Monday, December 2, 2013

12/2 Salmon & grizzlies, BC fish farm, hatcheries, tagging, humpbacks, B'ham Bay, BC pipe, WA parks, fish catch, Shell drill, Hood Canal octopus, River Project

(PHOTO: Larry Travis/www.raincoast.org)
Salmon shortages stressing out grizzlies
When salmon runs dwindle on the B.C. coast, the stress levels in grizzlies climb, say researchers who examined hair samples collected from more than 70 bears. And the bears, which gather along rivers in the fall to feed on spawning salmon, take those high stress levels with them into hibernation, perhaps affecting their long-term health, according to a science paper published Wednesday. Mark Hume reports.

If you like to watch: Seattle celebrates life cycle of salmon
Only in the Northwest can you find families gathering to celebrate a stream littered with the bodies of salmon. Gary Chittim reports.

Salmon farmer eyes Pacific coho growth in Chile, not B.C.
One of the world's largest aquaculture companies is turning its farming focus in South America to a Pacific salmon subspecies — yet the company will continue to raise Atlantic salmon on the B.C. coast. Cermaq, an international fish farming group based in Oslo, raises salmon in Norway, Chile and Canada. In B.C., the company, which until recently used the name Mainstream Canada, operates on both the east and west sides of Vancouver Island and has 27 ocean and three freshwater fish farms. Cermaq's economic growth plan for its South American operation indicates that Pacific coho salmon will become a key component of future growth.

EarthFix Conversation: A Call For Philosophical Shift On Use Of Hatcheries
In the late 1800s, when dams were first built around the Northwest, salmon and steelhead stocks began to decline. Fish hatcheries were put forth as a solution. Wild fish were taken from Northwest rivers and spawned in captivity, ensuring future generations of fish could be released back into the wild every season. Jim Lichatowich is a biologist who’s worked on salmon issues as a researcher, manager and scientific advisor for more than 40 years. He sat down with EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn to talk about his new book: “Salmon, People and Place: A Biologist’s Search For Salmon Recovery.” Ashley Ahearn reports.

Scientists try more sophisticated salmon tagging
The behavior of young salmon does not appear to be as predictable as previously thought. Ecologists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland are using a new and more sophisticated fish tagging system to learn more about the fish as they swim downstream and hit the ocean. The prevailing thought was that young salmon take a right at the mouth of the Columbia River and immediately head north toward Canada. But instead, PNNL ecologists found that, especially in the early spring, the fish scatter in all directions as they reach the ocean. Annette Cary reports.

Humpback 'muggings' rising in B.C.
The whale-watching industry knows them as "muggings." But to their paying clients in the Salish Sea, unusually close encounters with certain juvenile humpback whales can be the experience of a lifetime... Commercial whale-watch operations this past season in the region started reporting young humpbacks approaching c losely and interacting with passengers and vessels. The interactions typically last 15 minutes to two hours, and there's little to be done but shut down the engine or put it in neutral and wait for the whale to move off. And with humpback populations expanding on the B.C. coast, such events are also expected to increase. Larry Pynn reports.

Bellingham, port near final approval of waterfront plans
After years of public discussion, City Council and the Port of Bellingham Commission appear ready to approve plans that will shape redevelopment of the city's dormant industrial waterfront in the decades ahead. The waterfront plans are on the City Council agenda for 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, in council chambers at City Hall, 210 Lottie St. The port commission will consider the matter at the regular 3 p.m. Tuesday meeting in the Harbor Center meeting room, 1801 Roeder Ave. The City Council also has set aside four hours, from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, for committee discussion of some final changes to plan language and other related matters. John Stark reports.

Puget Sound Partnership meeting of the Ecosystem Coordination Board
Pete Haase provides a report on the November 21 meeting in Edmonds.

Enbridge to keep seeking public approval for Northern Gateway pipeline
Enbridge Inc. will keep trying to win public approval for its Northern Gateway oil pipeline to the Pacific coast from Alberta even with the clock winding down to a crucial regulatory decision for the contentious project in the coming weeks, its chief executive officer said on Friday. Calgary-based Enbridge has sought for years to convince British Columbians, including numerous First Nations communities along the proposed route, that the $6.5-billion project will be as safe as today’s technology allows, and CEO Al Monaco conceded it has not been completely successful. Jeffrey Jones reports.

Report: Parks system can't survive without taxpayers
A new report spotlights an inconvenient truth for lawmakers about Washington's public parks system: It cannot survive without help from the state's taxpayers. The agency is reeling from deep budget cuts and needs a reliable source of funds because it may never be able to live as lawmakers desire -- solely on money collected from park visitors. That's the conclusion of a nine-page analysis delivered in November. Jerry Cornfield reports.

Google Earth Images Yield Better Data on Fish Catches
Google Earth's detailed images of our planet's surface could help scientists investigate overfishing from space. A new study of fish traps in the Persian Gulf suggests that many fish go uncounted after they are caught. Two researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada used Google Earth's satellite images to count intertidal fishing weirs off the coast of six countries in the Persian Gulf. Traditionally built with date palm fronds, fishing weirs have been used for centuries as a means of trapping fish. Today, the structures are often made with bamboo and galvanized mesh wire, and in some countries, they might be contributing to the problem of bad data on fish catches.  Megan Gannon reports.

Administration considers whether to allow Shell to resume Arctic oil exploration
The Obama administration is weighing whether to allow Shell to resume drilling in Arctic waters after a series of mishaps halted its controversial oil exploration effort last year. The decision is among the toughest issues faced by new Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who portrays herself as both an advocate for the environment and a supporter of drilling. Jewell’s predecessor, Ken Salazar, allowed Shell to drill in the Arctic waters north of Alaska last year, only to later say the company “screwed up.” Interior Department spokeswoman Kate Kelly said Wednesday that drilling won’t resume until the agency has confidence that the effort addresses lessons learned. Sean Cockerham reports.

Hood Canal divers proud of giant Pacific octopus habitat
The giant Pacific octopus is one of the most sought-after sights in the sound, where octopus grow larger than anywhere else in the world. Legend has it they can reach 600 pounds, but a typical adult weight is between 100 and 150 pounds, with tentacles that span 15 to 20 feet. They can change color shifting from their usual ruddy complexion to paler hues when they’re scared or stressed. They’re also smart. Scientists say they can learn to open jars, recognize their handlers and memorize routes through mazes. Divers head under the waves in winter for the best octopus-watching conditions of the year. Algal blooms from warmer months have died down, making the water clearer. In the summer when Puget Sound water temperatures are only a few degrees warmer than winter a diver can typically see only five feet. In winter, the view extends to 40 feet. Tristan Baurick reports.

Fishy Freedom
On a recent Wednesday that felt like the first of winter, about a hundred and fifty children—mostly under seven—and their parents gathered at Pier 40, over at West Street and Houston. Their mission: to thank for their service the numerous small riverine creatures that have whispered their secrets to the kids since last spring, and liberate them. The River Project’s tanks needed to be drained and emptied for winter. Ergo, fishy freedom...The River Project has been introducing children to the Hudson since the late nineteen-eighties. Time brings change. Carl Safina reports.

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA- 303 AM PST MON DEC 2 2013
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH LATE TONIGHT
TODAY
W WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING N 5 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 TO 2 FT IN THE
 AFTERNOON. W SWELL 11 FT AT 10 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS.
TONIGHT
E WIND 15 TO 25 KT...BECOMING NE 20 TO 30 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. WIND WAVES 2 TO 4 FT...BUILDING TO 3 TO 6 FT AFTER
 MIDNIGHT. W SWELL 9 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
--
"Salish Sea News & Weather" is compiled as a community service by Mike Sato. To subscribe, send your name and email to msato@salishseacom.com. Your email information is never shared and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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