Governor signs bill for big study of Puget Sound forage fish – Kitsap Sun

At least funding studies is a small positive step. We have to have the science to underpin any asks for more regulations to protect forage fish. Our local Marine Resource Committee will likely be helping with volunteer efforts to flesh out the field research.

Puget Sound’s population of little fish will soon get a big look. A state Senate bill signed into law this week initiates the sound’s most comprehensive study of herring, smelt and other forage fish. These fish serve as prey for larger predators, including salmon, seals and killer whales. Small-scale surveys have indicated forage fish populations may be declining. Proposed by Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, the bill requires the state Department of Fish & Wildlife and state Department of Natural Resources to team up on an ambitious survey of forage fish spawning areas and a mid-water trawl survey at various depths throughout the sound. The survey results will help Fish and Wildlife develop conservation strategies for small fish populations that appear to be declining. Tristan Baurick reports. Kitsap Sun) [paywall subscription]

One Response

  1. Could be helpful, but as we all know, the value of the study depends on the objectivity of the testers and how licensing agencies respond to the conclusions.
    In Canada, DFO studies that argue oyster leases should be sited in waters known to be low in Cd (as a trade issue) and more research on the cumulative effects of long term industrialized geoduck tracks throughout BC is needed were both ignored.
    In the former, Baynes Sound, which has some of the highest cadmium levels in the world, is now experiencing an unprecedented expansion of shellfish cultivation and in the latter, DFO justified proceeding with entering the lucrative Chinese geoduck market by repeating the conclusion drawn from a study of a small short term test site that concluded “no significant effects anticipated.” To support these economic driven actions, neither the US nor Canada test for cadmium (or arsenic) and keep the maximum level for trade set above 4 ppm–which exceeds Hong Kong and WHO (2 ppm) and Eu (l ppm).

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