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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Marine Update

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, September 8, 2014/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, marine life, sustainability, environment

Species recover if given half a chance. Two reports should make anyone interested in ocean conservation celebrate.

The Monterrey Bay Aquarium's  Seafood Watch  has just published  updates on fisheries recovery  for popular species of rockfish whose populations had been depleted by overfishing. The list includes:

"cabezon, crab, dogfish, groundfish, grouper, grenadier, lingcod, lobster, Pacific cod, sablefish, and skate have now rebounded to levels allowing sustainable fishing. Additionally, all groundfish caught in California, Oregon and Washington are now either a Seafood Watch “Good Alternative” or “Best Choice” option for consumers. This reflects a continuing pattern of improvement for U.S.-managed fisheries.

  National Sustainable Seafood Guide and Rockfish  (credit: Monterrey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch )

A second and very exciting report has determined that blue whale populations West Coast have recovered from near extinction and are now sustainable. Researchers at the University of Washington report that nearly 2,200 California blue whales have now repopulated to ~97% of their historical levels in the eastern Pacific Ocean. These whales are the largest animals on Earth and were nearly pushed to extinction by whaling until it was banned in 1966.

According to lead author Cole Monnahan, a PhD candidate in quantitative ecology and resource management: The recovery of California blue whales from whaling demonstrates the ability of whale populations to rebuild under careful management and conservation measures. California blue whales are recovering because we took actions to stop catches and start monitoring."

                  California Blue Whale  (credit: NOAA)

Restoration of these species happened by establishing marine reserves and banning whaling. Ecosystems recover when stresses are reduced and conservation is practiced.

Whale watchers and anyone who loves grilled fish can rejoice but these marine successes now must be replicated on a worldwide basis.


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