Measure Sandy by whatever metrics you choose. Economic damages: $71 billion. Magnitude: 5.8 on NOAA’s 0-6 scale for kinetic energy, the highest ever recorded, and a barometric pressure that was the lowest ever recorded in the Northeast. Deaths: 253, over 110 in New York area alone. Size: the area of wind over 40 mph was 900 miles across. From every angle, this storm was historic, and revealed nature’s power. Perhaps most poignant though, is the glimpse it provided of sea level rise, bringing water levels twice as high as models projected would happen over the next 100 years, in a single day.
For years we’ve been focused on the impact of overfishing, habitat loss, pollution and other factors on the big name fish like tuna, salmon, sharks, and swordfish that occupy the top of the food web. But they have to eat something, as does everything else that lives in the ocean. That’s where small fish like anchovies and sardines come in. They’re being overfished too, with little public notice. That changed this year however, with new legislation to protect them, in a positive sign that we’re starting to consider whole ecosystems instead of just the more glmaorous species. Catch limits were placed on river herring and shad, as they were on Menhaden and other forage fish, in what should be a boon for the future of many marine species.