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Marine Resources


April 2016 Issue

First National Assessment
Of ‘Ocean Enterprise’

The NOAA-led U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), in partnership with The Maritime Alliance and ERISS Corp., issued the first national-level assessment of the scale and scope of the “ocean enterprise”, the for-profit and nonprofit firms that support ocean measurement, observation and forecasting. The study shows that the ocean enterprise accounts for $7 billion dollars of the U.S. economy annually and provides up to 30,000 jobs.

This study seeks to raise the visibility of the ocean enterprise as similar studies did for the weather enterprise. It should help stimulate new opportunities for engagement, innovation and economic growth between the public and private sectors.

Improving Reliability Testing
For Marine Energy Converters

Scotland’s European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is working with the U.K.’s Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden to improve reliability testing for marine energy converters, with the aim of building robustness into marine energy technology design and performance.

The Reliability in a Sea of Risk (RiaSoR) project will establish industry best practice in reliability testing for wave and tidal energy devices through improved load measurements and verification, while increasing safety in marine energy operations.

The RiaSoR project aims to educate the nascent ocean energy industry of the impact of variance mode and effect analysis methodology (VMEA) to foster structured innovation as technologies move from concept to laboratory testing, and then onto full-scale tests.

OSPAR Committee Endorses
Science of Arctic MPA

The Biodiversity Committee of the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) met in Gothenburg, Sweden, and endorsed the scientific robustness of a proposed Marine Protected Area in the Arctic high seas, roughly the size of the U.K. By endorsing the proposal this technical committee recognizes that there is enough scientific evidence for the OSPAR Commission to take action to protect the proposed area, which would cover almost 10 percent of the Arctic high seas “doughnut hole” around the North Pole.

The decision to protect the proposed area now falls on the OSPAR government officials during the annual OSPAR Commission meeting that will take place in Spain in June.

Oyster Bed Loss Leads
To Coastal Vulnerability

A recent study of past disturbance of the oyster beds in New York Harbor led by geoscientist Jonathan Woodruff and his doctoral student Christine Brandon of the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the first to link Europeans’ overharvesting and disturbance of the ancient shellfish beds to loss of natural coastal defenses against floods and storm waves.

Woodruff and first author Brandon, with colleagues at Stevens Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, used a new approach based on sediment reconstructions from coastal ponds and hydrodynamic model simulations to show that the initial degradation of oyster reefs in the harbor following European settlement (1600 to 1800) coincides with “a significant increase in wave-derived overwash deposition” at all of their field sites.

One of the largest impacts European settlers had on New York Harbor was the decimation of its natural oyster beds, covering up to 220,000 acres of the Hudson and Raritan Rivers’ estuary.

Oysters were a staple of early colonial diets, and an important lime source for farm fields and construction mortar, Woodruff said. Between 1600 and 1800, the New York oyster beds were rapidly overharvested by hand and from dredges towed by sloops and schooners. The authors hypothesize that the reefs had absorbed a significant fraction of storm-wave energy before they were destroyed.

This hypothesis was tested using a circulation and wave simulation model to reconstruct past wave heights and storm surge elevations and to model the effects of oyster beds on wave heights in two historic storms, Sandy in 2012 and a severe 1992 winter storm. Woodruff and colleagues also collected core sediment samples from 5 to 6.5 m deep, going back about 3,000 years, to analyze storm layers and other features.

Numerical modeling shows that the overharvesting and destruction of oyster reefs provides a reasonable explanation for the increase in storm-induced overwash observed at the study sites.

The study showed that this area of New York Harbor is now experiencing 30 to 200 percent higher wave energy from extreme storms than in the distant past. This increases vulnerability to storms; a result most likely shared by other coastal areas that have lost their natural oyster beds.

Scholarships for
Maritime Careers

Since 2008, the National Marine Representatives Association (NMRA) has contributed to the future of the marine industry with scholarships to individuals pursuing education and a career in the maritime trades. This year, two $1,500 scholarships will be awarded to outstanding students.

High-school seniors, and college and vocational students can request an application from NMRA at info@nmraonline.org. Applications are due on July 1, 2016. Winners will be announced this summer.

Coast Guard Vessel
On Fisheries Patrol

The crew of the USCGC Galveston Island (WPB-1349), a 110-ft. patrol boat homeported in Honolulu with an operating range exceeding 2,300 mi., returned to U.S. Coast Guard Base Honolulu after a week-long fisheries patrol in the Pacific Ocean.

While on patrol with an enforcement officer from NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement aboard, the crew conducted nine joint boardings, resulting in two cases of apparently illegal fishing being referred to NOAA for possible prosecution.

The patrol was conducted under the Ocean Guardian Strategy. The Coast Guard’s priorities under the Ocean Guardian Strategy are to protect the U.S. EEZ from foreign encroachment, enforce domestic living marine resource laws, and ensure compliance with international agreements.


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