Thursday, December 14, 2017

12/14 Fish disease, Chinook quota, BC steelhead, Dcrabs, Cooke fine, Nooksack R., Bowser poop, electric WSF, wildlife pix

Lunchtime [PHOTO: Laurie MacBride]
Encounter at Low Tide
Laurie MacBride in Eye on Environment writes: "During a shoreline paddle in the Gulf Islands earlier this year, I stopped to admire this busy character.  How could I resist the combination of a gorgeous fur coat and such skill at finding a delicious shellfish lunch underneath all that seaweed?… I’m always fascinated to watch raccoons at work, using the keen sense of touch they have in their front paws to locate food, even in places where it looks all but impossible to find. I admit, though: had I encountered the same character at home in my garden, I would not have been quite so charmed. Context is everything, isn’t it?"

New research shows wild salmon exposed to fish farms have 'much higher' rate of disease
Wild salmon exposed to open-net fish farms are much more likely to be infected with piscine reovirus (PRV) than those that don't have that contact, a new study has concluded. The data also show that the virus makes it more difficult for wild salmon to swim upstream to their spawning grounds, which has major implications for the sustainability of the populations. "The government has to remove this industry from the key salmon migration routes or we risk the complete loss of wild salmon in this province," said Alexandra Morton, lead author on the report and an outspoken advocate for wild salmon. Ash Kelly reports. (CBC)

Salmon fishing restrictions may get 'severe'
A salmon fishing agreement between the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and tribal co-managers is fueling continued angst by many recreational fishermen who fear it will force severe closures. The Comprehensive Management Plan for Puget Sound Chinook was recently released after a long secret court mediation process. If approved, it could place severe restrictions on salmon fishing around Puget Sound. Because the plan was reached in secret, it's also reignited a rallying cry for transparency from WDFW and tribal co-managers…. Both the Attorney General's office and representatives from WDFW explained that the mediation process required non-disclosure from all parties. If approved by NOAA, the plan would reduce the exploitation rate from 12 percent to 8 percent on wild Chinook for the next 10 years. That means only 8 percent of the wild Chinook expected to return to their natal streams can be impacted by fishing. Alison Morrow reports/ (KING)

Wildlife committee launches emergency assessment for B.C. steelhead
A dismal return for steelhead salmon in British Columbia’s Interior Fraser River system has prompted an emergency assessment of the species. Eric Taylor, chair of Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, said two recent requests from the public for an investigation into the species in addition to mounting evidence of the steelhead decline led to last week’s decision to take action. Linda Givetash reports. (Canadian Press)

Dungeness crab population declining in south sound
The winter crabbing season is set to close at the end of the month, but several marine areas did not even open for crabbing in the fall — after countless crabbers came up empty-handed repeatedly last summer. In fact, of the state’s 13 marine areas, five of them — all in the south sound — remained closed to crabbing when the winter season opened on Oct. 7. Don Velasquez, a fish and wildlife biologist at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), stressed this is not the norm…. Numerous islanders were upset when few Dungeness crabs found their way into pots last summer, and now that the state has finished compiling statistics, it is clear just how poor the season was — and how few crabs appear to be living in nearby waters. Sue Riemer reports. (Vashon Beachcomber)

Aquaculture company fined for violating ecology regulations
Washington state regulators have fined Cooke Aquaculture $8,000 for water quality violations at its farmed salmon operations off Bainbridge Island. The violations are unrelated to the company's Cypress Island net pens, which collapsed in August and released tens of thousands of non-native Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound. The state is currently investigating that collapse. The Department of Ecology on Wednesday said Cooke repeatedly cleaned dirty equipment and sent polluted wastewater into Puget Sound in Rich Passage. It penalized the company for pressure washing equipment over the water, changing boat engine oil over the water and other practices. (Associated Press)

A Visual Journey of the Proposed Nooksack Wild & Scenic River
Jonathan Stumpf writes: "We’re working to permanently protect 113 river miles and nearly 35,000 acres of riverside land in Washington’s upper Nooksack River system as Wild and Scenic. Join us for a visual journey of this amazing river and then take action to help us protect this special place." (American Rivers)

RDN to proceed with Bowser Wastewater Project
Despite facing possible legal repercussions and strong protest from residents, the Regional District of Nanaimo is going to proceed with the controversial Bowser Village Wastewater Project.… With the bylaws now officially in place, the RDN will enter into a Development Cost Charge (DCC) Front-ender Amendment agreement, dated Dec. 12, with four local developers who will be financing $2.6 million of the $10.7 project. The wastewater project was previously granted $7.6 million under the federal and provincial Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF)…. Residents outside the proposed service area have expressed strong opposition to the marine disposal option chosen for the project. The majority expressed these concerns at RDN-hosted public information sessions, in letters sent to the regional district, and online. The project consists of a collection system, treatment system and marine disposal, which Randy Alexander, general manager for regional and community utilities, indicated are a “proven and reliable method of managing treated effluent.” Michael Briones reports. (Parksville Qualicum Beach News)

Head Of Washington State Ferries Has Plans To Electrify The Fleet 
A new state initiative called Maritime Blue is pushing for more sustainability in the sector. A 20-member advisory council appointed by Governor Jay Inslee is developing innovation strategies, with the help of consultants from Norway. That has the head of the Washington State Ferries system dreaming big about how to electrify the fleet. Speaking at the launch of Maritime Blue, State Ferries Director Amy Scarton presented her vision, which she said was inspired by cajoling from the staff of the new council. She noted that the state Department of Transportation is falling behind on meeting its reduction targets for greenhouse gas emissions. And that if you look at the emissions from all of the vehicles run by WSDOT – all of the heavy equipment, snowplows, cars, trucks and boats – it turns out the ferry system is the biggest culprit. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

If you like to watch: Here Come The Penitent Penguins: The Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards Are Back
Penitent penguins. A seal aghast. A turbocharged wigeon, a vain gnu and a kickboxing kangaroo. The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are back. This year’s winners were announced Thursday morning. The annual awards are “ingeniously titled to avoid any confusion,” according to their website, and recognize images that are “light-hearted, upbeat, possibly unpretentious and mainly about wildlife doing funny things.” Like a fox pooping in one of the holes on a golf course, for example. Not a lot pretentious about that. Rebecca Hersher reports (NPR)

Now, your tug weather--
West Entrance U.S. Waters Strait Of Juan De Fuca-  210 AM PST Thu Dec 14 2017  
TODAY
 SE wind 10 to 20 kt becoming 5 to 15 kt in the  afternoon. Wind waves 1 to 3 ft. W swell 7 ft at 15 seconds.
TONIGHT
 SE wind to 10 kt becoming SW after midnight. Wind  waves 1 ft or less. W swell 7 ft at 14 seconds. A chance of rain  after midnight.

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