Blueback closure latest in Quinault climate change impacts – North Coast News

And as if to put a fine point on the previous article, commercial fishing is being closed on the Quinault River for sockeye.  If I’m not mistaken, while the Quinault is not dammed, it has been greatly affected by widespread logging of the hills all around it. A look at the satellite images of the river from Google Earth shows that between currently logged areas and second and third growth areas the habitat for salmon has been seriously compromised over the last 100 years. The buffers along the river, likely clear cut long ago, have been allowed to grow back and gain some modicum of protection for the river, but appear to be very small, compared the vast logging operations allowed all around it. Take a look and explore the overview of the area. Likely the increased temperatures from global warming, overharvest at sea, sea water warming and the increasing upflows of cold water known as the “Blob” have all added to the problems.  Have a different opinion on what’s causing all this? Feel free to add them to the comments below. I don’t claim to know it all, just cursory looks and 40 years seeing the endless logging of the west end proceed with virtually no stopping nor real effort to protect the watersheds which are the habitat of the salmon that spawn there.

The decision to close commercial fishing for Quinault River blueback (sockeye) salmon for conservation purposes this year is part of the ongoing effort by the Quinault Indian Nation to deal with the very tangible costs of climate change. After announcing the blueback closure on the river last week for 2019, Quinault President Fawn Sharp traveled to Washington, D.C. with a message for Congress about how the entire Quinault ecosystem from the glacier to the ocean is being harmed by climate conditions that have major impacts, economically as well as environmentally. Angelo Bruscas reports. (North Coast News)

Blueback closure latest in Quinault climate change impacts

2 Responses

  1. A big part of the equation may be ocean conditions. I’m told by a biologist friend that smolts have left many rivers in SE AK in good numbers but are not returning in good numbers from the ocean. I’ll be curious if this BC expedition can shed any light.

  2. As you note, logging is extremely damaging to salmon habitat: it causes unnaturally large and swift currents of flood waters during and after rains, which scour out redds; it fills streams with fine sediment that plugs up the interstitial spaces between gravel and thereby asphyxiates salmon eggs in the redds; it causes channel widening, which warms and lowers summer flows, killing salmon juveniles; it chills winter flows so that salmon eggs hatch later and have a smaller change of survival; and it funnels pesticides and fertilizers into streams and rivers, damaging not just salmon, bu the ecosystem salmon need to survive.

    Then you add in over fishing and climate change, and salmon have little chance.

    Once you knock down the once-vast numbers of salmon escarpment, you enfeeble the genetic bandwidth of salmon, which is their main survival mechanism. You reduce food sources (from salmon carcasses) for the new hatch of salmon fry.

    And finally, you add in industrial hatcheries, which kill native salmon in multiple ways: further enfeebling the genes of wild fish, over-feeding hatchery smolts so they easily outcompete smaller wild juveniles for in stream food; narrowing spawning windows; exposing wild fish to harvest rates that are too high; displacing wild salmon for hatchery salmon which, in the stream, spawn at rates 8 times less successful than wild fish; turning out new salmon with no in stream survival skills; limiting spawning habitat, etc.

    The Quinault National Fish Hatchery infests the river with industrially modified and domesticated chinook and coho.

    There is no mystery to saving salmon. Given the necessary political power, it would be a trivial matter for any salmon biologist to save the species. But the truth is, the political power is held by special interests (loggers, fishers, developers, polluters, etc.) who make money doing things that make salmon survival impossible in the long run.

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