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Weekly News: May 2007
May 2007

May 18, 2007
May 11, 2007


May 18 , 2007


NOAA Helps Crack Seafood Smuggling Case
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) scientists worked with Special Agents from the NOAA Office for Law Enforcement over a two-year period to help uncover a multi-year scheme that involved smuggling and distributing catfish labeled and sold as grouper to avoid anti-dumping tariffs imposed by the U.S. Department of Commerce. NCCOS scientists analyzed fish tissue samples using molecular genetic techniques to reveal that the samples were in fact catfish and not grouper. As a result of this collaboration, a Florida seafood importer received 51 months in federal prison terms, multiple years of probation, $1.13 million in fines, and forfeiture of two Florida businesses. Successful enforcement initiatives, inclusive of laboratory confirmation of fish species, help to ensure truth in labeling of seafood and may deter future efforts to mislead seafood consumers. For more information, contact or

Building Community Resilience in Grand Bayou, Louisiana
In an effort to develop methodologies for assessing community resilience, staff members from the NOAA Coastal Services Center traveled to Grand Bayou, Louisiana, an area hit hard by Hurricane Katrina, to learn about the community's history and culture and engage residents in a participatory mapping exercise. The resulting brochure tells the community's story and documents its physical and societal challenges. In addition, the Center is currently working with the University of New Orleans Center for Hazards Assessment Response and Technology on a post-disaster resilience case study in Grand Bayou. For more information, contact

Moorings Installed at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
With assistance from the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab's (GLERL) RV Laurentian, the Thunder Bay staff installed new permanent moorings at six shipwreck sites and redeployed 13 existing moorings. The team also deployed GLERL's real-time weather data buoy, the only weather buoy within the sanctuary and an important asset for both sanctuary staff and the boating public. Several shallow-water moorings will be installed over the next week, bringing the total number of historic shipwreck moorings in the sanctuary to 25. The moorings help address the regional dive community's concerns regarding shipwreck moorings and mark an important milestone in continuing to fulfill the sanctuary's dual mandate of preservation and increased public access. For more information, contact



May 11 , 2007


Portsmouth Current Survey Underway
The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services National Current Observation Program’s currents survey of the Piscataqua River, New Hampshire, and vicinity, kicked off this week with the deployment of six stations, including the reference station “Portsmouth Harbor Entrance.&rdquo The reference station was identified as a high priority for updating and has over 80 subordinate stations referenced to it in the Tidal Current Tables. The project is being completed in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire and will give students the opportunity for hands-on training in current measurement technology with acoustic Doppler current profilers. The entire project has 11 stations total and extends from the reference station at the mouth of the Piscataqua to Furber Strait, the entrance to Great Bay, the site of a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The region is home to numerous commercial facilities, the oldest active Navy shipyard, Coast Guard cutters, commercial fishing, and will be the home port for the soon-to-be-named NOAA SWATH vessel. For more information, contact

Domoic Acid in Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Sea Lions
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science scientists have confirmed the presence of the neurotoxin domoic acid in urine samples from sea lions (Zalophus californianus) on San Miguel Island in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The investigation is part of a large-scale study of mortality of marine mammals, seabirds, and other marine life occurring along the California coast during April 2007. These mortalities are associated with an extensive bloom of the algae Pseudo-nitzschia, which naturally produces domoic acid and has been responsible for multiple marine animal deaths in California in recent years. For more information, contact

Proposal for Reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Act
On May 8, the Department of Commerce delivered proposed legislation to Congress calling for greater protection for the nation’s coral reefs. The bill, the Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Amendments Act of 2007, reauthorizes the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 and adds greater protections for coral reefs while enhancing marine debris removal and increasing the government’s ability to work through cooperative partnerships. “Our coral reefs continue to be severely threatened and this bill continues the Administration’s aggressive commitment to ocean stewardship as called for in the President’s Ocean Action Plan,” said Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. “It will give us the tools we need not only to protect corals, but also to help restore this valuable resource.” Visit the Coral Reef Conservation Program’s new Web page at to learn more. For more information, contact


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