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Marine Resources


June 2016 Issue

Federal Sand Dredging
To Renourish Duval Shore

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has signed an agreement with the City of Jacksonville, Florida, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers authorizing them to dredge nearly 1.4 million cubic yards of sand from federal waters for periodic renourishment of the Duval County shoreline.

The shore protection project, using sand from the seafloor of the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), will restore a 10-mi. stretch of coast between the St. Johns River entrance and the Duval County/St. Johns County boundary along the Atlantic Ocean. Dredging is expected to begin in the summer of 2016.

The last nourishment cycle took place in 2011; subsequent storm activity, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012, has eroded an average of 160,000 cubic yards per year from the Duval County shoreline.

Local beaches to be renourished extend from the St. Johns River to Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, and Jacksonville Beach on the southern edge. The sediment will be dredged from Duval Shoal S, a borrow site approximately 6 naut. mi. from the placement area.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is also supporting this project.

Fisheries Patrol Vessel
Endures Harsh Conditions

The crew of the USCGC Kiska (WPB-1336) returned to home port in Hilo, Hawaii, after a particularly challenging living marine resources patrol due to weather. Despite encountering seas of more than 10 ft. and 23 to 35 mph winds, the crew carried out fisheries boardings and worked on crew qualifications while navigating approximately 1,450 total miles.

Over eight days, they spent 126 hr. enforcing fisheries laws by conducting two boardings approximately 300 mi. from the Hawaiian Islands, ensuring the sustainability of fisheries in the Pacific.

While neither boarding resulted in any fisheries violations, the crew did find concerns aboard one of the vessels resulting in coordination with Customs and Border Protection to ensure compliance with applicable occupational safety and employment regulations.

The U.S. Coast Guard is tasked with protecting the nation’s living marine resources under the Ocean Guardian Strategy. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific fisheries accounted for 6.9 million lb. of the total combined landings in the U.S., worth $2.5 million in 2014.

Study Finds Need for More
Hawaii Reef Protection

Coral reefs are captivating and critical examples of extreme biodiversity, serving as home to myriad marine animals whose genetic diversity is equally important. This diversity varies across species and islands, and a new study by UC Santa Barbara marine biologist Kimberly Selkoe and colleagues investigates why and how this is the case. The researchers found that areas that experienced the most frequent coral bleaching conditions also showed depressed levels of genetic diversity—not just for corals but for the entire community of fishes and other invertebrates associated with those habitats.

Prior to this study, little direct data existed to guide debates about whether many small marine reserves versus one large reserve would be better for preserving genetic diversity. These new findings suggest that although Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which surrounds the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, safeguards the majority of Hawaiian reef biodiversity, populations in the main Hawaiian Islands are genetically distinct and warrant additional protection.

In the future, the team will follow up on evidence that suggests the same large-scale ecological rules that predict species diversity also predict genetic diversity. DNA sampling may one day allow rapid assessment of species diversity and new metrics of resilience and adaptive capacity.

BLUE-coast Research to
Shape UK Coastal Policy

The first project to investigate the role of biological processes on the future evolution of the U.K. coastline is expected to produce valuable insights that will shape coastal protection policy. This project, called BLUE-coast, is led by the U.K. National Oceanography Centre (NOC), alongside nine partner organizations.

The research will improve the ability to accurately predict regional sediment budgets on time scales of years to decades by improving understanding of the origin, flux and characteristics of the sediment, including biological or ecological mediation, and how to build that knowledge into complex models.

The project, which began in May, will also assess how sensitive this sediment system is to external factors, such as human intervention and climate change.

Addendum Sets Bycatch
Limit for Jonah Crab

The American Lobster Management Board approved Addendum I to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Jonah Crab. The Addendum establishes a bycatch limit of 1,000 lb. of crab/trip for nontrap gear (e.g., otter trawls, gillnets) and nonlobster trap gear (e.g., fish, crab and whelk pots) effective January 1, 2017.

In doing so, the Addendum caps incidental landings of Jonah crab across all nondirected gear types with a uniform bycatch allowance. While the gear types in Addendum I make minimal contributions to total landings in the fishery, the crab limit provides a cap to potential increases in effort and trap proliferation.

The Addendum responds to concerns regarding the appropriateness of the 200 crab per calendar day/500 crab per trip incidental bycatch limit for nontrap gear established by the 2015 Jonah Crab FMP, as well as concerns regarding the lack of effort controls on nonlobster traps and the potential for trap proliferation.

Data submitted by the New England Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries illustrated less than 1 percent of nontrap gear incidentally harvested Jonah crab in excess of the FMP bycatch limits. Data from the VTR database also indicated that between May 1, 2013 and August 31, 2015, 194 trips landed Jonah crab with nonlobster gear.


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