Monthly Archives: December 2011

Results of 2011 Florida Sea Turtle Nesting Season Are In

fwc green turtle picture

An adult green turtle returns to the ocean after nesting on a Brevard County beach. (FWC photo by Blair Witherington)

The Florida sea turtle nesting season has come to an end, and there is good news for two of Florida’s federally endangered sea turtle species.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and its partners documented a record high annual nest count for green turtles in Florida. Leatherback turtles also had a high number of nests, with the count falling just shy of the previous high mark in 2009.

Loggerheads, the species that nests most commonly in Florida, did not have an increase in numbers this year. The nest count for this federally threatened sea turtle was close to average for the previous five years. However, since 1998, the trend in the number of loggerhead nests is a general decline.

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A National Treasure Soars Over Tampa Bay

American bald eagle

The bald eagle has made a remarkable comeback both nationally and in Florida. (US Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

Bald eagles are a national treasure, often seen soaring the skies over the Tampa Bay region, particularly during the fall and winter months when they nest here.

Once on the endangered species list, the bald eagle has made a remarkable comeback both nationally and in Florida.

In 1973, there were 88 eagle nests across the entire state. Last year, more than 1,300 active nests were counted in Florida, making it the nation’s third-largest concentration of bald eagles behind only Alaska and Minnesota.

The state’s long coastline and abundance of lakes make it prime habitat for the raptor, said Ulgonda Kirkpatrick, an eagle biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “All that water makes for a lot of really good foraging areas and we have a fair amount of habitat for nesting.”

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30th Annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

Aerial of FISH preserve

Proceeds from the festival go to expansion and restoration of the FISH Preserve on the shoreline of Sarasota Bay. (Photo supplied by John Stevely)

A new milestone has been reached in the history of the Cortez Fishing Festival!

This year marks its 30th anniversary. Make your plans now to attend the 2012 Festival on Feb. 18-19! The Festival is a remarkable celebration of the commercial fishing heritage of the historic village of Cortez.

It is a fun-filled, educational weekend for the whole family. Spend a day in a village that was settled in the 1880s, just a few decades after the Seminole wars.Live music and dancing, delicious seafood, nautical arts and crafts, and much more. Bring your camera, plenty of fantastic wildlife and historic photo opportunities. Come see where your Florida seafood actually comes from. Complete details are available at the Festival website.

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Do Fertilizer Ordinances Work? Study Aims to Find Out

photo of Florida Lawn Handbook

Fertilizing and watering recommendations are in the 3rd edition of the Florida Lawn Handbook, available from the IFAS Extension bookstore. (IFAS photo)

The Tampa Bay Estuary Program has launched a 3-year research project to assess whether restrictions on residential fertilizer use result in water quality improvements.

“There have been some pretty dramatic results in other states, but nothing has been done specifically in Florida,” notes Nanette O’Hara, public outreach coordinator for the estuary program.

The work will compare nitrogen levels in stormwater ponds in selected communities within Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties, which have all adopted different lawn and landscape fertilizer ordinances.

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And the Survey Says —


Honey Citrus Florida Stone Crab Claws with Hearts of Palm Salad

The Fresh From Florida website provides many delicious recipes for Florida seafood such as these honey citrus stone crab claws. (Fresh from Florida photo) and Cornell University have teamed up to conduct a comprehensive survey of Americans fish-buying habits that pinpoints the consumers’ “willingness to pay” for certain finfish attributes. I thought Marine Scene readers would be interested in some of the results.

What, if anything, prevents you from eating more fish in your household?

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Good News for Pacific Coast Salmon – Three Major Dams to be Demolished

Elwha River Chinook salmon

The removal of 3 dams will restore salmon habitat. (NOAA photo by John McMillan)

The demolition of three major dams built in the early 1900s (Condit, Elwha and Glines Canyon dams) will result in the restoration of important salmon spawning runs in the state of Washington.

The results are impressive. Folks living along the White Salmon River report their amazement to hear the racket that the salmon make: males thrashing and fighting for mates, and females digging their nests.

In addition to the importance of this spawning habitat for salmon populations, there is also another important benefit to other wildlife. Each spent fish (salmon die after spawning) can be thought of as a 25 pound sack of fertilizer, feeding birds, bears, and other animals in the watershed.

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The Deadliest Job: Commercial Fishing

Despite being glamorized by reality TV, commercial fishing is extremely difficult and dangerous work. (Bryan Fluech photo)

The cable network show “The Deadliest Catch”, which chronicles the real-life adventures of Alaskan crab fishermen, has been one of the most popular TV reality series over the past eight years.

Although the fishermen in this series have become glamorous “stars” in many people’s minds, the truth is that commercial fishing is extremely difficult and dangerous work.

The average annual salary for U. S. fishermen is $27,880, making commercial fishing the deadliest job in America relative to pay. There are 116 deaths annually per 100,000 fishermen. Compare that with firefighters, who are paid a salary of $47,730 and have three deaths per 100,000. The second deadliest job relative to salary: loggers with $34,510 in pay and 92 annual deaths. Quarry workers, derrick operators and explosives workers tied for third.

The 2012 Scientific Angler Seminar Series

Love to fish? Interested in learning more about fisheries-related research going on in Southwest Florida?

Join Florida Sea Grant for the 2012 Scientific Angler Seminar Series beginning January 18th, 2012.  We’ve got some great speakers lined up to discuss ongoing research and conservation projects related to our regional fisheries.

It’s your opportunity to meet and interact with professionals working in this field, and learn about the great work they are doing.

The seminars will be held at the Rookery Bay Reserve Environmental Learning Center from 6:30PM-8:00PM. The sessions are FREE, but please register by emailing or calling Bryan Fluech at 239-417-6310 x204 with your name and number of attendees. Light refreshments will be served and door prizes will be given away.

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Coriolis Effect

diagram of the Coriolis Effect

How does the "Coriolis effect" relate to circulation patterns in the earth's oceans? (NOAA diagram)

Fact or Fiction – Coriolis effect results in toilet bowl water spinning clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern hemisphere?  This little fable has really gotten around over the years…but truth be told, a fable it is, and therefore the answer is Fiction.

What is the Coriolis effect? Coriolis describes the perceived change in position of an intended target on the earth’s surface due to the earth’s rotation.  It is most evident at greater distances or for objects moving slowly towards a target.  Coriolis effect was described by French scientist Gustave de Coriolis in 1835.

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