Gillnets, Seals with H1N1 and Fish on the Move

Written by on May 16, 2013 in Marine Life

Daily Summary

Bycatch found in gillnets.

Bycatch found in gillnets. Photo credit: USFWS Headquarters via photopin cc.

Gillnets fatal for seabirds

Gillnets are made of a very fine nylon which is nearly invisible underwater so diving seabirds can easily become entangled and drown. A new study reveals that 400,000 birds are killed in gillnet fisheries every year — more than the number of birds killed in longline fisheries. What’s worse is that this number is the lowest estimate and it might be higher due to ghost fishing and gaps in data.

H1N1 discovered in marine mammals

Other influenza viruses have been found in marine mammals before, but scientists were surprised to find the H1N1 (2009) virus in free-ranging northern elephant seals off the central California coast. This shows that influenza viruses can move among species and is a particularly important finding for people who work with marine mammals, such as veterinarians and animal rescue workers. The seals infected with H1N1 did not appear to be sick, indicating that they may be infected without showing any signs.

Northern elephant seal.

Northern elephant seal. Photo credit: NOAA.

World’s fish have been moving to cooler waters for decades, study finds

A new study reveals that fish and other marine life have been moving towards the poles in search of cooler waters as the planet continues to warm. These changes don’t stop with marine life — shifting fish populations also have implications for fisheries and those who depend on them. Additionally, as species migrate further from the equator and towards the poles, no new species are moving in to replace them which is bad news for people who live in the tropics. This infographic explains the situation pretty well. And for more information, listen to this short segment from NPR: Go Fish (Somewhere Else): Warming Oceans Are Altering Catches.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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