Monday, November 27, 2017

11/27 BC barge, salmon status, fishing seasons, WA LNG, WA oil port, ANWR drill, rail protest, humpback feeding, Kelly's Pt, Mexico MPA, Dan O'Neal, Chester

Grunt sculpin [Hildering/Marine Detective]
Grunt Sculpin – Little Fish, BIG Attitude!
Meet the fish that so often has people exclaiming “It lives HERE?!” Yep, the tiny grunt sculpin [Rhamphocottus richardsonii] is a powerful ambassador for raising awareness about the depth of biodiversity hidden in the cold, dark, rich waters of the north east Pacific.  We are programmed to associate warm waters with exotic-looking fish species but read below for the Grunt Sculpin’s astounding adaptations and masterful mimicry. (The Marine Detective)

Fuel-laden barge stranded near Bella Bella, B.C
Maritime rescue officials say a U.S. barge with millions of litres of diesel fuel onboard has become stranded off the coast of Bella Bella, B.C. The Joint Rescue Co-Ordination Centre in Victoria (JRCC) says the vessel Jake Shearer broke free from the tugboat which pushes it from behind around 3:45 p.m. PT Sunday. Crews have dropped the vessel's anchor and JRCC officials confirm it is not moving. The 128 metre Jake Shearer barge is located about 1.6 kilometres from the Goose group islands and 45 kilometres from Bella Bella. Chad Pawson reports. (CBC)

What would it take to restore the legendary Chinook salmon?
Giant Chinook salmon of 50 pounds or more have not yet faded into legend, as operators of a salmon hatchery in Central British Columbia, Canada, can tell you. The annual spawning effort at the Percy Walkus Hatchery on the Wannock River involves catching Chinook as they move upstream rather than waiting for them to arrive at the hatchery. This year, fishing crews brought home a remarkably large fish that has lived long and prospered. The progeny of this fish will be returned to the river from the hatchery to continue the succession of large Chinook. Chris Dunagan writes. (Watching Our Water Ways)

NOAA: Skagit, Stillaguamish coho at risk of being overfished
Skagit and Stillaguamish river coho salmon are among several marine fish populations that are at risk of being depleted due to overfishing. According to a notice published this week in the Federal Register, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has determined that not enough Skagit River coho are making it to their spawning grounds and Stillaguamish River coho are being fished at rates higher than are sustainable. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

New Study Argues For More Precise Timing Of Fishing Seasons 
People who catch fish for sport or for a living often eagerly await the day when fishing season opens. But a new study from the University of Washington argues the timing of fishing seasons needs to be reevaluated, especially in light of climate change. For spawning salmon, timing is everything. The fish have a precise internal clock. They have a better chance of surviving the gauntlet of fishermen if they return either before fishing season starts or after it ends. Deborah Wang reports. (NW News Network)

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to hold informational meetings on LNG
Questions about the permits for Puget Sound Energy’s controversial liquefied natural-gas plant are expected to dominate a pair of informational meetings being held by Puget Sound Clean Air Agency this week. The two-hour meetings will take place on Monday, Nov. 27, and the other on Friday, Dec. 1. They will start with a brief presentation by the air-agency staff about the project and then will be opened up to the crowd for questions. Candace Ruud reports. (Tacoma News Tribune)

Final Report On Vancouver Oil Terminal Highlights Environmental Risks
A Washington energy council has released a massive environmental report that could decide the fate of a controversial $210 million oil terminal in Vancouver. The state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, discussed findings from the Final Environmental Impact Statement Tuesday afternoon (Nov 21) at a special meeting in Olympia. The lengthy report, more than 1,200 pages, is one of the final steps in a regulatory process that’s spanned more than four years. The final review is an update to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that was released in November 2015. EFSEC staff say they received more than 250,000 comments on the draft through mail, email and public testimony. Molly Solomon reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

Drilling for oil in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is in the GOP tax plan. Can Maria Cantwell block the effort?
In 2005, a first-term Democratic senator from Washington came out on top in a bristling confrontation with Alaska’s senior Republican senator, then at the peak of his power and determined to fulfill his quest to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development. It was a signature victory for Sen. Maria Cantwell, burnishing her green credentials, as she corralled enough votes to defeat efforts by the late Ted Stevens to attach a refuge oil-development measure to a military-spending measure. Twelve years later, Cantwell, now in her third term, faces a more difficult fight to block new legislation that would make petroleum production a purpose of the 1.5-million-acre coastal plain. Hal Bernton and Lynda Mapes report. (Seattle Times)

Even a tiny oil spill spells bad news for birds
Birds don’t need to be drenched in crude oil to be harmed by spills and leaks. Ingesting even small amounts of oil can interfere with the animals’ normal behavior, researchers reported November 15 at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America. Birds can take in these smaller doses by preening slightly greasy feathers or eating contaminated food, for example. Laura Hamers reports. (Science News)

Railroad company urges Olympia police to take action against protesters
The president of a local railroad company, affected by an encampment of protesters on tracks it uses, has sent a letter to Mayor Cheryl Selby and Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts, urging that police take action against the protesters. Since Friday (Nov 17), the group has occupied a section of railroad tracks at Jefferson Street and Seventh Avenue Southeast to protest fracking sand cargo handled by the Port of Olympia. Port officials have said there is no rail shipment of such cargo scheduled. Rolf Boone and Amelia Dickson report. (Olympian)

New feeding behaviour adopted by humpback whales off Vancouver Island
Researchers off northeastern Vancouver Island have documented what they believe is a new and globally unique feeding behaviour for humpback whales. And while they’ve dubbed it “trap feeding,” it could just as easily be referred to as the “sneak attack” for the way it lures in unsuspecting prey. Christie McMillan, executive director of the Marine Education and Research Society, said a juvenile humpback was first observed employing trap feeding in 2011. Since then, the method spread to at least 16 whales by the end of 2015 in the waters near Telegraph Cove. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Effort underway to conserve Guemes Island's Kelly's Point
On the southern edge of Guemes Island, a beach with patches of pebbles and sand hugs the base of towering bluffs. The beach wraps around about a half-mile of the island’s shore. To the south is Anacortes, and to the west is densely forested Cypress Island. “Before the Guemes Mountain Trail, this is where people came for that unique Guemes Island experience,” island resident and Skagit Land Trust land steward Kit Harma said of the area, which is called Kelly’s Point. The family that owns 27 acres of property along Kelly’s Point and for years has allowed public access has put the property up for sale and received multiple offers, Skagit Land Trust Executive Director Molly Doran said. The land trust has until Jan. 28 to secure $1.4 million to buy the property. Another about $600,000 would be needed to manage the property. The land trust is working to ensure that the beach and bluffs at Kelly’s Point remain undeveloped and open to the public. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Mexico creates huge national park to protect marine life
The Mexican government has created a large marine reserve around a group of islands home to hundreds of species including rays, whales and sea turtles. The Revillagigedo Archipelago is a group of volcanic islands off the country's south-west coast. With a protection zone of 57,000 square miles (150,000km), it has become the largest ocean reserve in North America. The move will mean all fishing activity will be banned, and the area will be patrolled by the navy. (BBC)

Partnership overseeing environmental volunteer efforts comes to end
Volunteers and staff focused on the health of the marine environment in Skagit County are looking to regroup because the Coastal Volunteer Partnership has been disbanded. About 40 of them met Nov. 16 in Anacortes to discuss their path forward and to thank Coastal Volunteer Partnership Coordinator Samantha Russell for leading the way the past two years…. The Coastal Volunteer Partnership organized and led the Salish Sea Stewards program — an intensive, 10-week training for volunteers interested in citizen science opportunities — and connected volunteers, whether stewards or not, with programs in the area. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

O'Neal was champion of salmon, Hood Canal
Dan O’Neal valued truth, facts and science, especially when it came to his beloved Hood Canal. The former board member of the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group died Oct. 10, surrounded by family while he gazed out at the Olympic Mountains and Hood Canal. He was 81. (Kitsap Sun)

Chester the false killer whale has died, Vancouver Aquarium says
Chester the false killer whale has died, according to the Vancouver Aquarium. Chester arrived at the Vancouver Aquarium in July 2014 after Tofino residents discovered the undernourished and dehydrated calf on nearby North Chesterman Beach. Upon rehabilitation he was deemed non-releasable into the wild by a panel of experts brought together by Fisheries and Oceans Canada…. Chester's death will add fuel to the debate that has raged for years over whether the Vancouver Aquarium should keep captive whales and dolphins (cetaceans). Karin Larsen reports. (CBC)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  239 AM PST Mon Nov 27 2017  
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM THIS EVENING THROUGH LATE
 TONIGHT  
TODAY
 W wind 5 to 15 kt becoming SE in the afternoon then  rising to 15 to 25 kt late. Wind waves 2 ft or less building to 2  to 4 ft late. W swell 9 ft at 10 seconds. A chance of showers.
TONIGHT
 S wind 15 to 25 kt becoming SE 30 to 40 kt after  midnight. Combined seas 5 to 8 ft with a dominant period of  10 seconds. Showers likely in the evening then showers after  midnight.

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