Wednesday, May 18, 2016

5/18 Dungeness crabs, BC pipe panel, sea noise, spot prawns, Polley mine, Humboldt squid, Break Free...

Mount St. Helens, May 18, 1980 (Gary Rosenquist)
NOAA: Dungeness crab in peril from acidification
The Dungeness crab fishery could decline West Coastwide, a new study has found, threatening a fishing industry worth nearly a quarter-billion dollars a year. Scientists at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle found that pH levels likely in West Coast waters by 2100 at current rates of greenhouse-gas pollution would hurt the survivability of crab larvae. Increasing ocean acidification is predicted to harm a wide range of sea life unable to properly form calcium carbonate shells as the pH drops. Now scientists at the NOAA’s Northwest Fishery Science Center of Seattle also have learned that animals with chiton shells — specifically Dungeness crabs — are affected, because the change in water chemistry affects their metabolism. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Trudeau government names Trans Mountain environmental review panel
The federal government has announced the first of its promised additional environmental reviews of two pipeline projects that are already before the National Energy Board. The new, three-member panel will look into the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipelines. The members announced by Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr Tuesday are: Annette Trimbee, the president of the University of Winnipeg and a former deputy finance minister in Alberta…. Tony Penikett, the former premier of Yukon and the author of Reconciliation: First Nations Treaty Making in British Columbia…. Kim Baird, former elected chief of B.C.'s Tsawwassen First Nation, who now runs her own consulting firm specializing in indigenous policy, governance and development issues. Chris Hall reports. (CBC)

‘Sonic Sea’ movie takes us to the underwater world of sound
Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: "“Sonic Sea,” which will air Thursday on Discovery Channel, will take you down beneath the ocean waves, where sounds take on new meaning, some with dangerous implications. Humans spend most of their time in air, a medium that transmits light so well that we have no trouble seeing the shapes of objects in a room or mountains many miles away. In the same way, water is the right medium for sound, which shapes the world of marine mammals and other species that live under water. The hour-long documentary film reveals how humpback whales use low-frequency sounds to communicate with other whales across an entire ocean and how killer whales use high-frequency sound to locate their prey in dark waters…."

Ten things you need to know about British Columbia spot prawns
A decade ago, British Columbia spot prawns were a bottom-of-the-barrel seafood product – the mushy filler for chowder and fortifier of cheap fish stock. Last weekend, the luxury crustaceans were toasted with Mo√ęt & Chandon champagne. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the B.C. Spot Prawn Festival kicked off Friday night with a black-tie gala at the tony, private Vancouver Club. The splashy fete featured the delicacy in six courses – melted into “liquid gold,” smoked over rosemary, poached with grand-fir tips and chopped into XO sauce – prepared by famous chefs from Vancouver and across the country. Gala guests wore ball gowns and tuxedos and the soaring calla lily floral arrangements were lavish. The scene was about as far removed from a dockside spot-prawn boil as one could imagine. So how did the humble B.C. spot prawn go from being an unappreciated toss-away ingredient to one of Canada’s signature seafood luxury products coveted in restaurants around the world? Here’s what you need to know. Alexandra Gill reports. (Globe and Mail)

Mount Polley expect to go into full production, use repaired dam next month
Imperial Metals, despite setbacks in dealing with mine waste while running at reduced capacity at its Mount Polley gold and copper mine, expects to have permits in place to go to full production next month. The company also expects to have approval from the B.C. government to begin depositing mine waste in June at its large storage facility for the first time since a catastrophic failure of a rock and earth dam nearly two years ago. Gordon Hoekstra reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Vicious, and delicious: Humboldt squid now sustainable Ocean Wise restaurant fare
First they invaded the waters off the West Coast of British Columbia. Now the feared Humboldt squid is landing on restaurant menus on Vancouver Island. The man-sized cephalopod — also known as the jumbo flying squid, diablo rojo — is known to attack divers and fishermen. It is usually found in South America, all the way up to California, but it began appearing on the B.C. coast several years ago. Victoria's Fish Hook restaurant serves the squid in dishes ranging from calamari-like pakoras to masala-corn curry. Deborah Wilson reports. (CBC)

Fossil fuels protest comes with hefty price tag
he Skagit County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that the preliminary costs for it to staff the Break Free PNW protest event this past weekend were $92,000. Of that, about $70,000 went to overtime, said Jackie Brunson, chief of administrative services at the office. Brunson estimated that final costs for the office will be about $100,000. (Skagit Valley Herald)

About a ton of debris left after climate protest near Anacortes
Authorities say about a ton of debris was left on the ground after weekend environmental protest in northwest Washington. The anti-oil protesters told KING-TV they were forced to leave the area and didn’t have time to grab all their belongings before being arrested. Local authorities say the debris they took to the dump included camping equipment left by people who slept on railroad tracks near Anacortes…. The Skagit County Public Works department hauled away 2,300 pounds of debris. The activists say those items were valuable gear, camping equipment and clothing they never wanted to leave behind. (Associated Press)

Is your favorite beach safe for swimming?
The water bubbles from the small plastic container in Jim Ellis' hands. He's holding it about six inches under the surface of the nearly totally clear water a few feet from shore at Bracket's Landing Beach in Edmonds…. Jim is knee-deep not only in the chilly Puget Sound water, but his WSU Beach Watcher volunteer hours, too.  He's one of more than a hundred volunteers that will take weekly water samples at 70 Puget Sound beaches this summer. Tim Joyce reports. (KCPQ)

Bigg's killer whales become regulars in Pacific Northwest water
Transient whales, also known as Bigg’s killer whales, were familiar visitors to Pacific Northwest waters this spring. “Sure enough, we’ve had record sightings of Bigg’s whales in these waters the last several years and we just may top that this year,” says Capt,. Mark Malleson of Prince of Whales Whale Watching in Victoria. “Some of the transients are almost becoming ‘resident transients’ – the T065As for example were reported over 40 days in the Salish Sea in both 2014 and 2015.” (KING)

Do call it a comeback — how the checkerspot butterfly found salvation in a women’s prison
You may have heard about how the honey bee’s decline is threatening the world’s food crops. Well they’re not the only pollinators in trouble. The Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly was also facing extinction in the face of its shrinking prairie habitat. But thanks to an innovative breeding program at a women’s prison outside Seattle, it’s making a comeback. Cat Wise reports. (PBS Newshour)

Big win for small mammal
Efforts to revive the Olympic Peninsula's fisher population have helped the furry mammal narrowly avoid listing under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently determined that the distinct population of West Coast fisher is not at risk for extinction and does not require ESA protections. The service praised the "proactive fisher conservation efforts" led by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, which began a fisher reintroduction program on the peninsula in 2008 and is now expanding it to the Cascade Range. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsapp Sun)

Unexpected Edmonds Fishing Pier repairs to cost nearly $400K
Following news earlier in the day that completion of the Edmonds Fishing Pier Rehabilitation Project will take longer than expected due to “poor quality original construction,” the Edmonds City Council learned at its Tuesday night meeting that it will cost nearly $400,000 more than was budgeted to complete the work. The main focus of the project was to repair the underlying support beams, which were showing significant rust and oxidation. But when the contractors began work, they discovered unanticipated significant damage, City Engineer Rob English told the council. (My Edmonds)

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