Fisheries Watch

West Coast Bottom Trawling Shut Down
The Pacific Fisheries Management Council approved a closure of the majority of bottom trawling in the Pacific. The decision came as an alternative to Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) requirements of the management plans for rockfish and groundfish. EFH requirements state that the two species have to be regulated everywhere they can be found. The California Department of Fish & Game established a hotline ((831) 649-2801) for updates. For more information, visit www.dfg.ca.gov.

Cod Comeback "Impossible?"
According to a Canadian study, the ecosystem has changed so dramatically as a result of the severe depletion of cod stocks that the recovery of the fishery may be impossible. The populations of the small fish on which cod prey have grown considerably while cod stocks continue to decline. As a result, these smaller fish are depleting algae and zooplankton at faster rates, and the lack of food could bring about a crash in the numbers of fish. For more information, visit www.seaweb.org.

Oceans Becoming More Acidic
British scientists found that carbon dioxide is turning the oceans acidic and the growing levels of acidity will likely harm marine life by the end of the century. Scientists from the Royal Society say the burning of fossil fuels by cars and power plants releases more than 25 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide every year, and they estimate that about one third of those gases are absorbed by the ocean. For more information, visit www.royalsoc.ac.uk.

Amberjack Harvests Less Than Expected?
The announcement made by the National Marine Fisheries Service earlier this year that claimed amberjack were overfished in the Gulf of Mexico and were continuing to be overfished has been withdrawn. A re-examination of data has shown the 2003 and 2004 harvests were considerably less than earlier estimates. A new stock assessment is scheduled to be released by the end of the year. For more information, visit www.nmfs.noaa.gov.