State discusses killing seals and sea lions in Puget Sound

Perhaps the most controversial idea out of the Orca task force has been the notion of killing sea lions and seals to help salmon survive. Like many ideas, this one is simplistic and has the greatest appeal to people who don’t want to spend much time thinking about whether something works or just makes you feel like you are doing something. Fish and Wildlife are holding meetings to gather information on whether or not this really is an idea with merit. Biologists who study the food chain aren’t so sure. If you think you already know the answer, then you should read this article. “There is no guarantee of a response by the salmon in terms of returning adults.” And you know what an assumption is, it’s a word made up of and makes an “ass of u and me”. Let’s put the science of this in it’s rightful place, which is at the head of the train and not tow it along in our ill informed wake.

State wildlife commissioners heard testimony Friday about whether a seal and sea lion cull could help save salmon, and thereby restore food to the starving Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW)…. “It’s important to set the stage that this occurs in a very complex ecosystem and it is a very complex food web,” said WDFW Research Scientist Scott Pearson…. “If you want a 25 percent reduction in the total juvenile Chinook consumption by seals, we have to reduce this number of 19,000 seals down to 14,300. If you subtract this number from this number, that’s how many we have to remove 4,700 seals, and we have to annually remove 530 seals per year to keep it at that level,” Pearson said. But the problem is, salmon also face a slew of other challenges, including hydropower, hatcheries, habitat, disease, and contaminants. Scientists told commissioners they don’t know whether killing seals and sea lions will do anything at all…. “In my opinion, even if the seal consumption were somehow reduced or eliminated, there is no guarantee of a response by the salmon in terms of returning adults,” said WDFW Research Scientist Joe Anderson. Alison Morrow reports. (KING) See also: Puget Sound resident orcas limited by social behavior  Alison Morrow reports. (KING)

State discusses killing seals and sea lions in Puget Sound 

Congress OKs bill to allow killing sea lions to help salmon – Seattle Times

The knee jerk reaction to killing sea lions to theoretically ease the amount of endangered salmon that are being eaten by them passed Congress two days ago. While not based in science, this has been done at the behest of a variety of groups that see the sea lions as the problem. White sports fishermen, some tribes. The likelihood of this succeeding in any meaningful way has not been proven. But killing something always seems like a good solution to many.

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/congress-oks-bill-to-allow-killing-sea-lions-to-help-salmon/?utm_source=RSS&utm_medium=Referral&utm_campaign=RSS_nation-world

 

 

West’s rivers are hot enough to cook salmon to death. Will this court ruling keep them cool? – Bellingham Herald

With global warming comes the heating of our rivers. That has devastating impacts on salmon, which need a river to remain under 56 degrees or young salmon will die. This might bring a change of heart to the issue of Snake River dam removal or breaching.

A federal judge in Seattle has directed the Environmental Protection Agency, in a ruling with implications for California and the Pacific Northwest, to find a way to keep river waters cool.

Read more here: https://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/state/washington/article220466120.html#storylink=cpy

 

Salmon at Salmon Cascades, Sol Duc River

From the great camera artistry of John Gussman, who gave us “Return of the River”

silver salmon

 

New Genetic Research Shows the Legacy of Fish Farm – Hakai Magazine

The fish farming industry has been saying for the last number of years that this couldn’t happen. Well, it apparently has. While this could not happen here because of the distinct species, it does add fuel to the fire that these farmed fish are just not a good idea. We have no idea what additional information the industry, along with certain departments in WDFW and NOAA who seem to be simply mouthpieces for the industry, are not investigating, or actually hiding from the public.

Newfoundland’s great fish jailbreak took place on September 18, 2013, when a damaged sea pen, roiled by currents and tides, discharged 20,000 farmed Atlantic salmon into the frigid freedom of Hermitage Bay. Cooke Aquaculture, which owned the failed pen, swiftly set about controlling the damage in the media, if not the ocean. Seals and other predators would scarf up the rogue salmon, the company assured the CBC. The fish, it added, “pose[d] no threat to the environment.” A new genetic analysis, however, refutes that dubious claim. Researchers with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) have shown that the fish fled Hermitage Bay, fanning out and infiltrating many of southern Newfoundland’s rivers. There, the escapees interbred with their wild cousins—potentially weakening the gene pools of imperiled populations. Ben Goldfarb reports. (Hakai Magazine)

New Genetic Research Shows the Legacy of Fish Farm

 

 

 

Columbia River salmon fishing closed.

OLYMPIA – Starting Thursday (Sept. 13), fishing for salmon will be closed on the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Hwy 395 in Pasco under new rules approved today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon

Deep River in Washington and other tributaries in Oregon (Youngs Bay, Tongue Point/South Channel, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough) are also closed to salmon and steelhead angling.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) already prohibited steelhead retention in much of the same area of the Columbia River several weeks ago, and the new emergency rule closes angling for both salmon and steelhead in those waters as well.

Bill Tweit, Columbia River fishery coordinator for WDFW, said the counts of fall chinook at Bonneville Dam are 29 percent below preseason forecasts, and on-going fisheries are approaching the allowable catch limits under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

“We recognize that this closure is difficult for anglers, but we have an obligation to meet our ESA goals so that fisheries can continue in the future,” he said.

Tweit said the upriver fall chinook run provides the bulk of the harvest opportunity for fall fisheries, but that returns in recent years has been declining due to unfavorable ocean conditions. The preseason forecast for this year is 47 percent of the 10-year average return of upriver bright fall chinook.

The new emergency fishing rule is posted on WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

PCC Community Markets Ends Sale of Pacific Northwest Chinook Salmon

From the PCC news site

(September 10, 2018) – Seattle-based PCC Community Markets (PCC), the nation’s largest community-owned food market, announced it has stopped selling all chinook (king) salmon products — fresh, frozen and smoked — caught in the waters of Washington, Oregon or British Columbia. PCC is responding to the needs of the critically endangered Salish Sea southern resident killer whales (SRKW) that feed predominantly on area king salmon during the summer.

SRKWs have historically thrived on chinook from the Columbia River, but with the salmon runs at just 10 percent of their original population, the orcas are relying more on salmon from the Fraser River in British Columbia for sustenance. Chinook runs on the Fraser, as well as the Columbia and Sacramento River in northern California, have declined. In sum: SRKWs lack the food they need to survive.

“Last month, the heartbreaking ordeal of the mother orca, Tahlequah, and her baby touched many of our members and staff,” said Brenna Davis, VP of Social and Environmental Responsibility. “In the midst of it, the PCC leadership team began discussing how and if we could make an impact on this issue. By committing to no longer sell Pacific Northwest chinook salmon, we realize that we will not solve the complex set of issues facing our resident orcas. We are simply doing our part as a co-op to ensure, as we have for decades, that our supply chain protects our region’s vital ecosystems.”

Dedicated to protecting local food systems, PCC has long put into place comprehensive efforts to protect the Salish Sea including:

  • Partnerships with Salmon-Safe certified farms, like Wilcox Family Farms. Salmon Safe is a nonprofit devoted to restoring agricultural and urban watersheds so salmon can spawn and thrive;
  • Donating proceeds of sales of Chinook Wines to “Long Live the Kings,” a local non-profit organization that works to protect chinook salmon;
  • Financial support to organizations working to protect marine ecosystems, such as the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition and Stewardship Partners’ Salmon-Safe certification; and
  • Other efforts including advancing the organic supply chain to keep pesticides and other toxins out of streams, and advocating an end to net-pen fish farms, especially for non-native Atlantic salmon.

In place of Pacific Northwest chinook, PCC will sell Alaskan chinook, which is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. PCC also will continue to support local fishers by selling other species of Pacific Northwest salmon. To learn more, please visit: https://www.pccmarkets.com/statements/pcc-ends-the-sale-of-pacific-northwest-chinook-salmon/

About PCC Community Markets Founded in Seattle in 1953, PCC Community Markets (PCC) is the nation’s largest community-owned food market with an unmatched enthusiasm for making food from scratch. Celebrating its 65th anniversary in 2018, PCC is a haven for those who share a dedication to fresh, organic seasonal food that is sustainably sourced from local producers, farmers, ranchers and fishers. With an active membership of more than 60,000 households, PCC operates 11 stores in the Puget Sound area, including the cities of Bothell, Burien, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle. Seattle stores are in the neighborhoods of Columbia City, Fremont, Green Lake, View Ridge and West Seattle, which will reopen in 2019. The co-op also plans to open new stores in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood in 2019 and Bellevue, Madison Valley and Downtown Seattle in 2020.

In 2017, PCC returned 57 percent of its profit to members and contributed an additional 11 percent to the communities it serves, including schools and nonprofits around the Puget Sound area, such as the PCC Farmland Trust and FareStart.


This website called for a ban on eating locally caught wild chinook over on August 18th.   See “One Orca Two Stories. A way forward?”

In it I stated:

One thought is that if the Chinook fishing is still allowed out off LaPush, and the Orcas have gone there, it must be after the fish. So I’m left wondering, if we really wanted to save starving orcas, why on earth are we allowing recreational fishers to catch 3023 fish? As to the ocean limits, according to state F&W, the ocean recreational limits were:

27,500 fish, which is 17,500 fewer fish than 2017’s quota of 45,000.

So this is approximately 30,000 chinook we are catching when the story of the day is that the Orcas can’t find these fish in the Salish Sea. And this is in addition to whatever the seals and sea lions  have been taking, The studies on seals and sea lions show that they eat primarily juvenile salmon, not as much the older ones! However the study concludes that the seals and sea lions are a problem.

Seattle Chefs Tom Douglas, Thierry Rautureau, Renee Erickson and other major chefs in Seattle have also called for and are implementing a boycott on eating local chinook. This one decision will not immediately put a lot of fish back in the water, but it is clear we are competing with the orcas for their food, and it *will* immediately add to the small amount of Chinook available for them. It will not impact Alaskan Chinook. And  you can also order any of the other salmon that are on the menus or in the stores. So support your local fishermen and eat locally caught salmon other than Chinook. It is OK to dry up demand for local Chinook as a gesture to showing that we need action from our government officials. No more talk!

 

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