“They’re All Gone”: Shock as sardines vanish off California — Fishermen didn’t find a single one all summer — Scientist: This is about the entire Pacific coast… Canada, Mexico, U.S. — NOAA: We don’t know why; The young aren’t surviving

Wednesday, January 15, 2014
By Paul Martin

ENENews.com
January 14th, 2014

Long Beach Press Telegram, Jan. 13, 2014: Sardine vanish off the coast; squid and anchovy fill the void for fishermen — [Larry Derr] has pulled up [Pacific sardines] by the ton since the 1980s […] it was a shock when he couldn’t find one of the shiny silver-blue coastal fish all summer […] anchovies have proven a poor replacement since sardines became scarce. Fortunately, a boom in market squid has propelled Derr and other coastal pelagic fishers. […] Some have attributed recent rashes of sea lion pup and pelican deaths to the sardine population decline, which began a few years ago and was officially recognized in December […] “Everybody’s calling me every day for sardines,” Derr said. “They’re all gone. Even Monterey Bay Aquarium is still waiting for some to restock one of their exhibits.” […]

Kerry Griffin, NOAA: “Is it El Nino? Pacific Decadal Oscillation? El Nina? Long-term climate change? More marine mammals eating sardines? Did they all go to Mexico or farther offshore? We don’t know.”

Russ Vetter, NOAA: “They haven’t had a good recruitment […] You have to have adults that produce the eggs and then environmental conditions that would allow them to grow and then to not have them eaten by pelicans and terns, etc. It’s always complicated about why a fish egg doesn’t make it through the problems but we do know that, when the ocean is on the cooler side, conditions aren’t right.”

Geoff Shester, scientist with Oceana: “This is about the entire Pacific coast including the U.S. and Mexico, not just British Columbia […] If fishermen have stopped fishing because they’ve hit their quota, that’s one thing. But they’re stopping because they can’t find any fish. That means fishery management is failing. […] We’re in an emergency situation right now. Any fishing is overfishing when the stock is in this condition.”

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