Aaron Orlowski

Aaron Orlowski

Contributing Editor

Aaron Orlowski is a West Coast-based freelance journalist who writes about fisheries, food, science, and the environment. Before settling in Portland, Oregon, he worked for newspapers in California, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In his spare time, he attempts to salvage untested recipes in the kitchen.

Published on
August 8, 2017

Trawling accounts for 20 percent of global fish landings, provides food for millions of people and is among the fishing methods most criticized by conservationists.

A new study that puts numbers to the impact of trawling, however, finds that some types of trawls cause significantly more damage to the seabed than others. Additionally, the most common type of trawl – otter trawling – has a lower environmental impact.

Fishermen use

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Published on
August 3, 2017

The United Nations has advanced a step closer to an international treaty to protect marine life on the high seas, with an aim of setting up a mechanism for creating marine protected areas in areas beyond national jurisdictions.

International waters outside countries’ exclusive economic zones make up 60 percent of the ocean and cover almost half of the surface of the earth. The waters are rife with marine life, including many threatened

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Published on
July 27, 2017

Industrial fishing fleets dump nearly 10 million metric tons of fish back into the ocean every year, or almost 10 percent of the global catch, according to a new study.

In the early 1950s, fish discards were much lower, at five million metric tons (MT) per year. They rose to a peak of just under 19 million MT in 1989 and have since gradually dropped to the current nearly 10 million MT.

Discards result from poor fishing practices and inadequate

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Published on
July 10, 2017

In the tropical waters of Indonesia and the Philippines, fishermen strike out in small, un-decked wooden boats, powered by 10- or 30-horsepower engines. Regulations forbid a few practices, such as fishing in marine protected areas and using dynamite or cyanide to catch fish, but the rules are limited and enforcement can be spotty.

A few decades ago, the waters were bountiful, and a short fishing trip in near-shore waters would yield a few dozen

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Published on
June 26, 2017

U.S. dietary guidelines call for Americans to eat more fish. But fishery managers don’t usually manage stocks with this goal in mind, according to a recent study.

Fisheries policy is essentially part of the nation’s food policy, which affects public health. So, fishery managers, whether they mean to or not, affect the availability, access and distribution of healthy seafood for Americans nationwide.

Despite this intrinsic link,

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Published on
June 22, 2017

Nearly half of California’s salmon species will be extinct in 50 years if current trends continue, a new study has found.

The fish face myriad threats. Climate change will warm the cold-water streams on which spawning fish rely, while dams block passage to headwaters. Ocean acidification will disrupt marine food webs, while hatchery-raised fish threaten to interbreed with wild fish, weakening future populations.

If nothing is done to

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Published on
June 21, 2017

By analyzing the elemental makeup of shrimp flesh, a group of researchers has been able to identify the shrimp’s country of origin, according to a recent study.

The analysis technique – called elemental profiling – could, with further refinement, aid importers, customs officials and retailers as they seek to trace seafood back to its source.

In the study, a group of scientists led by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) differentiated

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Published on
May 19, 2017

Diesel and other fossil fuels make modern commercial fishing possible, and have since the late 1880s, when trawlers first started using steam engines.

At the time, the new technology allowed bigger boats to ranger further while fishing deeper and harder – all while independent of the wind and human muscle labor. On-board freezers preserved fish longer, while the engines returned them to market quicker.

But the burning of that fuel use also

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Published on
May 16, 2017

Farming salmon is more sustainable than growing land animals in several key ways, according to the Global Salmon Initiative’s (GSI) latest sustainability report.

And some of the biggest future improvements in sustainability will likely result from more efficient feed, say salmon industry experts.

The third annual GSI sustainability report, released in late April, contains four years of data and tracks 14 indicators determined by the

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Published on
May 12, 2017

Plastic pollution of all sizes poses a grave threat to seafood producers around the world. Abandoned fishing equipment entangles marine life, including fish and seabirds, often killing them. Derelict lines and nets get caught in gear, boat propellers and other equipment, damaging them. Tiny bits of foam packaging and plastic microfibers from textile manufacturing are ingested by fish.

The macro plastics, such as lost gear and bags, can come from

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