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fisheries

There's an unplanned experiment going on in the northern Rocky Mountains. What's happening is that spring is arriving earlier, and it's generally warmer and drier than usual. And that's messing with some of the fish that live there.

The fish is the iconic cutthroat trout. It's a native North American fish that thrives in cold, small streams. Explorer Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame was among the first European-Americans to catch this spangly, spotted fish. He used deer spleen as bait.

Catching the biggest fish usually comes with the biggest bragging rights, but now a new breed of anglers working to hook those at the other end of the spectrum. The catch might not be as big, the bragging rights are.

As the owner of Tombstone Tackle bait shop in Columbia, Mo., Adam Wolf has a lot of ways to catch fish.

"Night crawlers, minnows, shiners, goldfish, and the frozen bait like chicken liver, turkey liver, shad guts, shad sides, skipjack herring, vacuum seal whole shad," says Wolf as his list of lures goes on.

There are many important reasons to manage the world's wild fisheries. We do it to maintain stock levels, to ensure biodiversity and because fish are valuable. But researchers say there's something else in need of protection: The very people who rely on fish for food.

Scientists are predicting more than 10 percent of the world's population, a whopping 845 million people, will experience deficiencies in critically important micronutrients including zinc, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and fatty-acids in the coming decades if global fish catches continue to decline.

The condition of watersheds in Washington state continues to decline. That’s according to the the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. The organization delivered the news to the National Congress of American Indians Wednesday.

A prominent and outspoken fisheries scientist at the University of Washington is under attack from Greenpeace for not disclosing industry funding in several scientific papers stretching back to 2006.

toddraden Photo / Flickr

It was standing room only at the federal building in Seattle, where the Environmental Protection Agency held its first hearing Thursday on Alaska’s Bristol Bay fishery.

At issue is the potential effects of a proposed gold and copper mine there. The assessment looks at mining in general, though concern has arisen over a huge project known as the Pebble Mine.

bikehikedive / Flickr

Responsible fishing and fish consumption were among the agenda items at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Seattle. The conference (in its 141st year) has brought thousands of scientists, wildlife managers and other experts together for five days of wide-ranging discussions.

One of the more intriguing messages: Eating more sardines may be one of the best things you can do to help keep the planet healthy.

Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU News

They’re known as ghost nets – old tangles of synthetic lines snagged on underwater rocks or reefs and left behind by fishermen as long as seventy years ago.   

A coalition out of Mount Vernon has removed thousands of them over the past decade.  There’s still work to be done, but they’re running out of funding. 

Since 2002, The Northwest Straights Initiative has removed nearly four thousand derelict fishing nets from shallow waters of Puget Sound. 

“Because they just don’t degrade. They can get torn apart by wave action, but they won’t degrade," says Northwest Straits Initiative Director, Ginny Broadhurst.

AP

West Coast fishermen are faced with a new way of deciding who gets to catch how much of what kinds of fish. Federal fisheries managers -- and many fishermen -- say it’ll be good for business and for fish stocks. But others fear the impact on small fishing communities.

How has it been done up till now?

AP/Oregon Fish & Wildlife

NOAA Fisheries Service is proposing habitat protection for the threatened Pacific smelt. The proposal released Wednesday would designate about 292 miles of freshwater creeks, rivers and estuaries in Washington, Oregon and California as critical habitat areas.

Suresh A. Sethi/U of Washington

The most widely-used way of measuring the health of ocean ecosystems is wrong as often as it's right.

And that can lead to thinking that fisheries are sustainable when they're really not.