WARM-WATER FISHES HERALD NEXT EL NINO; IMPACT ON LOCAL POPULATIONS WORRIES SCIENTISTS, FISHERMEN.Byline: Michael Coit Daily News Staff Writer
The hooking of a Peruvian puffer puffer, common name for some tropical marine fish of the family Tetraodontidae. The puffers and their allies, the boxfish, the porcupinefish, and the ocean sunfish or headfish, form an odd group (order Tetraodontiformes). at Nine O'Clock Rock off Santa Cruz Island San·ta Cruz Island
An island off southern California in the northern Santa Barbara Islands. last week was evidence enough for Bruce Williams Bruce Williams is an American businessman and radio talk show host, who hosts The Bruce Williams Show on weekday evenings from 7 PM to 10 PM Eastern time. Williams has been doing his national radio show for more than 25 years. that El Nino has arrived in the Channel Islands.
``That's Peruvian water that came right up here with the neighborhood in it,'' said Williams, a sport-fishing boat operator who noted that the puffer normally doesn't range north of the Galapagos Islands.
Other oddities produced by the ocean-warming condition include increasingly abundant yellowfin tuna and even dorado normally found off the Baja California coast.
El Nino indeed is making late-summer sport fishing interesting and could promise a season even more abundant than in 1982-83, when the last major El Nino swept in from the equator.
``The last El Nino, we had some very, very large fish,'' recalled Williams, who operates the Port Hueneme Sportfishing sport·fish·ing
The sport of catching fish using a rod and reel.
Noun 1. sportfishing - the act of someone who fishes as a diversion
field sport, outdoor sport - a sport that is played outdoors fleet and has fished the Channel Islands waters for more than three decades.
``There's the possibility of catching a 35-pound tuna on a three-quarter day boat. We get barracuda barracuda, slender, elongated fish of tropical seas. Barracudas have long snouts and projecting lower jaws armed with large, sharp-edged teeth. They are ferocious, striking at anything that gleams, and are considered excellent game fishes. and yellowtail almost that size,'' he noted. ``People pay a lot of money to catch fish like that (in southern waters), so for us here in Ventura County to have that in our back yard is great.''
One man's bounty, however, can be a barracuda's burden with the El Nino phenomenon.
``A lot of people wait for this because it brings exotic fish into the area, but it does more harm than good,'' contends Jim Donlon, an avid angler and longtime member of the county's Fish and Game Commission. ``In September the water should be cooling off, but it's been increasingly warmer.''
Channel Islands waters are prized by commercial fishing fleets for rockfish rockfish, member of the large family Scorpaenidae (rockfishes and scorpionfishes), carnivorous fish inhabiting all seas and especially abundant in the temperate waters of the Pacific. Rockfishes are found among rocks and reefs. , anchovy anchovy: see herring.
Any of more than 100 species of schooling saltwater fishes (family Engraulidae) related to the herring. Anchovies are distinguished by a large mouth, almost always extending behind the eye, and by a pointed snout. , white sea bass and massive schools of squid.
``Some of the fish that are normally here aren't,'' said Mike McCorkle, who has fished commercially out of Santa Barbara Harbor for about 40 years.
``This year the water warmed up a little bit faster to where there were some salmon, but they just went out deeper where it was cold,'' he said. ``You get this real blue, clear water so the anchovies anchovies
a cause of diarrhea, vomiting, salivation, lacrimation, depression, miosis, polypnea, tachycardia, hypothermia in cats. go away. They go deep, they stay down at the bottom instead of being near the shore and they're pretty hard to catch.''
El Nino is an oceanic and weather phenomenon that occurs occasionally in the tropical Pacific. It was given its name - meaning the Christ child - by Peruvians 200 years ago when they noticed ocean warming at Christmastime.
The change can cause unusual or more severe weather, leading to above-normal rainfall in some areas and drought in others, while affecting crops and fish populations. During the winter of 1982-83, the last major El Nino hammered California with storms that caused flooding and mudslides, and severely affected fish and marine mammals marine mammals
mammals inhabiting the sea; generally taken to include the cetaceans (whales, porpoise, dolphin), the sirenians (sea-cows, including manatees and dugong) and the pinnipeds (the carnivores of the group, seals, sealions, walruses). .
The El Nino now at work threatens to be more severe. The Pacific Ocean is warming at a faster rate than it did 15 years ago, leading scientists with El Nino Watch, operated by the National Marine Fisheries Service The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is a United States federal agency. A division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Commerce, NMFS is responsible for the stewardship and management of the nation's living marine , to forecast the biggest one in the last century.
The prediction concerns fisheries researchers, such as Milton Love, associate research biologist for the Marine Science Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara History
The predecessor to UCSB, Santa Barbara State College, focused on teacher training, industrial arts, home economics, and foreign languages. Intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase persuaded the State .
While warmer water likely will lead some fish to migrate to colder, more nutrient-rich water farther north, Love said a major concern is the potential impact on the winter breeding season. He said there has been an absence of the usual upwelling up·well·ing
1. The act or an instance of rising up from or as if from a lower source: an upwelling of emotion.
2. of deep water carrying the nutrients that sustain food chains for larval larval
1. pertaining to larvae.
see cutaneous and visceral larva migrans. fish.
``When you have an El Nino, that's an additional hunk of warm water on top of what's happening already, and so potentially makes it even worse,'' Love said. ``If you get a lot of warm water coming from the equator, they don't like that. Many species don't reproduce.''
Squid could provide a measure of El Nino's impact on the Channel Islands commercial fishery, Love said.
``During the last one, the bottom dropped out of the squid fishery, he added. ``Either all the squid went north or a lot of squid died because the fishery collapsed. But they come back eventually. As soon as the water temperature begins dropping, they reproduce better.''
Squid season arrives when the mollusks come together to spawn on the cool, sandy bottoms. Adult squid lay eggs between October and April off the Channel Islands, luring boats from as far as Alaska for the season that runs through March.
California squid, with seven to 12 per pound, are in demand because they are a sweet and succulent variety.
California squid also constitute the last West Coast commercial fishery with no restrictions. Because the fishing has been so bountiful in recent years, the state Department of Fish and Game recently has asked the federal fisheries service to include squid in a management plan.
The combination of overfishing Overfishing occurs when fishing activities reduce fish stocks below an acceptable level. This can occur in any body of water from a pond to the oceans. More precise biological and bioeconomic terms define 'acceptable level'. and El Nino could impact fish populations for the next several years, Love said.
The impact of ocean warming on fish populations has been noted going back some 2,000 years through measurements of fish scales on layers of the ocean floor removed in 30-foot-long core samples. In warmer periods, there would be a greater volume of sardine sardine: see herring.
Any of certain species of small (6–12 in., or 15–30 cm, long) food fishes of the herring family (Clupeidae), especially in the genera Sardina, Sardinops, and Sardinella. scales. In colder periods, anchovy scales would be more numerous, Love noted.
``It looks like Southern California, and even Central California, goes through decades where the water generally is fairly warm or generally is fairly cool, and what we're going through now is the warm-water part,'' he said. ``Some fish like it, some fish don't.
``The big difference between now and hundreds of years ago is that people are pulling fish out of the ocean.''
Commercial fisheries have had to struggle to survive through the ocean-warming periods during the past century because breeding goes down and fishermen capture the adult fish.
``Well, what happens now is the same thing is going on - we're catching all the adults,'' Love said. ``And while we don't catch every single adult, you may get so few adults that they can't reproduce enough to bring the population back. And that is a real worry.''
McCorkle, the longtime Santa Barbara fisherman, has seen El Ninos come and go.
``There's an old saying: `The fish don't move - the water moves,' '' he said. ``As soon as warm water moves away with the current, the fish move, too. You have to be able to do a lot of different things. I travel around and I just kind of survive.''
Photo: (ran in SIMI SIMI Sea Ice Mechanics Initiative
SIMI Search for Intelligent Monkeys on the Internet
SIMI Students Islamic Movement in India
SIMI Society of Irish Motor Industry
SIMI Smallholder Irrigation Markets Initiative , CONEJO and BULLDOG editions only) Sport fishermen return to Port Hueneme after a day of hauling in warm-water fishes brought to the Channel Islands by El Nino.
Joe Binoya/Special to the Daily News