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Scientists seek to silence sonar in the Salish Sea


The following open letter was sent today to Governmental and Naval leaders on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.  As of 3/11/2012 it has been signed by 20 biologists and bioacousticians who have studied the killer whales of the Salish Sea.  (When sent initially, 16 had signed). To: The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National [...]

NOAA’s search & tag cruise embarks


Last update — 3/2/2012, 10:00 Brad Hanson and his colleagues from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, including Marla Holt and Dawn Noren, embarked today (2/16/12) from Newport, OR, aboard the NOAA ship Shimada (MMSI 369970147) to search for southern resident killer whales (SRKWs) along the outer coast of Oregon and Washington, and possibly California and [...]

Connecting the Fraser salmon virus dots


Are the Fraser chinook that southern resident killer whales love to eat already infected by the Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAV) just detected in 2 Fraser sockeye smolts?  Could this virus — not salmon leukemia — be what caused the the mortality-related genomic signature in Fraser sockeye reported earlier this year? Remember that DFO scientist [...]

Updates from NOAA on Elwha science


Yesterday Sarah Morely of NOAA/NWFSC Watershed Program, Fish Ecology Division gave a 40-minute synopsis of the “Elwha River Dam Removal – Past, Present, Future.”  My notes are appended and the NOAA site has an abstract with recommended references (also appended in case the link breaks). The most interesting aspect of the talk from the perspective [...]

Public and scientific influence in recovery of Columbia salmon for orcas


Great news last week from Save our Wild Salmon et al.: Judge Redden has again ruled that the Biological Opinion for managing Columbia Basin salmon is illegal and scientifically inadequate. This KPLU story on the timeline for revising or renewing the BiOp suggests that the Locke/Lubchenko team will probably not have time to react before [...]

Glimpses into the Columbia spring chinook fishery


In our on-going efforts to monitor Pacific salmon dynamics and interpret them from the perspective of southern resident killer whales, today brings news of a 6-hour commercial net fishery opening on the lower Columbia River.  It’s amazing that it’s even worth going out in a boat when the catch is limited to the first six [...]

Ruckelshaus suggests whale watchers be more precautious


Today Tacoma’s News Tribune offers a story about the imminent issuing of new rules for watching southern resident killer whales.  This story confirms Donna Darm’s recent mention of the regulations being currently under review at OMB.  It remains to be seen whether the rules will be issued in time for the whale watching industry and [...]

Cousteau talks of killer whales on KUOW


On January 31, 2011, Michel Cousteau was a guest on Steve Scher’s Weekday show on KUOW. Though he was talking generally about how our actions (even far inland) affect the oceans, he ended up talking extensively about killer whales. He proved himself quite knowledgeable about resident killer whales (especially 5:00-8:00 and 25:30- 27:30). As an [...]

Obama on salmon management


What great news for southern residents that President Obama clarifies in his 2011 State of the Union Address (at 43:59) that he understands that there is a deep flaw in how salmon are managed in the United States: The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department [...]

New whale watching rules due this spring


This Jan 16 story from Q13 Fox News has some valuable quotes, including this one from Brian Gorman of NOAA/NMFS: “I expect it’s something that will have to go through a lot of hoops.  It could take as long as 90 days but by this spring we should have regulations in place,” says Gorman.….Gorman says [...]