Monday, May 16, 2016

5/16 Angel shark, Break Free, Tacoma LNG, whales, red tide, species at risk, archeological sites

Pacific angel shark (Mark Cantwell/Vancouver Sun)
Pacific angel shark documented for first time in B.C. waters
Mark Cantwell had anticipated another enjoyable day of free-dive snorkelling off Victoria’s Clover Point, photographing sea urchins and other common marine life. What the Environment Canada policy advisor got was the experience of a lifetime — a close encounter with a species never before documented in B.C. waters, the Pacific angel shark. Cantwell was swimming near shore in his wetsuit on April 30 when another diver, Henry Fisher, reported spotting an unidentifiable creature on the ocean bottom, about 10 metres down. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Fossil fuel protest ends peacefully; 52 arrested
The three-day Break Free PNW protest wrapped up Sunday with a tally of 52 arrests, one successful water rescue and no injuries, authorities said. Protesters of fossil fuel use protested on land and sea over the weekend, waving flags and signs with messages of pushing for a fast transition to alternative fuels. The Sunday morning arrests were of protesters who were blocking railroad tracks at Farm to Market Road near Highway 20 to keep trains from reaching the two oil refineries at March Point. The Break Free PNW protest event was one of several occurring throughout the world, including several on Sunday. Protest sites included Albany, New York, Vancouver, British Columbia, Washington, D.C., Germany, Turkey, Nigeria, Australia and more. Brandon Stone reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)  See also: Break Free PNW protest photo gallery - Day 3  (Skagit Valley Herald) See also: Hundreds opposed to Trans Mountain pipeline rally at Kinder Morgan facility in Burnaby  Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

Records on LNG plant in Tacoma should be disclosed, Pierce County judge rules
A Pierce County judge has ruled that records filed with Tacoma officials about a planned Port of Tacoma liquified natural gas plant should be made public, but he ordered the ruling shelved, pending a possible appeal. John Carlton, an activist with RedLine Tacoma, had requested the city turn over a set of records related to safety risks posed by the plant proposed by Puget Sound Energy. The utility claimed in court filings that what it told the city to help disaster preparedness planning could facilitate a terrorist attack. Puget Sound Energy also argued that some of the material was protected by state law that keeps trade secrets from public disclosure…. In the court case, Superior Court Judge Frank Cuthbertson found that Puget Sound Energy had not shown its city filings are “records assembled, prepared or maintained to prevent or respond to terrorist attacks” and failed to meet several other requirements that would shield them from public disclosure. Cuthbertson denied the utility’s request for an order keeping the records private, but his Friday order stayed their release in case the ruling is appealed. Derrick Nunnally reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Red tide shuts down shellfish harvest in parts of Strait of Georgia
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has closed large portions of the Strait of Georgia, from Victoria to Campbell River, to the harvest of clams, oysters, mussels and scallops due to red tide. Monitoring shows “unusually high levels” of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxins in the area. Cooking will not make the shellfish safe to eat. (Times Colonist)

More Salish Sea species at risk
The number of at-risk species in the Salish Sea is growing at an annual rate of nearly 3 percent, according to a new report that's giving a boost to the idea of greater cross-border coordination on conservation efforts in the shared waters of Washington and British Columbia. The report, released by the SeaDoc Society last month, indicates that ecosystem degradation is outpacing recovery efforts across the 6,900- square-mile Salish Sea, which includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia…. The report identifies 12 Salish Sea species that have been added to Canadian and U.S. at-risk lists since 2013. These new "species of concern" include the Pacific lamprey and longfin smelt, a forage fish that serves as an important food source for marine predators. Seven birds were added: black scoter, black-legged kittiwake, long-billed dowitcher, eared grebe, parasitic jaeger, pectoral sandpiper and the semipalmated sandpiper. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Hobby Drones Over Orca Whales: Legally Murky And A Potentially Bad Mix
Boats have to stay 200 yards away from the Northwest’s endangered resident killer whales. But what if one of those boaters launches an aerial drone to take better pictures from closer up? It’s not a theoretical question. And the answer is not as clear as law enforcement would like. “We have seen hobby drones being flown out there,” Pacific Whale Watch Association Executive Director Michael Harris said. “We have seen them being flown egregiously close to protected whales.” Tom Banse reports. (NW News Network)

Exam: Gray whale found dead in Seattle had air in chest
A juvenile gray whale found dead in Seattle’s Elliott Bay over the weekend had air in its chest cavity that likely prevented it from diving for food, according to exam results released Friday. A necropsy conducted by biologists with the Cascadia Research Collaborative confirmed what scientists observed when they assessed the whale a couple of days before it died. At the time, they suspected the animal was suffering from an infection or a collapsed lung that had filled its chest cavity with air, which would have made the animal too buoyant to dive. (Associated Press)

How Climate Change Threatens Coastal Archeological Sites
It’s the kind of foggy day you’d expect at Redwood National Park on the Northern California coast. The headlands are shrouded in mist and the gray-blue ocean churns against the shore.  “This place is called Shin-yvslh-sri~ – the Summer Place,” says Suntayea Steinruck a member of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation and Tribal Heritage Preservation Officer for Smith River Rancheria.  Her ancestors lived, hunted and fished around what used to be a small village on this site…. Erosion has been happening all along the Northwest coast for thousands of years. But recently there’s been a change in the intensity and frequency of coastal storms.  “The whole acceleration has increased, and we’re definitely losing sites more rapidly,” says Rick Minor, an archeologist with Heritage Research Associates in Eugene, Oregon.  Jes Burns reports. (OPB/EarthFix)


 Now, your tug weather--

WEST ENTRANCE U.S. WATERS STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA-  250 AM PDT MON MAY 16 2016  

TODAY
 W WIND 5 TO 15 KT...BECOMING 10 TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS.

TONIGHT
 W WIND 10 TO 20 KT...BECOMING 5 TO 15 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT.  WIND WAVES 1 TO 3 FT. W SWELL 4 FT AT 12 SECONDS.

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