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salmon Atlantic salmon. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries
harbor seal Harbor seals on the beach. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Christin Khan
great white shark Great white shark. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Greg Skomal, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
ribbed mussel Ribbed mussel. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Mark S. Dixon

April 17, 2017
Contact: Teri Frady

Things NEFSC People Do For the Earth

Restoring the Way Home

If you’re born and raised in a small town you know the drill – can’t wait to get out into the wide, wide world when you are young; turn homeward when you approach the end of your days. The passage is long, there are barriers to be overcome, living conditions vary, all kinds of things figure into how successful you will be getting out and getting back in. So it is with the endangered Atlantic salmon in Maine rivers, as well as other fish that spend part of their lives in the freshwater rivers and part of their lives in the ocean. NEFSC researchers developed a model to show how the number and location of dams on rivers affected adult salmon and the proportion of wild fish using various parts of a watershed. It was so useful, it’s being expanded to evaluate dams and other factors on shad, sturgeons, and other fish that need to transit between fresh and salt water: More here ».

Share the Shore

Did you know that one of the most frequent calls received by the Marine Mammal Stranding Network in the Northeast involves a case of mistaken distress? Harbor seals are common here in the summer, and often haul out onto beaches to catch some sun and rest. Also, females will sometimes leave their pups on the beach while they forage. Beachgoers often see a sleeping seals or pups and conclude they are stranded or abandoned. The NEFSC’s Woods Hole Science Aquarium is a good place to learn all about this behavior and what to do (and not do) if you see a seal you think is stranded. Seal feedings at 11 AM and 4 PM daily feature our hard-working resident harbor seals Bumper and LuSeal, both of which were likely abandoned as pups. Their story of rescue and rehabilitation helps us teach thousands of visitors annually about sharing the shore with marine animals and caring for their habitats. There’s more about the aquarium and our seals here ».

It Ain't Easy Being Bitey

You wouldn’t think that sharks would need much help and protection. Did you know that NOAA Fisheries is at the forefront of making sure these fish are not overharvested? Our Fisheries Science Center is known for our work in finding ways to figure out the age of a shark. We also maintain the world’s longest running tag-and-recapture database for Atlantic sharks. Every year, hundreds of fishermen who have volunteered for the program tag and release sharks in their catch and report any tagged sharks they encounter. From that record, a remarkable picture of shark range has been developed. More on our Shark Tagger program here ».

Cleaning up Estuaries One Mussel at a Time

Would it be possible to restore oxygen levels in some of our estuaries by putting mussels to work on the job? Our Milford Lab has been using ribbed mussels, a species that can be easily cultured and that is not a source for human food, to find out how much nitrogen they can take out of the water just through filter feeding. They are also looking at the potential for nearshore oyster aquaculture farms to do the same . More on our environmental research using cultured shellfish here ».

From Greenhouse Gases to Baby Fish

Young fish and many shellfish are sensitive to changes in the water chemistry of their immediate environment. Globe-wide processes link the emissions from burning of fossil fuels to the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere to the acidity of seawater in our oceans. This outcome, called Ocean Acidification (OA), is the less well known flip-side of the climate change coin. Both are accelerated by CO2 emissions. OA has effects on many important marine organisms including corals, shellfish, and the young, vulnerable life-stages of many fish species.

NOAA researchers in the Northeast and at other NOAA Labs are monitoring changes in ocean water chemistry and experimentally evaluating effects of decreases in ocean acidity on growth, survival, and functioning of ocean life. What can you do to help? The data suggests that Mother Earth would benefit from a ‘low-carb’ diet! Learn more about NEFSC's Ocean Acidification research »

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The Northeast Fisheries Science Center conducts ecosystem-based science supporting stewardship of living marine resources under changing climatic conditions. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public. Join NOAA Fisheries on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and our other social media channels.

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