Humboldt loves sushi, no question. Hopefully you already pay attention to Seafood Watch either by consulting the foldout guide in your pocket or checking the app on your phone against menu options. Now, here’s one to add to the “Avoid” list: Unagi. The International Union for Conservation of Nature this week designated the Japanese eel as endangered, a move that could lead to global restrictions.

As with most fish stocks, the root of the problem is overfishing. According to U.S. government reports, a third of all major fish stocks are overfished and half of the rest are fished to their limit and at risk of being depleted. In an effort to address these and other threats, President Obama announced on Tuesday a proposal to protect significantly more ocean by making it off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities. At hand, 782,000 square miles of central Pacific Ocean. 

California, of course, leads the nation in marine protection, with 120 underwater refuges along the state’s coast, extending from Oregon to Mexico. Right here in Humboldt, you can launch from the Hookton Slough Unit of the Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge – at a high tide – and paddle over to the Humboldt Bay marine protected area. Look for a high incoming tide in the morning for the very best experience.

Even LoCo’s Andrew Goff kayaks in the bay! You can, too!

And while we’re on the topic of maximizing your local fun times, Friends of the Dunes hosts their annual Sand Sculpture Festival out from the Manila Community Center trail this Saturday. Registration at 8 a.m., recommended viewing from noon to 3 p.m. 

For further discussion on these and other ocean-beach-bay-coast issues, tune into Coastal Currents on KHUM 104.7 FM today at noon.