Commercial Shrimp Trawling: the profit does not out weigh the damaging effects on rest of the ecosystem

Beam trawl design.

By Laurel Zaima, RJD Intern ABSTRACT Commercial shrimp fisheries’ main objective is to maximize their target catch in order to make the most profit. Commercial shrimp fisheries satisfy this goal by the utilization of trawl nets. Trawling is a very destructive form of fishing, and unfortunately, does not take into consideration ecological consequences. Trawling, by the use of beam or otter trawls, is used to maximize their catch of shrimp; however, it also maximizes their landings of by-catch. The amount of by-catch far out weighs the amount of shrimp and target species caught in trawls.  The majority of by-catch, which … Continue reading

71 Questions: A Guide for Marine Conservation

A flow chart summarizing the steps taken in the workshops. (Parsons et al. 2014)

By James Keegan, RJD Intern The ocean remains an immense resource for humanity, providing food, economic activity, and cultural roots for many. Although these resources are valuable, it is difficult to effectively protect them because our knowledge of marine ecosystems is lacking. To correct this insufficient understanding of the marine environment, Parsons et al. 2014 conducted two workshops in order to establish a list of important questions that would help direct conservation research.  If conservationists can answer these questions, the community’s ability to conserve and mange the world’s marine resources would substantially improve. With the contributions from participants in the … Continue reading

Shark Tagging with MAST

Our whole group after a successful shark day!

By Daniela Ferraro, RJD Intern On Saturday, December 6th, RJD embarked on a shark-tagging trip with a wonderful group of students from MAST Academy. Right before finals, this trip couldn’t have come any sooner. I woke up early to absolutely beautiful weather and knew the day was going to be a great one. I grabbed my gear and headed off on Dani’s taxi service, picking up several other interns on our way to Diver’s Paradise. We arrived around 8am and quickly went to work loading up all of our equipment and gear so we could get out on the water! … Continue reading

Shark Tagging with Gulliver Prep

An unexpected catch

By Alison Enchelmaier, RJD Intern This trip couldn’t have come sooner. I’d been in my office for far too long and a tagging trip was long over due. Before the sun began to rise Sam and I piled into the car and headed to West Palm Beach. We met the rest of the team at Jim Abernathy’s Scuba Adventures at 7:30am and began loading up gear. With only 4 team members, I knew today would be a busy one. When our guests, Gulliver Preparatory’s Oceanography Club, arrived Dr. Neil gave everyone a briefing about shark conservation and the importance of … Continue reading

Five Ways to Fight Illegal Fishing

Pic 3 - Coast Guard Cutter

By Lindsay Jennings, RJD Intern  The issue of illegal fishing has, deservedly, been getting international attention recently but it should be noted that this ‘great ocean heist’ is not a new phenomenon. For far too long fishing boats have been misreporting or underreporting their catches. There simply are not enough fish for these boats to catch so they resort to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. IUU fishing accounts for $10-$23 billion annually in internationally traded seafood,[1] and to compound the problem, it has been linked to environmental degradation, political instability, slave labor, and the movement of other illicit cargo … Continue reading

Watered Down Medicine: The Influence of Marine Organisms in Medicine


By Gabi Goodrich, RJD Intern Ancient people worshipped, prayed, and sacrificed to the ocean for the powers of healing and power it possessed. While the mentality has changed, the influence over people and medicine today has not. With more and more focus on disease and sickness, the search for new and better medicines are an exponentially growing field. Over the past 20 years, around 10,000 known natural substances have been found from isolating marine organisms. Only a mere 28 of these are currently in clinical testing, and some are in pretrial. While only a small number of drugs on the … Continue reading