Author Topic: Fish Tales  (Read 88059 times)

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Offline Rajame

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #90 on: April 23, 2015, 09:59:50 AM »
:eccry This is a tough realization. Thank you for posting.
Your soul lights up the room as if the sun is beaming directly.

Offline NancyM

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #91 on: May 26, 2015, 10:28:05 AM »
I hope this decision holds - Alexandra Morton seems encouraged, but the fight is never over.

Link:  http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2015/05/we-won.html
On May 6, 2015 The Honourable Mr. Justice Rennie handed down the decision that DFO has been unlawfully allowing the salmon farming industry to transfer farmed salmon into marine net pens that are carrying diseases with the potential to 'severely impact' the wild fishery at an international level [72].

He ruled that DFO is abdicating its legal responsibility to protect and conserve wild fish by handing off decisions about transferring fish with diseases to the salmon farming industry [83].

Most BC farmed salmon are infected with piscine reovirus.  Many scientists in Norway have published research showing that piscine reovirus causes the disease, HSMI, which is known to damage salmon hearts to the point that fish can barely move. 



On the other hand, the sea lice are back:
Link: http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2015/05/salmon-farm-sea-lice-outbreak-again-.html

Quote from Alexandra Morton:
Meanwhile I try to find the words to help people understand what we are losing and how that harms our world, our children, our whale neighbours, our future. This is not a dress rehearsal, this is the final days before we destroy everything our species needs to survive.  Wild salmon are like the power line that is attached to your house. Our world will dim without the fish that feeds the trees that make the oxygen we breath.  The salmon pictured in this blog could have returned to feed someone, a whale, an eagle a tree, but instead they are feeding sea lice from salmon farms.  That is simply wrong and stupid. Either we say "enough", or we loose something we have no idea how to recreate.




Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #92 on: June 23, 2015, 09:04:25 PM »
On May 23, I was in the middle of a wonderful paddling adventure in the Broughton Archipelago with two friends. We were delighted to get permission to visit the Salmon Coast Field Station at Echo Bay.
This was Alexandra Morton’s first research facility. See this link for a brief history of the station.
Coady Webb, one of the current coordinators, was our guide.

Our host at the Paddler's Inn, in the next bay over, had made arrangements for us.
This was what we saw as we came around the corner.   :heart

May 23, 9:19 am



This is the dock where we landed. We got pretty good at landing and launching kayaks from docks on this trip.
The building on the dock holds some storage and a wet lab, which wasn't in use the day we visited.
One obvious thing that has changed since the last time I was in this area, 17 years ago, is that everyone has solar panels.




The research station is built on a steep hillside. A collection of small houses, storage buildings and greenhouses occupies every little bit of flat ground. The main lab is in the larger building on the left. On the lower right is the ramp leading to the floating dock.
10:04

Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #93 on: June 23, 2015, 09:24:20 PM »
Looking back down at the dock. These are our kayaks tied up to it. There is a fuel tank for the research boats, some of which are out. Researchers come from all over Canada to work here, and at least one of them lives in his boat.

May 23, 10:27


Ashore, cute little houses and gardens everywhere.



And here's the famous pedal-powered washing machine... In need of an engineer at the moment.
Most people come to this station to do research, but they also welcome volunteers who can help build things and fix things. This was an unfinished project waiting for completion.




If I ever go and volunteer there, this is the cabin I'd like to stay in. Just the right size for a wren.



There's even a fire hall. It's not very big.





As is my habit, I was all ears during our visit, and as soon as we got ‘home’ back at the Paddlers’ Inn I sat down and wrote down everything I remembered. I may not have it all straight, but here’s what I remember.
The previous day, we had witnessed part of one of the station’s ongoing projects: sea lice monitoring. (This is the same project you can see photos of in Nancy’s and Linus’s posts above. Follow the links to Alexandra’s blog and scroll down.) We met a crew from the research station in the Burwood Group, a group of islets nearby. They were collecting juvenile salmon with a beach-based seine net. The fine-meshed net is weighed at the bottom and has a string of floats at the top. The middle of the net is of green mesh and less visible to the fish. The ends are of white mesh, which scares the fish to the green middle section. The net is anchored on shore, stretched out with a small boat, then drawn in like a bag. Once the fish are confined to a small area, they are captured with small dip nets, then transferred to buckets of sea water. The fish are then examined, and their length, weight, and kind are recorded, along with the  number of sea lice per fish.
There was a fish farm about a kilometre away.

This year, after several years of steadily diminishing numbers of sea lice, the numbers are again way up, back to where they were ten years ago.

There are several possible causes, and the people conducting the research expect that, as usual in a complex natural system, several factors are at play.

1… There was a really big run of Pink Salmon last year. Pink Salmon host more sea lice than other species (I remember that from my fishing days). When the adult salmon enter freshwater streams to spawn, the lice let go and remain in the salt water.

2…The water temperatures are higher this spring. The salinity of the water is also lower than usual and that should have driven down the numbers of lice BUT higher sea temperatures make the lice grow faster. The higher temperatures shorten the whole life cycle of the lice: they mature faster and breed earlier and more often. It seems that the influence of higher water temperatures trumped the moderating influence of the lower salinity. (I think the heavy rains of last winter, plus less precipitation stored as snow on the mountains, was what caused the lower salinity.)

3… The fish farms have been using the same exact dose of the same exact louse medication for years. Either the lice have developed resistance to the medication, or the same dose of medication applied to a larger population of lice (brought in by the larger Pink Salmon run) has had only a partial effect, or both.

This monitoring of the numbers of sea lice on juvenile salmon has been ongoing ever since Alexandra Morton started research at that site.

Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #94 on: June 23, 2015, 09:42:38 PM »
Wren, thank you for taking the time to share your very interesting report and photos with us. I always like to read your comments about what you see and do.   :eclove
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Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #95 on: June 23, 2015, 10:12:58 PM »
Here's the inside of the main lab.
May 23, 10:55 am





Aside from the sea lice monitoring, there are also other projects happening. One of them is series of experiments to find out if the sea lice are indeed developing resistance to the medication. As I wrote in the previous post, the fish farms have been using the same dose of the same medication (it's called "Slice") for years, so it's a pretty important piece of the puzzle. I just wonder why a volunteer-run research station has to be the one doing this.

Another project has the goal of assessing the health of the juvenile Sockeye Salmon in the area, particularly in Johnstone Strait. The crew are capturing and examining juvenile fish, and also recording data on water quality, plankton contents, water temperature and salinity. That crew was out on the water at the time of our visit.

In this corner of the lab, the thing with the plastic tubing and valves is what is called a plankton splitter. I'm pretty sure I have the name right; it really impressed me because it gave me visions of someone sitting with a scalpel and slicing little individual planktonic critters one by one. But from what I understand the plankton splitter should probably be called a water-sample splitter. It divides a sample of sea water in however many equal parts you need, each part containing the same amount of plankton and having the same salinity and so forth. Then you can run different experiments on each part of the sample. If you just poured your seawater from a jar, the first sample would have more of the lighter bits and the last sample would have more of the heavier bits.



Back outside after a neighbourly cup of coffee. Gardens everywhere. And a plastic heron, go figure.
11:39



Back down to the dock to get back in our boats and paddle home.



Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #96 on: June 24, 2015, 03:54:28 PM »
Interesting about why they use a splitter, Wren.  Seems strange that it's a volunteer lab.  I wonder why it's not government run?   :puzzled2
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Offline NancyM

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #97 on: February 09, 2016, 09:03:41 PM »
Did you sign this petition?  Alexandra Morton has posted an update:
https://www.change.org/p/to-the-citizens-of-norway-divest-from-dirty-salmon/u/15385858?tk=7MPhCmcHNOX0oBernwGFcCGU4sIBXHCyR-ISLW7zKj8&utm_source=petition_update&utm_medium=email



Petition Delivered in Norway!
Alexandra Morton
Sointula, Canada


Feb 10, 2016 — Hello everyone who signed the Dirty Salmon petition!

I just received an update today from the Wild Salmon Delegation to Norway. Clayoquot Action was able to deliver my petition at the Wild Salmon conference in Alta, north of the Arctic Circle. Kurt Oddekalv of the Green Warriors was able to actually hand the petition to the King of Norway’s attendant as they entered the conference hall.

Representatives from Sami Nation, Nuu-Chah-Nulth First Nations, Norway and Canada stood together for wild salmon and indigenous rights. Beaska Niillas, elected member of the Sami Parliament sang a traditional Sami wolf yoik, before John Rampanen of Ahousaht First Nations spoke. Tore Bongo, honoured Sami leader of the Alta Controversy (a non-violent direct action to stop a dam) also spoke. The 10-metre long petition containing your name was rolled out as shutters clicked, and the national media cameras rolled.

This became the lead story of the Sami NRK news—here’s a link: https://tv.nrk.no/serie/oddasat-tv#t=39s.

Thank you for signing the petition—your voice has been heard widely throughout Norway today!

For the salmon,
Alexandra Morton

~~~~~
The TV clip is interesting- even if in Norwegian.  It takes a while to download.  The salmon part is the first few minutes.

Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #98 on: October 31, 2016, 11:14:36 PM »
Kelp Restoration Project 2016

It is no secret that the great kelp beds of the Salish Sea have been dying off. Areas where the long tubular algae with their conspicuous bulb-like floats previously formed dense matted islands every summer are now bereft of them. And the effects of their absence will only pile up over time. The kelp beds absorbed some of the force of the waves, stabilizing the adjacent shores; they provided shelter and calmer water for a whole ecosystem, from obscure invertebrates to several species of fish, including juvenile salmon and herring. As their huge biomass decomposed each year the kelp beds also provided feed for the creatures at the lower end of the food web.

The problem is not strictly local; kelp forests are dying off all the way to California. Restoration projects have been popping up on both sides of the border. In late March, I started volunteering as a deckhand for Rob Zielinski from Hornby Island Diving, tending and monitoring a handful of sites from Chrome Island to Cape Lazo. This small collection of restoration sites is run by a network of organizations: mainly the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Marine Survival Project, which supports the Project Watershed Society, and the Nile Creek Enhancement Society.
Organizations that started out strictly as river-enhancement societies are now widening their scope to the fate of juvenile salmon as the fish move out of the rivers, into estuaries and the open ocean. In an intact ecosystem salmon find shelter and nourishment, first in the eelgrass beds of the shallow estuaries, and next in the kelp forests. So the river-enhancement societies have started investigating the restoration of eelgrass and kelp beds. Eelgrass and kelp also capture carbon at a great rate, so there is a growing interest in their restoration from the carbon-management point of view as well, and funding is becoming easier to obtain.


The love life of kelp


The full reproduction cycle of seaweeds is delightfully complex. Bull Kelp, Nereocystis luetkeana, is an annual seaweed. The big fronds die off every winter but they are only one of two stages of growth. The fronds are called sporophytes, which means ‘spore plants’. (Let’s set aside for clarity the reclassification of brown algae out of the kingdom of plants and into Protista. Even in conversations with biologists we still tend to call the seaweed ‘plants’ and to think of them as such.)

Kelp sporophyte, Maude Reef, July 3. Photo R. Zielinski.


So let’s start with our sporophyte, our long tubular stem of kelp growing at a stupendous rate, up to ten inches a day, from its holdfast at the bottom of the water. The single stem, or stipe, can grow over a hundred feet long in a single season. By the end of June the pear-shaped bulb with its flat blades becomes visible from the surface. On the blades, some areas soon darken and become leathery; these oblong patches are called sori (singular: sorus). Within the sori, spores ripen. As the kelp matures, the leathery patches start to disintegrate and separate from the blades. They have negative buoyancy, i.e. they sink to the bottom of the water. Only then do they release all their spores, insuring a high density of spores in one place rather than a widespread dispersal.

A red urchin devours a blade of kelp, whose sorus patch is visible as a lighter area in the centre of the photo. Maude Reef, July 3, photo R. Zielinski.


The spores do not grow back into what we would recognize as bull kelp. They come up as a microscopic brown seaweed. This second incarnation of the kelp is called a gametophyte, which means ‘plant that produces male or female germ cells or gametes’. This is when the love life of kelp finally heats up. The female germ cells stay anchored within their gametophyte; meanwhile the male cells are released for an ocean adventure, wandering the currents until they find their mate. How do they find it? The egg cells secrete an attractant: a smell, a pheromone, a chemical flag. Somehow the male gametes can perceive this and swim their way to their goal: fertilization. Pretty good for a quasi-plant, if you ask me. Together the two germ cells form a zygote, which remains attached to the female gametophyte. When conditions are right, the zygote will grow into a handsome new kelp plant, a new sporophyte, which now carries the genes of two different individuals.

Continued...

Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #99 on: October 31, 2016, 11:15:35 PM »
Cultivating kelp

How does all this mysterious commingling translate into a form of “seed” one can carry around and plant? That cycle starts in September, when volunteers collect sori, the leathery spore patches, from mature kelp plants. Since water temperatures have risen in the area of the project, and temperatures seem to play a large role in the success or demise of kelp, the volunteers select wild kelp that is still thriving in comparatively warm waters. We currently have two sources, one from Quadra Island and one from Sansum Narrows, near Cowichan Bay.
The sori get shipped to a laboratory in Comox, where a biologist gets the spores to release and transfers them to aquaria containing many foot-long spools, each with a single layer of tightly wound string; there, the spores grow into their next stage. The resulting microscopic gametophytes grow attached to the string, and fertilization occurs there. The process goes a little faster than in the wild because one can optimize the water temperatures and light levels - and of course there are no predators to interfere or competitors hoping to steal the real estate.
The spools of seeded string get shipped back to the volunteers - us, on our little island. We wind the strings around thicker culture ropes and those ropes get anchored to the bottom of the ocean and bingo, from the string grow some new beautiful kelp sporophytes, genetically adapted to our warming waters.
That’s the theory anyway.

Young kelp plants on plantation ropes, April 1st, photo R. Zielinski.


Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #100 on: October 31, 2016, 11:17:09 PM »
Out on the boat

Every two weeks during the growing season, we tour our sites: two near the estuary of the Puntledge River, one near Cape Lazo, and one on each side of Maude Reef near Ford Cove on Hornby Island. We also have a monitoring site across the way near Eagle Rock.
The two divers are Rob Zielinski, one of the owners of Hornby Island Diving, who also supplies the dive boat, and retired marine biologist Bill Heath. They have been part of this project since its inception in 2011.

A view of Tree Island from Kingfisher site, March 29.


Each site is marked with a small buoy. From the buoy hangs a line that holds a series of small sensors. These sensors record the water temperature and the light level every half hour. Floating just above the sea floor are the culture ropes, wound with the string seeded with kelp plants, which soon spread their holdfasts to the larger rope.
The tasks at each site are to clean the sensors and collect the data from each one; measure and photograph any kelp that is growing; notice what predators and other species are around; and do a sampling of the whole water column.

The water sampling sonde I learn to use at each site is an older, frightfully expensive piece of equipment, on loan from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It’s a heavy cylinder, a little less than a metre long, equipped at the bottom with an array of delicate sensors. As I slowly lower it overboard, pausing every metre, an onboard screen displays and records the depth, temperature, salinity, light level, chlorophyll level and pH.

The water-sampling sonde, March 29.


The other tasks need to be carried out underwater. Rob and Bill dive off the boat and I remain aboard to monitor of their whereabouts and generally keep an eye on things. The divers carry a camera, a ruler and a data shuttle. The small sensors on the buoy line are housed in innocuous-looking plastic cases, about 3 cm by 2. After they get their fur of algae, colonial diatoms and hydroids rubbed off, the data they contain is transferred optically, via a series of light pulses, to the data shuttle. (The sensors pick up decreasing amounts of light as their surface gradually fouls between inspections, but the data from the first week after cleaning are still useful.) The divers measure any kelp that is growing on the lines and take photos.

Tools of the trade: a ruler and the data shuttle, which we use to transfer information from the underwater sensors to a computer. March 29.


Rob transfers data from the sensor nearest the water surface to the data shuttle, Kingfisher, March 29.


(to be continued...)

Offline jeavverhey

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #101 on: November 01, 2016, 04:20:21 AM »
Thank you for posting this detailed information Wren! I look forward to the rest of the story. As a for mer diver I have seen much of this up close and personal, but did not understand the science. It certainly is comforting to know that corrective measures are being undertaken.  :thumbup:

Offline amazedbyeagles

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #102 on: November 01, 2016, 08:34:07 AM »
Fascinating stuff, Wren! How complicated to get accurate (or as near accurate as possible with today' technology) info on the ecosystem in the ocean!  How wonderful people care enough to discover what is going on!  As long as we care, there is hope for our planet!  Thanks so much for sharing!!! :eclove

Offline Tigerlady105

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #103 on: November 01, 2016, 09:46:36 AM »
Thank you for your detailed report, wren.  I've seen the live kelp forests growing here in the Pacific Ocean along the California coast.  The Sea Otters wrap their babies and themselves in the kelp when they want to keep the babies in one place or when they want to sleep. :eclove

There is a problem with the Sea Urchins eating kelp faster than it can be replaced naturally, even though it grows fast.   :ecsad
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Offline winterwren

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Re: Fish Tales
« Reply #104 on: November 01, 2016, 10:47:36 AM »
The site closest to Courtenay is just off the Royston wrecks, near the estuary of the Trent River. Auroradawn’s stomping grounds! This is an experimental site; it is closer to the Courtenay River than the historical kelp beds. Project Watershed has some extensive eelgrass plantings in this area and they were curious to see how kelp would fare here. The water was very silty all spring; during the freshet, the salinity was lower than at our other sites. At all times there is a layer of fresh water from the river floating on the surface.
This site did not produce any bull kelp this summer, though other laminarians colonized the lines in the last few weeks, suggesting that kelp might still have the potential to grow here.

The next site, which we call Kingfisher because of the proximity to Kingfisher Lodge, used to be a natural kelp bed. The kelp was anchored in the cobbles near the shore.
The Kingfisher site did only marginally better than Royston Wrecks, producing only a few small blades of kelp that were quickly eaten by urchins and kelp crabs or engulfed by bryozoans, hydroids, the slime-like colonial diatoms, and smaller algae. One reason why warmer waters may adversely affect the kelp is that all these hangers-on grow faster, choking out the young kelp before it can outgrow their threat.

The third site is near the edge of the extensive shallows of the Comox Bar and Cape Lazo shoal, within sight of Cape Lazo. This area historically was covered with kelp forests and commercial harvesting reportedly took place for a number of years in the late 1960s.
In late March, on my first outing, seabirds were gathering for migrations to their nesting grounds. The shallows of Comox Bar were alive with scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, Pacific Loons and cormorants. It is a deckhand’s privilege to do some bird-watching on the side, sitting in the sun while the divers work.

Navigational marker with flocks of seabirds… March 29.


Pelagic Cormorants perch on a directional buoy near Cape Lazo. There is a series of buoys marking a safe channel through the shoals. March 29.


To give you an idea of where we are… Looking southeast from the Comox Bar we see this view of Hornby Island; a part of Denman Island is visible on the right. Click on the picture to better see the flocks of seabirds! March 29.


Continued...  :ecsmile