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← Science Today: California's Suffering Seafood | California Academy of Sciences

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Showing Revision 9 created 07/21/2017 by Margarida Ferreira.

  1. Last year California fishermen
    brought in $100 million less
  2. than they did the year before.
  3. We have our years where we still catch,
  4. but overall it seems like there's
    a lot less fish in the fishery.
  5. The food web off the Northern California coast
    depends on cold water.
  6. We have high abundances of organisms
  7. because we have this process
    we call upwelling.
  8. So on the western margin of the continent,
    we have offshore winds,
  9. they're constantly blowing water
    away from the surface.
  10. That water is replaced by water
    coming up from depth.
  11. That water at depth
    tends to be nutrient-rich
  12. Warmer water means less nutrients,
  13. which means essentially starvation
    of many organisms in the food web.
  14. We lose a lot of the animals
    that our fisheries depend upon.
  15. I hear about the warmer waters,
    especially the last two or three years.
  16. And whether we're going
    to have to adjust forever,
  17. I think a lot of guys are going
    to hope that maybe
  18. we'll get three or four years
    of cold water,
  19. and they'll be able
    to make their money again
  20. maybe take a hit here and there.
  21. But if it's like this every year,
  22. where we don't know
    if we're going fishing,
  23. no one will be able to make it.
  24. Last year the warm water
    caused a huge algal bloom
  25. up and down the West Coast,
  26. which infected the crabs
    with a toxin called domoic acid,
  27. which can hurt people if they eat crab.
  28. Last year we didn't have
    a very good salmon season, either.
  29. It was also a warm-water issue,
    but in this case,
  30. it was because of the drought
  31. and because of diversions of water
    to farms and to cities
  32. instead of to areas
    where the salmon spawn.
  33. There were a lot of other species
    that are having issues.
  34. There was the Pacific sardine population,
  35. that collapsed about two years ago.
  36. It's right now at one-tenth
    of its estimated size from 2007.
  37. There's also some indication
    that it had to do with warm water.
  38. The fishermen are hopeful,
    and really that's all they can be
  39. is hope that things get back to normal,
  40. and fish as hard as they can
    and do what they do best.
  41. They need to take care of their family
    or pay off their bills.
  42. They're not trying to destroy a fishery.
  43. They're trying to keep it sustainable
  44. so that we can do it for a long time.
  45. Fishermen play by the rules around here
    and do the right things.
  46. They want this to succeed,
    they don't want to see it go under.
  47. It's important to remember
  48. there are a lot of other fisheries here
    that are plentiful.
  49. And even when salmon is available,
    the salmon that we actually get
  50. it's very well-managed,
  51. so I wouldn't discourage people
    from eating it when you can.