A pod of humpback whales, about two or three families, adults with a few calves, have been dazzling whale-watchers since about October 18, as they feed in Monterrey Bay about a quarter of a mile from Santa Cruz Harbor. Calm waters, warm weather and an abundance of food like sardines, anchovies and other baitfish have produced the ideal whale visit.
Bay Nature stories about the Pacific Ocean.
Recent surveys on the Farallones show that the islands’ cute, feisty fur seals continue to make a comeback, more than a century after the West Coast population was hunted nearly to extinction.
On a stormy winter night in 2004, as the merchant ship Med Taipei plowed southbound off the coast of Monterey in 20- to 30-foot swells, 15 shipping containers slid into the sea. Such occurrences aren’t especially newsworthy–an estimated 10,000 containers are lost every year worldwide. But these containers are now part of an important research project.
Marine scientists gathering data off the Golden Gate have zeroed in on a number of hotspots of biodiversity, including transects north and south of the Farallon Islands. Turns out, though, that even hot spots aren’t so hot when a toxic red tide rolls in.
A new study finds flooding and episodic storm events could result in an estimated $20 million in damages by 2100. And accelerated landward erosion from an estimated 1.4-meter rise in sea-level by 2100 could result in $540 million in damages. Along the way, we’d lose habitat for plovers and bank swallows and a favorite recreation spot for millions of people.
They’re the little guys. Small, silver, nondescript fish that are so hard to tell apart that many people simply call them “baitfish.” But though they don’t command the attention of a breaching humpback whale or trophy tuna, these humble creatures–from anchovies to squid–play a starring role in local marine ecosystems. New legislation aims to force fisheries managers to consider that role when writing plans for the state’s commercial fishing fleet.
The 16 giant plastic sea creature sculptures on display at the Marine Mammal Center arose from artist Angela Pozzi’s desire to find solace in the ocean: “I went to the ocean to look for healing, but I found that the ocean needed healing before it could heal me.” Her new exhibit, Washed Ashore, is on display through October 15, 2011.
June 8 is World Oceans Day, but what’s the big deal with celebrating our oceans? Well, generally, we’ve polluted, over-fished, and taken these vastly unexplored bodies of water for granted, and it’s only fair that we take a day to recognize all they do for us! Starting June 4, local groups stand ready to help you help the oceans, and learn a lot and have fun while you’re at it.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials extended to June 10 the deadline for accepting public comments on a controversial proposal to eradicate nonnative house mice on the Southeast Farallon Islands. Opponents cite concerns that the poisons will endanger a range of wildlife on or near the islands, while proponents say the project will help threatened seabirds and the island ecosystem.
How do you get 500-plus kids to sit still on the beach? Tell them a helicopter is about to fly overhead and take their collective photograph, and that by the way, they’ll also be on television. It happened at Ocean Beach, and all in the name of ocean conservation.