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Marine Resources

2018:  FEB

December 2017 Issue

Canadian Research Nonprofit
Gets Funds for Fisheries Tech

The government of Canada has granted Merinov $503,132 in financial assistance, in the form of a nonrepayable contribution, to carry out research and development on processing technologies in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

Merinov is a nonprofit research center that is tasked with research and development, technology transfer, technical assistance, monitoring and succession planning activities that contribute to the sustainable development and competitiveness of the fisheries and aquaculture industry and aquatic biomass valorization.

The funding will help Merinov establish a method for assessing the shelf life of marine products; develop alternative bait for lobster fishing; assess the commercial potential of collagenase from snow crabs; test grinding and drying technologies for marine co-products to increase their stability; and develop a diagnostic consulting tool for the energy and environmental performance of processing plants.

Cybersecurity at Sea
Training Program

KVH Videotel has launched a cybersecurity training program, produced in association with the global shipping association BIMCO, to address the threat of ransomware and other computer system breaches that could severely affect the safety of ships’ crew, systems and operations.

The International Maritime Organization will soon make it mandatory for companies to ensure that cybersecurity procedures are properly addressed in their ships’ safety management systems.

The main topics covered in the new training program are: the nature of cybersecurity threats; how to assess the risks to the ship’s IT and operational technology; how the risks to individuals and ships can be reduced; and how to respond to a cybersecurity breach or attack.

A Short History
Of Metal Detectors

Have you ever wondered how the first metal detector was invented? On July 2, 1881, U.S. President James Garfield was shot in the back. While he managed to survive the assassination attempt, doctors could not locate the bullet inside him. Alexander Graham Bell learned of this unfortunate incident and set out to build a device that could detect the bullet lodged in Garfield’s chest. Although the machine worked properly, Bell deemed it a failure because it was unable to locate the bullet and resulted in the untimely death of President Garfield.

What Bell did not know was that the president’s mattress was filled with metal springs that interfered with the magnetic field surrounding the search area. While Bell’s detector didn’t manage to save Garfield’s life, the technology was a precursor to modern metal detectors. Jack Fisher (1941 to 2015) expanded upon Bell’s legacy in 1968 by founding JW Fishers’ Manufacturing and its complete line of underwater search equipment. Both Bell and Fisher’s legacies live on with daily search and recovery operations around the world. In 2017, JW Fishers released its newest underwater metal detector, the SAR-1 (search and recovery), for military, law enforcement, commercial and public safety dive teams whose mission sets include locating metallic objects in low-visibility environments.

Ribbed Mussels Filter Water,
Remain Healthy in NYC Study

Scientists and activists alike have been looking for a solution to the problem of aquatic nutrient pollution. One group reports in Environmental Science & Technology that ribbed mussels are up to the cleanup challenge.

When it comes to nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, too much can end up in rivers and streams as the result of human activities and can cause algal blooms, loss of seagrass and low oxygen levels, which can lead to large numbers of fish and other organisms dying. Many studies have examined how to prevent this runoff, but not much attention has been paid to removing the nutrients from the water. Some agencies have started programs to do this, and they are using shellfish to filter out unwanted substances.

Geukensia demissa, known as the ribbed mussel, is one type of shellfish proposed for these programs. This mussel lives in various habitats and can filter bacteria, microalgae and detritus containing nutrients and contaminants.

This shellfish is not for sale on the commercial market, so they aren’t directly consumed by humans.

A pilot experiment equipped and deployed a raft stocked with local ribbed mussels in late June 2011 in an estuary at an industrial setting near New York City.

The raft is a floating platform with beams and underwater ropes to which the mussels attach.

The next spring, the researchers harvested the raft and studied the mussels. Overall, the mussels were healthy, and their tissues had high amounts of a local nitrogen isotope, indicating that they removed nitrogen from the water.

When the animals were harvested, 138 lb. of nitrogen were potentially removed.

A fully stocked raft could clean an estimated average of 3 million gallons of water and remove about 350 lb. of particulate matter, such as dust and soot, daily.

The New York State Office of the Attorney General and NOAA’s Office of Aquaculture helped fund the research.

Slow Recovery of Atlantic
Sturgeon Since Moratorium

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Sturgeon Management Board reviewed the results of the 2017 Atlantic Sturgeon Benchmark Stock Assessment, which indicate the population remains depleted coast-wide and at the distinct population segment level relative to historic abundance.

But on a coast-wide basis, the population appears to be recovering slowly since implementation of a complete moratorium in 1998.

Despite the fishing moratorium, the population still experiences mortality from several sources, but the assessment indicates that total mortality is sustainable. The “depleted” determination was used instead of “overfished” because of the many factors that contribute to the low abundance of Atlantic sturgeon, such as directed and incidental fishing, ship strikes and climate changes.

2018:  FEB

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