Steelhead struggling home in record low numbers – Seattle Times

Global warming effecting salmon. So many variables outside our control.

Salmon and steelhead are in hot water — a problem scientists warn is going to get worse because of climate change. Steelhead returning this year to the Columbia and Snake rivers migrated out of the river during horrendous conditions in 2015, which included record low flows and high water temperatures. Those steelhead also were at sea during the so-called “blob” — a mass of warm water that began forming off the West Coast in 2013 and wreaked havoc in the ocean, including depressed food supplies for marine animals of all sorts. Now those steelhead are migrating back through reservoirs where water temperatures at some Columbia and Lower Snake River dams, thanks to a record Northwest heat wave, have been stuck this summer above 70 degrees for days on end — potentially lethal for salmon and steelhead. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/steelhead-struggling-home-in-record-low-numbers/

An excellent overview of the state of the salmon in Puget Sound

Chris Dunagan is one of the best reporters in the Pacific NW covering the Salish Sea. Here’s a great overview of the state of the salmon.

Are we making progress on salmon recovery?

In recent decades, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to restore habitat for Puget Sound salmon. In this article, we look at how scientists are gauging their progress. Are environmental conditions improving or getting worse? The answer may depend on where you look and who you ask. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/is/salmon-recovery

Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules – AP

Ah yes, some of the folks in Eastern Washington and Idaho, people who’s livelihood was created by the tax payer funded dam projects that irrigated the dry eastern side of our state are back wanting the Feds to kill off the remaining runs of salmon for their short term benefits. These people, who have continued to complain for decades about the intrusion of the very government that created the dams and their farms, now wants it’s help again. This time to overrule the laws that protect our remaining runs of salmon. One of the big supporters of these folks has been Rush Limbaugh, among other radical right wing folks. You can bet your bottom dollar that if this committee ever comes to fruition, there will be not a single environmental representative on it.

A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. Known as the “God squad” because its decisions can lead to extinctions of threatened wildlife, it has only gathered three times — the last 25 years ago during a controversy over spotted owl habitat in the Northwest. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/trump-administration-urged-to-avoid-salmon-protection-rules/

Some salmon forecasts like Puget Sound coho show an upswing from last year – Seattle Times

A small bit of good news.

State Fish and Wildlife unveiled salmon forecasts to a packed house in Olympia on Tuesday, and as usual there are some highlights mixed in with lowlights as the first steps are taken in this lengthy process of setting fishing seasons. The good news is a Puget Sound forecast of 559,045 coho (267,745 wild and 291,301 hatchery) is a drastic increase from last year’s dismal forecast of 255,403 (87,359 and 168,585) that led to one of the most contentious disagreements between state and tribal fishery managers on how to carve out fisheries. Mark Yuasa reports. (Seattle Times)

http://www.seattletimes.com/sports/some-salmon-forecasts-like-puget-sound-coho-show-an-upswing-from-last-year/

See also: Far fewer pink salmon are expected to return to the South Sound this year http://www.thenewstribune.com/outdoors/hunting-fishing/article135528528.html Jeffrey Mayor reports. (News Tribune Tacoma)

Department of Natural Resources offers draft plans for comment on harvest, seabird – PDN

The state Department of Natural Resources has released draft environmental impact statements on the agency’s 10-year sustainable harvest calculation and its marbled murrelet long-term conservation strategy. Public comment will be taken until 5 p.m. March 9 on both documents, DNR spokesman Bob Redling said. Public meetings and webinars are planned next month. The 160-page sustainable harvest draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, and instructions for submitting public comments are available at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/shc. The 600-page marbled murrelet draft EIS and instructions for submitting public comments are available at www.dnr.wa.gov/mmltcs. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/department-of-natural-resources-offers-draft-plans-for-comment-on-harvest-seabird/

Oyster-caused illnesses on Vancouver Island linked to same supplier- CBC

In case you happened to be in Tofino in November.

Island Health says norovirus is likely to blame after more than 100 people who ate raw oysters in Tofino earlier this month fell ill. Roughly 120 people, many of whom had attended the Clayoquot Oyster Festival, suffered gastro-intestinal symptoms last week. But Island Health says people got sick at more than one location, and that people reported being ill over the course of several days. They say it appears everyone who became ill consumed raw oysters from the same supplier, who is not being named. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/oyster-vancouver-island-sick-norovirus-1.3875806

Studies focus on acidic ocean impact on Dungeness crabs – Vancouver Sun

More research to understand how our addiction to fossil fuels is affecting our food sources.

Millions of pounds of Dungeness crab are pulled from Pacific Northwest waters each year in a more than century-old ritual for commercial and recreational fishermen. But as ocean waters absorb more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, U.S. scientists are worried that the ocean’s changing chemistry may threaten the sweet-flavoured crustaceans. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are exposing tiny crab larvae to acidic seawater in laboratory experiments to understand how ocean acidification might affect one of the West Coast’s most lucrative fisheries. Research published this year found that Dungeness crab eggs and larvae collected from Puget Sound and exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide — which increases ocean acidity — grew more slowly and larvae were more likely to die than those in less corrosive seawater. Now researchers at NOAA’s Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center are taking the experiments a step further to study how the crabs respond to multiple stressors during various growth stages. They also plan to analyze the sublethal effects: Even if the crabs don’t die are they affected in physiological or other ways by ocean acidification? (Associated Press)

Studies focus on acidic ocean impact on Dungeness crabs

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