National Fisherman


When the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon oil well sent some 400,000 tonnes of methane into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, many scientists and others feared it would linger. So researchers were pleasantly surprised when studies suggested that methane-eating bacteria had consumed nearly all of it by August.
 
But new evidence suggests an alternate scenario. Research published today in Nature Geoscience finds that although these bacteria consumed much of the gas, they slowed down considerably after a few months. In fact, bacteria only consumed roughly half of the methane, according to co-author author Samantha Joye, a microbial biogeochemist and oceanographer at the University of Georgia in Athens.
 
The team analyzed more than 1,000 water samples collected over more than 105,000 square kilometres during 10 expeditions to the gulf between March and December 2010.
 
The analysis finds that about two weeks after the blowout, methane oxidation rates – an indication of how much methane the bacteria were consuming – began rising, and increased steadily until early June. But later that month, the feeding frenzy had subsided, with rates tumbling from their peak by one or two orders of magnitude.
 
“We saw a boom and bust,” says Joye. That decline came, she says, despite ample remaining methane for the bacteria to nosh on. 
 
Read the full story at the Scientific American>>

Inside the Industry

The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

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Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.

The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.

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