UPDATE SINCE FIRST PUBLISH: (I’ve substantially rewritten this after chatting with Jacques White)
I think that Ashley Ahearn for Earthfix may have not quite got right the gist of what this project is going to be all about. After reading this article, and posting my thoughts, I called and chatted with Jaques White of the “Long Live the Kings”, one of the core groups helping get this project done. Jacques told me that this is all about creating monitoring of nearshore habitat for primarily steelhead, as they are the most robust younger fish and can actually more easily be tracked. Jacques stated that there if very little knowledge about what these fish do after reaching the salt water, and if we can figure them out, perhaps we can bring science to bear on fixing the problem of their high mortality rates, which have gotten much worse since the 1980s, never recovering to previous numbers.
The money will be spent on hiring scientists to monitor these fish and their habitats, both from the NW Indian Fisheries and State Dept of Fish and Wildlife. So all good work to get the money to research this problem more.
It’s a good thing to get the leaders from both countries together and try and come up with the latest in scientific data on why, despite all the best of work and intentions, our salmon are still going down over all. However, not all is dire. Runs are increasing on many rivers, due to an incredible amount of work by many thousands of people and agencies. Those watersheds are being repopulated with fish because people already know what’s wrong and are working to implement solutions. However, as mentioned in the story, “The marine survival for many stocks of chinook, coho and steelhead that migrate through the Salish Sea is now less than one-tenth of what it was 30 years ago.” At least the participants in this new entity are good choices, and include a wide range of active participants in current solutions.
A stumbling block on all this is the ugly truth that the Canadian government is purposely blocking independent researchers like Alexandra Morton from finding out what is really going on with fish viruses, which she has shown to be present. Unless Canada is willing to accept that they may have a massive problem on their hands that might go against their business interests, and stop protecting the foreign investments that seem to be buying Ottawa’s support, it’s likely this will not help much for increasing ocean stocks. The Canadian government is treating Morton like a pariah, their actions speak much louder than their words. They have actively been shutting down any and all government funded labs that choose to work with her in the last six months alone. This is really outrageous, and puts their efforts to help fix the problem as suspect. So with that background, here’s the article by Earthfix.
Leaders on salmon research and recovery from the U. S. and Canada came together in Seattle Wednesday to announce a new project. It’s called the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project and it’s meant to address a major question: Why aren’t salmon and steelhead in Washington and Canadian waters recovering, despite the millions of dollars that have been spent on research and habitat restoration? “We have a fairly clear idea of what salmon need and what they’re doing in the freshwater environment. We know considerably less about the marine systems,” said Jacques White, executive director of Long Live The Kings. The Seattle-based non-profit is coordinating the effort along with the Pacific Salmon Foundation in B.C. Ashley Ahearn reports.
Filed under: Puget Sound | Tagged: canada, Salmon | 1 Comment »