Hawks sail in Rose Bowl, gray snappers moving north

Roger Williams University (RWU) finished eighth out of 30 collegiate teams competing in the recent 28th annual Rose Bowl Regatta at Long Beach, Calif.

Two-person college and as well as 60 high school teams raced CFJ dinghies in the Long Beach outer harbor. The event is hosted by the USC Sailing Team and organized by the U.S. Sailing Center of Long Beach.

Sailing for RWU were Amanda Callhahn, Breanne Baldino and James Bartlein.

The team from Stanford University was first, while Boston College took third.

Casting for snapper

The gray snapper could soon be among our best local game fish, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The gray snapper could soon be among our best local game fish, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Best local game fish: Bluefish, stripers — and gray snapper?

That’s not so farfetched, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A study published Dec. 20 suggests that the gray snapper, a common southeast coastal species, is moving north as ocean waters warm.

Associated with tropical reefs, mangroves and estuaries, gray snapper is found from Florida through the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast of Brazil. Juvenile gray snapper have been reported as far north as Massachusetts, but adults are rarely found north of Florida.

That could change, the researchers say.

“Temperature is a major factor shaping the distribution of marine species given its influence on biological processes,” said Jon Hare, lead author and director of the Narragansett fisheries laboratory. “Many fish species are expected to shift poleward or northward as a result of climate change, but we don’t fully understand the mechanics of how temperature interacts with a species life history, especially differences between juvenile and adult stages.”

Study results indicate that gray snapper distribution will spread northward along the coast. The magnitude of this spread is dependent on the magnitude of climate change: More carbon dioxide emissions resulted in greater northward spread.

“Further, this works supports the conclusion that along the U.S. East Coast, some species will be positively affected by climate change while other species will be negatively affected,” Mr. Hare said. “There will be winners and losers.”

Frank words about fishing

On his way out of Washington, longtime friend of the fishing industry, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, had parting words about fisheries restrictions.

“I think Democrats have to reexamine the automatic commitment many of us have to whatever the environmentalists say,” Rep. Frank said. “Some of my Democratic colleagues have to be persuaded to look more skeptically at the environmentalists.”

He also criticized the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act — specifically the so-called 10-year rebuilding provision, which has resulted in drastic cuts to fishing quotas in the Northeast. Rep Frank said lawmakers should change the 10-year requirement, which he called rigid, arbitrary and not based on independent science.

“If you can reach the goal in 13 years instead of 10, and have much less of a negative impact on the working people of the economy, why not do it?” he said. “No matter what your connections might be, don’t assume that the environmentalists are the right voices and the fishermen are simply greedy.”

Congressman Frank offered some advice to the new lawmakers.

“Recognize that (fishing) is an important economic interest, a cultural interest, a social interest and … understand that the fishermen are very responsible, that nobody has more of an interest in regulating fishing than the fishermen.”

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