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Countdown to 2013: Our 12 Most Popular Stories from 2012

 
 
Circle Hooks: The Preferred Thresher Catcher?

Take a look at how NOAA scientists and recreational fishermen work together to improve catch and release techniques for thresher sharks. This video shows you how it's done off the coast of Southern California, in areas that are well-known hot spots for the common thresher shark. Threshers are a recreational fishing favorite that can weigh more than 500 pounds with a uniquely long whip-like tail. Read more...
West Coast Groundfish Catch Share Program

Learn how West Coast commercial trawl fishermen saw their revenues increase substantially under a new fishery management system known as catch shares. “We are very encouraged to see fishermen earning more for their catch and having more control over how they run their businesses under this new program,” said Sam Rauch, acting NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries. Read more...

Status of Stocks
The 2011 Status of Stocks Report brought good news for both fish and fishermen—a record-breaking 6 fish stocks declared rebuilt. This was more stocks rebuilt than in any other single year tracked. Since 1997, this annual report to Congress identifies the status of our managed stocks and complexes. What does the term rebuilt mean in this context? It indicates a stock has increased to its target population level after falling below the critical overfished level. Read more...
Dive Into the Deep End of Shark Conservation

In August, we highlighted Just Another Shark Week at NOAA Fisheries. One of our most popular shark features took a closer look at how NOAA Fisheries works to conserve and manage shark populations domestically and internationally. For nearly two decades the United States has been a leader in managing sustainable shark fisheries and currently has some of the strongest shark management measures worldwide. Read more...
40 Facts for 40 Years: The Marine Mammal Protection Act Turns 40

The Marine Mammal Protection Act had a big birthday in 2012 when it turned 40. To celebrate, we gathered 40 Marine Mammal Protect Act facts: 1 for every year of the MMPA. Forty years ago, the future of many marine mammal species seemed uncertain. For many species, this visionary environmental law turned the tide. Under the Act, 125 marine mammal species worldwide are managed. Read more...
Voices from the Waterfront: Terry Alexander

In this popular addition of our Voices from the Waterfront series, NOAA Fisheries sat down with a fourth generation fisherman from Harpswell, Maine. For 35 years, Terry Alexander has fished and recently teamed up with other fishermen, scientists, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to help revive redfish fishing now that the population has rebounded. We talked with Alexander about how sector management is working for him. Read more...

 
Aerial Drones Give NOAA Scientists a New Perspective

NOAA Fisheries has some of the most innovative scientists who use cutting edge technology to do their research. In this feature we caught up with one of our biologists, Wayne Perryman, to find out more about how aerial drones help marine mammal research take flight. Very little is known about the role of leopard seals in Antarctica, and Perryman uses the aerial drone to get a much better look.Read more...
 NOAA's Big Miracle Worker and the Event That Inspired Hollywood

Big Miracle is a film inspired by the 1988 international efforts to save three gray whales trapped in sea ice off Barrow, Alaska. When the movie opened this year, NOAA played an integral part in the rescue project, known as Operation Breakthrough. NOAA Fisheries talked to one scientist who shares his perspective from the event.  Read more...

 

How To Control Invasives? Put A Fork In Them

What's one way to tackle invasive snakehead? Put a fork in it! See how DC seafood company Profish, Ltd. and Baltimore's Alewife restaurant cooked up a market for this predator fish to help control the population and raise awareness for the environment. Bon appétit. Read more...
The Science Behind Restoring the Elwha

Restoring the Elwha was a big dam deal in 2012. This NOAA Fisheries video showcased the science behind restoring a river, and what our biologists are doing to improve Elwha fish habitat. Just a few short months after the 108-foot tall Elwha Dam was removed, fish are already returning to their habitat. This is encouraging news for the Elwha and for other dam removals nationwide.  Read more...

Sawfish—Cousins of the Shark

The elusive cousin of the shark finally got its day in the sun, stealing the second place spot in our countdown. The sawfish is an endangered fish known primarily for its long, toothed nose or “saw.” They use their "saw" to locate, stun, and kill prey. Their shark-like bodies can grow up to 20 feet long and they have skeletons made of cartilage. Find out more about how NOAA collaborates to protect sawfish. Read more...
Understanding the Giant
Pacific Octopus

The most popular story from 2012 featured an unlikely character: the Giant Pacific Octopus. Spectacular underwater footage shows how this beautiful, albeit slippery creature, swims and gives birth. A NOAA researcher discussed the challenges of managing the Pacific octopus in Alaska and how scientists are working to develop new technologies to better tag and study this slimy species. Read more...