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"Climate change produces climate events of increasing frequency, severity and duration. It affects all of us.."

John Adams, owner of Sound Fresh Clams and Oysters in Shelton, Washington on Puget Sound. Like many oyster growers, he suffered devastating losses during the recent Pacific Northwest heatwave that literally cooked starfish, as well as oysters, mussels and clams in their shells, in some cases, heating the organisms to 125 degrees Fahrenheit during a low tide.  See story below. 

 
Tales
Is it me, or do some things seem to be 2-4 weeks ahead of seasonal schedule? For example, local fishing patterns seem to have set up earlier than usual here in Maine. My wife's garden is 2-3 weeks ahead of where it normally would be. Heat waves that usually track later in July and early August are already plaguing much of the West with record-breaking temps in Death Valley. Wildfire season has already taken hold. And we're already on track for another busy hurricane season, with Hurricane Elsa setting a record for the earliest 5th named storm in history (usually the 5th named storm occurs in August). All of this means we could be getting a glimpse of a new normal. And the consequences can be severe. Raising awareness of the current situation and its potential impact is crucial to collectively finding new ways to adapt to these changes and mitigate the fallout. We need to continue having these conversations and asking what we can do on a personal level to slow climate change's progress.

 
One Fish Foundation News
July 2021

STEM and sustainable seafood
I recently spoke with a group of high school and middle school STEM educators from Massachusetts about how science plays a critical role in  classroom and community conversations around seafood sustainability. Understanding climate impacts on seafood often requires some biology (spawning and migratory patterns, predator-prey relationships, adaptation, disease); physics (ocean warming, glacial melt, current movements); and chemistry (ocean acidification, eutrophication). Also crucial are technology and engineering (gear modification, a full range of lab-centric and in-the-field analysis equipment), and math (crunching many, many numbers for climate change research and detailed stock analysis). And these are just some examples. Produced by  Massachusetts Farm to School and the Wade Institute, this discussion was part of a multi-day program aimed at sparking more focused classroom lessons around the science of where our food comes from. We discussed the importance of empowering students with the scientific context to ask questions about the story behind their seafood and to understand their relationship to the resource, whether they eat seafood or not.
 

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Opportunities for Action
Here are concrete action items and opportunities to make your voice heard or learn more about crucial issues.
Support permanent protections for Bristol Bay
Sustainable Seafood News
Here's what you need to be hearing about, thinking about, and why.
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash
Whale of a tale
Anyone who thinks diving for lobster is an easy living should talk to Mike Packard of Provincetown, MA. If you didn't see the news, Mike was diving in 30-50 feet of water when a 30-foot humpback whale took him for a ride, mercifully spitting him out after about 30 seconds or so. Mike has decades of lobster diving experience, but this event will be a story to tell for generations. This article does a great job dispelling some of the sensational stories woven around the incident. The most important point is that this whale likely either made a mistake while feeding or was goofing off as many teenagers do. There's no reason for anyone to go Captain Ahab on whales.
 
Court fight over Maine mudflat to determine if land-based salmon farm can proceed
Whose mudflat is it anyway? That's what a court is set to determine in a case that pits some landowners along the flats of the Little River in Belfast, Maine against Nordic Aquafarms, the conglomerate planning to develop a massive land-based salmon farm there. Specifically, the operations' current plans call for pipes to be stretched across the mudflat. But two groups of property owners claim they own that stretch of mudflat: one couple who opposes the project, and another in support of it. This is what happens when big, foreign-owned, Blue Economy-type corporations come into small towns to "create jobs" and "do something good for the planet." They throw money around to influence public opinion, often setting neighbor against neighbor. The ecological, social, and socio-economic costs of industrial-scale projects like Nordic Aquafarms would have long and potentially devastating impacts on Belfast and surrounding communities. All of which is why this project, along with similar proposed projects, have met staunch opposition on local, regional and national levels. Here is a link to the latest news, which involves Nordic Aquafarms giving the city of Belfast the shorefront property it bought (ostensibly for a public park) in exchange for a permanent easement to extend the outflow pipes across the mudflat ... which will likely intensify litigation. 
 
California woman sues Red Lobster over "Maine lobster" sustainability claims
This story is about perception. The suit decries the sustainability claims, citing right whale endangerment because of entanglement in lobster gear. However, some folks in the industry aren't buying it. Marianne LaCroix, executive director the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative Association, said the suit misses the mark because the industry is working with state regulators to minimize gear interactions with right whales. It's a complicated issue with strong opinions. Lobstermen not only claim there isn't any concrete evidence linking whale deaths to US-based lobster gear, they fear any significant regulations would harm their livelihood. One other aspect of the suit also cites the sustainability of farmed shrimp on the menu. Fair point.
 
Mussels from the Gulf of Maine could be susceptible to increased ocean acidification.
Ocean Acidification in the Gulf of Maine: What to Expect by 2050
The Gulf of Maine is a unique and complex ecosystem, home to many shell-building organisms that are important to the state and region’s people and economies. A new study has found that ocean acidification (OA) continues to be a serious and growing threat to the GOM’s shell-building organisms as the availability of essential shell-building compounds diminishes -- and they’re living in a harsher environment while it happens! OA is exacerbated by the complex geophysical factors in the GOM such as warming temperatures, freshwater inputs in coastal regions, variation of large-scale circulation patterns, and salinity variation, just to name a few. The entire Gulf will be impacted, but coastal, sub-surface waters are expected to see the largest impacts by 2050. The impacts from OA will ripple throughout the Gulf as shell-building organisms are crucial pieces in the food webs within the Gulf. While we still need more data and analysis, adaptation now is key, for shell-building organisms and all marine life, fisheries, and people dependent upon them. 

For more info on OA, check these resources:
Fascinating Fish of the Month
Got to love Nature's diversity; like something out of a Jules Verne narrative, the barreleye fish seems to have been conjured from someone's imagination. Photo: MBARI
Barreleye Fish (Macropinna microstoma)

First discovered: 1939
Size: 6 inches
Habitat Depth: 2,500 feet
Good at: making funny faces
Bad at: being serious

We’ve not yet discovered all of the alien life that the ocean has to offer, and we’re still figuring out some of the ones we have discovered, like the barreleye fish. Scientists have been trying to determine how the barreleye uses its tubular eyes for more than 50 years. They’ve finally done it! The barreleye’s tubular eyes, housed in its fluid-filled, transparent head, are extremely light-sensitive, and can rotate “allowing it to peer up at potential prey or focus forward to see what it is eating.” The unique setup also allows the barreleye to illuminate its surrounding, helping it hunt in an otherwise pitch-black environment. 
While it’s a rare event to catch a barreleye in real life, for those of you who play Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can catch a barreleye fish in your sea between 9 PM and 4 AM and it sells for 12,000 Bells! 
Sustainable Seafood Recipes
Smoked Salmon and Sweet Potato Hash
Caution: This recipe is addictive. It comes to us from our friends at Eva's Wild and Chef
Pieter D Dijkstra. It incorporates sustainable wild caught salmon. Chef Dijkstra recommends the poached egg. We concur!
Smoked Salmon and Sweet Potato Hash

Ingredients

4 ounces red onion, medium dice
2 pounds sweet potatoes, 1/2” diced
4 ounces smoked salmon, crumbled
1 ounce avocado oil
4 ounces green pepper, 1/2” dice
1 ounce butter
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
2 sprigs dill, finely chopped
4 ounces sour cream, garnish
1 each lemon, garnish

Serve with a poached or a six minute egg.
Suggested Wine: Prosecco

Preparation

  1. Toss sweet potato and onion and green pepper with avocado oil, paprika, salt, pepper.
  2. Pour vegetables onto a lined sheet pan and roast at 400 until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Set aside and cool.
  3. Heat a 10” saute pan on medium high heat. Add butter to the hot pan.
  4. When the butter is melted add the diced pepper and Eva’s Wild Smoked Salmon.
  5. Add the roasted sweet potato mixture.
  6. Heat through and serve in 5 equal portions.
  7. Garnish with sour cream, fresh dill sprigs and grated lemon zest.
Or, you can watch this video on the Eva's Wild website!

 
Donate to One Fish Foundation

We are a small non-profit with big impact. Every dollar goes toward classroom and community education, engagement, and participation as we change our eating habits and the domestic seafood supply chain, one conversation at a time. Your donation helps us grow the community of those who care about where their seafood comes from, the people who harvest it, and protecting the resource we all depend on. One Fish Foundation is a 501(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

 
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Thanks for joining us as we continue the discussion about why we all need to know where, when, how and by whom our seafood was harvested. We hope to build a community of knowledgeable consumers who individually and collectively are making a difference with each seafood choice they make, and conversation they have.

And as always, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact us!

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