2021 State Legislative Update on Environment Issues

Rather than try to do this myself, the Puget Sound Partnership is tracking all the bills. Here’s there public PowerPoint on them.

https://pspwa.app.box.com/s/wagot10sy95a4fixrhioberup485mqza

Some B.C. restaurants remove wild salmon from menu in response to declining stocks – CBC


This is an interesting idea. I know that master chef Tom Douglas still supports having wild salmon in his restaurants as a way to keep the fishermen (and women) employed and keeping the wild cycle in play. It is worth remembering that certain stocks are being closed or only open for a day or two. I assume we will see more of this in the near future.

The Naramata Inn in the Okanagan has temporarily removed wild salmon from its summer menu, a decision chef Ned Bell said he made in an effort to allow salmon populations to recover. “It is a species that needs all the love we can give it.” Bell, who is a former Ocean Wise executive chef, said that it’s a temporary measure and he looks forward to bringing salmon back on his menu and supporting community fisheries again. The Vancouver-based Ocean Wise Conservation Association rates the sustainability of seafood so that consumers can avoid eating species that are over-fished or in decline. Michelle Gomez reports. (CBC)

Some B.C. restaurants remove wild salmon from menu in response to declining stocks

Biotoxins in shellfish lead to closure at Discovery Bay – Peninsula Daily News

Following on a recent post about the effects of the recent heatwave, here’s more economic and enviromental effects. Yes, global warming is costing all of us. Discovery Bay is home to a number of commercial geoduck operations as well as recreational shellfish harvesting.

Discovery Bay is closed to shellfish harvesting due to high levels of marine biotoxins discovered in the water. Shellfish samples taken from Discovery Bay were found to contain elevated levels of the marine biotoxin that causes diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, resulting in the state Department of Health closing the beaches around the bay for all shellfish harvesting, Jefferson County Environmental Health said in a press release. Zach Jablonski reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Read the whole story here:

Biotoxins in shellfish lead to closure at Discovery Bay

Lower Elwha restoration project in progress – PDN

More good news on the restoration of the Elwha. Also good news for jobs for local people and the economy. Restoration work is job creating work. It’s good for the economy and for the environment. The long term effects of this work will be visible for generations.


The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is conducting a beach restoration project at the former Olympic Rowing Club site on Ediz Hook through mid-August. The tribe’s restoration crew will remove existing piers and shoreline armoring such as concrete, creosote beams, riprap and metal, said Tiffany Royal, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission spokesperson. (Peninsula Daily News)

Lower Elwha restoration project in progress

Salmon-killing tires get congressional hearing – KUOW

This is a must needed first step towards changing the equation to what may prove to be one of the root causes of our loss of salmon. Worth noting that no Washington State representatives are on this committee (why? I don’t know). It also appears that it is populated by far more Republicans than Democrats. Again. Why? I don’t know.


A study that pinpointed a chemical from car tires as the cause of salmon die-offs in West Coast creeks has prompted a congressional hearing. The toxic effects of tire dust and skid marks on coho salmon were the subject of a U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee hearing Thursday. Washington State University researcher Jenifer McIntyre said 6PPD-quinone, a chemical recently discovered in used tires, has been washing off roadways and killing coho salmon. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

Salmon-killing tires get congressional hearing

With rollback of Trump proposal, new Biden plan cuts just 2% of spotted owl protections -OPB

Good news as the Biden Administration works to reverse the damage done by Trump.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to withdraw the previous administration’s rule that slashed millions of acres of critical habitat protections for the northern spotted owl. The proposed new rule would reduce the protected habitat area in Oregon by 200,000 acres — leaving far more land protected for the threatened owl than called for by the Trump administration. This comes after the Biden administration’s U.S Interior Department delayed and reviewed the Trump administration’s Jan. 15 rollback of 3.4 million acres of designated critical habitat protections for the imperiled species in Washington, Oregon and California. Monica Samayoa reports. (OPB)

With rollback of Trump proposal, new Biden plan cuts just 2% of spotted owl protections

Finding the Mother Tree: ecologist Suzanne Simard offers solutions to B.C.’s forest woes – The Narwhale

An interesting interview with one of the scientists who early on figured out the differences between a “forest” and a “tree farm”.


From eating dirt as a child to discovering the mycorrhizal network below the forest floor, Simard has spent her entire career trying to find answers about how forests work; now, armed with those answers, she’s calling for change. Matt Simmons report. (The Narwhal)

Finding the Mother Tree: ecologist Suzanne Simard offers solutions to B.C.’s forest woes

Vibriosis infections on rise, state officials say -Associated Press


A word of caution for those of us who like to eat shellfish. The recent heat wave has a cost.

An outbreak of vibriosis in Washington has already surpassed the highest number of cases ever recorded by the state for the month of July, the state Department of Health said in a press release. Health officials say 52 cases of vibriosis have been reported in July, KING-5 reported. They blame the record-breaking high temperatures that killed millions, if not billions, of sea creatures during the Pacific Northwest heat wave. The infections are associated with eating raw or undercooked shellfish, especially oysters, that are contaminated with Vibrio. (Associated Press)

Associated Press

Read the whole story here:

Vibriosis infections on rise, state officials say

How healthy is the Salish Sea? Canada-U.S. study tracks ecosystem decline – Coast Reporter

We hear from our Puget Sound Partnership that things are doing “better” from their indicators. However, this new study sheds another perspective on the issue. I’m wondering after the recent heat wave, whether shellfish are going to remain a “positive” indicator.


A joint Canada-U.S. report on the health of the Salish Sea has found either an overwhelming decline or stable trend in nine out of 10 environmental indicators tracked by researchers. The only positive? Shellfish. Stefan Labbe reports. (Coast Reporter)

How healthy is the Salish Sea? Canada-U.S. study tracks ecosystem decline

and read the whole EPA report here:
Health of the Salish Sea Ecosystem Report | US EPA

Can biologists estimate the massive loss of shellfish caused by low tides, high temps? PSI

We are just beginning to understand the incredible loss of shellfish from the latest heat wave.


The putrid smell of rotting shellfish on some beaches in Puget Sound and elsewhere along the West Coast were a clear sign that large numbers of clams, mussels, oysters and other intertidal creatures were killed from exposure to extreme low tides, record-breaking temperatures and a blazing hot sun. The total losses of shellfish that perished late last month may be difficult to estimate, but experts are beginning to piece together evidence from shoreline residents, state and tribal biologists, and commercial shellfish growers. Their goal is to describe what took place during the record-breaking temperatures of June 25-29 during some of the lowest tides of the past century. Christopher Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Can biologists estimate the massive loss of shellfish caused by low tides, high temps?

Canada and the United States release new action plan for Salish Sea Ecosystem – Yahoo Finance

More good news as the Biden Administration opens up communications and cooperation with neighbors.

…Today, the governments of Canada and the United States announced that they have signed a new four-year “Action Plan” under their Joint Statement of Cooperation—first signed in 2000—that commits both countries to work together on transboundary issues and challenges facing the Salish Sea ecosystem. Under the action plan, the two nations will continue to engage with partners across the region to advance shared priorities for ecosystem health, including information sharing, improving transboundary coordination, and reporting on ecosystem health. Environment and Climate Change Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also updated their joint “Health of the Salish Sea Ecosystem Report” analyzing ten indicators of the health of the Salish Sea. Overall trends described in this report reveal some improvement, but also areas of no change or decline that can be identified as ecosystem priorities for future action. (Yahoo Finance)

Canada and the United States release new action plan for Salish Sea Ecosystem (yahoo.com)

New short video by Pacific Wild

Pacific wild opposes wolf culling. The have been doing some beautiful short 30 second spots. No message, just the beauty of the wolf.

https://vimeo.com/572671100

Dabob Bay Public Hearing – July 26, 2021

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has scheduled a public hearing to get your input about protecting the state forests of Dabob Bay!

Right now, DNR proposes to preserve 820 acres of state forestland within a portion of the Dabob Bay Natural Area that was expanded in 2016.

The legislature approved funding for this transaction in 2019 and the public comment period is the final step to permanently conserve the state forest as part of the Natural Area and reimburse the timber trusts.

Now is the critical moment to show support:

What:   Public Hearing (in person, masked/distanced)

When:  6:00 PM, Monday, July 26 (arrive early to sign in to speak)

Where: Quilcene School Multipurpose Room (gym)

Please come in person if you can, but a zoom webinar is available for those who wish to attend online. Register at:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QLe-H-X3S4KVgYXuQIExfw

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

AND please also E-MAIL COMMENTS to DNR at exchanges@dnr.wa.gov(include “Dabob Bay” in the subject line) AND cc Jefferson County Commissioners at jeffbocc@co.jefferson.wa.us

 

Talking points for your email:

I support DNR’s proposed protection of state forestlands within the Dabob Bay Natural Area boundaries.
I request that School Trust parcels CS 6,7, 11, 12, and 13 on the Toandos Peninsula NOT be including in the exchange as these involve globally rare forest types that DNR is obligated to protect and which are proposed for conservation.

Goodbye to Caroline Gibson

For the second time in a couple of months, we have lost a huge force in the environmental protection of the Strait. The sudden death of Kurt Grinnell was shocking enough. But this time it’s Caroline Gibson, a woman who’s smile powered real change in this corner of the country. Caroline died after a long struggle with cancer. She leaves a hole that cannot be easily filled, both in those who worked with her and those who called her a friend. 

Caroline Gibson

Caroline’s defining characteristic was her smile and almost limitless positive energy. She helped define the Northwest Straits Foundation as it struggled to keep itself afloat after the Great Recession. The Northwest Straits has been a part of this area since 1998, when Patty Murray and the late Jack Metcalf lead a bi-partisan effort to create an earmark under NOAA to fund it. The goal was to enable citizen involvement in protecting the Strait. It has worked well enough to have established many Marine Resource Committees at the county level in the Northern Sound, and launch an incredibly successful project to remove derelict commercial fishing nets from the Straits. Caroline was a force behind those efforts. 

It seems unfathomable to think that she is gone. Every time I stopped by the house she shared with her partner Walt, she was always a well spring of good cheer. “Let’s have a glass of wine!”, was her happy answer to any issue that was cropping up. And over that glass she would often lay out the history of an issue,  the players behind it and her ideas on what was needed. She loved the Straits, the ocean and all it shelters. 

The work of any environmental activist is exhausting, having to endure hundreds of hours of dreary meetings, endless fundraising, and seeing politicians get elected who distinctly have no interest in protecting the environment. But I never heard Caroline do anything but look for ways to solve the problem. 

My sincere condolences to her family and friends. We all loved Caroline. 

_________________________________________________________

Don Hunger took over the NW Straits Foundation when it became clear that Caroline’s illness was making it impossible to do day to day work. He had this to say today on the Foundations web site https://nwstraitsfoundation.org

Celebrating The Life Of Caroline Gibson
 

The Salish Sea is a better place because of all that Caroline Gibson gave during her lifetime. She worked selflessly to build a diverse community of passionate individuals, organizations and agencies who are committed to restoring its coastlines, cleaning its waters, and preserving its habitat. All so wildlife and humans can enjoy the Salish Sea’s life-sustaining benefits for generations to come.

During her career in the Northwest Straits, Caroline served as a member of the Jefferson Marine Resources Committee, as the Marine Program Manager at the Northwest Straits Commission, and as Executive Director of the Northwest Straits Foundation. Her spark and passion inspired others to not just talk about marine conservation, but to roll up their sleeves and do it!

She formed the Salish Sea International Kelp Alliance increasing awareness, understanding and support for kelp as critical habitat. She worked with commercial fisherman on ways to reduce lost gear and mitigate impacts to marine wildlife. And, she was a great storyteller developing shared values and relationships.

As I celebrate her life, I see the color of sea blue with my eyes closed. That deep twinkling blue that water makes when light pierces it from a clear sky. The way salt water blue shifts when a lens of freshwater seeps in from a shoreline ledge. Like when I was a kid and mom said the North Atlantic was too cold, even in summer. But I leapt in anyway because the water deep down was shimmering like diamonds.

Caroline will always be in the water. Or on the shoreline calling us to jump in. Following the color of water down to where the salmon swim and the crabs skitter along sideways through eel grass pretending not to see us in an eternal hide and seek. We’ll swim until our skin is taut and numb, with the exquisite taste of bright salty water on our tongues.

It’s difficult to understand that Caroline’s not here. That somehow, she wasn’t one who miraculously overcame cancer. Even after two years of saying “I’m still here” with a twinkle in her eye and witty smile on her lips; that it wore her down. Us too. We all would stop it from taking her too soon if we could.

Caroline’s spirit filled a room. You didn’t have to know her to feel it. She simply radiated a joy for thinking, learning, and sharing life on a different frequency than the rest of us. I’m convinced that even the orcas and the crabs could feel it.

Looking out on the blue waters of the Salish Sea there’s comfort in knowing her spirit will always be there, and her work will be carried on by all of us.

Don Hunger, Executive Director

July 12, 2021

Solar rooftops fight solar farms in Infrastructure bill.Seattle Times

Interesting take on a battle for the future of energy transmission. Note that solar rooftops provided a small but significant amount of California’s electricity when needed during the wildfire electrical outages.

More power lines, or rooftop solar panels? The fight over energy’s future.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/more-power-lines-or-rooftop-solar-panels-the-fight-over-energys-future/

Researchers identify shellfish-killing phytoplankton behind massive summer die-offs in Puget Sound -KNKX

Why continuing scientific research on the Salish Sea is so important to continue funding. 

In July of 2018 and 2019, large numbers of oysters, cockles and clams died on beaches all around Puget Sound. No one knew why. It was a particularly bad couple of years, but summer mortality events with mass die-offs of shellfish happen regularly. They’ve been recorded by researchers in western Washington as far back as the 1930s. The source has remained a mystery. Now, scientists have pinpointed the cause: two species of toxic algae that don’t threaten people much — but can wreak havoc on the ecosystem. Beginning to figure out what’s killing so many shellfish is a breakthrough for growers and communities who live near the beaches. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

https://www.knkx.org/post/researchers-identify-shellfish-killing-phytoplankton-behind-massive-summer-die-offs-puget-sound

Company drops plan for $2.3B methanol plant in southwest Washington – AP

Thanks to those who stood up, used lawsuits and pressure on our legislators to end this debacle. If we are going to get to a clean energy future, we need to end the continued expansion of products and jobs that rely on them. Then there were the possible effects of shipping disasters. We are going to end up paying for this choice in higher costs of plastics we continue to use, but there is no free lunch. 

A company backed by the Chinese government on Friday ended its seven-year effort to build one of the world’s largest methanol plants along the Columbia River in southwestern Washington, following a series of regulatory setbacks and a long debate over its environmental footprint. Northwest Innovation Works proposed a $2.3 billion project to take fracked natural gas from Canada and convert it into methanol, which it would then ship to China to make ingredients for plastics used in everything from iPhones to clothing to medical devices. The state Department of Ecology denied a key permit for the project in January, saying it would create too much pollution and have negative effects on the shoreline. On Friday, the company notified the Port of Kalama it was terminating its lease, saying the regulatory environment had become “unclear and unpredictable.” Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

https://www.knkx.org/post/company-drops-plan-23b-methanol-plant-southwest-washington

Lawsuit Adds New Protections and Increased Foraging Opportunity for Starving Southern Resident Killer Whales – Wild Fish Conservancy

Wild Fish Conservancy put out this update on their work last week. It is interesting to note the details of what we are told about the government desire to protect and restore wild salmon versus the actual regulations that they are creating. I’ll reproduce the whole email here. But first, why is this information important to us here? 

Our Governor and fisheries management people publicly state that they are fighting to protect wild salmon stocks. Wild Fish Conservancy spends the time to be in the meetings and review the actual laws that are being passed, both state and federal to bring these goals to a reality. 

It appears that even with the best of intentions, the goals are washed out in the process, eventually continuing the practices that have led us here, with what seems like ‘greenwashing’ the work. Why? 

That a 10 year agreement between the U.S. and Canada of over 100 pages of work governing our joint salmon stocks would not include any reference to Southern Resident killer whales or their forage needs seems more than an oversight. 

We cannot rely on government to take a strong stance in their efforts to save the wild stocks. The pressures (in terms of real dollars) on them are too great to expect them to have the backbone to accomplish them. While so many organizations talk about actually taking the steps to restore salmon Wild Fish Conservancy is willing to sue to make sure the science is implemented in law. I dislike lawsuits, but at times, they are the only tool left, before all the salmon are gone forever.

As Kurt says at the end of this email: Despite NOAA’s acknowledgement that the current harvest rates are harming both ESA-listed Chinook and orcas, they continue to authorize the fishery to operate business as usual, citing speculative and unproven plans to mitigate this harm. To date, this hypothetical mitigation has yet to be implemented, yet the fishery continues to harvest at the expense of both protected species.

I applaud their efforts in an era when too little is being done to stand up to industry and government inaction and hope you will support their work as you can.

__________________________________

NEW PROTECTIONS
This week, as the result of a lawsuit by Wild Fish Conservancy and the Center for Biological Diversity, federal fisheries managers announced a proposal to increase protections and foraging opportunity for the starving Southern Resident killer whale population.

The action comes in the form of a newly proposed amendment to the Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan, which guides the management of all salmon fisheries in Federal waters off the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington.

Once adopted, the newly proposed ‘Amendment 21’ will finally acknowledge and address the complex prey needs of the critically endangered Southern Resident killer whale population by limiting non-tribal commercial Chinook salmon fishing in years of low Chinook salmon abundance to protect foraging opportunities for the orcas. Killer whale scientists have identified lack of available prey as the primary cause of the Southern Resident’s decline.

These new protections are the result of a 2019 lawsuit challenging NOAA Fisheries for failing to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that the current management plan governing these West Coast fisheries is harvesting prey critical to the survival of the Southern Residents, especially in years of low Chinook abundance.

The fisheries’ impacts on the protected orca population had not been formally analyzed since 2009. Our lawsuit called for the agency to conduct a new analysis, as required by the Endangered Species Act, that considered over a decade of new scientific information about the reason for the population’s decline, their relationship to salmon, and the impacts of prey depletion on their survival and recovery. NOAA Fisheries finally agreed to conduct a new analysis which confirmed current management was not sufficient to meet the needs of the endangered Southern Residents and that actions would need to be taken to improve foraging opportunities for the starving whales, leading to the proposed new amendment.

SETTING A NEW PRECEDENT
As an action alone, the new amendment is a small step forward when considering the scope of the crisis facing the Southern Resident killer whales. At the same time, this action represents the beginning of a fundamental shift in how federal agencies should be managing commercial salmon fisheries. 

Amendment 21 sets a new precedent that says it is no longer acceptable to fundamentally ignore the prey needs of federally-protected killer whales when managing commercial salmon fisheries.

 

Below we’ve shared information about another lawsuit filed by Wild Fish Conservancy in 2020 over harvest practices in Southeast Alaska that are contributing to the decline of both Southern Resident killer whales and Puget Sound Chinook. Amendment 21, and the underlying litigation, have set in motion important momentum critical to the outcome of this second ongoing lawsuit.

A COASTWIDE THREAT
The Pacific Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan is not unique. For decades, commercial salmon harvest plans authorized by federal and state officials throughout the coast have ignored or failed to adequately address the prey needs of the Southern Residents. When fishery managers come to the table to make critical salmon harvest and allocation decisions, the whales are often not considered as a “stakeholder”, despite the population’s continued decline toward extinction and federal protected status.

A primary example is the Pacific Salmon Treaty, an international agreement between the United States and Canada that governs the management of all Pacific salmon stocks of mutual concern and is the most consequential and far-reaching management plan governing commercial salmon fisheries in Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. In 2018, the public had the opportunity to review the Pacific Salmon Treaty’s new 10-year agreement, which will be in affect through the year 2028. In the over 100 page document, there is not a single mention of the Southern Resident killer whales, let alone their foraging needs.

Last month, Wild Fish Conservancy submitted our summary judgement motion in another lawsuit against NOAA Fisheries launched in 2020 over the authorization of harvest in the Southeast Alaska Chinook troll fishery that is pushing both Southern Residents and wild Chinook populations in the northwest closer to extinction, a conclusion NOAA acknowledges in their own 2019 analysis of the fishery.

The Chinook troll fishery operates 10-months of the year outside of Southeast Alaska and is considered a mixed-stock fishery, meaning a fishery where Chinook are indiscriminately harvested regardless of their protected status, age, hatchery or wild origin, and what river they originated from.

Nearly all of the fish harvested in this fishery will go on to be marketed as sustainably-certified, wild-caught Alaskan Chinook. However, data confirms 97% of the Chinook harvested in the fishery originate from rivers in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. If given the opportunity, these Chinook would migrate back down the coast serving as the primary prey for the Southern Resident killer whales as the Chinook pass through the whale’s key forage areas. Instead, these fish are being harvested outside of the range of the whales and at levels that federal fishery managers acknowledge are unsustainable for the long-term survival and reproductive success of the Southern Resident population.

At the same time, wild Chinook are being harvested regardless of their origin and status under the Endangered Species Act, which further impedes the recovery of critical Chinook populations throughout the Pacific Northwest the whale’s depend on. 

Despite NOAA’s acknowledgement that the current harvest rates are harming both ESA-listed Chinook and orcas, they continue to authorize the fishery to operate business as usual, citing speculative and unproven plans to mitigate this harm. To date, this hypothetical mitigation has yet to be implemented, yet the fishery continues to harvest at the expense of both protected species. The insufficiency and hypothetical nature of the mitigation is at the heart of Wild Fish Conservancy’s arguments in this case. We will be sure to continue to update you as this extremely consequential lawsuit moves forward over the coming months.

Response from Alexandra Morton on yesterday’s article

Yesterday, I published an article here about new research findings of the spread of Picene Orthoreovirus from farmed salmon to wild stocks. In it, I described some of the work that Alexandra Morton had done to bring this to the attention of the world. After reading the article, a local radio host has reached out to her to have her on and discuss her work. During the email exchange, Alexandra talked about the history of the attacks by the salmon farming industry on her, which I had mentioned happening in our local Marine Resources Committee. Here is an excerpt of her response. Unfortunately my blog entry does not allow me to publish PDFs, so I am posting a link to the folder on my web site to download and view the documents if you are interested. 

From Alexandra: “Yes, they like to say I am not a scientist, and yet I was the first to publish that the PRV in British Columbia was a match for PRV in Lofoten Norway (attached), and now 8 years later it would appear I was right.  I have also published on the spread of the virus into wild salmon…  The trouble with these claims is that I am published in some of the top scientific journals in the world, and despite their efforts to get my papers retracted, they have failed.

They have been completely silent about my new book wherein I detail internal DFO/industry communications.”

 

The link to the files is here. I’ll leave it up for 14 days, and then if you want it contact me directly. The radio interview will come out later this month or next. I’ll post when it does. 

https://mountainstoneconsulting-my.sharepoint.com/:f:/p/alb/Eq-IeJs3chpCj8Yfjm_uR1wB84-GXNSLL7D4LgWy7pF54A?e=2eQO35

Virus spreads from B.C. fish farms to wild Chinook salmon, study finds – Seattle Times

For years, Alexandra Morton, the leading scientist in documenting the effects of farmed salmon on wild salmon stocks, has been talking about the presence of piscine orthoreovirus in farmed salmon and it’s apparent devastating spread to wild stocks in British Columbia. It’s been a bit unclear whether fish from the United States have been impacted by it, but  “our” fish travel far and wide before returning home. If they got the disease they very likely would die before reaching their spawning grounds. Horrific footage done for her documentary film “Salmon Confidential” from 2013, documented what Alexandra claimed was Picene Orthorevirus.  She asked for help from researchers to validate what she was seeing. Now, researchers from the University of British Columbia and other organizations, using genomic techniques,  have documented the disease and warned against it’s spread.

Why does this matter to us on the Peninsula?  Locally,  a few years ago, in order to educate and warn on this issue, I brought this to the attention of the local Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee, who has a member who is the local manager and spokesman for Taylor Shellfish. He denounced Alexandra in angry tones, and has used his bully pulpit to belittle her research to the committee, calling her a “fake scientist” and urging support for farmed fish in our waters. He never offered a shred of evidence to support his claims, and showed up at a public meeting with other members of his company to shout down a leading scientist and professor from British Columbia who spoke at a forum in Port Angeles a few years ago on the topic. The Committee, who’s charter it is to protect our local waters, has done little to challenge the claims of the member, who provides them with Olympia oyster brood stock for local recovery efforts.

While the shellfish and the fish farming industry, comprised of local tribes and international companies from Canada and Norway have continued to mount a propaganda and lobbying campaign at both the local and national level  to support fish farming, the evidence continues to mount of the cost to wild stocks. We have been told for decades of the wonders of farmed fish and of hatcheries, only to see native stocks continue to plummet. Have one doubt and they call it treason, as Les McCann once said. We as taxpayers spend tens of millions of dollars funding salmon restoration while this newest science shows that one of the answers to the decline in our stocks may be found right in front of our doorsteps, in the shape of net pens. It is obviously not just this one thing but death by a “thousand cuts”. Climate change, destruction of habitat through logging and farming, a history of overfishing sanctioned by the state up until the Boldt Decision,  and yes, disease.  The danger of these concentrated feed lots to our wild stocks is easy to see, and now we are getting more proof of them spreading disease. The fact that the managers of these feed lots need to put various chemicals into the waters to keep fish healthy is just one indicator. The vast amount of feed they pump Into the waters attract wild fish, who can then be exposed to any illness carried in the farmed fish. The ecosystems under the pens is destroyed for decades, if not permanently.

The science has shown over the decades that wild fish are more resistant to changes in their climate and surroundings than farmed fish. They have learned to evolve as the ice ages came and went, destroying their home streams. They are survivors. But can they survive our efforts to ‘improve’ engineered fish?

The people who profit from this industry continue to put forward the notion that “nothing is wrong”. This article is yet another clear warning that the dues will come due sooner than later. Our wild stocks continue to struggle to survive, as do the mammals like Orcas that rely on them. It is worth noting that since time immemorial we have been gifted with an enormous source of free protein in the shape of these wild animals. They have supported civilizations on this coast for centuries, who harvested sustainably, even though they never used that word. Many of the poorest of us have been fed in the past by simply putting a cheap boat in the water or a line in a river.  Now with stocks dwindling and costs skyrocketing far beyond the reach of most people who need the protein the most, we continue to buy into the notion that “all is well” as propagated by those who make a profit off the resource and will simply pack up and go somewhere else when they have exhausted it.

It is a sad commentary that the very people charged with protecting our waters, continue to stand by and do nothing, take no stand,  while the paid mouthpieces of the industry shout down our scientists. Like the poem by Lewis Carroll, “The Walrus and the Carpenter”, where the two cry tears over the sad fate of the oysters as they proceed to eat every single one.

The study traces the origins of piscine orthoreovirus, or PRV, to Atlantic salmon farms in Norway, and found that the virus is now almost ubiquitous in salmon farms in B.C. The virus has been shown to sicken farmed fish.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/virus-spreads-from-bc-fish-farms-to-wild-chinook-salmon-new-study-finds/

EVENT:WIldfires, Climate & Erosion – May 22nd

Quimper Geology Society Presents Wildfires, Climate, and Erosion – Sat, May 22nd *Online*

Dr. Jennifer Pierce of the Dept. of Geology at Boise State University will present a zoom lecture on “Wildfires, Climate and Erosion in the past, present and future”.  Jennifer has been working on these topics since graduate school and will integrate these three subjects with reference to forests of the Northern Rocky Mountains. More info here.
Time: 4:00 PM | Location: Zoom meeting

https://quimpergeology.org/2021/2021-05-22-jennifer-pierce-wildfires-climate-and-erosion-zoom/

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