Written by Linc Bedrosian
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Fisherman in southwest Florida say octopuses are threatening to decimate their stone crab harvests.
Octopuses are intelligent, voracious predators. They can easily prey on stone crabs caught in traps in the Gulf of Mexico.
"They're real thick offshore. Past 30 feet deep, we're catching a lot of them," commercial fisherman Shane Dooley tells the News-Press (http://newspr.es/1euEITM ). "Some traps have two or three in them. They eat the crabs as soon as they get in, and they go from trap to trap."
All of Island Crab Co. owner Jeff Haugland's traps are in 40 to 55 feet of water.
"It's like a desert out there," he said. "My boats are seeing plenty of octopus, and they're seeing no stone crab, almost less than none."
Read the full story at Miami Herald>>
NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.
We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.Read more...
A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.
Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species, allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.Read more...