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Oregon Sea Grant: Coastal science serving Oregon
Updated: 11 hours 39 min ago

Researcher: Changes in processing, handling could cut commercial fishing injuries

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 8:48am

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Handling frozen fish caused nearly half of all injuries aboard commercial freezer-trawlers and about a quarter of the injuries on freezer-longliner vessels operating off the coast of Alaska, new research from Oregon State University shows.

Many of those injuries and others aboard the two types of vessels could be prevented with the right interventions, and the research methods used in the study could help identify and reduce injuries and fatalities in other types of commercial fishing, said researcher Devin Lucas. His findings were published in the “American Journal of Industrial Medicine.”

“We’ve drilled down to such a detailed level in the injury data that we can actually address specific hazards and develop prevention strategies,” said Lucas, who recently received his Ph.D. in public health from OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences and works for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the Alaska Pacific office.

Lucas’ study is the first scientific assessment of the risk of fishing on freezer-trawlers and freezer-longliners. In both types of vessels, the processing of fish is handled on-board. The vessels had reputations for being among the most dangerous in commercial fishing in part because of a few incidents that resulted in multiple fatalities.

However, an analysis of 12 years of injury data showed that fishing on the freezer vessels was less risky than many other types of commercial fishing, which is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, Lucas said. The rate of injury on freezer-trawlers was about the same as the national average for commercial fishing, while the rate aboard freezer-longliners was about half of the national average.

“The reality is that many fisheries elsewhere in the U.S., including Oregon Dungeness crabbing, are much more dangerous,” Lucas said.

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HMSC hosts Marine Science Day April 12

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 10:44am

NEWPORT – OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center throws open its doors on Saturday, April 12 for Marine Science Day, a behind-the-scenes peek at the center’s marine research labs, education programs and family activities.

The free, public event runs from 10 am to 4 pm, and includes meet-the-scientist tours of many of the Oregon State University, state and federal labs based at the Newport campus. The public will get a chance to explore cutting-edge ocean science via interactive displays presented by researchers, along with family-friendly fun activities led by staff from Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The day includes interactive exhibits all day long about larval fish ecology, the bioacoustics of whales, volcanoes and deep ocean vents and oceanographic tools.

Activities for children include the Bird Beak Buffet from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and a Fossil Dig with Oregon Sea Grant, the OSU-based program which operates the HMSC’s public Visitor Center.

The event also marks the 25th Anniversary of OSU’s Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, and visitors are invited to celebrate with special exhibits and research highlights from COMES’ quarter century as the nation’s first university experiment station dedicated to the marine sciences.

The neighboring Oregon Coast Aquarium will present a program on seals and sea lions in the Visitor Center’s Hennings Auditorium at 11 am and 2 pm, and at 1:30, visitors can watch, ask questions and learn as the center’s aquarists feed the resident giant Pacific octopus.

For a complete schedule, visit http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/marinescienceday/schedule

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs

Sea Grant “Stone Soup” lesson plan featured in national science ed newsletter

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 10:31am

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A new Sea Grant lesson plan that employs lessons from a popular comic strip to teach middle-school and elementary students about the perils of releasing classroom pets into the wild is featured in the spring newsletter of FOSS, a nationally prominent program of research-based science learning for elementary and middle-school classrooms based at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley.

The newsletter has been mailed to subscribers, and will be featured at a National Science Teachers Association meeting later this week.

Developed by Oregon Sea Grant’s invasive species team and collaborators in Oregon, Washington and California, the Stone Soup Cartooning and Invasive Species lesson encourages youngsters to use art and language skills to learn about biology, ecology, invasive species, and the importance of learning from one’s actions. Students study and discuss the cartoon, and then write and illustrate their own comics about some aspect of invasive species.

The idea for the lesson plan was born from a series of comics drawn last year by Jan Eliot, the Oregon artist who writes and draws the popular, nationally syndicated Stone Soup strip. Eliot, who once wanted to study marine biology, wanted to call attention to the ecological damage that can happen when well-meaning teachers and students release classroom pets such as crayfish and turtles into the wild. She called on Oregon Sea Grant’s invasive species specialist, Sam Chan, to make sure she got the science right.

The result was an entire storyline, which ran in newspapers across the country last September, featuring ongoing Stone Soup character Alix – a budding child scientist who doesn’t always consider the consequences of her acts – and a pet crayfish named Pinchy.

With the blessing of Eliot (and her syndication service) Chan and his partners in the West Coast Sea Grant Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Alliance developed the new lesson plan and associated learning activities to build on the cartoons’ success, and provide teachers with tools to incorporate the subject into their science teaching. The plan is part of a nationwide project to educate teachers – and suppliers of classroom animals – about the ecosystem damage released non-native pets and cause, and other humane alternatives to freeing them in the wild.

Besides conducting ongoing research to improving the learning and teaching of science, FOSS is one of two major US suppliers of K-8 science kits that bases its STEM curricula on learning with live specimens.

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NOAA scientist to lead Oregon Sea Grant program

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 3:24pm

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Shelby Walker, a marine scientist and administrative leader with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has been named director of Oregon Sea Grant.

She will assume leadership of Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon State University-based marine research, outreach, education and communication program, on July 7.

Walker has been the strategic planning team leader for the Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation in NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research since August 2009. In that role, she has been responsible for the agency’s research and development planning efforts.

She also has been associate director for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, an initiative funded through civil penalties resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that aims to increase scientific understanding of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and improve the region’s sustainability.

Based at OSU, Oregon Sea Grant is one of the oldest programs in a national network of NOAA Sea Grant College Programs, dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship, long-term economic development and responsible use of America’s coastal, ocean and Great Lakes resources.

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Tsunami Preparedness Week – Are You Prepared?

Mon, 03/24/2014 - 10:51am

It’s Tsunami Preparedness Week, and Pat Corcoran wants to make sure people who live on -and visit – the seismically active coast know what to do when the big wave hits.

Corcoran, Oregon Sea Grant’s coastal hazards specialist, is featured this week on the NOAA Sea Grant home page, and says the single most important thing to know about tsunamis is that they can happen unexpectedly. “Whenever visiting the ocean shore, be prepared to move to high ground if you experience an earthquake,” says Corcoran. “Also important to know, is the earthquake and tsunami experience is different depending on where you are in the world. In the Pacific Northwest of the USA, our natural warning for a big tsunami is a big earthquake.” Elsewhere in the world, people may not even feel the ground shake.

Corcoran has spent more than a decade educating and working with coastal residents and communities to help them prepare for coastal hazards, from storms to the inevitability that a large earthquake – likely with an accompanying tsunami – will strike the region in the not-too-distant future. The challenge, he says, is getting people to understand that they need to prepare now for an event that has never happened in their lifetimes, or perhaps those of their parents or grandparents.

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Categories: OSU Extension Blogs