Fishermen invited to Webinar on groundfish research

West Coast fishermen are invited to take part in a June 5 Webinar ,”West Coast Groundfish Fishery – Reducing Weak Stock Risk While Improving Profit for Fishermen.”

In an attempt to protect the groundfish fishery from stock collapse, fisheries regulators are considering shifting to a type of catch share system called ITQ, or  “individual transferable quotas.” Such a system sets a species-specific total allowable catch, typically by weight and for a given period of time.

With funding from Sea Grant programs in Oregon, California and Washington, researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Washington are attempting to  identify emerging ecological, social and economic impacts of the transition to an ITQ system. Can strategies be implemented that help fishermen avoid risk from catching weak stocks, while enhancing profit?

The free webinar, from 10 am to 11 am PDT, will present an overview of the research project and its primary questions.

Space in the Webinar is limited; seats can be reserved at (System requirements: PC- Windows 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server; Mac – OSX 10.5 or newer).

Netcasts – Jerri Bartholomew, Salmon Researcher, Glass Artist

At the intersection of science and art, you’ll find Jerri Bartholomew, a microbiologist and salmon researcher who also has a passion for working with glass.

“I see my artwork as being parallel to my scientific experimentation,” she says. “Science is often a very long process–it may take months, years, or even decades to find an answer to something, whereas art… you can get into the studio and experiment and come out with a product within hours, days, or weeks.”

But whatever the time scale, Bartholomew’s passion for scientific processes is evident as she shares her successes in solving some of the mysteries behind a growing threat to Pacific salmon, a parasite called Ceratomyxa shasta. Like many other parasites, C. shasta has a complex life cycle, requiring both vertebrate and invertebrate hosts to successfully reproduce.

In this installment of Netcasts, we visit the John L. Fryer Salmon Disease Laboratory, where Bartholomew and her team are using genetic tools to piece together a puzzle, searching for the right ways to target parasites while protecting salmon.  We’ll also get a glimpse at some of her artwork, including some more recent pieces in a set called “Pages From a Naturalist Notebook.”

HMSC Visitor Center switches to summer hours

HMSC Visitor CenterNEWPORT – Oregon Sea Grant’s popular Visitor Center at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center  switches to its summer schedule this Memorial Day weekend, open from 10 am to 5 pm seven days a week.

With an ever-changing array of high-tech exhibits based on ocean and coastal science, hands-on activities including a tide-pool touch tank, videos and presentations on topics ranging from marine mammals to coastal hazards, and a central tank featuring a lively giant Pacific octopus whose three-times-a-week feedings are a favorite of visitors, the Center is a great place to spend a few hours on the central Oregon coast.

There’s no admission charge, but visitors are encouraged to make a donation (suggested at $5/person, $20/family) to help support our animals, our exhibits and our programming.

On Saturdays, you can sign up for behind-the-scenes tours of the animal health wing to learn how our aquarists and volunteers care for the fish and invertebrates in our living exhibits. Later in the summer, guided outdoor tours introduce visitors to the natural wonders of the Yaquina Bay Estuary. And frequent special events include marine animal dissections, talks by ocean scientists, and more.

Visitors also have the opportunity to contribute to science: The Center is the nation’s leading laboratory on free-choice learning, the study of how people learn in aquariums, museums and other non-classroom activities. We use our exhibits to measure how people interact, what they enjoy and what they learn.

The center is managed by Oregon Sea Grant, which also uses it as home base for a lively k-12 marine education program that includes summer science camps, high school career days, and age-appropriate science programs for children from pre-school up. And our bookstore is a great source for books, posters, apparel and games with an ocean theme.


Astoria becomes world surimi capital

Jae ParkEver wondered about the crab-flavored fish protein in your seafood sandwich, “crab” salad or California sushi roll?

It’s surimi, a fish protein paste made into various shellfish-flavored products.

Earlier this month, Oregon State University’s Seafood Lab on Marine Drive hosted the 20th annual Surimi School, a gathering of global industry representatives and researchers that made Astoria for one week the epicenter of expertise on the globally popular, gelatinous fish protein you’ve likely had in one form or another.

About 40 students from surimi plants, surimi seafood (finished product) plants and others from accessory industries attended lectures and took part in surimi labs.

Jae Park, an OSU professor seen as the pre-eminent expert on surimi, founded the OSU Surimi Technology School in 1993 in Astoria. He started similar institutes in Bangkok in 1996 and in Paris in 1999.

For most of the school’s first decade, Oregon Sea Grant invested in the surimi program’s development and success with grants to support Park’s research into ways to improve the texture of surimi, and with direct contributions to the surimi school. A number of Park’s research publications were published by Sea Grant as well.

“The academic and industry languages are different,” said Park. “With that mentality, I found there was a great need to build industry-academia partnerships.”

His answer has been to bring in academic and industry experts from around the world to Astoria every May for the last 20 years, sharing knowledge between the two groups and enhancing everyone’s understanding of the ever-changing surimi industry.

Learn more

Oregon Sea Grant wins four Hermes Creative Awards

Oregon Sea Grant has won four awards in the 2012 Hermes Creative Awards competition: a Platinum Award in the Publications/Book category for Pathways to Resilience: Sustaining Salmon Ecosystems in a Changing World; a Gold Award in the Publications/Magazine category for Confluence magazine; a Gold Award in the Video/Educational category for Gems of the Oregon Coast: Cascade Head Scenic Research Area; and an
Honorable Mention in the Website Overall/Government category for the Oregon Sea Grant website.

According to Hermes, the Platinum Award is presented to “those entries judged to be among the most outstanding entries in the competition. Platinum winners are recognized for their excellence in terms of quality, creativity and resourcefulness.” Gold Awards go to “entries judged to exceed the high standards of the industry norm.”

Judges for the Hermes Creative Awards are “industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.” There were about 4,700 entries from throughout the United States and several other countries in the 2012 Hermes Creative Awards competition.


Hatchery salmon threaten wild populations, scientists say

A newly published collection of more than 20 studies by leading university scientists and government fishery researchers in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Russia and Japan provides mounting evidence that salmon raised in man-made hatcheries can harm wild salmon through competition for food and habitat.

“The genetic effects of mixing hatchery fish with wild populations have been well-documented,” says journal editor David Noakes* from Oregon State University. “But until now the ecological effects were largely hypothetical. Now we know the problems are real and warrant more attention from fisheries managers.”

The research volume, published in the May issue of Environmental Biology of Fishes, brings together 23 peer-reviewed, independent studies carried out across the entire range of Pacific salmon, including some of the first studies describing the impact of hatcheries on wild salmon populations in Japan and Russia.

The studies provide new evidence that fast-growing hatchery fish compete with wild fish for food and habitat in the ocean as well as in the rivers where they return to spawn. The research also raises questions about whether the ocean can supply enough food to support future increases in hatchery fish while still sustaining the productivity of wild salmon.

“This isn’t just an isolated issue,” says Pete Rand, a biologist at the Wild Salmon Center and a guest editor of the publication. “What we’re seeing here in example after example is growing scientific evidence that hatchery fish can actually edge out wild populations.”

Losing wild fish would mean losing the genetic diversity that has allowed salmon to survive for centuries. Unlike hatchery fish, wild salmon populations have a range of highly specialized adaptations to the natural environment. These adaptations not only help them return to their home streams to spawn, but also increase their ability to withstand environmental changes like increases in ocean temperature and extreme variations in stream flows. Hatchery fish, as the name implies, are hatched from eggs fertilized in a controlled environment and raised in captivity until they are big enough to release into the natural environment. They lack the genetic diversity of wild fish that provides insurance against fisheries collapses.

* David Noakes is receiving Oregon Sea Grant support for current research into geomagnetic imprinting and homing in salmon and steelhead

Learn more:

Oregon Sea Grant wins two silver awards

Oregon Sea Grant has won two Silver Awards of Distinction in the 18th Annual Communicator Awards competition, one each for its “Aquatic Animal Health” brochure and its Cascade Head Scenic Research Area video.

The Communicator Awards are judged and overseen by the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA), a 550+ member organization of professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts. See for more information.

According to Linda Day, executive director of the IAVA, “The pool of entries we received for this year’s Communicator Awards serves as a true testament to the innovative ideas and capabilities of communications and marketing professionals around the world. On behalf of the entire Academy, we congratulate this year’s Communicator Award Entrants and Winners for their passion and dedication. We are humbled to be given the opportunity to recognize such amazing work.”

This year’s Communicator Awards received  more than 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards of its kind in the world. Visit for more information.








Welcome our new NOAA Coastal Management Fellow

Kelsey Gianou is Oregon Sea Grant’s newest NOAA Coastal Management Fellow!

Kelsey, a Marine Resource Management masters student at Oregon State University, has been matched with the Washington State Department of Ecology to provide green shorelines guidance for state and local governments in Puget Sound.

Six states and 11 finalists attended this year’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Management Fellowship matching workshop.  Six finalists were selected to serve two-year terms as coastal management fellows at the six state agencies.  For more information on this fellowship program, click here to visit the Oregon Sea Grant fellowships page.

Congratulations, Kelsey!

What’s fresh on the Oregon coast?

Dockside salesA highlight of visiting the Oregon coast is bringing home seafood that’s just about as fresh as it gets.

But how do you know what’s in season when you’re there? Regulatory fishing seasons change from year to year, and it can be hard for a lay person to keep track of them.

Sea Grant Extension agent Kaety Hildenbrand has compiled her annual guide to “What’s Fresh on the Oregon Coast”, detailing the seasons for the most popular seafood caught off our shores: Salmon, halibut, Dungeness crab, albacore tuna, pink shrimp, flounder, sole and lingcod.

You can check the list on our Website, and download a free, printable .pdf to tuck into your travel kit.

While you’re at it, check out Kaety’s video on the Oregon Sea Grant YouTube channel, explaining what consumers should look for when buying fish straight off the boat:

Take a quick survey, get a reward

Have you read, viewed or otherwise used one or more of Oregon Sea Grant’s publications and videos during the past year? Then we could use your help.

We’d like you to take part in a brief, online survey. It should take about five minutes to complete.

For the first 25 US residents* who complete the survey we will offer your choice of


Follow this link to Survey Monkey.

* Not including Sea Grant employees. Sorry, but we cannot ship publications and videos outside the US.