War, with … Continue reading