Pink salmon numbers may threaten other North Pacific species – AP

The pieces to the salmon puzzle continue to come in from the various angles of research being done. The scientists in this article don’t claim to be have the sole answer but are raising questions that run counter to the narrative that the hatchery supporters want to tell. This is healthy debate and given the stakes for our last great fishery, are worth putting more money into determining whether these root causes or not.

Biological oceanographer Sonia Batten experienced her lightbulb moment on the perils of too many salmon three years ago as she prepared a talk on the most important North Pacific seafood you’ll never see on a plate — zooplankton.

https://www.apnews.com/e589a757f4fd48869af6e17845c5c857

And this follow up story showed up from KUOW

‘Slowly slipping away.’ Fewest sockeye salmon ever counted at Ballard Locks

Sockeye salmon are returning to Lake Washington in the smallest numbers since record-keeping started.

As of early August, 17,000 sockeye had returned from the ocean, compared to hundreds of thousands inat their peak years.

https://kuow.org/stories/slowly-slipping-away-sockeye-numbers-at-ballard-locks-reach-record-lows

It’s been 30 years since the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Here’s what we’re still learning from that environmental debacle. – Hakai Magazine

Some facts on the ground. While the press may have moved on, the oil hasn’t. Why we are so adamant about new oil spill regulations in Olympia as Canada gears up to put hundreds of more oil freighters into our joint use Strait. Whatever could go wrong?

Before dawn on March 24, 1989, Dan Lawn stepped off of a small boat and onto the boarding ladder dangling from the side of the grounded Exxon Valdez oil tanker. As he made the crossover, he peered down into the water of Prince William Sound, and saw, in the glare of the lights, an ugly spectacle he would never forget. “There was a 3-foot wave of oil boiling out from under the ship, recalls Lawn, who was then a Valdez-based Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation employee helping to watchdog the oil industry. “You couldn’t do anything to stop it.”… Eventually, the oil would foul parts of 1,300 miles of coastline, killing marine life ranging from microscopic planktons to orcas in an accident that would change how the maritime oil-transportation industry does business in Alaska, and to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the world. Hal Bernton and Lynda Makes report. (Seattle Times) See also: Wounded Wilderness: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill 30 Years Later  On the surface, Prince William Sound appears to have recovered. But you don’t have to dig too deep—into the soil or into memories—to find the spill’s lingering effects. Tim Lydon reports. (Hakai Magazine)

It’s been 30 years since the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Here’s what we’re still learning from that environmental debacle.

Dismal Copper River salmon run prompts ‘unprecedented’ shutdown of dip-netting at Chitina – Anchorage Daily News

Not good news coming in from the Copper River. Salmon numbers are so bad they’ve close the fishery.

The state is taking the historic action of shutting down Copper River dipnetting at the popular, physically demanding sites around Chitina.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency order Wednesday closing the personal-use fishery until further notice as of Monday.

 

https://www.adn.com/outdoors-adventure/fishing/2018/06/13/dismal-copper-river-salmon-run-prompts-unprecedented-shutdown-of-dipnetting-at-chitina/

 

Homer writer Eva Saulitis gracefully authored the process of her death – Alaska Dispatch News

A moving piece, combining two things close to my heart. Nature, and death. Nature for the obvious reason, and death for the not so obvious. Having supported a number of people, including my late wife, father, mother and some friends through the process of dying, I feel it to be more of a friend than foe. Here’s a great story about someone I never knew, but hope that this piece brings some peace, and opens new ways of understanding and coping with death. An important part of this story is that Eva felt that she had to escape the hospital. That is exactly what I’ve counseled everyone I’ve been with through this journey. Doctors rarely understand how to do the most Buddhist act of all, which is to surrender. Death is about surrender. Surrendering is power for the dying. It’s allowing a person to have control over and make the decisions about  the one thing  that we have to do on our own, which is  to die.  Our medical society has become a money machine, and medical staff many times don’t have the choice to allow the patient to surrender to death, as it means an end to the revenue stream of the organization. They plead the Hippocratic Oath as a shield rather than a guidepost. There are exceptions, of course. But it’s been my experience that our hospitals work to postpone death to wring every cent from the patient’s insurance.  It is a bad situation, and I’ve seen it in every hospital I’ve been in. Hospice is not often valued as an option, only as a menu choice for those who have a taste for it, never really promoted as a choice.  In America, you have to fight to die as you wish. And even if the patient does fight, often because culturally it’s not acceptable to die, their family fights their decision. We  have a long way back to be able accept death  into our culture.

Writer Eva Saulitis composed her progress toward death as gracefully as one of her poems, right up to her last breath, which she breathed with her family at home in Homer on Saturday afternoon.

Saulitis, 52, wrote in ADN’s We Alaskans about her approaching death from breast cancer in September and in a book she finished on the subject, titled “Becoming Earth,” to be published by Boreal Books.

Read the whole story, by Charles Wohlforth here:

http://www.adn.com/article/20160120/homer-writer-eva-saulitis-gracefully-authored-process-her-death

 

Questions being raised about Navy’s possible implication in mass whale deaths in Alaska – KTUU TV

5 more dead whales found in Alaska waters since June; total 14 dead.

The highly unusual mass death of whales in Alaskan waters, happened during the time frame that Navy was conducting bombing training that they said, in their documents that they filed with their ESA, that would involve killing of sea mammals.

New concerns were raised for Alaskan whales as the Navy conducted a training exercise in the Gulf of Alaska for two weeks June. Researchers are monitoring for dead whale sightings after the exercise. Sonobuoys were used as part of the exercise – a technology that affects deep diving whale species like beaked whales and sperm whales most, researchers say.

Interestingly, once the Navy started monitoring the situation the whale deaths stopped.

http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/5-more-dead-whales-found-in-alaska-waters-since-june-total-14-dead/34101154

EPA Agreeing to Hold Seattle Bristol Bay Hearing on May 31

Seattle hearing requested by Cantwell will outline how the Pebble Mine would impact Bristol Bay salmon and WA state jobs, maritime economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that the agency will hold a public hearing in Seattle next week to discuss how large scale development in Bristol Bay, Alaska – like the Pebble Mine proposal – could hurt salmon and Washington state jobs. The hearing will be held on Thursday, May 31st, at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time at the Federal Building in Seattle.

Earlier in May, Cantwell had asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to hold this Seattle hearing following the agency’s release of its draft watershed assessment, which itmade public last week. The EPA is also holding public hearings in Alaska June 4th-7th.

“I’m glad that Washington state voices will be heard as EPA works to finalize its scientific watershed assessment,” Cantwell said. “This public hearing is a critical step in ensuring Washingtonians’ livelihoods are protected. With thousands of Washington state jobs dependent on healthy, sustainable Bristol Bay salmon, I will continue fighting to ensure a final decision is based on sound science.”

Thousands of Washington state jobs – including commercial and recreational fishing, processing, shipbuilding and the restaurant industry – depend on Bristol Bay’s healthy, sustainable wild salmon populations. Nearly 1,000 Washingtonians hold commercial fishing permits in Bristol Bay. In 2008, Bristol Bay yielded over $113 million dollars in total value for Washington state commercial fishers. Recreational salmon fishers yielded an additional $75 million for Washington state businesses alone.

Bristol Bay is the most productive salmon run in the world, generating a total value of approximately $500 million dollars each year and supporting 14,000 full and part-time jobs.

In a September letter to Jackson, Cantwell became the first U.S. Senator to call on the EPA to use its Clean Water Act 404(c) authority to block any large development project in Bristol Bay if science determined that the project would “have unacceptable adverse impacts on water quality and the fish stocks that depend on it.”

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