National Fisherman

MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — A line of cellphone cameras and digital camcorders greeted the first few dump trucks to deliver piles of sand Monday morning to a narrow and eroded stretch of Kimballs Beach on the Delaware Bay.

The event wasn't the most photogenic, but the sand was the final step in a frenetic effort to restore a portion of what Hurricane Sandy washed away so horseshoe crabs have a place to lay eggs this spring.

The prehistoric crabs provide a critical food link for migratory shorebirds, including the red knot, that use the Delaware Bay as a rest stop on their way to summer breeding grounds in the Arctic.

For the scientists and conservation advocates involved with the effort, the sand deliveries were nothing short of miraculous. The project began in late January, with regulators all but laughing at the proposal because the work needs to be complete by April, said wildlife biologist and shorebird expert Larry Niles. Project leaders needed to obtain a half dozen permits and consult not just with federal and state agencies, but get written permission from landowners, notify shellfish lessees and even wait for the grant check to clear.

The check cleared Monday, said Bill Shadel, habitat restoration program director with the American Littoral Society, which was one of the leaders of the effort. "We were all doing work not knowing if the funding would happen or, if it did, would it come in time," he said.

Niles said the speed of the effort — about six weeks from proposal to the first truckload of sand arriving — was unprecedented in his 30-year career.

Read the full story at the Press of Atlantic City>>

Inside the Industry

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.


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.

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