Slippery plans for “organic” certification of farmed fish – Action needed by April 8th

Over the past decade, WILD has become widely recognized as the gold standard for quality salmon and other seafoods, and the fishing industry and consumers have benefited when labels are accurate and can be trusted. Occasional packages of imported farmed salmon labeled “organic” in US markets simply indicated the corruption of some foreign certification standards. This would never be allowed by our Department of Agriculture… or so we thought.
The USDA National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is meeting April 29 – May 2, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas, and is considering various petitions that are part of a concerted effort to certify US farmed salmon and other seafoods as organic. Some NOSB members have said that since farmed fish are here already, setting standards will raise the bar on an industry with notoriously dirty practices. Yet, for years since the Livestock Committee recommended farmed
seafoods for certification, instead of assessing species to be reared, whether ocean or coastal cages should be allowed, composition of feed, impacts of pollution and other problems of marine feedlots, at this meeting, they are considering exemptions for usage of chlorine, vaccines, and synthetic feed additives requested by aquaculture operations hoping to secure organic accreditation in the future. They need to be educated before the process picks up any
more momentum on a very slippery slope.
Comments have to be submitted by April 8, 2014 and can be sent via #submitComment;D=AMS_FRDOC_0001-1155. For additional
information, email Michelle Arsenault (, NOSB Advisory Board Specialist or call 202-720-0081.
This move towards certifying seafoods reared in feedlots would not only confuse consumers, itcould cause serious economic harm to capture fisheries. Fresh farmed organic fish may trump frozen wild fish in the marketplace, even among very savvy consumers. “If the USDA does decide to allow farm-raised fish into the ranks of USDA-certified organic products, this could open the door to a huge increase in profits for the aquaculture industry as well as give them a huge leg up over the commercial fishing industry.” (The Organic Aquaculture Quandary )
The pressure may also be coming from growers of commodity crops looking for new markets to dump their products. Representatives of the American Soy Growers and Illinois Soybean Association attended NOAA meetings in the Pacific Northwest to describe their industry plans to produce feed for the fish farm industry. “Aquaculture Oceans of Opportunity” states “Marine or offshore aquaculture is fast becoming the focus of aquaculture expansion” and the Illinois Soybean Association has “made considerable investments in furthering offshore aquaculture productions systems and in perfecting feed rations”.
Since the inception of the National Organic Program, the standards have been trusted to mean that food with the label have been produced in ways that are compatible with organic principles of adhering to practices that “restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony … and balance natural systems.” These principles require protecting biodiversity, minimizing environmental impacts, controlling inputs, and allowing “natural behaviors.” These are not the practices of
industrial aquaculture.
There are many problems that could be described in comments:
* Marine fish farms replicate some of the worst practices of confined animal feedlot operations, known as CAFOs, which could never receive organic certification.
*Impacts are largely under the waterline and out of sight, so the fish farm industry has escaped scrutiny that would have closed down comparably dirty land-based operations. Marine netpens allow excess feed, pathogens, parasites, and voluminous amounts of pollution to flush into the surrounding waters, putting other aquatic species at risk.
*Farmed fish escape, competing with wild species for food and habitat. More than 613,000 non-native Atlantic salmon escaped from netpens into Washington State waters in 4 years; millions of farmed fish escape world-wide.
*The salmon farming industry uses more antibiotics per pound than any other livestock producer and these pesticides, fungicides, algaecides and other chemicals flush from open cages into the surrounding waters.
*Several studies have concluded that usage of antibiotics in fish farming increases antibiotic resistant bacteria in our marine environment and in our food supply. The industrial aquaculture production system medicates to the weakest animal and sick and treated fish and seafood sometimes end up in the marketplace.
*Neil Frazer, professor at the University of Hawaii, states that large-scale farming of finfish “eventually destroys surrounding wild fish stocks … nature has an effectively inexhaustible supply of diseases.”
*Use of fish meal and fish oil from wild forage fish result in overfishing of wild fish to feed carnivorous farmed fish. One-third of the ocean’s harvest is herring, anchovies, mackerel and other small fish, which are made into fish meal and oil for fattening farmed fish and animals.
The aquaculture industry already uses more than half the world’s fishmeal and more than 80 percent of the fish oil. Rearing salmon, halibut, blackcod and many other marine species is unsustainable because of the net loss of protein.
*Standards for organic livestock requires that their feed is 100% organic feed, yet the proposed aquaculture standard would allow farmed fish feed to be 25% wild fish, claiming the forage fish meal and oil will not be “feed” but instead a “feed supplement. Wild salmon and other food fish were previously denied organic certification by the NOSB.
*Farmed fish have documented higher amounts of environmental contaminants since the feed concentrates mercury, lead, and persistent bioaccumlative toxins. A study by the Environmental Working Group showed farmed salmon often are the most PCB-contaminated protein source in the U.S. food supply, with an average of 16 times the level of PCBs as wild fish.
*“The recommendation acknowledges the human health risks, but would only require them be removed if found to have contaminants in amounts higher than regulatory levels in commercially available fish meal and oil. Thus the proposed “organic” standard would allow the same level of contaminants in fish meal as those permitted by general industrial aquaculture. This provision is a microcosm of the recommendation as a whole: rather than setting a higher bar for organics, and risk losing the ability to label salmon and other predatory fish as “organic,” it merely lowers the organic bar to the existing commercial standards.” Center for Food Safety presentation to the NOSB.
*Organic standards require animals to be able to exhibit their “natural behavior.” Wild salmon and other ocean fish swim for their lifetimes, and confining these fish is a direct violation of one of the core organic principles.
Anne Mosness will attend the Spring 2014 NOSB meeting, representing the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Marketing Association (email:
More info:   “Can farmed salmon be organic”, PCC Sound Consumer:
Center for Food Safety:
The Organic Aquaculture Qandary:
Anne Mosness
34 Rocky Ridge Dr.
Bellingham, Wa. 98229

Coalition Wins Shorelines Hearings Board Geoduck Aquaculture Appeal

The Washington Shorelines Hearings Board ruled in favor of the Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat and reversing and dening the first subtidal/intertidal geoduck aquaculture permit approved in Washington by Pierce County (see attached decision).

The Board concluded that “This farm located on a shoreline of statewide significance means that particular consideration must be given to balancing aquaculture as one statewide interest, with other statewide interests like the ecological values and the public’s recreational use.”

“The careful review required for this shoreline of statewide significance weighs in favor of requiring a cumulative impact analysis of the impacts that might result from granting the first subtidal geoduck farm permit in Henderson Bay-in particular to assess the potential for longer term impacts to fragile resources like eelgrass, as well as unique use of the area by recreationalists like windsurfers.”

For more information on the work of the Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat and the Washington State Sierra Club to protect fragile marine resources, please visit:

Peninsula salmon projects get $4.5 million – PDN

Lots of good projects that are going to give jobs to folks here on the Peninsula, and help restore salmon habitat. The work is far from being completed, but it’s good to see these projects and land purchases get funded. Tying this together with the work described by Earth Economics over the weekend on this site, it’s worth it to note that there is value in these ecosystem renewal projects. Slowing the rivers by putting in log jams, for example, do not just provide scientifically proven habitat for salmon (especially young salmon migrating downstream), but they also aide in flood protection among other benefits. Flood plain protection is a value that lowers the cost to repairing damage from floods over multiple decades.

The state has awarded $4.5 million in grants for new salmon restoration projects on the North Olympic Peninsula. ….

Rob Ollikainen reports.

There’s quite a bit more to the story at:


Support local journalism, subscribe to the Peninsula Daily News.

2013 NW Straits: Alexis Valauir -Ocean Acidification Effects on Global Communities

From the 2013 NW Straits Annual Conference, a most interesting talk:

Alexis Valauri-Orton recently completed a year-long Watson Fellowship investigating human narratives of ocean acidification in Norway, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Peru. Over the year, she traded her lab coat for a pair of gum boots, experiencing firsthand the role marine resources play in coastal communities. Investigating narratives of acidification in such diverse communities, she discovered the importance of understanding and navigating the social structures that shape our vulnerabilities and responses to environmental issues. She holds a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Davidson College, in North Carolina, and now lives in her hometown of Seattle. She believes increasing scientific literacy and public awareness on issues like ocean acidification is the key to creating a sustainable future.

The Powerpoints of her talk are found at the NW Straits web site:

or directly here (This downloads the presentation to your computer)

You can download this for use on a device like an ipod or iphone, or just listen to it right here on your computer.



Superpod of Dolphins seen in Gulf Islands–CBC

Superpods are rare, but not unheard of. Photographer Chase Jarvis videotaped a superpod of dolphins off South Africa’s coast  last summer.  But to see them here is quite a treat. I’ve interviewed old timers who recalled seeing them in the 50s and 60s, along with superpods of Orcas. The best definition of them is a gathering of pods, likely for hunting when food is present.

Passengers aboard a BC Ferries vessel were treated to a rare sight on Friday, as a pod of about 1,000 Pacific white-sided dolphins swam next to the boat for several minutes. Rob Maguire caught it on video.

1,000 dolphins swim beside ferry off Gulf Islands

Huge fish ‘from Mars’ caught in Elliott Bay – Seattle Times

With global warming heating the seas, and currents changing , this was a surprise this week.

A sunfish weighing up to 350 pounds was caught within view of the Seattle skyline on Tuesday night. It took four men to pull the fish aboard a boat.

Read the whole story at the Seattle Times. Support local journalism.

Octopus Hatchings– Diver Laura James

Diver and film maker Laura James captured an octopus hatch on 9/11,

Katherine Harmon Courage explains in the Octopus Chronicles.

Octopus Babies Hatch By the Thousands, Captured On Video

NOSC looking for Morse Creek Salmon Volunteers

We have two weeks of Morse Creek left and need lots of help to get it done!  We’ll be surveying these next two upcoming Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  Below is a list of dates with the greatest volunteer needs on top.  There are some great sections in our project site where the gravel is beautiful and clean from all the redds.  This week the nutrient cycling began and it’s beginning to smell like the pinks! 

Below is more information about the survey and what to bring. 

Please let me know if you can make a day and if you would like to carpool (I’m assuming you will).     
Hope you can join! 

Dates volunteers are needed:

Wednesday, Sept 18th: 9am-4pm
Thursday, Sept 19th:  9am-2pm – Strong need for volunteers
Friday, Sept 20th: 9am-4pm
Wednesday, Sept 25th: 9am-4pm - Strong need for volunteers
Thursday, Sept 26th: 9am-4pm - Strong need for volunteers
Friday, Sept 27th: 9am-4pm

Survey Times:

We will be surveying from 9am to approximately 4pm.  Some days may be longer if we have a good swing going and people are feeling up for it.  Please let us know if you won’t be able to come for the entire time (that is completely understandable!).  We will accommodate your needs. 

Carpooling Option:

NOSC will be leaving from our Port Hadlock office at 7:45am. (201 A West Patison Street, PH – Shold Business Park off Rhody Drive).  If you would like to carpool from Port Hadlock or get picked up along the way (such as the Discovery Bay Train Cars off 101) we’d love to carpool!  Please let us know if you are interested so we can make sure there is a seat available and that we know to wait for you.  The one catch (or perk!) with driving with us is that you will be committed to the entire day.  We will be driving a big white vehicle named Moby Dick!  How much more fun can it get? 

Survey Location:

We will be meeting at 651 Cottonwood Lane.

Morse Creek is located at the beautiful (and dangerous) curve just before you hit the car dealerships as you head into Port Angeles.  The speed goes down to 45 mph and on the left you’ll see a field and the right you’ll see a cabin.  There is a left turn lane to turn Left onto Cottonwood.  You will go over a speed bump and see the creek down to your left hand side.  You will approach a very sharp left hand turn (there is an info board to mark the spot).  Take that left to the end.  You’ll see a space to park on your left hand side and will see Moby Dick, the big white NOSC vehicle.

Day of Survey contact: 

In case you get lost, or something comes up…

1st option: Jac (518) 312-2658
2nd option: Sarah (410) 963-3497
3rd option: Jamie (206) 282-3025

What to Expect:

Beautiful sections of stream, Huge engineered log jams, deep pools, fish…we’ll be surveying stretches above the 2010 restoration project, where we did the restoration project and below the restoration (the impact reach), as well as side channels.  All survey protocol will be taught on site. 

We’ll be in the stream or along the shore for the entire day.  Some areas are deep, others are on bedrock which is extremely slippery.  The water is pretty cold.  Some elements of the survey require us to collect pebbles which can be very cold.   Sections along the stream have blackberries, and nettles.  These days can be long and tiring, but extremely rewarding.  We’ll only work within people’s comfort levels. 

What to bring:

-Lunch, LOTS of water and snacks (we typically bring a “second breakfast” or “second lunch”).  
-Chest waders (NOSC will bring yours – just let us know your size!) 
-Multiple warm layers, preferably non-cotton.  People have gotten wet and appreciated a change in clothes. 
-Dry clothes, socks and pants to change in to after the survey in case you get wet. 
-rain coat – many people wear a rain coat when we do the pebble survey so they don’t get completely wet
-sunglasses/hat, sunscreen

I think that is it!  Sorry it was so long-winded.  Please call if you have any questions (360) 379-8051

Looking forward to you joining –


Yo! Rockfish ReCompression Video – Funny and really worth watching

Are you a fisherman? Catch rockfish? Check out this newer rap video on how to get rockfish back safely into the water and save it. Remember that rockfish take a long time to grow, and they stay in their local territory. So it’s important to get them back in the water quickly. I was unaware that the recompression techniques can save even severely barotraumaed fish. Barotrauma often kills rockfish if not recompressed. Luckily we, and those fabulous little rockfish, can get down with our bad selves and the help of this most epic video montage. The following Rockfish PSA was concocted by the masterminds of California Sea Grant and NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

be sure to catch the rap at the end as well.

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose to designate critical habitat for three species of rockfish in Puget Sound & Strait

Big news. The Federal Government is proposing designating critical habitat for certain rockfish. Public comment now open. Comments on this proposed rule must be received by 5 p.m. P.S.T. on November 4, 2013. Requests for public hearings must be made in writing by September 20, 2013. Comments close on 11/04/2013. The Feds say “Puget Sound” but actually are also including some areas of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. To them, it’s apparently all the same. They delineate it deeper in the document.  From the people I’ve talked to close to this decision, this has been studied a great deal and a lot of meetings have been held getting to this decision.  It likely will raise some objections, likely intense. But the stocks are in such critical shape in many places,  this appears to be needed. It’s not a new issue, the fact that the Feds have finally moved on it is. Hopefully (and apparently) we still have time to save some of them.  As you may or may not know, rockfish do not migrate. They hang out in their habitat, and can live  a long long time. They are often bycatch of other fisheries, and if you bring them up from a great depth, they end up often getting ‘the bends’ (barimetric poisoning) and die.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose to designate critical habitat for three species of rockfish listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including the threatened Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus), the threatened DPS of canary rockfish (S. pinniger), and the endangered DPS of bocaccio (S. paucispinus) (listed rockfish). The specific areas proposed for designation for canary rockfish and bocaccio include approximately 1,184.75 sq mi (3,068.5 sq km) of marine habitat in Puget Sound, Washington. The specific areas proposed for designation for yelloweye rockfish include approximately 574.75 sq mi (1,488.6 sq km) of marine habitat in Puget Sound, Washington. We propose to exclude some particular areas from designation because the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion and exclusion of those areas will not result in the extinction of the species.


And more from Mike Satos’ blog:

The National Marine Fisheries Service proposes to designate almost 1,200 square miles of Puget Sound as critical habitat for three species of endangered rockfish. The habitat protection follows the 2010 decision to list yelloweye, canary and bocaccio rockfish under the Endangered Species Act. The Fisheries Service says the rockfish are vulnerable to overfishing because they have long lives and mature slowly with sporadic reproduction. Tuesday’s designation will require federal agencies to make sure their actions don’t harm rockfish habitat. The protected area in Puget Sound overlaps existing critical habitat for Puget Sound Chinook and Hood Canal summer-run chum, bull trout and Southern Resident killer whales. Critical habitat listed for Puget Sound rockfish Also, if they haven’t erected a paywall, Chris Dunagan reports: Habitat protection proposed for endangered rockfish in Puget Sound


Scientists concerned over chill in reporting of salmon virus after lab delisted – Vancouver Sun

The fallout continues:

Scientists fear there could be a reluctance to report a deadly fish virus after the first lab in Canada to say it was detected in British Columbia salmon was stripped of a special reference status by an international agency. Marine researchers say they were stunned to hear that the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, recently suspended the reference status from a research laboratory at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island. Run by Fred Kibenge, who is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on infectious salmon anemia, it was one of only two labs in the world recognized by the group for the testing of the virus. Alison Auld reports.

Warnings on oysters – Multiple sources.

Oysters are considered an aphrodisiac, but what happens to them in hot weather isn’t so sexy. Warm air and water during summer make an ideal environment for a natural bacteria called vibrio parahaemolyticus to grow in oysters. Raw oysters, especially ones with the bacteria, can make people who eat them sick. Gina Cole reports.

Raw oysters risky during warmer months

See also: Be vigilant about illness from tainted commercial shellfish, B.C. doctors told

EVENT: SEATTLE- Author Erich Hoyt- June 8

I don’t usually post Seattle events, but Erich Hoyt is a rare treat. Not only has he been involved in tracking Orcas in the Russian Far East, but he is known as an expert on Marine Protected Areas, and Sanctuaries. Since so many people up here are interested and involved in the establishment of MPAs, you might want to consider a trip to Seattle to see Erich. Carpooling would be a bonus! You likely could walk on the Fauntleroy Ferry and ride a bus or even walk to get to the Hall. It’s just up the hill from the ferry terminal, literally about 6 blocks. 


The Whale Trail Presents

Erich Hoyt: Adventures with Orcas in the North Pacific — From A1 Stubbs to Iceberg, the White Russian Bull

Where: The Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave SW

When: Saturday June 8, 7 – 9 (doors open 6:0)

Cost: $5 suggested donation, kids free.

–Tickets available at

Contact:, 206.919.5397

Join us for this this rare Seattle appearance by noted author, whale researcher and marine conservationist Erich Hoyt, author of Orca: The Whale Called Killer.

Erich Hoyt’s first killer whale expedition to Johnstone Strait sailed from Victoria, BC in June 1973, 40 years ago this June. He proceeded to spend parts of the next 10 summers with orcas, culminating in his now classic book Orca: The Whale Called Killer. He went on to study and work on conservation projects related to other whales, dolphins, sharks, deep sea creatures, ants and social insects, working in Costa Rica, Japan, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Argentina, Chile and other countries.

In 1999 he co-founded the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP) to find out more about orca pods targeted for aquarium captures and to get Russian students involved in science and conservation of killer whales in Russian waters. Now in its 15thyear, FEROP has recorded the Russian pods and photo-IDed some 1500 orcas off Kamchatka and in the Commander Islands — including three white orcas found so far in the study areas.

This the fifth in a series of Orca Talks hosted by The Whale Trail. The event also features updates from Robin Lindsay (Seal Sitters), and Diver Laura James ( and Puget Soundkeeper Alliance), and photography from Judy Lane.

Erich’s books will be on sale and they can be signed.

Buy tickets early!

About the Speaker

Erich Hoyt is a noted marine conservationist, whale researcher, lecturer and author of more than 20 books including Orca: The Whale Called Killer, The Earth Dwellers, and Marine Protected Areas for Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises, the latter recently named as an "Outstanding Academic Title" by the journal Choice.

He is an authority on marine protected areas (MPAs) and sanctuaries, and is currently Research Fellow with WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, leading its Global Critical Habitat MPA Program. He also co-directs the Far East Russia Orca Project in Kamchatka and the Russian Cetacean Habitat Project in the Commander Islands.

He is as an appointed member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Cetacean Specialist Group and the World Commission on Protected Areas, and co-chairs the new IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force. He is a member of the International Committee for Marine Mammal Protected Areas and has helped organize and program its world conferences in Hawaii (2009), Martinique (2011) and Australia (to be 2014).

A former Vannevar Bush Fellow in the Public Understanding of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and twice James Thurber Writer-in-Residence at The Thurber House, Hoyt was awarded the Mandy McMath Conservation Award in April this year by the European Cetacean Society at its annual conference for his body of work including books, papers and work on marine conservation. He is a Canadian-US dual citizen who has lived in Scotland since 1989.

About The Whale Trail

The Whale Trail ( is a series of sites around the region where the public may view orcas and other marine mammals from shore. Our mission is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of whales and our marine environment by establishing a network of viewing sites along the whales’ trails through the Salish Sea and the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest.

Our goals are to increase awareness that our marine waters are home to orcas and other species; connect visitors to orcas, other marine wildlife and their habitat; inspire stewardship and build community; promote land-based whale watching. Our over-arching goal is to ensure the southern resident orcas do not go extinct.

The Whale Trail provides simple, powerful, and long-lasting reminders to visitors and residents alike that orcas and other whales live in our waters.  Through our current sites and signs, including two on every Washington State ferry, we reach more than 22 million people each year. Our near-term goals are to add a site in every coastal county in Washington, and around Vancouver Island, throughout the orcas’ range. Together, we will turn the tide for the whales!

The Whale Trail is led by a core team of partners including NOAA Fisheries, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Seattle Aquarium, the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, and the Whale Museum. Donna Sandstrom is the Founder and Executive Director. The Whale Trail is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, registered in Washington Sta

Tests show no signs of ISA virus in Washington’s salmon–WDFW

If these tests are accurate  (BC has consistently manipulated their tests results), then this is good news. However, with the disease found just north of us, it requires ongoing testing and vigilance if we want to protect our wild stocks (and the investments of hundreds of millions of dollars over the decades we have spent as taxpayers). It is good to see that there are two labs involved in the testing, and that the Tribes are also in the loop on the process. The NW Indian Fisheries Commission is certainly a credible independent voice for wild salmon.

Recent tests of salmon from Washington’s waters show no signs of a fish virus that can be deadly to farm-raised Atlantic salmon, state, tribal and federal resource managers announced today. Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus (ISAV) was not detected in tissue samples taken from more than 900 wild and hatchery-produced Pacific chinook, coho, sockeye, chum and steelhead, as well as farm-raised Atlantic salmon. ISAV is not harmful to people. Specific strains of the virus have caused a deadly disease in farm-raised Atlantic salmon. Outbreaks with significant losses have occurred in farmed Atlantic salmon in Maine, Eastern Canada, Chile and several European countries. ISAV has not been documented in farmed, wild or hatchery salmon in Washington.

Environmental Group Fights Delay In Marbled Murrelet Habitat Protections – Earthfix

For those who may not have been here in the 70s and 80s, the Marbled Murrelett and the Spotted Owl have been the indicator species that triggered limits on harvest of the remaining old growth forest on the Olympic Peninsula (there was less than 5% remaining of it when the Federal Government stopped harvest due to habitat destruction to these birds). Since the 80s, the timber industry has done all it can to remove these protections, as the remaining timber is very valuable, and unavailable for harvest at this point, but the environmental legal teams have been able to prove to the courts scientifically that cutting more would mean the loss of the birds here. The battle is far from over, as this story from Earthfix shows. How much is at stake is an open debate point, and the issue has been used to inflame rural communities that were suffering from loss of timber jobs since the late 70s. The story that has never been adequately covered is that the loss of these jobs were heavily influence by the very companies that criticized the rules, as they had got Congress to open the shipping of raw logs to Japan. Smaller outdated mills could not compete, or afford to change. Also advancements in mechanized cutting came in at the same time, making many jobs obsolete. The story of the “spotted owl” is so much more complex than it was presented. And so, the 2013 chapter of the ongoing drama over the “Spotted Owl”.

An environmental group has stopped an agreement between the timber industry and federal wildlife officials that would have delayed new protections for a threatened seabird. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service settled with the timber industry group, the American Forest Resource Council, last summer, to avoid a legal battle over for the marbled murrelet. The industry group argued that maps of protected areas called “critical habitat” had been done improperly. Fish and Wildlife agreed to suspend the current maps ­ but draft new ones. But, that agreement, and the protracted timeline ­ that it would take five years ­ drew a legal challenge from the Center for Biological Diversity. Rob Manning reports.

The mysterious decline of Puget Sound herring – Crosscut

Another indicator species that is in trouble. As goes the herring, so go the salmon and the Orca, among others. Many agencies, including the Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee, are working on protecting herring habitat. That’s why you see the “no anchor zones” in Port Townsend and Mystery Bay. They are there to help you not anchor in a location that would destroy eel grass, which is a herring habitat.

This excellent article gives a good overview of the problems facing Puget Sound herring. It’s only two pages long but you’ll learn a lot. I know I did.

Pacific herring might be the most popular dish in Puget Sound. The small silvery swimmers are called “forage fish” not because they’re rummaging for food, but because just about everything wants to eat them. They fill the bellies of Puget Sound sea life, from giant sea lions to the iconic chinook salmon to tiny jellyfish, which means that they’re key players in the local marine ecosystem. That makes herring fundamentally important – and it makes their shrinking numbers alarming. Lisa Stiffler reports.

Support local journalism. Donate to Crosscut.

Odd creature showing up on Washington’s coast–King 5

It started with a few sightings here and there. Now a strange sea creature, a salp, is showing up on beaches and in crab pots up and down the Washington Coast, raising curiosity and concerns.  Marine expert Alan Rammer said he’s received several calls from people asking what they are. He told us they are members of the tunicate family called ‘salps’ and are a harmless visitor from the South. Gary Chittim reports.

Mystery compound found to kill Coho salmon–Kitsap Sun

In the last year there’s been a growing body of evidence that seems to show that runoff from our roads may be a significant and possibly primary cause of loss of salmon in our creeks and rivers. Chris Dunagan reports on efforts to identify this substance in Kitsap County.

Meanwhile, researchers in Seattle have decided to simply look at rain gardens to filter the poisons out. With great success. The following video shows the problem, and wat may be the ultimate solution. The next question that needs to get asked is, “What happens with the rain garden? Does it become a toxic waste site?

“Drained: Urban Stormwater Pollution”

Workshop on Net Pen Aquaculture for Planners

Not open to the public. – Editor

Coastal and Shoreline Planners Group: Marine Net Pen Aquaculture        
Date:  Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Time:  10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location:  Manchester Labs, Port Orchard, WA 98366
This event is intended for Coastal and Shoreline Planners representing local governments, the private sector, academia and tribes who are interested in learning more about marine net pen aquaculture. This agenda replicates the January 10th event at the Department of Ecology that was held specifically for State and Federal employees. This event also includes a tour of NOAA’s Manchester Research Facilities relevant to marine aquaculture. Speakers include:
·       Alan Cook, Icicle Seafoods, commercial net pens
·       Bruce Stewart, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, enhancement net pens
·       Jill Rolland, United States Geological Survey, fish disease
·       Mike Rust, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Aquaculture, feeds
·       Walt Dickhoff, NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center, escapes and genetics
·       Lori LeVander, WA Department of Ecology, state and National Pollutant Dischage Elimination System (NPDES) permitting
·       John Kerwin,  WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, WACs and WDFW permitting
·       Jack Rensel,  Rensel Associates Aquatic Science, tools and modeling
Due to limited space, this meeting requires an RSVP. Please respond to Jamie Mooney,,             206.616.3368      , to be added to the list of attendees. We can only accept 30 attendees on a first come, first served basis. Please keep in mind that because this event will be held at a federal facility, you will need to have your name on the list to attend.
If there is a high demand and we are not able to accommodate everyone who is interested in attending, we will work to schedule another Coastal and Shoreline Planners session on this topic.  Please do not distribute this announcement beyond the listserv due to limited capacity.

Marine Predators in Trouble

Science News shows a continuing decline in marine predators. Bad news for all of us.

In half of the North Atlantic and North Pacific waters under national jurisdiction, fishing has led to a 90-per-cent decrease in top predators since the 1950s, and the impacts are now headed south of the Equator, according to a new study published online December 5 in the journalMarine Ecological progress Series.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 243 other followers

%d bloggers like this: