Posts Tagged salmon

Jul 7 2016

NOAA authorizes Oregon to continue killing sea lions to save endangered fish

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has authorized three northwestern states to continue killing sea lions that prey on endangered fish species as they try to climb the fish ladder at the Bonneville Dam, officials said Wednesday.

California sea lions often congregate at the mouth of the the Columbia River and in the waters just below the dam, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement, and the hungry marine mammals have put a big dent in the numbers of salmon and steelhead looking to make their yearly migration upstream.

“Last year sea lions were estimated to have consumed nearly 10,000 adult spring Chinook salmon, amounting to more than 3 percent of returning adult fish,” the administration said in a statement. “The impact on individual populations within the run may be much higher. An estimated 25 to 35 percent of the fish consumed are listed under the Endangered Species Act.”

 

Sea lions may be killing more salmon than estimated, NOAA study says

The authorization for Oregon, Washington and Idaho to trap and euthanize the sea lions will run for five years, the administration said in a press release, and is just one tactic the government is trying to help bolster the numbers of flagging fish species.

Oregon officials have tried exclusion gates, pyrotechnics and shooting the animals with rubber buckshot to dissuade the animals from congregating to feed at the dam, but all of those efforts only work temporarily, Oregon officials said.

Problematic sea lions that have been observed feeding near the dam’s fish ladders are individually identified and trapped. Though officials would prefer to relocate the animals to zoos or aquariums, that isn’t always possible and the animals sometimes have to be killed as a last resort.

Since the effort began in 2008, some 166 animals have been removed, 59 of them this year alone. Of 166 sea lions removed, 15 went into captivity, seven died of accidental deaths and 144 were euthanized, a spokesman for NOAA said.

Since the states began the program in 2008, officials estimate 15,000 to 20,000 salmon and steelhead have been saved from predation.

There are about 300,000 California sea lions off the west coast and the authorization only allows for 92 animals to be removed per year. The authorization also precludes removing any Steller sea lions, which are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

—   Kale Williams kwilliams@oregonian.com


Read the original post: http://www.oregonlive.com/

Nov 9 2015

Big Trouble Looms For California Salmon — And For Fishermen

Juvenile Chinook salmon swim in the American River in California. The state's salmon fishery, which revolves around fall-run Chinook, has been estimated to be worth $1.4 billion, with the fish finding their way into markets and restaurants.

Juvenile Chinook salmon swim in the American River in California. The state’s salmon fishery, which revolves around fall-run Chinook, has been estimated to be worth $1.4 billion, with the fish finding their way into markets and restaurants.

Courtesy of John Hannon/USBR

The West Coast’s historic drought has strained many Californians — from farmers who’ve watched their lands dry up, to rural residents forced to drink and cook with bottled water. Now, thanks to a blazing hot summer and unusually warm water, things are looking pretty bad for salmon, too – and for the fishermen whose livelihoods depend on them.

Preliminary counts of juvenile winter-run Chinook are at extreme low levels. These are salmon that are born during the summer in California’s Sacramento River and begin to swim downstream in the fall.

Unusually warm water in recent months has caused high mortality for the young salmon, which are very temperature sensitive in their early life stages. Most years, about 25 percent of the eggs laid and fertilized by spawning winter-run fish survive. This summer and fall, the survival rate may be as low as 5 percent, according to Jim Smith, project leader with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Red Bluff office.

“That’s not good,” Smith tells The Salt.

Worse, it’s the second year in a row this has happened. Most Chinook salmon live on a three-year life cycle, which means one more year like the last two could essentially wipe out the winter run. To protect them, fishing for Chinook in the ocean may be restricted in the years ahead, when winter-run fish born in 2014 and 2015 have become big enough to bite a baited hook. The hope is that the few young fish that survived the recent warm-water die-offs will make it through adulthood and eventually return to the river to spawn.

Sacramento River winter-run Chinook are already protected by law from anglers. It’s mostly the Chinook salmon of the relatively abundant fall run — a genetically distinct strain — that wind up in the fish boxes and coolers of California’s commercial and recreational fishermen. The state’s salmon fishery has been estimated to be worth $1.4 billion, with the fish finding their way into markets and restaurants.

Chinook salmon swim in the Stanislaus River, a tributary of the San Joaquin River, in California.

Chinook salmon swim in the Stanislaus River, a tributary of the San Joaquin River, in California.

Courtesy of John Hannon/USBR

 

The trouble is, winter-run and fall-run Chinookwhen mingled together in the ocean — are all but impossible to tell apart by eye. In fact, many of the protected fish are almost certainly caught and killed every year.

So, when estimated numbers of winter-run fish drop too low, fishing restrictions for all ocean Chinook in certain regions along the California coast may be imposed to protect them. Peter Dygert, a biologist with the sustainable fisheries division of the National Marine Fisheries Service, says fishing regulations for 2016, including size limits and season duration, will be determined at meetings in March and April — and the recent spawning failures of winter-run Chinook will factor into the decision-making.

The water supply issues in Lake Shasta haven’t only affected the winter run. Adult fall-run Chinook are currently returning to the Sacramento River to spawn at very low levels, according to Smith. And in 2013 and 2014, meager river flows caused high juvenile mortality of this commercially important fish.

Bay Area commercial salmon fisherman Mike Hudson says the situation is unfair. “We’re all aware that fishermen haven’t caused this problem,” he says. “The way they manage water in the Central Valley has killed thousands of fish, and we might get shut down to save a few hundred.”

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is required by federal law to make sure enough cold water is available throughout the year at the bottom of Lake Shasta, a large reservoir at the north end of the Sacramento Valley. This cold water is critical for successful salmon spawning in the river below. For fertilized Chinook eggs, water temperatures in the high 50s and up can be lethal. Temperatures in the low- to mid-50s are more ideal.

However, in 2014 and 2015, the bureau failed to meet basic temperature requirements for salmon. Louis Moore, public affairs specialist with the Bureau of Reclamation, says a faulty temperature gauge deep in the lake is to blame. Inaccurate readings, he says, threw off calculations in 2015.

That resulted in too much water released from the reservoir early in the season and not enough cold water left later for the benefit of fish.

Many in the environmental community are not sold on this story.

“All of that is either negligence or incompetence,” says Jon Rosenfield, a conservation biologist with the The Bay Institute, an environmental group in San Francisco. “Why did they only have one temperature gauge? Saying the thermometer broke is like saying, ‘The dog ate my homework.’ ”

Rosenfield says the bureau chose to favor farmers over environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act.

Of course, many farmers have been hit hard by the drought. Growers in parts of the San Joaquin Valley have been receiving none of their usual irrigation allotments and have had to resort to heavy use of groundwater — reserves that are becoming seriously stressed.

But in parts of the Central Valley, farmers have what are called senior water rights. This means they are last in line to get cut off when shortages occur. Rosenfield says these farmers, including rice growers near where the endangered salmon spawn, experienced only minimal cutbacks in 2015.

Even though these farmers have senior rights, favoring them over endangered fish is illegal, according to Kate Poole, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s water program. She tells The Salt that protecting endangered species is supposed to be prioritized over diverting flows to farmland.

John Hannon, a Bureau of Reclamation fisheries biologist, agrees that a miscalculation was made earlier in the year, leading to unfavorable conditions in the cold water supply. However, he says the problems now affecting winter-run salmon have been caused mostly by Mother Nature.

“It just didn’t rain enough,” Hannon says.

If the drought persists through this winter, Rosenfield believes fish must be provided with generous flows while California farmers, who sold a record $54 billion in crops in 2014, must take one for the team.

“Because extinction is forever, and though economic losses for farmers are painful, they aren’t forever,” Rosenfield says.


Read the original post: http://www.npr.org/

May 19 2015

Drought-Stricken California Organizes Unprecedented Effort to Truck Hatchery Salmon to SF Bay

— Posted with permission of SEAFOODNEWS.COM. Please do not republish without their permission. —

Copyright © 2015 Seafoodnews.com

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [KCRA] May 19, 2015

What do you do when you have 30 million young salmon ready for their big journeys downstream, but drought and development have dried your riverbeds to sauna rocks? In California this year, you give the fish a ride.

State and federal wildlife agencies in California are deploying what they say is the biggest fish-lift in the state’s history through this month, rolling out convoys of tanker trucks to transport a generation of hatchery salmon downstream to the San Francisco Bay. California is locked in its driest four-year stretch on record, making the river routes that the salmon normally take to the Pacific Ocean too warm and too shallow for them to survive.

“It’s huge. This is a massive effort statewide on multiple systems,” said Stafford Lehr, chief of fisheries for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which since February has been rolling out four to eight 35,000-gallon tanker trucks filled with baby salmon on their freeway-drive to freedom.

“We’re going to unprecedented drought,” Lehr said. “We’re forced to extreme measures.”

Drought and heavy use of water by farms and cities have devastated key native fish in California. Last year, for example, 95 percent of the state’s winter-run of Chinook salmon died. The fish is vital for California’s fishing industries and for the food chain of wildlife.

For the first time, all five big government hatcheries in California’s Central Valley for fall-run Chinook California salmon – a species of concern under the federal Endangered Species Act – are going to truck their young, release-ready salmon down to the Bay, rather than release them into rivers to make the trip themselves.

And California’s wild native fish should pack a sandwich and something to read; they’ll be spending a lot of the summer on the road too.

“Bone dry. Bone dry,” said fish biologist Don Portz of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, who is six years into an effort to restore the southernmost salmon stream in the U.S., the Central Valley’s San Joaquin River.

Drought, a dam and heavy use of the river’s water for irrigation have dried 60 miles of the San Joaquin. For the young salmon, whose life cycle for millions of years has involved travel from the river back and forth to the San Francisco Bay, that now means a 1 1/2-hour ride down California Highway 99 in a pickup-mounted fish tank.

“You give them that taxi ride down, they make it to the ocean, and come back” in a few years for trapping and a taxi ride back up to spawning grounds, Portz said.

The rolling fish rescues occurring up and down the West Coast haven’t always gone smoothly. In January, Oregon authorities charged a trucker with drunken driving after he hit a pole and flipped 11,000 juvenile salmon out on the roadway, where they died.

For some of California’s native fish, the rescue from drought often is by bucket, not truck.

Near the town of Lagunitas, in Northern California’s Marin County, watershed biologist Preston Brown stood ankle-high in a coastal tributary, searching for endangered California coastal Coho salmon and other, native fish. Decades ago, so many coho salmon filled the water that the noise of their jumping kept people in nearby houses up at night. On this day, Brown and his team find none.

Starting in June, months earlier than usual because of the drought, Brown and others with local environment group Salmon Protection and Watershed Network, will search the waterway. In cooperation with wildlife agencies, they will try to rescue coho and other fish stuck in drying pools of water 4- or 5 inches deep.

Sometimes, Brown said, the bucket brigades get there too late for the stranded salmon. “If they survived the raccoons” and other predators, “they dried up and died,” Brown said.

Lehr, the fisheries chief, expects some individual steelhead trout in Southern California will get truck rides two or three times this summer, as parts of rivers and creeks disappear.

As a last resort, when some rivers have no pools of water left to shelter fish, wildlife officials will remove survivors to a hatchery to wait out the drought. Two such isolated native species from dried-up waterways have been living in government hatcheries since last year, snacking on flies that rangers catch in bug-zappers for them, Lehr said, and waiting for wetter times.


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Apr 22 2014

Swim to Sea? These Salmon Are Catching a Lift

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Salmon were put into the hold of the trawler Merva W this month for a trip to San Francisco Bay. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

RIO VISTA, Calif. — As the Merva W puttered down the Sacramento River, it looked like any other dowdy fishing vessel headed toward the Golden Gate Bridge. But no other boat had as surprising a cargo or as unusual a mission: The Merva W was giving 100,000 young salmon a lift to the Pacific in the hope of keeping them alive…

Read the entire story here. [NYTimes.com]

Aug 13 2013

Study finds eating salmon weekly can cut rheumatoid arthritis risk in half

Seafood News
Eating fish such as salmon at least once a week could halve the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a new study has claimed.

The findings stem from a study of more than 32,000 Swedish women and offer another reason to follow the established dietary advice of regularly consuming fish for good health.

Researchers said the benefits of fishy diet are because it is rich in omega-3, which is said to protect both the heart and the brain.

A research team at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute analysed the dietary habits of 32,000 women, all of whom were born between 1914 and 1948 and were followed from 2003 to 2010.

Participants provided information on their diet, height, weight, parenthood status and educational achievements, as well as recording the frequency and amounts of various foods they ate, including several types of oily and lean fish.

A total of 205 women were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis during the follow-up period and the researchers discovered that a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids – which are found in fish such as salmon and fresh tuna – was associated with a reduced risk of the autoimmune disease.

Read the full story here.

Apr 9 2013

FRESH FACTS. SMART SEAFOOD.

This video introduces consumers to FishWatch.gov, which provides easy-to-understand, science-based facts to help users make smart, sustainable seafood choices.

Through this video, you’ll learn more about “sustainability” and what NOAA is doing to ensure that our seafood is caught and farmed responsibly with consideration for the health of a species, the environment, and the livelihoods of the people that depend on them.

And you can help too!

Have you ever thought about where that piece of salmon on your plate came from? It could have been caught in a wild fishery or harvested from an aquaculture operation. Maybe it’s from the United States, or maybe it was imported from another country, like Canada or Chile.

It’s important to know the source of your seafood because not all of them measure up the same. Some seafood is wild-caught or farm-raised under regulations that protect the health of the marine ecosystem, the animals that live within it, and the consumers that eat it—however, some seafood is not. By buying seafood from reputable sources, you can help to conserve our ocean resources and support the economies and communities that ensure our seafood supply is safe and sustainable.

The next time you buy or eat seafood, get informed and make sustainable choices by using FishWatch.gov.

Mar 21 2013

Pacific coast forage fish protection strongest in the world (Opinion)

 

Seafood News

 

 

 

 

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [Seafoodnews.com] By D.B. Pleschner – March 20, 2013 – (Opinion)

(D.B. Pleschner is Executive Director of the California Wetfish Producers Association, a nonprofit designed to

promote sustainable wetfish resources.)

 

Recent stories, in newspapers, and reported on Seafood News, (Pacific Fishery Management Council proposes comprehensive ecosystem plan Seafood.com Feb 20th) unfortunately may have left some readers with the wrong impression regarding the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s upcoming decision – on April 9 – to adopt the Pacific Coast Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP).

 

These stories have implied rampant overfishing of forage species – like sardines – that the FEP supposedly will address by reducing catch limits on these fish in order to maintain a food source for bigger species like salmon and albacore.

 

However, this simply isn’t true.

 

The Council authorized development of the FEP to “enhance the Council’s species-specific management programs with more ecosystem science, broader ecosystem considerations and management policies that coordinate Council management across its Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) and the California Current Ecosystem (CCE).”

 

The FEP’s first initiative proposes to protect unmanaged lower trophic level forage species such as Pacific sandlance and saury, which are currently not fished, by “prohibiting the development of new directed fisheries on forage species that are not currently managed by the Council, or the States, until the Council has had an adequate opportunity to assess the science relating to any proposed fishery and any potential impacts to our existing fisheries and communities.”

 

In contrast, anchovy, sardines and market squid, officially known as coastal pelagic species (CPS), are already well managed under both federal and state fishery management plans, which prescribe precautionary harvest limits. Consider the visionary management of Pacific sardines, the poster fish for ecosystem-based management. A riskaverse formula is in place that ensures when population numbers go down, the harvest also goes down. Conversely, when more sardines are available, more harvest is allowed, but the maximum cap is set far below the

maximum sustainable harvest level.

 

In 2011, the U.S. West Coast sardine fisheries harvested only 5.11 percent of a very conservative stock estimate, leaving nearly 95 percent of the species for predators and ecosystem needs. Does that sound like overfishing to you? Of course not, and scientists agree.

A 2012 study by a panel of 13 scientists from around the world – known as the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force – concluded that while overfishing of forage species is problematic on a global scale, the West Coast is not being overfished.

 

Indeed they noted that the Pacific Coast is, “ahead of other parts of the world in how it manages some forage fish.” The region has “stricter monitoring and more conservative limits that could serve as a buffer against future crashes.”

 

Knowledgeable people know that this is no accident. Fishing families have historically worked with regulators to protect our wetfish fisheries. In fact, more than a decade ago, the Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted a management strategy for CPS harvested in California and on the West Coast, maintaining at least 75 percent of the fish in the ocean to ensure a

resilient core biomass. The sardine protection rate is even higher.

 

California also implemented a network of no-take marine reserves throughout our state’s waters. Reserves established at specific bird rookery and marine mammal haul-out sites – for example near the Farallon Islands, Año Nuevo, and Southern California’s Channel Islands – were enacted to protect forage fish. More than 30 percent of traditional squid harvest grounds are now closed in reserve.

 

Hopefully these facts will prevail and dispel the hype. California has been recognized by internationally respected scientists as having one of the lowest fishery harvest rates in the world. It’s one of only a few areas deemed ‘sustainable’. (Rebuilding Global Fisheries, Science 2009).

 

Ken Coons

 

Seafood.com News 1-781-861-1441

Email comments to kencoons@seafood.com

Copyright © 2013 Seafoodnews.com

Source: Seafood.com News

Oct 12 2012

Eating Fish While Pregnant Halves the Risk of ADHD

The amount of fish a woman eats while pregnant may affect her child’s chances of developing attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Eating fish twice a week was linked to about a 60 per cent lower risk of a child developing certain ADHD-like symptoms, according to research from the Boston University School of Public Health.

But the type of fish eaten is key.

Elevated mercury levels, which can occur from eating certain types of fish, such as tuna and swordfish, were also tied to a higher risk of developing ADHD symptoms such as a short attention span, restlessness or being easily distracted.

‘The really important message is to eat fish,’ said assistant professor Sharon Sagiv, the study’s lead author.

Read full story here.

 

Aug 20 2012

Record Salmon Run Expected

“The Klamath River expects a record chinook salmon run this year, the most since 1978. Much like the abundant forage – such as sardines and squid – that live off California’s coast, the high numbers of salmon reflect both strong precautionary fishery management practices and good ocean conditions.

 

That’s because even without human involvement, fish populations naturally ebb and flow with the changing conditions of the ocean. But various fish populations are further boosted by California’s long-standing, sustainable fishing practices and regulations. That’s why scientific studies show our fisheries are among the most protected in the world.”

– California Wetfish Producers Association (CWPA) 


Epic forecast for fall run on Klamath River

Written by Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

The largest projected return of fall-run chinook salmon since 1978 is looming over the Klamath River.

A valley of the Klamath River. Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Fishery managers project that roughly 380,000 adult chinook salmon  will migrate up the Klamath this fall to spawn — three times the estimated run of 2011 adult chinook and 50 percent greater than the highest run on record (245,242 total fish in 1995).

Starting Wednesday, sport fishermen will be allowed to keep four adult chinooks per day, with a possession limit of eight adult chinooks.

The abundant forecast is a boon for sport anglers, tribal fishermen and the guides, hotels and restaurants that benefit from tourism dollars.

“I think it’s going to be the best season I’ve ever seen,” said fishing guide Gary Hix, who has already booked up much of his season on the Klamath.

“We haven’t had a four-fish quota since the quota era started,” said Wade Sinnen, senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Game.

Sinnen said it was a “tough sell” to convince the California Fish and Game Commission to adopt the four-fish limit, but the projections warrant it. “Even with a four-fish adult bag, it’s very unlikely we will obtain our quota,” he said. “This is a test year to evaluate the capacity of the sport fishery.”

It’s important to get as close as possible to the sport-fishing quota of 67,600 chinooks, because conditions are ripe for another event like the 2002 fish kill when tens of thousands of salmon died from diseases before spawning — partly due to more fish than usual.

An estimated 34,000 to 78,000 salmon died primarily from a gill-rotting disease known as “ich” (Ichthyopthirius multifilis).

“I was out there counting those dead fish; it was a smelly, disgusting mess — it was sad really,” Sinnen said. “People are nervous this year that the same thing could occur due to the record forecast of salmon and dry to average water conditions in the Klamath basin.”

To prevent a repeat fish kill, the Bureau of Reclamation started releasing additional water from the Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River to keep the flow of the lower Klamath River at 3,200 cubic feet per second throughout the peak of the fall run.

Mike Belchik, senior fisheries biologist for the Yurok Tribe, presented a case for higher flows for the fall-run chinook to the multi-agency Trinity River Fall Flows Workgroup, which was well received.

Maintaining a minimum flow of 2,800 cfs for an above-average run had already been established, but this run’s bigger than that.

Belchik emphasized to the group that excellent salmon fishing on the ocean provided reason to trust the predictions, and “in order to decrease the odds of fish kill happening we would like to increase the flow from 2,800 to 3,200,” he said.

Read the full article on Triplicate.com

 
Jul 24 2012

The Bite is On! Fishing for Salmon off California Coast is Best in Years

California Department of Fish and Game News Release
 

The Bite is On! Fishing for Salmon off California Coast is Best in Years

If your fishing gear has been in the garage collecting dust, now’s the time to pull it out because the salmon are here, and the bite is on!

Anglers and sport-fishing charters off the California coast are returning to the docks with full boats and happy customers as the strong ocean salmon bite continues, making 2012 one of the best salmon seasons in years.

Mild weather and good ocean conditions are contributing to what fishermen and Department of Fish and Game (DFG) officials hope will continue to be a robust year for ocean salmon fishing. Hopes are also high for big returns to California rivers this fall.

“Thanks to the favorable ocean conditions and plentiful food, all the reports we are receiving from the coast are very positive,” said DFG Northern Regional Manager Neil Manji. “The charter boats are coming back early enough to make two trips a day because everyone has been catching their limits.”

The daily bag and possession limit is two salmon per person and the minimum size limit is 20 inches.

To find out more visit the California Department of FIsh and Game.