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

State, tribes reach agreement on Puget Sound salmon fishing plan – AP (KOMO News)

State and tribal fishery officials said Thursday that after weeks of negotiations they’ve agreed on a plan that will allow for a 2016-2017 Puget Sound salmon-fishing season. Recreational and non-tribal commercial salmon fishing in Puget Sound has been closed since May 1, after the state and tribes failed to come to an agreement over annual catch limits. That prompted concern that a fishing season might not happen this year. The agreement still needs federal approval, but John Long, salmon fisheries policy lead for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said anglers can start planning to fish for salmon this summer. (Associated Press)

http://komonews.com/news/local/state-tribes-reach-agreement-on-puget-sound-salmon-fishing-plan

Also this more in-depth article, with a silly photo from Alaska, likely.

http://www.capitalberg.com/salmon-season-puget-sound/29327/

Ocean fish numbers on ‘brink of collapse,’ WWF reports – Thompson Reuters via CBC

Stocks of group that includes tuna, mackerel, bonito down 75 per cent since 1970

While I hate to post really dire news, this article is important because we (all countries) subsidize fishing in many ways, which needs to change to make any difference in the oceans. Many of us have pushed for creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and some have been created, but many more are needed. The NW Tribes, while not entirely supportive of MPAs have done a huge amount of good work in trying to re-establish habitat and lead the way forward in salmon protection here in the Northwest and on the Peninsula in particular. Many fishing groups are very supportive and have helped in a variety of ways, while a few remain unconvinced. It’s interesting that in my interviews with “old timers” who have lived and fished here from the 30s on, almost all of them, including the ones that I would consider the least friendly to “environmental” labels, supported a moratorium on fishing for a 10 year period to restore stocks.

Now it’s time to get our government to really push harder to convince the global community to protect the oceans outside the 50 mile limit. According to this article, we don’t have much time left to do something significant.

The amount of fish in the oceans has halved since 1970, in a plunge to the “brink of collapse” caused by over-fishing and other threats, the WWF conservation group said on Wednesday.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/ocean-fish-wwf-1.3230157?cmp=rss&utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

State invites comments on fishing, hunting, rec programs and policies 

The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking input from citizens on it’s policies and procedures. They also want thoughts on what could be improved. You can go to the Department’s web site directly here to fill out a form to give them input.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildfuture/

Washington’s Wild Future
A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife

Since I joined WDFW in January 2015, I have been asking people, “If you could tell the director of Fish and Wildlife one thing, what would you say?” Well now is the time for people all across the state to do just that. I want to hear about what we are doing right, where we need to improve, and where we should focus our efforts and our funding over the next five to 10 to 20 years.

This opportunity is part of our new multi-year initiative, Washington’s Wild Future: A Partnership for Fish and Wildlife.

We are embarking on this effort to strengthen the department’s relationships with communities, increase support for conservation and outdoor recreation, and help ensure WDFW programs and services meet the public’s needs.

The comments and proposals we receive will help determine priorities for conserving and managing Washington’s fish and wildlife in the coming years.

We will summarize the comments and suggestions from the public, as well as input from outdoor organizations and the department’s advisory groups, later this year (2015). That information will be used to help identify potential changes in WDFW’s operations and services, and to develop future policy, budget and fee proposals.

We face major management challenges over the next several years, and for us to be successful we need the public’s support and assistance. That’s what this initiative is all about – listening and working with you to build a stronger and more effective Fish and Wildlife.

Public Meetings

Six regional public forums are scheduled for September and October. Each meeting will begin with a brief presentation from WDFW about the importance of fish and wildlife management to Washington’s quality of life and the economies of local communities throughout the state. Participants will then be invited to talk with representatives of the department’s Fish, Wildlife, Enforcement, Licensing, and Habitat programs, as well as Unsworth and his immediate staff.

The meetings are scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at the following dates and locations:

  • Sept. 10 – Selah Civic Center, 216 1st St., Selah.
  • Sept. 30 – Center Place, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.
  • Oct. 6 – WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd, Mill Creek.
  • Oct. 8 – Saint Martin’s University, Norman Worthington Conference Center, 5300 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey.
  • Oct. 14 – Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver.
  • Oct. 20 – Port of Chelan County Confluence Technology Center, 285 Technology Center Way, Wenatchee.

We want to hear from you!

Washington eases fishing restrictions on some rivers – AP

Apparently the Quilcene River has been reopened.

As conditions improve in some Washington rivers, state officials are easing fishing restrictions and closures put in place earlier this summer because of the drought. The Department of Fish and Wildlife had closed or restricted access on more than 60 rivers and streams to protect fish, which can be harmed by low river flows and warmer water temperatures. On Wednesday, the agency said fishing is now open or no longer restrict to certain hours on more than a dozen rivers, including in north Puget Sound, south-central Washington and on the Olympic Peninsula. (Associated Press)

http://q13fox.com/2015/09/02/washington-eases-fishing-restrictions-on-some-rivers/

Dozens of sturgeon found dead in Columbia River – Tri-City Herald

And more results of our inability to stop global warming. The mass die off of fish that have survived for hundreds of thousands of years. Our warming rivers cannot support them.

Washington Fish and Wildlife officials have received repeated reports of dead sturgeon this week on the Columbia River, but the exact cause of death remains a mystery. Annette Cary reports. (Tri-City Herald)

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/dozens-of-sturgeon-found-dead-in-columbia-river/

Coastal researchers launch blog to share findings about ocean – Watching Our Waterways

Lots of fish from tropical waters are being seen in the surveys reported by Chris. Check out this quick read.

It’s an interesting time for researchers to begin writing a blog about ocean conditions off Oregon and Washington, an area undergoing some fascinating changes in oceanography and sealife. Scientists from NOAA Fisheries and Oregon State University launched their new website, “Newporter Blog,” [http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/news/blogs/display_blogentry.cfm?blogid=1&#blogentry1] last week. It’s named after the Newport Line, an area of study off the Oregon Coast where researchers have monitored changes for the past 20 years. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2015/07/02/coastal-researchers-launch-blog-to-share-findings-about-ocean/

How Anglers Are Learning To Save Fish That Get ‘The Bends’ – KPLU

Good article on the device that is saving fish from the bends. If you fish, you should take a listen.

Each year, sport fishermen unintentionally kill millions of deep-water fish they don’t want or can’t keep. These fish die even though they are handled gently and released quickly. The reason: a condition called barotrauma, which divers know as “the bends.” The problem occurs in fish that have a swim bladder, an internal balloon that helps them control their buoyancy. When a fish is pulled up, “that balloon rapidly begins to expand as the pressure from the water decreases,” says Chris Lowe, a marine scientist at California State, Long Beach. So by the time a deep-water fish reaches the surface, he says, “its eyes could be popped out of its head, its stomach is pushed out of its mouth and it looks absolutely horrific.” Jon Hamilton reports. (KPLU)

http://kplu.org/post/how-anglers-are-learning-save-fish-get-bends

New Fishing Rule Protects Endangered Seabird – AP

New laws proposed to protect the short-tailed albatross.

Federal fisheries managers are proposing to require West Coast commercial fishermen who unroll long lines of baited hooks on the ocean bottom to also tow long lines of fluttering plastic to scare off seabirds trying to steal the bait. The proposed rule published Tuesday in the Federal Register is designed to protect the endangered short-tailed albatross, which once numbered in the millions but is down to about 1,200 individuals. (Associated Press)

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/flora-and-fauna/article/new-fishing-rule-protects-endangered-seabird/

‘Warm blob’ keeps possible record sockeye run away from U.S. waters – Bellingham Herald

The story of how this year’s great hot weather has affected the salmon runs. 

In a development that has left local fishermen scratching their heads, it appears an unusually warm section of ocean water is helping send nearly the entire sockeye salmon run into Canadian fishing waters this season. According to data from the Pacific Salmon Commission through Tuesday, Aug. 19, in recent weeks about 99 percent of the sockeye salmon has gone through the Johnstone Strait around the northern part of Vancouver Island into Canadian waters. That’s made a big difference in who is catching the fish: Nearly 2.9 million sockeye salmon have been caught in Canadian waters, while the U.S. fishermen had caught around 98,000 through Aug. 19. Dave Gallagher reports. (Bellingham Herald)

 

 http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/08/24/3815002_warm-blob-keeps-possible-record.html

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the Bellingham Herald. 

Thoughts on the Mount Polley Tailing Mines Disaster – What it means to us

The ongoing nightmare on Quesnel Lake from the Mount Polley Tailing “Pond”, has huge ramifications for us in Washington State and the Olympic Peninsula. This fiasco is being whitewashed by the politicians from both the Provincial and the Federal level in Canada. The official line is ‘it’s not that bad” when the truth is it’s likely far worse than anyone imagines. Huge amounts of highly toxic materials, including the possibility of radioactive material (that is now being discussed in official circles), pose grave downstream risks to the Salish Sea  and the wildlife that passes through it on their way elsewhere.

The primary talked about toxin in this stew is mercury. Lots of it. It’s used in this kind of mining and ends up being a by-product that can’t be removed,  just managed. We already deal with mercury in our fish, to a manageable degree, and it’s affects are well known and avoided. However, without knowing how much mercury might be in the tailings that are now in the Lake, the government has been suggesting that there is nothing to fear from the water. Let’s be clear, mercury ingested in significant amounts can cause Minamata’s Disease. Look it up on Wikipedia. It was highlighted in a Pulitzer Prize winning article in Life Magazine in the 1970s, photographed by Eugene Smith, when an entire village in Minamata Japan suffered from horrible birth defects because of unregulated mercury poisoning. The Canadian Government is putting it’s people at serious risk by inaction. And us too. 

To quote part of the Wikipedia article:

Symptoms (of mercury poisoning and Minamata Disease) includeataxianumbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, narrowing of the field of vision, and damage tohearing and speech. In extreme cases, insanityparalysiscoma, and death follow within weeks of the onset of symptoms. A congenital form of the disease can also affect foetuses in the womb.

All these were experienced in Japan in the 70s in Minamata. 

And this is just one of the toxins that was contained behind this tailing dam. 

Without immediate work to setup coffer dams and drain the areas around the spill in Quesnel Lake, we may see a huge amount of mercury, along with other toxins, enter the Salish Sea,  and undoubtably affect the Sockeye that come out of Quesnel, one of the largest sockeye spawning habitat in Canada.

These fish make up the primary food of the remaining local pods of Orcas. And our fishermen catch them and we eat them. Lots of them. In other words, our fishing industry and our Orcas could be at risk.

We need our politicians to act now, to demand that the Canadian government stop pretending this not a serious problem and begin cleanup of this spill. There has been to date, no work begun on cleaning up the spill! (as of Sunday August 24)

This is not just about the lame excuses that Victoria and their muzzled scientists gives us about how they think their untreated sewage is not affecting the Straits. This is about possibly poisoning our fish and ourselves. And if we don’t stop it soon, it may be permanent. An oozing toxic mess that’s not cleaned up will pose a threat for decades to come. Just ask the folks at Hanford. The  comments coming from high level government Canadian officials are true doublespeak.  To be clear, the simplest way of understanding this is that if the massive amounts of tailing waste were not a danger to human health and the environment why are they held behind these ponds in the first place? It’s because they have been proven, for over 100 years, to be very harmful, if not deadly, to plants and animals, including us! There is no ‘lucky break’ (as stated by a senior government official) in a dump of this magnitude, there is only a bad outcome of various magnitudes.

The mine managers and the regulators that refused to enforce the laws, have created an environmental disaster of monumental proportion that has yet to fully unfold. What matters now is protecting the entire river systems that will carry this muck to the ocean. And protect the drinking water that might be pulled out of the river for human consumption. 

What’s the possibility of the US having a significant say in this issue? Read the following excellent article about our treaties with Canada, and the power that we have to force them to change legally. And remember that it’s because we have a Democratic, environmentally supportive president that we can read something like this. In a different previous era, our government would likely have been looking the other way in support of rampant environmental degradation.

Stephen Hume: Political fallout from Mount Polley mine spill may come from U.S.

Fishing report from the PDN

Wondering how the salt water fishing is going? Here’s todays’ report from the PDN.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20140801/NEWS/308019985

Goodbye and thank you to Carol Burns – Northwest Filmmaker

On this 40th anniversary of the Boldt Decision, news has come that filmmaker Carol Burns passed away on April 22nd in Olympia. She was a young filmmaker when she documented the struggles of the native people around Tacoma and Olympia, including Billy Frank Jr. that led up to the legal challenge that became the Boldt Decision. Her film is the only known original documentary footage that tracked the tribal people who were being harassed and arrested along the rivers of that area. Her work will survive as the lasting documentary of that era, as many of the prinicipals have now died, or are elderly. I attempted to get a new, updated documentary done on this last year, talking to many people in Olympia and Seattle, but found no real interest in it among any of the agencies or peoples that were involved. No one had any desire to fund such an independent effort, including the State Historical Society. In ten more years,  the remaining people who could tell the story first person are likely to be gone. I understand that the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission has done video interviews with many of the original tribal participants, but not as a focused documentary film. Hopefully, somewhere down the road an enterprising filmmaker will go to them and work out a way to fund a project to relook at Boldt 40+ years after.

You can watch, “As Long As The Rivers Run” on the Internet Archive here:

https://archive.org/details/AsLongAsTheRiversRun

Part of Carol’s Obituary from the Olympian Newspaper:

Carol M. Burns was born in Olympia, Washington on February 19, 1939, and passed away April 22, 2014. Carol was well known in the Olympia area for her many contributions to the causes that were close to her heart. A filmmaker, she was one of the founders of Capital Area Community Television Association, now in its 32nd year, and known as TCTV. Her best known work is the 1970 film As Long As the Rivers Run, about one Indian family and their struggle to hold on to their treaty rights and traditional way of life. A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 12:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Olympia. 

New Quotas Clear Way For Banner Summer Salmon Fishing In Pacific Ocean – KPLU.ORG

Good news for sports fishermen this year.

A federal fisheries management panel approved what some charter captains are calling the best ocean fishing season in 20 years. Meeting at a hotel in Vancouver, Washington, the Pacific Fishery Management Council on Wednesday adopted the 2014 season quotas unanimously after days of lengthy negotiations between commercial troll and recreational fishing representatives, treaty tribes and government regulators. The quotas are a big turnaround from the recent past when ocean salmon fishing was sharply curtailed or not allowed at all. Tom Banse reports. (KPLU)

 http://kplu.org/post/new-quotas-clear-way-banner-summer-salmon-fishing-pacific-ocean

Ocean salmon quota options reflect strong runs – Tacoma News Tribune

Good news at least from the forecast for these fish.

Under options approved this week, recreation anglers fishing off the Washington coast this year could see a higher catch quota for chinook salmon and certainly higher coho quotas. The three alternatives for ocean fishing, approved late Thursday by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, are in response to projections of a higher abundance of hatchery chinook and a significant increase in the number of coho bound for the Columbia River. The council establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast. Chinook options range from 47,500 to 60,000 fish, while the coho options range from 159,600 to 193,200 fish. Jeffery Mayor reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Read the whole story at:

http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/03/14/3097998/ocean-salmon-quota-options-reflect.html

Yo! Rockfish ReCompression Video – Funny and really worth watching

Are you a fisherman? Catch rockfish? Check out this newer rap video on how to get rockfish back safely into the water and save it. Remember that rockfish take a long time to grow, and they stay in their local territory. So it’s important to get them back in the water quickly. I was unaware that the recompression techniques can save even severely barotraumaed fish. Barotrauma often kills rockfish if not recompressed. Luckily we, and those fabulous little rockfish, can get down with our bad selves and the help of this most epic video montage. The following Rockfish PSA was concocted by the masterminds of California Sea Grant and NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

be sure to catch the rap at the end as well.

Octopus fishing rules are topic of meeting April 23 in Port Townsend

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has scheduled a public meeting for Tuesday, April 23 in Port Townsend to solicit input on the protection of Puget Sound’s giant Pacific octopus population. The first of two workshops to solicit public input on the issue is set for 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, April 23 at the Cotton Building, 607 Water St., Port Townsend.

Fishing net on Hood Canal removed after five months – Kitsap Sun

So NOAA and the State are no longer funding the Derelict Gear project. Here’s part of the results of that failure on their part.

A deadly fishing net, first reported in November abandoned in Hood Canal, was removed last week by enforcement officers for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Sgt. Ted Jackson of the agency said he felt compelled to take action when he received no response from the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, which had previously investigated and removed a portion of the net. The net was abandoned just north of Big Anderson Creek near Holly. Jackson said the net was still catching marine life before it was removed Friday. He estimated that between 60 and 80 crabs, mostly dead, were tangled in the net along with several sand dabs, a type of flounder. Chris Dunagan reports.

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2013/apr/18/fishing-net-on-hood-canal-removed-after-five/#axzz2QVbIJZj8

More details come to light on upcoming salmon fishing seasons – Seattle Times

Good overview of what the fishing season might bring.

Now that we’ve gotten all the obvious salmon fishing seasons finalized lets dissect what kind of summer and fall opportunities there are besides the expected gargantuan 6.2-million plus pink salmon return.

Read the rest of the story at:

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/reeltimenorthwest/2013/04/11/more-details-come-to-light-on-upcoming-salmon-fishing-seasons/

Canadian fisheries continue to decimate herring fisheries

The Canadian government retreat on all things environmental continues. While the quotas continue to get higher, the amount of fish in the water shrinks. Outcome is likely a total collapse of the herring fishery, sooner than later. They allowed it in Newfoundland, and now here.

Judith Lavoie reports. Quota rises as herring count falls http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/quota-rises-as-herring-count-falls-1.88502

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