Archive for December 2014

How Ghost Fishing Is Haunting Our Ocean   Leave a comment


NOAA's Response and Restoration Blog

No, ghost fishing has nothing to do with ghostbusters flicking fishing rods from a boat.

But what isghost fishing? It’s a not-at-all-supernatural phenomenon that occurs when lost or discarded fishing gear remains in the ocean and continues doing what it was made to do: catch fish. These nets and traps haunt the many types of marine life unlucky enough to become snared in them. That includes species of turtles, fish, sharks, lobsters, crabs, seabirds, and marine mammals.

Fortunately, the NOAA Marine Debris Program isn’t scared off by a few fishing nets that haven’t moved on from the underwater world. For example, through the Fishing for Energy partnership, NOAA is funding projects to study and test ways to keep fishers from losing their gear in the first place and lower the impacts lost gear has on marine life and their homes.

You can learn more about these four recent…

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Posted Tuesday, 9 December 2014 by Culebra Snorkeling and Dive Center in Culebra Posts & Reviews

When Ships Threaten Corals in the Caribbean, NOAA Dives to Their Rescue   Leave a comment


NOAA's Response and Restoration Blog

Growing less than a quarter inch per year, the elaborate coral reefs off the south coast of Puerto Rico originally took thousands of years to form. And over the course of two days in late April 2006, portions of them were ground into dust.

The tanker Margara ran aground on these reefs near the entrance to Guayanilla Bay. Then, in the attempt to remove and refloat the ship, it made contact with the bottom several times and became grounded again. By the end, roughly two acres of coral were lost or injured. The seafloor was flattened and delicate corals crushed. Even today, a carpet of broken coral and rock remains in part of the area. This loose rubble becomes stirred up during storms, smothering young coral and preventing the reef’s full recovery.

NOAA and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources have been working on a restoration plan…

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Posted Tuesday, 9 December 2014 by Culebra Snorkeling and Dive Center in Culebra Posts & Reviews

How NOAA Uses Coral Nurseries to Restore Damaged Reefs   Leave a comment


NOAA's Response and Restoration Blog

Staghorn coral fragments hanging on an underwater tree structure of PVC pipes. NOAA uses coral nurseries to help corals recover after traumatic events, such as a ship grounding. Hung on a tree structure, the staghorn coral shown here will have a better chance of surviving and being transplanted back onto a reef. (NOAA)

The cringe-inducing sound of a ship crushing its way onto a coral reef is often the beginning of the story. But, thanks to NOAA’s efforts, it is not usually the end. After most ship groundings on reefs, hundreds to thousands of small coral fragments may litter the ocean floor, where they would likely perish rolling around or buried under piles of rubble. However, by bringing these fragments into coral nurseries, we give them the opportunity to recover.

In the waters around Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, NOAA works with a number of partners in various capacities to maintain 27 coral nurseries. These underwater safe havens…

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Posted Saturday, 6 December 2014 by Culebra Snorkeling and Dive Center in Culebra Posts & Reviews

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