Marin County BWTF Fostering Student Scientists & Advocates
May 19 2015
The Marin County Chapter partners with two local high schools to conduct their BWTF water testing program. Since 2007, the student scientists of the Branson School Water Quality Team, have been running a BWTF lab at their school under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Surfrider volunteers have been collecting weekly water samples at Bolinas and Stinson Beach and Bay Front Park in Mill Valley and delivering them to Branson School where dedicated student volunteers process the samples in the lab and record the results online.
Read the full story on the Surfrider website.
Surfrider and Tam High Water Testing Lab
October 24, 2014
Below are emails from Loren about getting Tam High involved with water quality testing:
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:37:58 +0000
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Fw: Surfrider and Tam High Water Testing Lab
Bayfront Park Boat Dock Project vs Water Quality
March 7, 2014
Letter to the City of Mill Valley:
Help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda
Reliable Websites that are Accepting Donations
This list is compiled with Philipine-based organizations that are helping typhoon victims directly.
http://cts.vresp.com/c/?TheSanFranciscoFilip/fef5c35c40/14336697df/3ba5135b42Local organizations: Your donations through these local organizations will be funneled through to the purchase of food and supplies by people we are directly associated with:
Oplan Damayan (Project Open Hand)Thanks so much!!!Balikbayod and crew
We run on volunteer power and through donations by you. Maraming/Daghan Salamat & Thank you for your continued support.
Assembly Bill No. 1776 was approved by Governor Jerry Brown on September 26, 2012 and filed by the Secretary of State on September 26, 2012, establishing the Pacific leatherback sea turtle as the official state marine reptile.
Existing law establishes the state flag and the state’s emblems, including, among other things, the poppy as the official state flower, the California redwood as the official state tree, and the California desert tortoise as the official state reptile. This bill designates October 15, 2013, and every October 15 thereafter, as Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Day. The bill encourages public schools, state and federal agencies, nongovernmental agencies, fishers, coastal tour operators, and other interested stakeholders to engage in certain activities, as specified.
The Legislature acknowledges that the Pacific leatherback sea turtle population has experienced a catastrophic decline over the past two decades and might be on the verge of extinction. The Legislature further acknowledges that Pacific leatherback sea turtles are among the most imperiled of any sea turtle population in any ocean basin on Earth and that populations of the Pacific leatherback sea turtle, a 100-million-year-old species that outlived the dinosaurs, have declined by approximately 90 percent in the last 25 years.
Pacific leatherback sea turtles foraging off the coast of California are part of a distinct Western Pacific breeding stock that nests on beaches in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. California’s coastal waters are high-use foraging areas for summer nesters from this critically endangered population of Pacific leatherback sea turtles, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Satellite tracking conducted over the past decade has determined that after nesting hundreds of individual Pacific leatherback sea turtles swim more than 6,000 miles over 10 to 12 months to cross the Pacific to feed on jellyfish in California coastal waters every year. The Pacific leatherback sea turtles’ trans-Pacific migration involved multiple years of migrating between California coastal waters during the summer and lower latitude wintering areas without returning to Western Pacific nesting beaches. These movements and foraging strategies underscore the importance of and the need for ecosystem-based management and coordinated Pacificwide conservation efforts.
The Legislature supports efforts to recover and preserve the Pacific leatherback sea turtle population in oceanic feeding and migration areas, which are identified as important strategies for their continued survival. On February 26, 2012, the National Marine Fisheries Service designated more than 16,000 square miles of California’s coastal waters, and a total of nearly 42,000 square miles along the United States West Coast, as critical habitat to protect high-use foraging areas and primary prey species for the endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle under the federal Endangered Species Act.
State of California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fish and Game Commission
On August 20,2012, the Commission received a petition to list the Northeast Pacific population of white sharks as threatened or endangered under CESA. On· August 27,2012, pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 2073, the Commission transmitted the petition to the Department for review.
The Department has completed its review and pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 2072.3 and Section 670.1 (d)(1) of Title .14 of the California Code of Regulations, the Department evaluated whether the Petition includes sufficient scientific information regarding each of the petition components. The Department evaluated the sufficiency of the scientific information presented in the Petition, using information in the petition as well as other relevant scientific information available at the time of review.
In completing its petition evaluation, Department has determined there is sufficient scientific information to indicate that the petitioned action may be warranted, and recommends the petition be accepted and considered.
Status of the Species
The Petition concludes that the white shark population of the NEP is in peril, white sharks are rare, and that protections are urgently needed. The Petition states that the white shark population off California is alarmingly low in size, and is genetically isolated from other global populations. Additionally, the Petition states there is an inherent extinction risk due to the likelihood that the NEP population is far below its minimum viable population size. The Petition acknowledges that the population is still in the process of being quantified but notes that direct and indirect human exploitation has likely resulted in a heavily depleted white shark population in the NEP and that populations in the NEP are considerably smaller than other regional populations worldwide using the same amount of coastal habitat.
The Petition states that white shark populations worldwide are in decline and, although population trends in the NEP are unknown, they are likely in decline. Following from cited population estimates for white shark in the NEP, the Petition concludes there is a substantial risk of extinction as the population is far below the minimum viable population (MVP) for most species. The Department agrees that the life history parameters as an apex predator make this species naturally low in abundance. Additionally, due to its low abundance and life history characteristics, white shark populations are difficult to track and measure with a high degree of statistical confidence. The Department agrees that white sharks are vulnerable to incidental fishing pressure, habitat loss and alteration, and other natural and anthropogenic pressures due to a low rate of population increase and naturally low abundance as an apex predator. The current status of the NEP white shark population is unknown. Despite recent advances, there are still large gaps in our understanding of the basic life history of white sharks such as age, growth and reproductive biology. Obtaining this knowledge may be slow due to the small population and restrictions imposed by important protections afforded to the species in recent decades. These factors limit samples to opportunistic interactions with commercial fisheries and non-lethal fishery-independent methods. However, the available literature focused on the NEP population of white sharks is much greater than what is available for other populations (e.g., the Australia/New Zealand population or the western South Africa population).
Although the overall status of the population is unknown, there are anecdotal indications that white shark populations off California in the NEP may actually be increasing as a result of increased fishery restrictions on gill net fisheries, and recovery of West Coast pinniped populations.
Incidental reported catch rates of young-of-the-year and juvenile white sharks have increased in southern California since the California nearshore gill net ban in 1994 and regulation of the offshore drift gill net fishery, despite a significant decrease in the overall gill net fishing effort since the mid-1990s. This suggests the white shark population off California may be increasing because of the reduced nearshore gill net fishing effort and white shark harvest protections in state and federal waters (Lowe et al. 2012). Recovery of other large nearshore-fish populations has also been documented as the result of nearshore gill net ban (Pondella and Allen 2008).
This pattern of increasing white shark interactions is also reflected in progressive increases in white shark bite mortality on sea otters (Lowe et al. 2012; Mike Harris pers. comm.). Although these patterns are of interest, and may indicate an increase in white shark abundance, further fishery independent research is needed to better assess and understand population dynamics and the status of NEP white shark populations off California.
Surfrider Foundation West Coast Conference
Surfrider Marin sent three members (John Mellquist, Ginger Gmahling and Loren Moore) to Surfrider Foundation’s West Coast Conference held September 28 – 30 in Ventura, a gathering of 180 Surfrider activists from California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Texas. Experts from several fields presented details on prominent ocean issues, such as: the Five Gyres, plastic poisoning of our oceans, sea level rise, erosion, coastal retreat, and coastal restoration. At Wednesday night’s meeting John and Ginger will summarize the highlights of these issues and the conference in general.
Today, Friday, October 07, 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 376, which bans the sale and possession of shark fins in California.
This is a great step forward for sharks and the oceans and we thank Governor Brown for his important action. California now becomes the largest economy in the world to outlaw the destructive shark fin trade. It is also the 4th state in the United States to ban shark fins, joining Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington state, effectively shutting down the West Coast as a port, distribution center, and market for the shark fin trade.
Authored by Assemblymember Paul Fong (D- Mountain View) and Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), California AB 376 makes it unlawful for any person to possess, sell, offer for sale, trade, or distribute a shark fin. The bill was sponsored by Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Asian Pacific American Ocean Harmony Alliance and supported by a diverse coalition of organizations that included Shark Savers and thousands of individuals.
“Shark Savers is proud to have worked within a coalition of a great organizations and alongside the voters and legislators of California to bring about this landmark protection of sharks,” said Michael Skoletsky, Executive Director of Shark Savers. “Sharks deserve this win and the California people and legislature deserve to be congratulated for protecting not only sharks, but also the ocean ecosystems.”
Sharks have been shown to be important to overall ocean health because, as the ocean’s apex predators, they contribute to keeping other species’ populations healthier and in proportion. Marine biologists have warned that, when shark populations are destroyed, the overall health of the ocean ecosystem declines rapidly and can ultimately collapse – a principle known as “trophic cascade.”
As essential as sharks are to the oceans, they are being dramatically overfished, primarily to fill market demand for their valuable fins. Shark fins are used for shark fin soup, a luxury food item sometimes served at weddings and banquets.
Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year, many of which are targeted for their fins. Many shark populations have been decimated by as much as 90%. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that a full 1/3 of shark species face extinction. Sharks are especially vulnerable to aggressive overfishing because they reach sexual maturity only after years and produce relatively few offspring in a lifetime.
Polls indicated 70% of the Asian American community and 76% of California voters supported the shark fin ban. Despite this, AB 376 became an emotional battleground as shark fin lobbyists defended their interests and some members of the Asian community felt a shark fin ban unfairly impacted them.
However, Sue Chen, Director of Shark Savers, points out that, “Keeping shark populations healthy is in fact a powerful support of Asian culture and cuisine. Asian cuisine is rich in seafood. If you decimate the shark population, much of the seafood that we love in Asian cuisine and culture is certainly threatened. This is not an Asian issue, this is a human issue.”
A companion bill, AB 853. also passed thatallow sales of shark fin until July 1, 2013 for all fin stock on-hand prior to Jan.1, 2012.
Sharks have shaped marine life in the oceans for more than 400 million years and are essential to the health of our oceans, which are the lifeblood of our planet. Today’s ban on the shark fin trade in California gives sharks another chance to continue this valuable role in the oceans and the overall health of their ecosystems.
Shark researcher David McGuire of Fairfax started the effort to ban fin sales. He worked to get the town of Tiburon — which means “shark” in Spanish — to approve a proclamation in 2008 backing a Bel Aire School student effort to raise awareness about finning. He heads the Sea Stewards, an organization that works on shark conservation.
Mill Valley resident John McCosker, senior scientist and shark expert at the California Academy of Sciences, spoke out against the practice, saying finning irreparably hurts populations.
On April 6, AB 337, The California Ocean Protection Act established the Ocean Protection Council in state government. Existing law requires the council to develop and implement a specified voluntary sustainable seafood promotion program. The program, among other things, consists of a protocol, which is required to be developed in a transparent process and adopted by the council in a public meeting, to guide entities on how to be independently certified to internationally accepted standards for sustainable seafood, as defined, a marketing assistance program, and a competitive grant and loan program. It prohibits seafood produced through aquaculture or fish farming from being certified as sustainable under these provisions until nationally or internationally accepted sustainability standards have been developed and implemented.
For more information, go to: http://www.aroundthecapitol.com/Bills/AB_337/20112012/
Full story at: http://www.marinij.com/westmarin/ci_17735850