NautilusLive explores Bodega Canyon in Cordell Bank NMS

Click the above words “NautilusLive explores Bodega Canyon in Cordell Bank NMS” to see this entire post.

Point your browser here to see live video from ROV’s associated with Nautilus Live.


Here are some screen grabs from last night (Monday)






Flat nosed fish, coral


Octopus, coral, sea star and more


ROV arm sampling coral




Sea Pigs


Whale Watching off Bird Rock

Click the words above “Whale Watching off Bird Rock” to see this entire post

A few weeks ago a friend invited me to go out salmon fishing on his boat.

It had been over 40 years since I had last been out salmon fishing, so I was more than a little rusty.

He assured me we’d be fine, as he had been going his entire life.

Earlier in the week the salmon were being caught in great numbers.

This day, we caught one. The 40+ boats around us in the vast expanse of the Eastern Pacific pulled in a few as well.

But, this day was not really about salmon fishing.

Today was a day for whale watching.

We were surrounded by not just any whales either.

Blue whales! Everywhere.

Sometimes so close as they came up for air, the sound of their exhalations startled me as I peered at the fishing poles under tension on the opposite side of the boat.

With our skipper keeping an eye on the rods, and the other man aboard at the helm, I manned the long lens to record what you see below.



common murres


Blue whale


common murre


Blue whale


common murre


Blue whale


A man truly in his element


Best Management Practices (BMP) meeting audio, DFW presentation and audience comments

Click on the words above “Best Management Practices (BMP) meeting audio…” to see this entire post.

On 17 July, 2017 at the Marconi Conference Center in Marshall California, over 75 people from all aspects of shellfish aquaculture, including local and non-local residents attended. The announcement for this meeting may be found here.

Below are several audio files that I recorded that include the entire meeting, excluding some transition noise between speakers as well as some some audio at the end when the entire room erupted in conversation.

I apologize for the audio quality, though I think you will be able to hear most everyone. Possibly some quiet audience members in the back of the room may be hard to hear. Use of headphones will help.

Below the audio files you’ll find the presentation given by Kirsten Ramey from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

You’ll also find images of the audience comments taken by Randy Lovell and Susan Ashcraft, as well as these same notes transcribed to an MS Word file.

These presentation and notes files were sent to me by the meeting moderator, Heather Benko, Sea Grant Fellow.


Introductions – Heather Benko – 12:19 minutes


Randy Lovell – 17:32 minutes


Susan Ashcraft – 21:04 minutes


Kirsten Ramey – 12:27 minutes

Kirsten’s presentation is here.


Audience input part 1 – 42:19 minutes


Audience input part 2 – 43:59 minutes

Audience comments recorded by Randy Lovell here.

Audience comments recorded by Susan Ashcraft here.

Both sets of notes transcribed to text file here.

Best Management Practices (BMP) Meeting change of venue, agenda available


A larger room was need to accommodate the growing audience.

New room is named Buck Hall.

Everything else is the same

We also received an agenda today for the meeting on Monday.

Click the blue text for agenda, on window that pops up, click on document to see it.
REVISED Agenda-Map-Bckgrnd BMP stakeholder mtg (17Jul2017 Room change)

Boating on Tomales Bay – We don’t need no stinking life jackets

Click on the words above “Boating on Tomales Bay – We don’t need no stinking life jackets” to see this entire post.

Memorial Day weekend was gorgeous in West Marin.

The bay was covered with boats, fishing, crabbing, zooming north, zooming south.

How many life jackets can you see in the following images?

Living on the coast as I do, I read about more drownings each year than I care to.

Yet, most people do NOT wear life jackets when out boating.

Please wear a life vest.

3 April, 2017 – Tomales Bay – 1 dead

26 October, 2015 – Tomales Bay – 2 dead

1 November 2014 – Bodega Bay – 4 dead



Children have vests, adults do not



Everybody has life vests! We have a winner.


Children have vests, adults do not




Children have vests, adults do not




One vest in the bunch




Respect Tomales Bay – Stakeholders meeting to discuss Best Management Practices for aquaculture

Click the words above “Respect Tomales Bay – Stakeholders meeting…” to see this entire post.

NOTE: the meeting has moved to a bigger room, see here for details.

The public is invited to a meeting hosted by the California Fish and Game Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Date: 17 July, 2017

Time: 1 pm

Location: Marconi Conference Center, McCargo Room

New location is Buck Hall

Please RSVP by sending an email to

map below

Here are a set of proposed Best Management Practices (BMP), most of which were submitted to the Fish and Game Commission on 8 April, 2015.

Proposed best practices for Tomales Bay Oyster Farmers

These BMP shall be an integral part of each lease. Mandatory practices meant to ensure Tomales Bay and the ocean in general is kept free of lost plastic from aquaculture practices.


1. Growers shall uniquely and clearly identify all of their gear with company name and phone number. Possible means of uniquely marking gear include: unique colors of bags, wires, PVC pipes, rope, “branding info into gear”.

2. Growers shall train all employees in concepts of Leave No Trace,
see, or similar training about environmental stewardship

3. Growers shall continually improve gear in a quest for zero loss of gear.

4. Growers shall replace single use items (zip-ties, copper wires) with more durable items such as stainless halibut clips.

5. Growers shall NOT use floats that are easily degraded by UV, pecked by birds birds in search of food.

6. Growers shall securely tie large groups of non-floating bags together when deploying bags for future securing to anchor lines lines to ensure they don’t drift.

7. Growers shall remove tools each day after working on lease areas, including: fencepost drivers, gloves, water bottles, PVC pipes, wires, ropes.

8. Growers shall promptly (within 60 days) remove culture structures and other items comprising a method that did not work as desired desired or is no longer used.

9. Growers shall patrol lease areas and eastern shore of Tomales Bay on a bi-monthly basis, twice monthly during windy or heavy surf times. Patrols must occur at both high and low tides to ensure gear buried in the mud is collected.

10. Growers shall uniquely and clearly identify all of their boats and barges.
Boats should be clearly identifiable with binoculars from a distance of 1 mile.
Unique color, large letter or number or combinations of these may work.




Respect Tomales Bay – Oyster growers making great strides to lose less gear, clean up what is lost

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With much happiness I am seeing that the oyster growers of Tomales Bay are continuing to take positive steps to reduce the amount of plastic and other debris their operations routinely lose in Tomales Bay. Further, some are taking steps to redesign their gear to better withstand the harsh wind and waves that are a major factor in gear being lost.

The last several times I have had a look around the usual places where loose gear is deposited after storms, I’ve either found no grow-out bags! Or, only a few bags. An outstanding development from my perspective. Hopefully the number of floating bags carried out the mouth of Tomales Bay into open waters is equally small.

That said, we still have lots of oyster farming legacy (OFL) debris to remove from Tomales Bay.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

44 abandoned grow out bags recovered from NE corner of Tomales Bay.

Storms come from the south in these parts. Poorly secured bags and other gear is generally blown off the leases to the NE corner of the bay, where it festers and sinks into the quicksand-like mud.

I recently spent the better part of a day crawling around the eastern portion of lease M-430-15 recovering 44 vintage bags. Only one of which was leftover from the 1982 flood event that buried thousands of bags belonging to the now defunct International Shellfish Enterprises (ISE). Read more about ISE abandoned debris here. The rest were either from TBOC, or, from unknown growers. Unknown since the growers DO NOT tag their gear to make it easy to identify, yet.

44 abandoned grow out bags along with lumber that was once the support structure for “stanway” culturing tubes. Stanway are still used by one grower to hold many thousands of baby oysters.

One grower is changing the way bags of oysters are attached to iron racks. Instead of using plastic coated copper wires that are untied and dropped in the bay to pollute after one use, rubber ties are now used, which may be re-used, or more easily recovered so as not to litter beautiful Tomales Bay.

Wires collected from the mud after being dropped (the old way)

About 20 pounds of plastic coated copper wire i picked up from under the racks, laying in the mud on lease M-430-17, run by Point Reyes Oyster Company.


First attempt at a new attach method – these rubber bands proved to be too weak and snapped under pressure from the tide.


Second attempt at a new attach method – these bands look to be up to the task.


This is looking more and more like Authentic Stewardship and I thank the growers for their efforts.




Now is the time for the Fish & Game Commission and Department of Fish & Game to show similar improvements in their methods.


Speak up to protect Humboldt Bay from harmful expansion by Coast Seafood

Click on the words above “Speak up to protect Humboldt Bay…” to see this entire post.

Coast Seafood has once again applied to expand their shellfish growing operation on Humboldt Bay.

Description of proposed project is here.

Please write the Army Corps of Engineers before 20 April with your request that this expansion be denied.

Be sure to note the Public Notice number of PN-2002-26912N. Highlight the environmental impacts of allowing the expansion rather then simply stating “I am against the expansion.”

These may include: Impact on eel grass, which then impacts brant, salmon, steelhead, coastal cutthroat. If you are a duck hunter, this will certainly impact your ability to navigate on the bay, as well as the number of brant feeding (or not) in the bay. The added plastic that will escape into the ocean is another cause for concern.

Those of us that value the natural diversity supported by an untrampled bay over increased oyster production ask that this expansion be denied.

As in Tomales Bay, shellfish operations in Humboldt Bay harm the eel grass beds that serve an important role for many, many species beyond the non-native oysters, clams and mussels grown for private profit on public lands. Two groups of animals of particular concern are the black brant and a number of salmonids (chinook salmon, coho salmon, steelhead trout and sea-run coastal cutthroat trout. Eel grass provides food for the brant (their main food source) and it provides refugia (cover) for the salmonids when they are young and need a place to hide.

Expanding shellfish operations on another 256 acres would significantly impact a large number of species that rest and feed on Humboldt Bay. Coast already has approximately 300 acres upon which to profit.

Please write L. Kasey Sirkin ( at the Army Corps of Engineers with your concerns.
The deadline for comments is 20 April, so please do this now.

See what Eureka Resident Susan Penn has to say on this important issue here.

Below are some documents that will educate you on the issues at hand.

Comments on the application from Audubon of California, EarthJustice and Oceana

Download (PDF, 1.45MB)


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers comments on this project.

Download (PDF, 165KB)


National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) comments on this project.

Download (PDF, 1.42MB)

NPS battles global warming by installing refrigerator on North Beach

Please click on the above words “NPS battles global warming by installing refrigerator on North Beach” to see this entire press release.


News Release Date: April 1, 2017
Contact: Amanda Sidebyside, 415-464-5678

Park Service scientists have determined that the ocean is just too darn warm.

To cool things off a bit, they have begun installing refrigeration units along Point Reyes Beaches with doors removed, set to cold.

The first device was installed at North Beach this past week.

As soon as all necessary extension cords have been installed, additional units will be deployed at 50 foot intervals from The Golden Gate north to the southern tower of the Pierce Point – Bodega Bridge and set on cold with the doors removed.

Please do not remove any of the shellfish from the refrigeration units, they are used for calibration purposes.