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Upcoming Sardine Season Canceled
As predicted in a previous post, the West Coast sardine season slated to open in July has been canceled. The unexplained, precipitous drop in sardine numbers is the reason. A determination on whether to implement an emergency shutdown of the current season, which runs through June, is expected soon. Conservationists have said the fishery should have been closed years ago, when it became apparent the fish were being harvested faster than they were reproducing. This also affects other fisheries such as anchovies and mackerel, since new restrictions will apply to the by-catch of sardines in their operations. The Oregonian reports: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/04/upcoming_sardine_season_cancel.html#incart_river

ESA Determination Delay for Pacific Fisher
The weasel-like Pacific fisher will have to wait until April 7, 2016 for federal biologists to determine if it warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. Among the things the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been unable to determine in the two years it has already used studying the animal’s declining population, is the role rat poison used in illegal marijuana grow operations is playing in their decline. Again, the Oregonian has the story: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/04/deadline_delayed_for_granting.html#incart_river

New Hope for the Smalltooth Sawfish
One of the more unusual looking denizens of the deep, the smalltooth sawfish has been described as “a shark with a chainsaw on its head”. The animal appears to inhabit only a small area off the Florida coast, but has proven difficult to study in the murky waters in which it dwells. New tagging technology is helping, and scientists are hopeful that the fish are rebounding. The BBC gives the details: http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150413-saving-the-worlds-zaniest-fish

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