Tuesday, December 15, 2015

12/15 Fish talk, Billy Frank, Jr., ban logging, bag ban, pollution fine, salmon spawn, swan rehab, slave shrimp

How Fish Communicate, Even Using Noise
Q. We know that aquatic mammals communicate with one another, but what about fish? A. Fish have long been known to communicate by several silent mechanisms, but more recently researchers have found evidence that some species also use sound… (NY Times)

Nisqually refuge to be named in honor of activist Billy Frank Jr.
A bill to rename the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in honor of the late Nisqually statesman, Billy Frank Jr., passed in the U.S. Senate Monday and is now headed to President Obama’s desk. (Seattle Times)

Logging ban urged to protect Vancouver Island old growth forests
Communities along the West Coast of Vancouver Island say the provincial government needs to step in to save the ancient, massive trees that grow in the Walbran Valley. Business leaders in Port Renfrew, B.C., a community that once thrived on forestry, are calling for a ban on logging the trees — some of which started life around the time of the Magna Carta in 1215. Tofino's council also passed a resolution asking provincial politicians to protect the forests from commercial logging. Terri Theodore reports. (Canadian Press)

Cadboro Bay beach reopened, garbage cleared from derelict boat
Cadboro-Gyro Park Beach re-opened Monday morning after it was closed overnight because of a fuel leak from a boat that had washed ashore. On Dec. 5, the 55-foot-long concrete-hulled vessel washed up in a windstorm on the beach in front of Cadboro-Gyro Park, according to a news release. Tyler Yager, Canadian Coast Guard response specialist, said the owner is believed to have been living aboard. After the boat hit the beach, he managed to collect a few things and left the scene. (Times Colonist)

Tacoma eyes possible shopping bag restrictions
Attention Tacoma shoppers: You might have to bag your groceries differently sometime next year. City officials are considering becoming the 14th community in Washington to adopt shopping bag restrictions. They started taking the public’s temperature in an online survey last month. More than 1,300 people have responded so far…. Thirteen Washington communities have already banned plastic grocery-style bags. Most require a five-cent fee for large paper sacks. Tacoma officials say they don’t yet know what shape their rules will take. Kate Martin reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

“Environmental company” racks up biggest pollution fines of the year
The first image on the website for Emerald Services is a stream fringed by grass and trees. The Tacoma-based recycler of used oils, solvents, and other toxic substances is “committed to a greener tomorrow,” it says at the bottom of the screen. The company trumpets a 2014 Green Manufacturing Award from the Association of Washington Business, in part for its “operational excellence.” Its slogan: “An Environmental Company.” Nonetheless, Emerald Services received the largest penalties of any company this year by the state Department of Ecology, for accidents that spilled thousands of gallons of hazardous materials like recycled fuel oil, waste solvents, and asphalt flux. At least one incident endangered an employee’s life, Ecology officials say. Taken together, the company’s 2015 fines totaled $167,000, which they fought legally and settled this past November without “any admission of liability,” according to a statement from the company. Drew Atkins reports. (Crosscut)

The search for spawning salmon
It didn’t matter that it was wet and windy, or that the cold, clear stream was running more swiftly than usual. With waders up to their armpits, Chris Brown and Sheila Thomas plunged Saturday into Ennis Creek. The water sometimes reached above their knees. The two Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group volunteers were on a mission to find evidence of spawning coho salmon: live fish, dead fish and eggs. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Tulalip turning tide on diminishing salmon
t has been 100 years since water flowed in this now former farmland along Ebey Slough. The place is unrecognizable from what it was just four months ago…. In August, the Tulalip, along NOAA and Snohomish County breached a levee along the slough, flooding the land and returning its natural state. Now, researchers are casting nets into the water to see what fish are showing up. The goal is to create a salmon spawning habitat to help in increase their numbers around Puget Sound. Erik Wilkinson reports. (KING)

Wildlife rehabilitation center works to save trumpeter swans
At the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on Friday, Dec. 11, Alysha Elsby held open the beak of a female trumpeter swan as Sarah Trudeau pushed a thin tube down the bird’s long throat so they could feed her…. The trumpeter swan was among 10 brought from Skagit and Whatcom counties into the center, which is part of the Whatcom Humane Society, in the past week. Eight were suffering from the effects of lead poisoning after ingesting lead shot, one from head trauma after possibly being hit by a vehicle, and one from lead poisoning and head trauma. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Fish Stocks Are Declining Worldwide, And Climate Change Is On The Hook
For anyone paying attention, it's no secret there's a lot of weird stuff going on in the oceans right now. We've got a monster El Nino looming in the Pacific. Ocean acidification is prompting hand wringing among oyster lovers. Migrating fish populations have caused tensions between countries over fishing rights. And fishermen say they're seeing unusual patterns in fish stocks they haven't seen before. Researchers now have more grim news to add to the mix. An analysis published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that the ability of fish populations to reproduce and replenish themselves is declining across the globe.  Claire Leschin-Hoar reports. (NPR)

Houses recently threatened by roaring Dungeness River headed for purchase, demolition
Several homes threatened by the rain swollen Dungeness River last week are slated for purchase and demolition by the Jamestown S'Klallam tribe, which hopes to restore the floodplain for salmon habitat as part of its ongoing Dungeness Floodplain Restoration Project. The Jamestown S'Klallam tribe is in final negotiations to purchase several lots of riverfront property from the Robinson family of Seattle, which owns the land. Chris McDaniel reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Global supermarkets selling shrimp peeled by slaves
Every morning at 2 a.m., they heard a kick on the door and a threat: Get up or get beaten. For the next 16 hours, No. 31 and his wife stood in the factory that owned them with their aching hands in ice water. They ripped the guts, heads, tails and shells off shrimp bound for overseas markets, including grocery stores and all-you-can-eat buffets across the United States. After being sold to the Gig Peeling Factory, they were at the mercy of their Thai bosses, trapped with nearly 100 other Burmese migrants. Children worked alongside them, including a girl so tiny she had to stand on a stool to reach the peeling table. Some had been there for months, even years, getting little or no pay. Always, someone was watching. No names were ever used, only numbers given by their boss — Tin Nyo Win was No. 31. Pervasive human trafficking has helped turn Thailand into one of the world’s biggest shrimp providers. Despite repeated promises by businesses and government to clean up the country’s $7 billion seafood export industry, an Associated Press investigation has found shrimp peeled by modern-day slaves is reaching the U.S., Europe and Asia. (Associated Press)

Now, your tug weather--
WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  300 AM PST TUE DEC 15 2015  

SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON
 

TODAY
 S WIND TO 10 KT...BECOMING SW IN THE AFTERNOON. WIND WAVES  2 FT OR LESS. W SWELL 8 FT AT 11 SECONDS. A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN IN  THE MORNING...THEN A CHANCE OF RAIN IN THE AFTERNOON.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING NW TO 10 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT...SUBSIDING TO 1 FT OR LESS AFTER MIDNIGHT. W  SWELL 9 FT AT 14 SECONDS. A CHANCE OF RAIN.

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