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

‘Grim’ Fraser River salmon runs even worse than forecast -Canadian Press

The neglect of the Fraser runs under the Harper Regime was legendary. Then global warming. Now this.

This year’s Fraser River sockeye return, already forecast to be below average, has turned out to be even worse. One First Nation leader described the return as going from poor to grim. The forecast run this year — which has traditionally been one of the low-run years in the four-year cycle of sockeye — was 2.27 million. That was already below the average of the past half century of 3.9 million. The latest estimates from test fisheries and through sonar counts show that only about half of the expected sockeye had returned by last Friday: 400,000 to 500,000 of the anticipated 840,000, according to the Pacific Salmon Commission, a Canadian-American agency that helps manage fisheries. The peak of the remaining summer sockeye run is expected about mid-month, but there is little expectation that the numbers will change, said Pacific Salmon Commission executive secretary John Field. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

'Grim' Fraser River salmon runs even worse than forecast

See also: Federal government expected to act on 2012 report examining Fraser River sockeye http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/federal-government-expected-to-act-on-2012-report-examining-fraser-river-sockeye (Canadian Press)

Sockeye salmon numbers continue to fall–CBC

Canada has been quite smug over the last years about how their salmon numbers seem better than the those in the US. Many have recognized that this was only because of the lack of development in BC as compared to the US Northwest. Watching the suburbs explode into salmon spawning areas east of Vancouver it was easy to see that there was no protection of the habitat over the last decade. It’s only been a matter of time, rather than stewardship.

Now research delves into the productivity of sockeye, who’s numbers have been crashing. The research shows this decline is across an entire coast. While local issues can affect the runs, the problem may be much larger than expected.

Sockeye salmon adult populations in widespread decline http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/07/03/sockeye-salmon-productivity.html

Male GM salmon can breed with wild species, researchers find–Vancouver Sun

More reasons to ban Net Pen aquaculture in Jefferson County.

7/14 Vancouver Sun

By Beatrice Fantoni, Postmedia News
On the heels of a new international guideline encouraging the labelling of genetically modified foods, Canadian researchers have found that transgenic Atlantic salmon can pass their genes on to wild salmon if they escape into the wild.
"It is possible for the genetic modification to enter wild populations through natural sexual reproduction," Darek Moreau, a researcher in evolutionary ecology at Memorial University in St. John’s told Postmedia News.
Moreau and his colleagues monitored the breeding behaviour of wild and transgenic male Atlantic salmon in a lab setting over two years. They found that wild male salmon were more successful at breeding, but the genetically modified males still managed to spawn naturally even if they tended to show less interest in female salmon and bred less frequently.
More at
Vancouver Sun Article on Male GM Salmon interbreeding with wild

No fish left behind…where will we fish next?

Any of us that love to fish have realized, instinctively, that fishing is in decline and that what we have lost in one generation, around the Straits, Sound, and out on the oceans, is a diminishing pie split among more and more people

This interesting article, by Science Daily, shows a bit more of the facts behind the belief. It’s real, and it’s getting worse.

‘No Fish Left Behind’ Approach Leaves Earth With Nowhere Left to Fish, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Dec. 3, 2010) — Earth has run out of room to expand fisheries, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia researchers that charts the systematic expansion of industrialized fisheries.

In collaboration with the National Geographic Society and published in the online journal PLoS ONE, the study is the first to measure the spatial expansion of global fisheries. It reveals that fisheries expanded at a rate of one million sq. kilometres per year from the 1950s to the end of the 1970s. The rate of expansion more than tripled in the 1980s and early 1990s — to roughly the size of Brazil’s Amazon rain forest every year.

Read the whole story here.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101202181122.htm

Fraser River system revived by biggest sockeye salmon run in nearly 100 years

It’s a great thing to see at least a one time run of sockeye come back in such great shape. It’s worth understanding that this is only one of the species of salmon, and that other runs are decimated and some species almost extinct.  So we can cheer this, but be cautious of the inevitable backlash of people who don’t believe in environmental protections (and their political supporters) using this to tell the general public that there is ‘nothing wrong’.  This is one victory for Canada, and we need to step up efforts so that we can see this kind of returns for all species of salmon. Some folks I’ve talked to who are knowledgeable seem to think that the sockeye experienced a particularly favorable year of ocean climate for them. Maybe less predators?  More food? Whatever it was, we are glad.

10/18 Globe and Mail
MARK HUME

At the mouth of what may be the world’s richest salmon river, Greg Schuler is wading slowly through a massive school of dead fish, doing fisheries research the hard way.

A senior technician with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, he is counting fish by hand, lifting each on a forked spear, then lopping off its tail with a razor-sharp machete to make sure it isn’t tallied twice.

“It’s all in the wrist,” he says as he cuts a salmon in half with a flick of his blade, a movement he can repeat up to 3,000 times a day.

Some of the fish have spawned in the river and washed downstream, but others have died in Shuswap Lake, before laying their eggs.

More at
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/fraser-river-system-revived-by-biggest-sockeye-salmon-run-in-nearly-100-years/article1760086/

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