4/8/10 Once, on both sides of the Atlantic, fish such as salmon, eels, and, shad were abundant and played an important role in society, feeding millions and providing a livelihood for tens of thousands. But as these fish have steadily dwindled, humans have lost sight of their significance, with each generation accepting a diminished environment as the new norm.

Today, most people in the U.S. and Europe are scarcely aware that eels, wild Atlantic salmon, shad, and alewives — once-vital sources of food and employment — are no longer a part of their ordinary experience.

Eels were widely consumed by Europeans and Americans in the 1800s and were often featured on holiday tables. And salmon once ran inland in countless numbers, providing sport and food; today, only a few hundred wild salmon remain in the eastern U.S., migrating up a handful of rivers in Maine to spawn. 

Every generation takes the natural environment it encounters during childhood as the norm against which it measures environmental decline later in life. With each ensuing generation, environmental degradation generally increases, but each generation takes that degraded condition as the new normal. Scientists call this phenomenon “shifting baselines” or “inter-generational amnesia,” and it is part of a larger and more nebulous reality — the insidious ebbing of the ecological and social relevancy of declining and disappearing species.

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Q. Why do ecologists seem to give the nod to farmed catfish and tilapia but not salmon?

A. The ecological issues related to fish farming vary from freshwater to saltwater fish; from carnivorous species to noncarnivores; and from open pens to closed ponds and tanks, among many other factors.

Farmed salmon, often raised in pens that are permeable by surrounding ocean waters and fed a diet rich in fish meal and fish oil, have been of special concern to critics...Read Full Article

4/28/20 The Humboldt County District Attorney's Office has submitted a pollution charge against Footprint Recycling of Arcata for an alleged biodiesel spill in January. Deputy District Attorney Christa McKimmy said she submitted the charge last week alleging that Footprint released a substance harmful to fish, bird and plant life into a place where it can pass into waters of the state.

On March 25, the California Department of Fish and Game submitted a report to the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office regarding the alleged January spill at Footprint's West End Road facility in Arcata, where about 1,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel overflowed from an above-ground tank.

The spill started when an automatic timer failed during the night of Jan. 14, said president and owner Andrew Cooper. The fuel reached the facility's drainage ditch, which is an unnamed tributary of the north fork of Janes Creek, but did not leave the property before it was cleaned up. 


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4/4/10 The Environmental Protection Agency is exploring whether to use the Clean Water Act to control greenhouse gas emissions, which are turning the oceans acidic at a rate that's alarmed some scientists.

Since the dawn of the industrial age, acid levels in the oceans have increased 30 percent. Currently, the oceans are absorbing 22 million tons of carbon dioxide a day.

Among other things, scientists worry that the increase in acidity could interrupt the delicate marine food chain, which ranges from microscopic plankton to whales.

The situation is especially acute along the West Coast...The water in the deep Pacific Ocean is already more acidic than shallower water is because it's absorbed the carbon dioxide that's produced as animals and plants decompose. Some of the deep water in the Pacific hasn't been to the surface for 1,000 or more years.

By the end of the century, that deep water is expected to be 150 percent more acidic than it is now, and as it's brought to the surface by upwelling, it's exposed to even more carbon dioxide. Read Full Artilcle

4/6/10 Big Oil & Tire Co. has been hit with a $1.1 million judgment for failure to maintain and test underground fuel tanks at 76 stations from McKinleyville to Fortuna, the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office has reported.

Part of a joint action with the DA, the California Attorney General's Office, the State Water Resources Control Board and the California District Attorney's Association, the order came out of Humboldt County Superior Court last week.

The judgment requires Big Oil & Tire to make repairs to the tanks needed to comply with state and federal law, install and maintain spill and overfill prevention equipment and to submit to inspections. Big Oil & Tire must also cooperate with future investigations in the event of any additional violations, according to the decree. Read Full Article