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Off the wire

8/14/2010

In La., signs of regrowth seen in oiled marshes
BARATARIA BAY, La. — Shoots of marsh grass and bushes of mangrove trees already are starting to grow back in the bay where just months ago photographers shot startling images of dying pelicans coated in oil from the massive Gulf oil spill. More than a dozen scientists interviewed by The Associated Press say the marsh here and across the Louisiana coast is healing itself, giving them hope delicate wetlands might weather the worst offshore spill in U.S. history better than they had feared.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


Catch down, revenues up for NE fishermen
BOSTON — The catch for fishermen in the Northeast during the first three months following drastic rule changes fell 10 percent compared to last year but revenues rose 17 percent, according to federal statistics released this week. The rules were enacted May 1 amid reports of broad confusion about the change and that numerous fishermen were keeping their boats docked due to the uncertainty.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


Valdez man catches record-breaking halibut
FAIRBANKS — The $15,000 he is likely to win after catching a 363.9-pound halibut in Valdez on Friday is not what's important to George Levasseur. "The important thing is getting the big fish," he said. And they don't get much bigger than this. Levasseur's giant flatfish is the biggest halibut ever caught in the Valdez Halibut Derby, breaking the old record by more than 20 pounds.

Read the complete story from Daily News-Miner.


Costa Rica president orders boat attack investigation
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla has ordered an investigation into charges a Venezuelan tuna seiner attacked a U.S. sportfishing boat in Costa Rican waters. Chinchilla said Tuesday she ordered the probe after receiving details on the alleged attack outlined in a letter from the Billfish Foundation, a Miami-based anglers group.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


NOAA approves reform of West Coast fish harvest
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — A federal fishing ban has been lifted for more than 5,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico along the Florida Panhandle. That includes waters from Pensacola to Cape San Blas and extending south into the open Gulf.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


Some fishing areas off Fla. Panhandle reopened
SEATTLE— NOAA's Fisheries Service on Tuesday approved a new approach to managing the harvest of certain Wst Coast fish that it says will lessen competition among fishermen and reduce overfishing. NOAA officials said the new catch-shares system - expected to take effect early next year - allows fisherman to better plan their season and fish more efficiently while reducing bycatch.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


Crabs provide evidence oil tainting Gulf food web
BARATARIA, La. — To assess how heavy a blow the BP oil spill has dealt the Gulf of Mexico, researchers are closely watching a staple of the seafood industry and primary indicator of the ecosystem's health: the blue crab. Weeks ago, before engineers pumped in mud and cement to plug the gusher, scientists began finding specks of oil in crab larvae plucked from waters across the Gulf coast.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


Feds say BP suspending drilling on last 30 feet of relief well until Gulf storm passes
NEW ORLEANS — Approaching storms forced crews to suspend drilling the final stretch of a relief well aimed at shooting a permanent underground plug into BP's busted oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, the government's point man for the disaster said Tuesday. Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said the suspension could mean a delay of two or three days in completing the relief well, one of the last steps toward ending any threat from the well that spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil over three months before a temporary cap sealed it in mid-July.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


Study: Useful bats could be nearly wiped out in Northeast by fungus in 20 years
WASHINGTON — One of the most common bat species could face extinction in the Northeast within decades due to white-nose syndrome, a disease now rapidly spreading. While bats may have a bad reputation, frightening many people, they are vital in controlling insects that not only annoy but spread disease to people and animals.

The threatened little brown bat has been known to eat its weight in insects in a night.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


Alaska's unique dipnet fishing tradition thrives
KENAI, Alaska — Sean Boulay had a grin plastered across his face a couple of hours after donning his waders, wheeling his blue and white cooler onto the sand and sticking a large net into the water. The unsuspecting sockeye salmon soon were swimming into his net one after another, and Boulay eventually had a string of fish in the cold water of the world-renowned Kenai River.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


Briton first known man to walk Amazon River
MARAPANIM, Brazil — He fought tropical disease and deadly snakes, was held captive at one point and collapsed just short of his goal. Still, Ed Stafford ended his 2 1/2-year journey Monday as he planned - leaping into the sea as the first man known to walk the length of the Amazon River.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


Eagle strike in jet's engine halts Alaska flight
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An eagle was sucked into an engine of an Alaska Airlines jet as the aircraft was taking off from a small southeast Alaska town Sunday, causing the flight to be aborted. Seattle-bound Flight 68 was approaching takeoff speed when the eagle was ingested into the left engine shortly after 10 a.m. in Sitka. None of the 134 passengers or five crew members was hurt.
Read the complete story from The Associated Press.


Groups seek ban on lead ammunition, fishing tackle
WASHINGTON — Five environmental groups urged the EPA on Tuesday to ban lead in ammunition and fishing tackle, arguing that millions of animals are dying from eating lead-shot pellets or carcasses contaminated by lead. "It's long past time do something about this deadly - and preventable - epidemic of lead poisoning in the wild," said Jeff Miller, conservation advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Read the complete story from The Associated Press.