Chef Renee Erickson pulls king salmon from menu after learning of starving orcas – KUOW

It seems there is something happening, right now. I called for looking into a moratorium on chinook harvest in the Salish Sea and just off the coast, and now (totally separate from my article) Canadian environmentalists and a restaurant in Seattle are also calling for a  halt for the demand for Salish Sea chinook. I’m reaching out to a Seattle fisheries expert who claims it won’t matter. We’ll see if he has time to help me and you understand why.  More to follow.

A Seattle restaurateur has stopped offering chinook salmon at her restaurants. Renee Erickson, chef and owner of a group of restaurants, including The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard, said she made the decision after learning about the plight of J50, the young, ailing orca whale.

http://kuow.org/stories/chef-renee-erickson-pulls-king-salmon-from-menu-after-learning-of-starving-orcas

and

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/seattle-chef-renee-erickson-takes-chinook-salmon-off-menus-to-help-ailing-puget-sound-orcas/

 

 

 

 

 

Orca baby boom: 7th calf born to endangered southern resident population -CBC

Your good news of the morning.

The Center for Whale Research says yet another orca calf has been spotted swimming with the southern resident killer whale population.  This is the seventh new calf born to the endangered population of cetaceans in the last 12 months. The young orca was photographed in November, but due to poor visibility and unfavourable sea conditions, it took several weeks to confirm that there was indeed a new calf in L pod.  It has been designated L-123 and is believed to be the first offspring of 12-year-old orca L-103. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/orca-calf-born-1.3352683

New hydrophones monitor ship noise in Salish Sea – Canadian Press

More good research. Monitoring at all levels is the most critical element in securing future funding for environmental projects, and validating ones that have been done. It has been the neglected part of all funding over the decades, and glad to see another good outpost established.

Researchers have installed another underwater listening station in British Columbia’s Salish Sea to better understand how shipping noise impacts at-risk whales. The installation Monday was part of a program run by Port Metro Vancouver, the University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada and the hydrophone’s manufacturer. Underwater noise has been identified as a threat to orcas that make their home in the waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland and are listed as at risk by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.(Canadian Press)

http://globalnews.ca/news/2222637/new-hydrophones-monitor-ship-noise-in-salish-sea/

Patrols keep US boaters in line, protect killer whales- AP

It’s been long overdue. Nice to see that the Feds are finally putting money into enforcement of the protection zone, rather than sitting back and hoping for good behavior. I would agree with the assessment that it’s likely recreational boaters (think of charters coming from all over) rather than locals or the whale watching industry. I’ve met a lot of whale watching businesspeople and they are smart enough to know that crowding the whales can lead to them losing their businesses.

Against a backdrop of rocky bluffs, a pod of orcas jumped out of the emerald waters of the Puget Sound before splashing their massive black-and-white bodies back into the water. Shadowing the whales on a recent afternoon were several recreational and commercial whale-watching boats that ferry people out to watch the orcas breach, one of nature’s most impressive spectacles. But the combination of boats and whales has state and federal authorities worried now that the Southern Resident pod of killer whales has four new calves. Manuel Valdes reports. (Associated Press)

http://phys.org/news/2015-09-patrols-boaters-line-killer-whales.html

Resident Orca count at 81. Good news – Seattle Times and others

Official orca census: 81 whales, including 4 babies. Up from 78 .

Researchers tracking the southern resident killer whales have photo confirmation of each whale, said Ken Balcomb, a senior scientist with the Center for Whale Research.

Orca census shows increase in Southern Resident population -Watching Our Waterways

Some good news it seems, though preliminary.

A census of the killer whales that frequent Puget Sound is due today, and it appears that the total population of the three Southern Resident pods is 82, up from 79 last year at this time. But that’s not the end of the story, because two small groups of orcas have not been seen recently — so a final count must wait, according to Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research, which conducts the annual census. Chris Dunagan reports.

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2015/07/01/orca-census-shows-increase-in-southern-resident-population/

Update: Newborn joins J-pod; mother may be missing – San Juan Journal

News on the new birth of a calf is tempered by sobering data that it may not make it. A true life animal drama happening right in front of us.

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…While studying the photos of the calf it appeared to [Ken] Balcomb and his team that newborn J-50 had teeth marks on its dorsal fin, which could indicate a difficult birth, where another whale had to use its mouth to help pull the baby out of its mother’s uterus…. Perhaps the most important missing link to the story is J-36, the 16-year-old daughter of J-16, who wasn’t seen when the baby was discovered amidst the clan. Under normal circumstances, J-36 would be traveling with or near her family. Having strung all the pieces together, Balcomb speculates that J-36, who is of prime breeding age, is the mother of J-50, and could have died during a complicated birth–meaning that J-16 is the calf’s grandmother and will not be able to provide milk. “Worst case scenario is we have another example where a female died giving birth,” Balcomb said. “Best case  is that grandma (J-16) is mom, and J-36 missing is coincidence.” Emily Greenberg reports. (San Juan Journal)

http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/287228441.html

Push for ‘No Go’ zone revitalized in attempt to limit stress on whales -San Juan Journal

Probably going to happen, but unlikely it’s going to have much affect. The need for more chinook is likely to be more useful. Not even NOAA could point to any science saying this is a successful strategy, but it’s a popular one among some people. Some of them are wealthy shoreline land owners on San Juan Island who want the boats out of the backyard.

In the wake of the death of J32, a pregnant female of the Southern Resident orca whales, a call to action resurfaced last week for a “No-Go” whale protection zone off the westside of San Juan Island. Orca Relief Citizens Alliance is urging the National Marine Fisheries Service to adopt its outline and begin the formal public process of establishing a no-go zone. Emily Greenberg reports. (San Juan Journal)

http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/286607561.html

Orca necropsy shows fetus died first: report – Times Colonist

It appears that the fetus died first and may have caused the death of the mother. Still no firm understanding if the fetus was impacted by environmental issues, or whether it was a natural death.

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/orca-necropsy-shows-fetus-died-first-report-1.1662531

Southern Resident orcas defy recovery efforts – Skagit Valley Herald

The efforts are still not working to save the Southern Resident Orcas. Good intentions alone won’t do the job.

A decade after gaining federal protection, the Southern Resident orcas of Puget Sound aren’t making progress. With 78 whales, the population has 20 fewer than when the group was first listed under the Endangered Species Act. A calf born in September offered a glimmer of hope, which was quickly snuffed out when the baby disappeared before the end of the month. Much like the presumed death of calf L120, what exactly is hindering the species’ recovery remains a mystery. A lack of food coupled with an abundance of toxins and boat traffic are thought to be contributors. But what could reverse the orca’s downward trend has yet to be pinpointed. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

 http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/southern-resident-orcas-defy-recovery-efforts/article_f6b38b5a-70ad-5616-983e-adb984819aa0.html

Killer whales expected to head south any day now- Kitsap Sun

Chris Dunagan at Watching Our Water Ways blogs: “As chum salmon swim back to their home streams in Puget Sound this fall, three killer whale pods — the Southern Residents — can be expected to follow, making their way south along the eastern shoreline of the Kitsap Peninsula. These forays into Central and South Puget Sound could begin any day now and continue until the chum runs decline in November or December. The Southern Residents, which typically hang out in the San Juan Islands in summer, have not been spotted for several days, so they are likely somewhere in the ocean at the moment, according to Howard Garrett of Orca Network. (Kitsap Sun)

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2014/10/01/killer-whales-expected-to-head-south-any-day-now/#axzz3EsDVWuTD

Feds weigh protecting orcas off Pacific coast – Komo & San Juan Journal

Setting up for a showdown with the military over protecting the Orca?  

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Feds-weigh-protecting-orcas-off-Pacific-coast-256578531.html

NOAA Fisheries is weighing whether to protect endangered orcas in the waters off the West Coast. The federal agency said Thursday it would consider a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity seeking to expand the critical habitat for southern resident killer whales. NOAA has already designated inland waters of Washington as critical to orca conservation, but the group’s petition says offshore areas from Cape Flattery, Wash., to Point Reyes, Calif., should now be added as critical habitat. Such a designation would require federal officials to limit activities that harm the whales.

(Associated Press) See also: Fate of orcas? Depends on fish—and lately, both have been scarce http://www.sanjuanjournal.com/news/256441941.html (San Juan Journal)

Shhh…Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership At Work – Salish Sea Communications

Mike Sato hits it right on the head. It’s time for Govenor Inslee to show us what this bureaucracy is doing, and if he’s really behind it or not. Getting it a leader that can actually lead would be a great start. No one would likely cry for it if they kill it and reconstitute it anew. It’s become a behind the scenes player in Olympia and virtually unknown outside of the Capital. A real shame, frankly. We had high hopes for it, but environmentalism appears to be joke and a pawn in the power politics in Olympia. Use it to garner votes, then ignore it for 2 to 4 years. Maybe when we are down to one Orca they’ll actually get serious.

http://salishseacommunications.blogspot.com/2013/07/shhhpuget-sound-partnerships-leadership.html?showComment=1373384001721#c6277622826257682962

8 Orcas seen in Dyes Inlet, near Bremerton

Chris Dunagan was able to catch up with 8 Orcas near Bremerton yesterday.

http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2013/06/06/orcas-bring-excitement-to-kitsap-shorelines/#axzz2VSTKLGRP

Support local journalism, subscribe to the Kitsap Sun.

Spectacular film of Orcas chasing Dolphins

Thanks to Jules for sharing this with us. An amazing film of orcas hunting dolphins at Hyacinthe Bay BC (north of Nanaimo). And thanks to Grind TV for getting it up online!

http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/blog/33983/pacific+white-sided+dolphins+take+flight+to+evade+killer+whales/

Killer whale death leads to call for ban on navy exercises–Vancouver Sun

We regularly rail against the growing militarization of the Sound and Hood Canal. We are being turned into advanced Naval training area with no oversight of the effects that Navy is having, and no voice in what they do. Now Canada is getting on board the call for a moratorium.

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Speculation is growing over what caused the death of a young resident killer whale and conservation organizations want the Royal Canadian Navy to stop holding military training exercises in the whales’ critical habitat. David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance, Greenpeace, Living Oceans, Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Sierra Club B.C., Western Canada Wilderness Committee and the World Wildlife Fund want an end to military exercises in the area and a release of all information about activities in the area that might have contributed to Sooke’s death.

Killer Whale Death leads to call for Navy Ban

Orcas in Admiralty Inlet!

Lots of reports of orca sitings by the Orca Network. They went by in large numbers last week and again this week.

Navy decides not to do sonar training in Puget Sound – Chris Dunagan

Chris Dunagan of the Kitsap Sun uncovers the news that the Navy has apparently decided to not do any more sonar training use in Puget Sound. Good news for our marine wildlife. —-read the whole story and comment if you wish at…http://pugetsoundblogs.com/waterways/2009/07/30/some-sonar-questions-are-answered-others-remain/

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The Navy has decided not to conduct training exercises involving sonar within Puget Sound. That information was revealed in a proposed incidental take permit for the Northwest Training Range Complex, now subject to public review under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. See my story in today’s Kitsap Sun.

While this decision no doubt will be a good thing for area marine mammal populations, I’m still a bit confused about the extent to which sonar may be used in non-training conditions.

Use of sonar in the testing of equipment and new technologies will come under a separate take permit for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, based at Keyport.

But, according to a statement I received from the Navy, that still leaves open the use of sonar for “safety and navigation,” “testing,” and “maintenance.”

As I understand the process, if the Navy were to harm marine mammals in one of these procedures without obtaining a take permit in advance, the Navy would be in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

more at the link above…

Orcas not present in Sound, concerns grow…

Watching our Waterways has an interesting piece today on the lack of both salmon and Orcas in Puget Sound.  Our lack of rain so far this summer could be making this situation worse, as salmon seem to come in when the rain helps them find their home streams.

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