Salmon Fisheries Set As Managers Start Process To Protect Endangered Orcas -CBC

More news from the fishing front.

The organization that sets limits for commercial, recreational and tribal salmon fisheries in the Pacific Northwest wrapped up their work Tuesday at a meeting in Northern California. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council bases the limits on salmon run projections up and down the coast. While the chinook salmon catch will be slightly lower than last year, the coho fishery in Washington and northern Oregon will be much improved. Recreational anglers would benefit most from this. In addition, the council is starting work on plans to rebuild five Northwest fish runs considered to be “overfished,” a technical designation for when the three-year average of salmon returning to a river to spawn falls below a threshold set by fishery managers…. The overfished runs include fall Chinook from the Klamath and Sacramento rivers and coho from the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Snohomish and Queets rivers. Over the next few months, the council will determine if fishing limits should be adjusted next year to help increase the number of salmon. Jes Burns reports. (OPB) See also: Federal chinook salmon fishing restrictions get mixed reviews Rafferty Baker reports. (CBC)

 

Salmon Fisheries Set As Managers Start Process To Protect Endangered Orcas

 

 

Legislature won’t ban orca-watching boats in Puget Sound – Investigate West

The power of business over science. Not even a moratorium to see if it helps for a year or two. Will the last whale watch boat turn out the lights when you leave the San Juans when the resident orca pod are extinct? Thanks.

Washington legislators came into their 2019 session brimming with proposals to help rescue Puget Sound’s imperiled orcas. But now they have dropped one of the most important – and controversial – ideas: A three-year moratorium on commercial whale watching. Lawmakers denied Gov. Jay Inslee’s attempt to force commercial whale-watching boats to keep extra distance from three groups of orcas that summer in the waters of Puget Sound and the Salish Sea between Washington and Canada. In doing so, they turned down a key recommendation from an overwhelming majority of a group of nearly 50 researchers, state and tribal officials and others who served on the Southern Resident Orca Task Force. Rachel Nielsen reports. (InvestigateWest)

Legislature won’t ban orca-watching boats in Puget Sound

Tougher rules aim to save salmon habitat for the good of Puget Sound orcas – KUOW

This bill might make it “harder” to build a seawall, but the real question is, “Why do you need a seawall in the first place?” The use of seawalls and other hard shore armoring has been a default position for anyone worried about their property, whether it is needed or not, nor whether it works or not for their problem. Meanwhile, salmon and forage fish habitat (the fish salmon eat) are vanishing before our eyes. With millions more people expected to move to the area in the next decade, this may be one of our only opportunities to push back on rampant seawall useage. It certainly will not end the practice.

It might soon be more difficult to build a seawall on Puget Sound.The state legislature is considering a bill that aims to help southern resident killer whales by protecting shoreline salmon habitat.

Single-family homeowners who want to build a seawall could face a longer permit process under the bill. The Department of Fish and Wildlife would thoroughly review every proposed seawall for its potential effect on salmon habitat.

The bill would also give the agency the authority to issue stop-work orders as well as civil penalties of up to $10,000 to property owners who don’t comply with the law.

 

https://kuow.org/stories/seawalls-and-orcas-tougher-rules-aim-to-save-salmon-habitat-along-puget-sound

Groups sue to restrict salmon fishing, help Northwest orcas -AP

This is huge news. It has been questioned that while we are doing everything under the sun inside Puget Sound and the Straits to foster more fish, that huge numbers of chinook are harvested just off the coast. I understand that the Chinook are essentially by catch to these fishing fleets, but it seems that the numbers matter. This goes to the heart of the matter in the previous post, in that the four bills being sheparded through the State Legislature are all good works, they don’t get to the immediate need for more fish tomorrow for the Orca.

Federal officials said they may restrict salmon fishing off the West Coast to help the Pacific Northwest’s critically endangered orcas, but two environmental groups are suing anyway to ensure it happens. The Center for Biological Diversity, which filed a lawsuit nearly two decades ago to force the U.S. government to list the orcas as endangered, and the Wild Fish Conservancy asked the U.S. District Court in Seattle on Wednesday to order officials to reconsider a 2009 finding that commercial and recreational fisheries did not jeopardize the orcas’ survival. The National Marine Fisheries Service issued a letter early last month indicating that it intends to do so. Julie Teel Simmonds, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said the point of the lawsuit is to ensure they finish the job with urgency, given the plight of the orcas, and to take short-term steps in the meantime to help provide more of the orcas’ favored prey, Chinook salmon. Gene Johnson reports. (Associated Press)

Groups sue to restrict salmon fishing, help Northwest orcas

Environmentalists see key window of opportunity to help Orcas survive – KUOW

I have no idea whether these bills will  actually be enough to save the Orca, but they are progress. They represent thousands of hours of people’s work (many volunteering their time) to come up with solutions from their specific subject expertise.  They offer some hope but ultimately, the food is needed now. Time will tell whether 1579 will lead to behavior change in WDFW, but they are the ones that signed up for it.

Four bills making their way through the legislature seek to lessen the biggest threats facing the killer whales: water pollution and noise from boat traffic, dwindling salmon runs, and the risk of oil spills in the Salish Sea.
HB 1579, “Implementing recommendations of the southern resident killer whale task force related to increasing Chinook abundance,” which is expected to cost $1.1 million in 2019-2021.
HB 1578, “Reducing threats to southern resident killer whales by improving the safety of oil transportation,” which is expected to cost $1.4 million in 2019-2021 and over $2 million every two years after that.
SB 5135, “Preventing toxic pollution that affects public health or the environment,” which is expected to cost $1 million in 2019-2021.
SB 5577, “Concerning the protection of southern resident Orca whales from vessels,” which is expected to cost close to $1.6 million in 2019-2021. Anna Boiko-Weyrauch reports. (KUOW)

Environmentalists see key window of opportunity to help Orcas survive

Washington getting closer to mandate for 100% clean energy – KNKX

Given the post above on the worsening condition of the atmosphere, this gets more important by the day. Won’t fix anything today but is a stake in the ground to say we are going to head towards a cleaner future.

The bill was not acted on today, but scheduled for the House Finance Committee next week. E2SSB 5116 Find the whole story on the bill here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5116&Year=2019&initiative=

One of the biggest priorities among environmental groups working in Olympia this year is passage of a law to transition the electrical grid to 100 percent clean energy by 2045. It’s also a cornerstone of Gov. Jay Inslee’s latest policies to address climate change. The proposal faces a key vote in the state House finance committee on Friday morning. Washington’s 100 percent clean energy bill was on a fast track when it was first introduced in January…. The main feature of it is a timeline that would phase out all coal from the state’s grid by 2025. It would set interim targets for 2030, and increase investments in renewable sources and energy efficiency to get to carbon-free electricity by 2045. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Washington getting closer to mandate for 100% clean energy

Interior Secretary Nominee Gets Grilled On Ethics At Confirmation Hearing – NPR

The swamp monsters are still coming in to roost. An oil lobbyist with what appear to be zero scruples is being put in charge of our national parks and wild areas. Whatever could go wrong?

During a testy confirmation hearing on Thursday, President Donald Trump’s pick to be the nation’s largest land steward told senators that he would take steps to prevent conflicts of interest and to improve ethics guidelines at the Interior Department. A former lobbyist who represented oil and gas interests, David Bernhardt has been dogged by questions about his own ethics during his short run as the Acting Interior Secretary. Nathan Rott reports. (NPR)

Interior Secretary Nominee Gets Grilled On Ethics At Confirmation Hearing

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