The findings appear in the January 9th issue of the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press, and are reported by Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, along with colleagues there and at the University of Rhode Island, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the University of New Hampshire.
Though it has been protected for more than 70 years, the North Atlantic right whale has been slow to recover from past exploitation, and extinction remains a threat. The whale is virtually extinct in Europe, but a small population of about 350 individuals remains on the east coast of North America. A leading threat to the species is lethal entanglement by fishing gear: Photographic evidence indicates that 75% of individuals show signs of entanglement, mostly from lobster fishing gear.
In the new work, the researchers analyzed the costs and benefits of two dramatically different lobster fishing strategies currently employed in the Gulf of Maine, the world's most important lobster-producing area. Compared to lobster fishing on the Gulf's Canadian side (known as Lobster Fishing Area 34), which occurs over a winter fishing season, American-side lobster fishing is year-round, and involves 8–9 times more lobster traps in the water at any given time. Despite these significant differences in fishing "effort" and cost, Maine has only about 30% higher catches than the Canadian Fishing Area. Accordingly, the researchers estimate that the number of traps used in Maine is 13 times greater than in the Canadian Fishing Area to harvest the same lobster catch. On the basis of these findings and estimations of seasonal whale presence determined by patterns of whale sightings, the authors estimate that, in terms of impact on right whales, each lobster caught in Canada has less than 1% of the impact of each lobster caught in Maine.
The authors propose that if Maine restricted its lobster fishing season to 6 months and reduced the number of traps by a factor of ten, the more optimal fishing strategy--including decreased costs and improved total income--would allow greatly reduced risk to the remaining right whales while providing benefit to fishermen.
The authors point out that the basic problem of huge excess effort in lobster fishing is characteristic of other aspects of fishing industries around the world--including shrimp and tuna longline industries that expend much more effort than needed to obtain optimal yields, while threatening turtles and non-targeted fish, including shark species, as bycatch.
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy