Whale strandings off Washington-Oregon coast highest in nearly 2 decades – Seattle Times

Not good news for our ocean friends. This on top of the massive strandings of a few years ago that littered the coast from California to Alaska with whale carcasses.

Sixteen gray and humpback whales have been reported stranded off Washington and Oregon since April 3, the largest number in nearly two decades.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/whale-strandings-off-washington-coast-highest-in-nearly-2-decades/

‘It’s the wild west out here’: Gulf Islanders raise alarm over whale-watching fleet sizes – CBC

The situation in the Gulf Islands (and the American side also) is out of control. If Governor Inslee is serious about saving the resident orca pod, then he needs to get this under control, with the help of the B.C. government. He’ll have to override the pressure from the economic engine of the whale watching industry to do anything of value. While it is appreciated that the whale watch industry helps average people come to learn about the whales, it appears we are loving them to death. The population is approaching some kind of unsustainable number and without radical action will likely go extinct. The time for half measures is gone, as their population continues to fall. Some kind of moratorium is likely needed while we re-establish the whales population, if that’s even possible. But expecting Inslee to override them, is likely a tall order.

Some residents of the southern Gulf Islands are worried too many whale watching boats are chasing too few killer whales—stressing the already at-risk species….  Residents report they’ve seen fleets of up to 25 vessels chasing orca pods during the busy summer months when whale watching is at its peak. They say the problem is compounded because there are no regulations to govern the number of whale-watching boats permitted to track killer whales.Eric Rankin reports. (CBC) See also: Whale watchers update guidelines; Canada to restrict salmon fishing  Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

It’s the wild west out here’: Gulf Islanders raise alarm over whale-watching fleet sizes

Orca protection bill stumbles and dies on state Senate floor – Watching Our Waterways

State legislation that would increase protection for Puget Sound’s killer whales died this week amidst confusing action on the Senate floor. Now, orca advocates are pushing a narrower bill approved by the House to limit remote-controlled aircraft around whales, while they also hope for a $3-million budget appropriation to support other orca protection measures. Whether people should be allowed to fly a drone around the endangered Southern Resident orcas seems to be the issue stirring up the most attention in the Legislature — although it is a small part of the overall effort. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

 https://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2018/02/17/orca-protection-bill-stumbles-and-dies-on-state-senate-floor/

Rare Fin whale spotted in Puget Sound – KING

Amazing. Second sighting of a Fin whale since 1930.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association confirmed the sighting of a Fin whale in the Puget Sound on July 15, the second sighting of this endangered species in US waters since 1930. The crew of the Chilkat Express spotted the whale a few miles northeast of Dungeness Spit, taking photographs and video of the massive creature. Captain Mark Malleson documented the sighting of a Fin whale on July 9, and immediately rushed to the aquatic scene to confirm it was the same animal when he was alerted of a sighting by the Chilkat crew. The adult Fin whale is estimated to be between 60 and 70 feet in length and weighing 70 tons. The animal the Chilkat crew spotted is not only endangered, but the second largest animal on earth behind the blue whale. Alexis Daugherty reports. (KING)

http://www.king5.com/news/local/pets-and-animals/second-fin-whale-sighting-since-1930-confirmed-in-puget-sound/277174294

Research shows ample supply of sand shrimp -Whidbey News-Times

Good news for some of the basic building blocks of our food chain. It appears that there is a good supply for both whales and humans.
http://www.whidbeynewstimes.com/news/383022601.html
Finding a balance between sand shrimpers and whale watchers will be the million dollar question moving forward for the Washington Department of Natural Resources. That was the theme presented by a representative from the state agency at a recent public meeting conducted by the Island County Marine Resources Committee. The meeting was a precursor to sand shrimping resuming on tidelands around Saratoga Passage Monday, June 13. Under rules passed by the department, commercial fishers Wahoo Enterprises and Morgan Enterprises are permitted to harvest sand shrimp from June 10 to Feb. 1. Research conducted by the department, Cascadia Research Collective and two state universities showed an ample supply of ghost shrimp for both gray whales and harvesters. It was a determining factor in the lifting of a shrimping ban, which was in place for two years. Langley city leaders and whale advocates successfully lobbied the state to close the fishery, arguing that harvesting may be having adverse ecological and tourism related impacts. Evan Thompson reports. (Whidbey News-Times)

Whale Sitings from Orca Network

A deceased yearling humpback whale was found on a remote beach just north of the entrance to Gig Harbor in south Puget Sound on Friday December 18th. She was towed and to a location and examined by Cascadia Research Collective and MaST. “…While the cause of death was not certain, it was in poor nutritional condition, with thin, dry blubber and little food in the stomach and also a significant number of parasites in the intestines and these may all have contributed to its’ death…”
You can see photos and full preliminary report on Cascadia Research Collective Facebook page
and read more in The News Tribune article.

Overall we end 2015 celebrating the birth and lives of the 8 new calves born to the southern residents in the past 12 months, the presence of a fin whale in the inland waters of the Salish Sea, and numerous humpbacks who appear to be moving back home to their ancestral home in Puget Sound.

EVENT: SEATTLE- Author Erich Hoyt- June 8

I don’t usually post Seattle events, but Erich Hoyt is a rare treat. Not only has he been involved in tracking Orcas in the Russian Far East, but he is known as an expert on Marine Protected Areas, and Sanctuaries. Since so many people up here are interested and involved in the establishment of MPAs, you might want to consider a trip to Seattle to see Erich. Carpooling would be a bonus! You likely could walk on the Fauntleroy Ferry and ride a bus or even walk to get to the Hall. It’s just up the hill from the ferry terminal, literally about 6 blocks. 

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The Whale Trail Presents

Erich Hoyt: Adventures with Orcas in the North Pacific — From A1 Stubbs to Iceberg, the White Russian Bull


Where: The Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave SW

When: Saturday June 8, 7 – 9 (doors open 6:0)

Cost: $5 suggested donation, kids free.

–Tickets available at brownpapertickets.com

Contact: donna@thewhaletrail.org, 206.919.5397

Join us for this this rare Seattle appearance by noted author, whale researcher and marine conservationist Erich Hoyt, author of Orca: The Whale Called Killer.

Erich Hoyt’s first killer whale expedition to Johnstone Strait sailed from Victoria, BC in June 1973, 40 years ago this June. He proceeded to spend parts of the next 10 summers with orcas, culminating in his now classic book Orca: The Whale Called Killer. He went on to study and work on conservation projects related to other whales, dolphins, sharks, deep sea creatures, ants and social insects, working in Costa Rica, Japan, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Argentina, Chile and other countries.

In 1999 he co-founded the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP) to find out more about orca pods targeted for aquarium captures and to get Russian students involved in science and conservation of killer whales in Russian waters. Now in its 15thyear, FEROP has recorded the Russian pods and photo-IDed some 1500 orcas off Kamchatka and in the Commander Islands — including three white orcas found so far in the study areas.

This the fifth in a series of Orca Talks hosted by The Whale Trail. The event also features updates from Robin Lindsay (Seal Sitters), and Diver Laura James (tox-ick.org and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance), and photography from Judy Lane.

Erich’s books will be on sale and they can be signed.

Buy tickets early!

About the Speaker

Erich Hoyt is a noted marine conservationist, whale researcher, lecturer and author of more than 20 books including Orca: The Whale Called Killer, The Earth Dwellers, and Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises, the latter recently named as an "Outstanding Academic Title" by the journal Choice.

He is an authority on marine protected areas (MPAs) and sanctuaries, and is currently Research Fellow with WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, leading its Global Critical Habitat MPA Program. He also co-directs the Far East Russia Orca Project in Kamchatka and the Russian Cetacean Habitat Project in the Commander Islands.

He is as an appointed member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Cetacean Specialist Group and the World Commission on Protected Areas, and co-chairs the new IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force. He is a member of the International Committee for Marine Mammal Protected Areas and has helped organize and program its world conferences in Hawaii (2009), Martinique (2011) and Australia (to be 2014).

A former Vannevar Bush Fellow in the Public Understanding of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and twice James Thurber Writer-in-Residence at The Thurber House, Hoyt was awarded the Mandy McMath Conservation Award in April this year by the European Cetacean Society at its annual conference for his body of work including books, papers and work on marine conservation. He is a Canadian-US dual citizen who has lived in Scotland since 1989.

About The Whale Trail

The Whale Trail (www.thewhaletrail.org) is a series of sites around the region where the public may view orcas and other marine mammals from shore. Our mission is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of whales and our marine environment by establishing a network of viewing sites along the whales’ trails through the Salish Sea and the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Our goals are to increase awareness that our marine waters are home to orcas and other species; connect visitors to orcas, other marine wildlife and their habitat; inspire stewardship and build community; promote land-based whale watching. Our over-arching goal is to ensure the southern resident orcas do not go extinct.

The Whale Trail provides simple, powerful, and long-lasting reminders to visitors and residents alike that orcas and other whales live in our waters.  Through our current sites and signs, including two on every Washington State ferry, we reach more than 22 million people each year. Our near-term goals are to add a site in every coastal county in Washington, and around Vancouver Island, throughout the orcas’ range. Together, we will turn the tide for the whales!

The Whale Trail is led by a core team of partners including NOAA Fisheries, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Seattle Aquarium, the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, and the Whale Museum. Donna Sandstrom is the Founder and Executive Director. The Whale Trail is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, registered in Washington Sta

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