HEGPS ~ Our Nature Zone

Ways To Help Wildlife => Conservation and Preservation => Topic started by: AJL on November 16, 2009, 09:32:45 AM

Title: Fish Tales
Post by: AJL on November 16, 2009, 09:32:45 AM
1) We are investigating fluctuations and declines in fish populations (various species) and their impact upon  breeding, nest productivity and migration.

2) Doug has expressed interest in evaluating how reliant the Hornbys are upon midshipmen in nesting season. To that end, we might help him by recording deliveries in the ONZ observation thread and attempt to identify species, and estimate sizes of fish delivered. (Identification and size estimates part will require input from Doug and Raptorman, if they're willing).

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Donnae on November 16, 2009, 10:39:45 PM
The Toronto Sun, Sun. Nov. 15, 2009-- travel section-- "Where eagles dare and hearts soar" - Sunny Dhillon ( the Canadian Press)

The following was taken from this article:

Brachendale, British Columbia-- Eagles are drawn to the area by the abundance of chum salmon in the Squamish, Cheakamus and Mamquam Rivers.

The number of bald eagles visiting Brackendale has dropped. Between 1992 and 2007 the count was never less than 1,300, but in 2008, that figure dropped to 893 and this year it fell to 755.

Myke Chutter, a bird specialist with B.C. environment ministry says there's no cause for alarm as the overall number of bald eagles in B.C. remains firm at 60,000 and the species is by no means endangered. The birds are just going somewhere other than Brackendale.

"I can only presume that for whatever reason, the food resource has either declined there or improved significantly nearby, such that the birds are choosing a different site," he said.

Instead of presuming, we hope that this thread may lead to knowledge on why this large decline in eagles in this area and is it because of a decline in their food resource for them and other eagles.
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: AJL on November 16, 2009, 11:45:50 PM
Sockeye Salmon

CBC news August 13, 2009
Fraser River sockeye:  7% of the number predicted, returned. 
Salmon fishery closed for the third year in a row.

What is the cause? Quote executive director of Watershed Watch Salmon Society:
"Whether it's as juveniles leaving the system, or as adults returning, they are not getting the food in the high seas. Canada needs to get its act together and get some real investigation going on what's happening to these fish".

Quote from article:
Scientists, environmentalists, politicians and fish farmers have been arguing for years about the impact salmon farms are having on young salmon fry, with many opponents of fish farms predicting sea lice from the industrial operations would decimate wild salmon stocks.

2006 Inventory; includes report on probable causes: http://www.watershed-watch.org/publications/files/SCBC_sockeye_review.pdf
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: madrona on November 17, 2009, 12:59:22 AM
Alexandra Morton http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/about.html writes:  "Salmon farms are feedlots which release all of their manure into public waters. I have seen the progression of their impact and I have published my findings in scientific journals around the world. At times I have received funding and at other times I have not. I will continue to try and bring reason to this situation simply because I love these waters that have become my home." 

In her interesting blog, http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/ she invites people to "sign a letter to Canadian Minister of Fisheries asking for the laws of Canada to be Applied to fish farming".  There is much worth reading here, with links to recent posts, comments and films.
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: AJL on November 17, 2009, 08:53:30 AM
Oooh,  a letter we can sign - good one Madrona!

 :puzzled2 Is there a place anyone on the forum (e.g. conservation area) where there might be a "take action" thread where those interested could learn where and how to throw their might behind serious and well-organized actions like this? 

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Cawatcher on November 18, 2009, 02:05:12 PM
Can anyone sign Madrona or just Canadian citizens? I am sure we have our own salmon manure ponds right here in the USA if not allowed  :ecsmile
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: madrona on November 18, 2009, 04:31:47 PM
Cawatcher - That petition invites US citizens to sign too.  It asks for your State and one of the categories you can check is USA Salmon Consumer or Concerned World Citizen.  So I'd say go for it!  :eclove
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on November 18, 2009, 08:37:14 PM
I have been supporting Alexandra Morton and her research for years.  We were so excited getting up to 10,000 names on the petition - now it is 30,000+.  She presented the petition in the B.C. Legislature when we reached that first goal but it didn't impress the politicians.

The best news is recent:

Thank you SO much to ALL of you for contacting your MPs and the Prime Minister of Canada.  A Judicial Inquiry into the disappearance of the Fraser sockeye salmon has just been called by Prime Minister Harper!

We don't know the scope of this Inquiry yet, we will learn that tomorrow, so optimism is cautious.  It is essential that the scope of the mandate include review of events in the marine environment

This is the first step to straightening out the tangled politics that I feel is killing our wild fish and I owe great thanks to you.

Alexandra Morton

The best site to keep on top of the fight to lay the blame on the fish farms is here:

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on November 30, 2009, 01:39:21 PM
Received an email from Alexandra this morning with the correct number of signatures on the Petition:

Twenty thousand, two hundred forty-three (20,243) people have now signed the letter on my website www.adopt-a-fry.org <http://www.adopt-a-fry.org>  insisting that you apply the Fisheries Act to “farming” salmon.
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on February 16, 2010, 12:23:06 PM
From Alexandra Morton this morning:

...important news on the issue of salmon farming has become daily.  Most astonishing is the warning sent today to Canada from former Attorney General of Norway, Georg Fredrik Rieber-Mohn,

“we  had an open goal to save wild salmon but we missed the target,”....”If you want to protect wild salmon then you have to move salmon farms away from migration routes.”

This is significant because our fish farms are Norwegian.
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: passerine on February 16, 2010, 02:58:45 PM
Good news thank you attorney general of Norway, because we know that once Norweigian lost their wild salmon they came here with the all mighty dollar & convinced our money hungry greedy politicians to allow the farms here. Yay, because we are not far from losing our salmon. There is talk of putting a farm off the coast of Uclulet, hopefully it won't go through. There is no reason they can't build pens on the main land to continue to farm the altantic salmon. Fingers crossed.


Is there a certain number of signatures that are needed to but a stop to the insanity :question
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on February 16, 2010, 08:33:42 PM

It will take more than signatures to stop them.
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: passerine on February 16, 2010, 09:19:35 PM

It will take more than signatures to stop them.

Oh i know that, but it is one step in many that may help even if it's a little bit.
For some petitions with a certain number of sigs they will sometimes at least postpone & look deeper into something. Like getting referendums.
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on February 22, 2010, 01:22:48 PM
Please Sign the Letter to Canada Fisheries Minister Gail Shea

Alexandra Morton’s letter to Gail Shea has stalled at just over 20,000 signatories. Even with this many people asking for the laws of Canada to be applied to the aquaculture industry, the minister won’t listen! Please sign the letter if you haven’t already, and get your friends and family to sign on as well!

You can find it at http://www.adopt-a-fry.org/

When there were 10,000 signatures, Alexandra took it to the B.C. Legislature and it made no difference.  Since then, the number of signatures have doubled and the fish farms have been placed under federal Fisheries (from Provincial).


Yesterday there was a big Wild Salmon Rally in Vancouver with over 200 people in attendance.  They marched through the city to the Olympic Flame.

(http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/1626/wildsalmonolympics.jpg) (http://img690.imageshack.us/i/wildsalmonolympics.jpg/)

(http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/3246/wildsalmoncircle.jpg) (http://img28.imageshack.us/i/wildsalmoncircle.jpg/)
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on February 27, 2010, 02:04:35 PM
I love the placard of the bear holding an empty plate - no salmon for dinner. :sad
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: beans on February 28, 2010, 11:35:40 AM
Very good information here.  The bottom line seems to be that the human race is growing rapidly, and the other species aren't.  So we try to make up for this shortfall by farming otherwise wild species of seafood, including salmon.  In the long run, could this be a big mistake and harm the wild species?  It seems that the answer, for now, is yes. 

Many states in the US have erected dams, which means the large rivers have slowed to a trickle.  And without the rivers, there won't be salmon.  I'm no expert, but I think we need to conserve water so that we don't use so much.  Then these dams could be opened to fill the river beds once more.

And we need to eat a plant-based diet.  I am not talking about being a vegetarian or vegan, but it seems to me most people in the US eat more protein than they need.  (And more processed foods, but I'm not saying any more about THAT).
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on March 07, 2010, 03:14:24 PM
Received an email from Alexandra today:


This was a ground-breaking week with NBC News, CTV, Vancouver Sun and Globe and Mail reporting on problems with Norwegian industrial salmon farming and very disheartening news from DFO that we should not expect healthy wild salmon returns this year.

There was a significant legal decision and I received a graph which seems to portray the lice levels in the Grieg Seafood fish farm that we filmed in Nootka.

Next week the Federal Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans is formed. If we don't get impact of salmon farming on their agenda the Norwegian fish farm industry will be successful again in degrading the Canadian Fisheries Act, to protect Norwegian interests at expense of threatening our salmon. So stay in close touch with your MP about this.  They are hearing from a very well-run Norwegian lobby. We don’t have those kinds of funds, but we are much more numerous.

And if you have doubts about contacting your MP there is new research showing that the politically active are the happiest people!

I have put all these links on my blog, I know you will let me know if some don’t work..... http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/

Thanks to all of you,

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Cawatcher on April 20, 2010, 09:31:12 PM
I received this email today

Department of Justice lays charges against fish farm company

                  Unlawful by-catch of wild salmon by Norwegian fish farm company
(April 20, 2010, Port Hardy) Today, Todd Gerhart of the Department of Justice, stayed charges laid by biologist Alexandra Morton against Marine Harvest, the largest Norwegian fish farm company in the world, for unlawful possession of wild salmon. In a landmark initiative Gerhart advised the Court that on April 16, 2010, DOJ filed a new indictment against Marine Harvest, including the original charges laid by Alexandra Morton as well as new charges for unlawful possession of herring reported in October 2009. Mr. Gerhart will be the prosecutor.
Morton and her lawyer Jeffery Jones are relieved.  “It is my strong opinion,” says Mr. Jones, a former Crown Prosecutor for DOJ, “that this industry was given access to the BC coast and appears to have been conducting itself as if it were above the law. Today’s decision by Mr. Gerhart and the Department of Justice confirms that no corporation is above the law. This is why private prosecutions are important democratic safeguards.  Ms. Morton’s prosecution has triggered enforcement action by DOJ. I am extremely pleased by Mr. Gerhart’s decision.”
In June of 2009, young wild salmon were observed falling from a load of farm salmon being off-loaded from Marine Harvest’s vessel Orca Warrior. Some of these fish were collected and Marine Harvest admitted in the newspaper to catching the wild salmon.  “By-catch” is fish caught without a licence in the process of fishing for other species.  By-catch is strictly controlled in all other fisheries and in some cases causes entire fisheries to be shut down.
“For decades we have heard reports of wild fish trapped in fish farms, eaten by the farm fish and destroyed during harvest,” says biologist Alexandra Morton, “but when DFO was informed of these offenses they would not, or could not, lay a charge. Canada cannot manage wild fish like this. You can’t regulate commercial and sport fishermen and then allow another group unlimited access to the same resource. BC will lose its wild fish.”
In 1993, the Pacific Fishery Regulations exempted salmon farms from virtually all fishing regulations.  Unlike commercial fishermen, salmon farmers can use bright lights known to attract wild fish. The oily food pellets they use also attract fish and wildlife.  Commercial fishermen are required to pay for observers and cameras on their vessels that record by-catch, so that fishing can be halted to preserve non-targeted stocks.  No such enforcement has been applied to salmon farmers, despite regular reports of black cod, rock cod, herring, lingcod, wild salmon, Pollock, capelin and other species in the pens, in stomachs of the farmed fish and destroyed at harvest time….Until now.
“This is a ray of hope that we can work through the issue of Norwegian salmon farming in BC waters. I am thankful to hand this over to the Department of Justice.  Aquaculture is not the problem. The problem is the reckless way government sited it, managed it and gave it priority over the public fisheries. I call on government to protect the families now dependant on this industry as it undergoes the long overdue scrutiny of the courts, the judicial inquiry and public opinion.“ 
Alexandra Morton 250-974-7086

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: boonibarb on April 23, 2010, 01:56:46 PM

april 22 2010 - ad on Hornby Tribune cover page

(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4038/4546688154_855e535086_b.jpg) (http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4038/4546688154_4df8e65361_o.jpg)
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on June 27, 2010, 12:22:46 PM
Some really good news just received!

Hello All 17,000 of you salmon people on this list!!

The Columbia River is now receiving near record daily numbers of sockeye salmon passing Bonneville Dam in Washington State! Their Technical Advisory Committee has upgraded the run as they are now expecting a return that will break the previous record set in 1955.


Also people are cheering to see large numbers of sockeye returning to Spout Lake on western Vancouver Island. The fish are large and beautiful. 

These two early returns suggest the North Pacific was full of good food for sockeye. These two runs were unaffected by last year's crash.

The indicators for the Fraser River are good.   Some portion of sockeye return a year earlier than the rest of their generation and they are called "jacks."  The number of jacks was extremely high last year.  This suggests that this generation of Fraser sockeye made it out to sea in good shape and had a good first year at sea. In the past the number of jacks was an excellent predictor of the size of the next year's run, but the scientists who follow sockeye have found they are not as reliable as they use to be.

The Fraser River sockeye stocks are like a rope.  They are many different runs that spawn in many different areas of the river and these runs are made of many generations.  The generations are not all equal. There are dominant cycles and off-cycles.  This is pulse of salmon life.  All these individual strands of  runs and cycles twine together like a strong, living rope.  The strands are separate, but they twist together as they run to sea and back.

Fraser sockeye scientists are not able to predict returns anymore.  While predictions remain true in Alaskan waters, something has changed in BC waters that no one has measured and factored into the models.  There is a new and unknown variable having strong effect.

There is a good chance BC will be blessed with an abundant sockeye return to the Fraser River system.  If we are lucky enough (and luck is now involved as mangers are running blind) please don't let the media tell you we don't need the Cohen Inquiry or any of the other investigations into the decline of the Fraser sockeye.  I say this because this is what happened last year with the pink salmon returns.  We were asked to believe that because we got one good run back, we could all abandon concerns and vigilance.  The return this year is no indication the other years and runs have or will recover.  In fact for reasons no one can explain yet, this strong Fraser cycle  has been less impacted than all the others over the past ten years.

If we get this run back we can know there is hope and all the more reason to do everything we can to make sure BC and the world do not lose this generous fish.

I love this time of year, when hope rules and we wait to receive the power of the natural world to feed us, and our world.  We are increasingly lucky to live in this part of the world where hope is still possible.

We are posting lots of news and updates at www.salmonaresacred.org

Also thank you for all your orders at alexandramorton.ca  you are keeping me viable!

Dr. Alexandra Morton

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Rajame on June 27, 2010, 01:30:27 PM
Oh Blue this is such great news! Thank you for sharing with us.  :heart
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: beans on July 03, 2010, 05:05:29 PM
I've read several articles about fish hatcheries and also about farmed fish.  A number of studies have criticized both.  I avoid farmed fish but haven't reached a conclusion about the hatcheries.  So much depends on how they are operated, the diversity of the species, etc.

Good information here. 
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on August 21, 2010, 02:49:44 PM
The first salmon runs are returning to the rivers in August.  Other species of salmon run and spawn later in the fall.

2010 is a record year for sockeye salmon!

If you are anywhere in BC you can feel the economic and ecological powerhouse of the 2010 legendary Fraser Sockeye return.  Towns the length of the province from the coast to deep into the interior are feeling the benefits of food fishing, commercial fishing, wilderness tourism and sport fishing, because of this generous fish. The local newspapers are abuzz. ...Alexandra Morton

The 2010 Sockeye Return
The return of this year's Fraser sockeye is a phenomena. The fishermen have not seen it this good for 50 years. They keep thinking the last sockeye has entered Johnstone Strait, but the fish just keep pouring in from the Pacific at both ends of Vancouver Island.

Scientists could not forecast this enormous run because they don’t know what caused last year’s collapse.  They were protecting fishermen from over-spending on new gear, but now the processors are unprepared.

Go here for more information:


Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: beans on August 21, 2010, 09:42:22 PM
Excellent news, Blue!
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Tigerlady105 on August 21, 2010, 09:56:11 PM
Thank you for sharing that with us, Blue  It will be good for the eagles and bears!  Happy, happy!!! :nod2

Will be see salmon-gorged eagles when they return?  You betcha!   :eclol
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: passerine on August 21, 2010, 10:35:06 PM
In 2007 my daughter & myself went to the Adams Run Festival at  Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, near Chase BC

A couple of the pictures my daughter took, of these Sockeye salmon, it was amazing sight.


Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: birdvoyer on August 22, 2010, 07:30:02 AM
Oh my, passerine, that is amazing to see. I have never seen salmon (maybe on tv?) like that. Beautiful photos.
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on August 22, 2010, 07:37:39 AM
Thanks for your daughter's photos, passerine.  What beautiful colours!
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: beans on August 22, 2010, 12:10:43 PM
Beautiful pictures!  It's almost as good (not quite) as being there.   :ecsmile
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: amazedbyeagles on August 22, 2010, 01:20:25 PM
Wonderful photos of the salmon!!!!  Thanks so much for posting them!  Thanksgiving Dinner for Eagles and other critters!!!! Hurrah! :nod2
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Thumper66 on August 22, 2010, 01:33:25 PM
Passerine.  Thank you for posting those wonderful pictures and the link.  I read it, and I'm learning so much.  I didn't realize that the sockeye salmon turned from silver to red during spawning season, nor did I know that the salmon run is cyclic.  Thank you for the education and I'm ecstatic for the eagles that they will have plenty of salmon to bulk them up for the winter months.  :igetit
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: passerine on August 23, 2010, 10:07:27 AM
Thank-you all for your kind comments i will pass them along to dgt. :heart It's tricky getting pictures of the fish under water she took hundreds of pics hoping to get a couple to work.

The strange thing about this spot is there was no eagles, i asked the park warden & he said they didn't show up here very often. Maybe to far inland when there is closer food, dunno.

Here's a close up view, the color of these fish is amazingly bright. They wiggle around to make indentations to lay the eggs in & the males come by & fertilize them. Really a must do to catch any species of salmon in this stage. These are Sockeye.

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: birdvoyer on August 23, 2010, 11:28:09 AM
Ah, passerine, are you a fishvoyer? :biggrin3

They are beautiful fish in a great photo!
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: madrona on August 23, 2010, 12:00:16 PM
When we lived in Alberta we used to make an annual 'pilgrimage' to Vancouver Island in the summer.  On our return journey toward the end of August, we stopped in Valemount to see the Chinook salmon spawning after their 1,280 km journey from the coast!   :eceek  It was an amazing sight to see first hand, and not easily forgotten.  Those rugged, battered, large fish were a moving sight to behold. 

Salmon Run at George Hicks Park, Valemount
Each year, from mid August to mid September you can witness the annual migration of the spawning Chinook salmon at George Hicks Park in Valemount. Chinook salmon swim about 1,280 km to get from the Pacific Ocean via Fraser River and McLennan River to Swift Creek in Valemount.

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Tigerlady105 on August 23, 2010, 02:21:36 PM
Passerine, lovely photo.  Their color is beautiful and that's a great shot!   :ecsmile
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on February 14, 2011, 12:40:28 PM
A big Valentine to all who work to protect fish of all species.


(http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/4015/loveheartsalmona5.jpg) (http://img140.imageshack.us/i/loveheartsalmona5.jpg/)

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on April 28, 2011, 09:31:21 PM
Doug has named the first eaglet of 2011 after Alexandra Morton.

She is currently on a campaign to get people to "vote for salmon" in the upcoming Federal election.

Here is a recent photo of Alexandra at the Brackendale Art Gallery, where she received the Honourary Order of the Eagles Lifetime Achievement Award - April 22, 2011:

(http://img856.imageshack.us/img856/1535/alexmorton.jpg) (http://img856.imageshack.us/i/alexmorton.jpg/)

Brackendale, north of Vancouver, B.C., has one of the largest populations of Bald Eagles during the salmon runs.
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Rajame on April 28, 2011, 11:11:20 PM
Thank you Blue. She is beautiful and just shines "love." :heart
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: gzebear on April 30, 2011, 03:29:37 PM

For those who may have missed an earlier post of Alexandra's blog:


She also has a website where she sells books, DVDs, cards, t-shirts, etc., to help support her work:


and don't forget:


As the salmon go, so goes the world ....
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: madrona on May 06, 2011, 08:21:07 AM
In an interview with the Nanaimo Daily News today, Alexandra Morton indicates that she is feeling very discouraged.
After almost two decades campaigning against open-net fish farms on B.C.'s coasts, biologist Alexandra Morton said Thursday that she is nearly ready to throw in the towel.
 Read the article HERE. (http://www2.canada.com/nanaimodailynews/news/story.html?id=47a3f4e0-3ed4-4df4-9cd8-5f058104697d)
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: gzebear on May 27, 2011, 01:31:13 PM

found another website with some interesting articles by and about Alexandra Morton:

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: madrona on July 27, 2011, 10:21:03 AM
Feds muzzle scientist's salmon find
Postmedia News - Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a leading fisheries scientist whose discovery could help explain why salmon stocks have been crashing off Canada's West Coast, according to documents obtained by Postmedia News.
The documents show the Privy Council Office, which supports the Prime Minister's Office, stopped Kristi Miller from talking about one of the most significant discoveries to come out of a federal fisheries lab in years.
Science, one of the world's top research journals, published Miller's findings in January. The journal considered the work so significant it notified "over 7,400" journalists worldwide about Miller's "Suffering Salmon" study.
Science told Miller to "please feel free to speak with journalists." It advised reporters to contact Diane Lake, a media officer with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Vancouver, "to set up interviews with Dr. Miller."
Miller heads a $6-million salmon-genetics project at the federal Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo.
The documents show major media outlets were soon lining up to speak with Miller, but the Privy Council Office said no to the interviews.
The Privy Council Office also nixed a Fisheries Department news release about Miller's study, saying the release "was not very good, focused on salmon dying and not on the new science aspect," according to documents obtained by Postmedia News under the Access to Information Act.
Miller is still not allowed to speak publicly about her discovery, and the Privy Council Office and Fisheries Department defend the way she has been silenced.

Read more  HERE (http://www2.canada.com/nanaimodailynews/news/story.html?id=ad7de55f-09a3-47c0-a161-4ae9dd623970)
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: NancyM on July 27, 2011, 11:21:28 AM
They might not let her give public interviews, but the work was published, so is available and "out there." I have the article in Science that is referenced in that news report.  Here is the abstract:

Science 14 January 2011:
Vol. 331 no. 6014 pp. 214-217
DOI: 10.1126/science.1196901

  Genomic Signatures Predict Migration and Spawning Failure in Wild Canadian Salmon

    Kristina M. Miller1,2,*,
    Shaorong Li1,
    Karia H. Kaukinen1,
    Norma Ginther1,
    Edd Hammill3,
    Janelle M. R. Curtis3,
    David A. Patterson4,
    Thomas Sierocinski5,
    Louise Donnison5,
    Paul Pavlidis5,
    Scott G. Hinch2,
    Kimberly A. Hruska2,
    Steven J. Cooke6,
    Karl K. English7 and
    Anthony P. Farrell8

+ Author Affiliations

    1Molecular Genetics Section, Pacific Biological Station, 3190 Hammond Bay Road, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N7, Canada.
    2Department of Forest Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
    3Conservation Biology Section, Pacific Biological Station, 3190 Hammond Bay Road, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N7, Canada.
    4Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Cooperative Resource Management Institute, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada.
    5Department of Psychiatry, Centre for High-Throughput Biology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.
    6Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada.
    7LGL Limited Environmental Research Associates, Sidney, BC V8L 3Y8, Canada.
    8Department of Zoology and Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.



Long-term population viability of Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) is threatened by unusually high levels of mortality as they swim to their spawning areas before they spawn. Functional genomic studies on biopsied gill tissue from tagged wild adults that were tracked through ocean and river environments revealed physiological profiles predictive of successful migration and spawning. We identified a common genomic profile that was correlated with survival in each study. In ocean-tagged fish, a mortality-related genomic signature was associated with a 13.5-fold greater chance of dying en route. In river-tagged fish, the same genomic signature was associated with a 50% increase in mortality before reaching the spawning grounds in one of three stocks tested. At the spawning grounds, the same signature was associated with 3.7-fold greater odds of dying without spawning. Functional analysis raises the possibility that the mortality-related signature reflects a viral infection.
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on July 27, 2011, 02:11:24 PM
Slightly shortened version:

This article below tells us where the problem with our wild salmon comes from.... deep within Ottawa.  This is bad and wrong for us and for future generations.

Justice Cohen, Dr. Miller, myself and others need you to show up to witness the Aquaculture Hearings at the Cohen Commission in late August and early September.  Wild salmon are politically inconvenient, forcing the politicians in power to bite the hands that feed them because they need free-flowing rivers, lakes, rivers, streams and an ocean free of oil slicks, toxic algae and gender bending chemicals, and trees on the mountainsides. Salmon need the same thing we need.  When 100 of us paddled the lower Fraser and were joined by 100s more to walk in the pouring rain to the opening of the inquiry to ask Justice Cohen to release the fish farm disease records we succeeded.  No judge or government has done this anywhere else in the world despite many fighting salmon feedlots worldwide.

And now unless the salmon people stand by those of us in there fighting, we will be silenced too.  We are powerless without you.

The hearings are in Vancouver across from the Vancouver Art Gallery


Ottawa silences scientist over West Coast salmon study
By Margaret Munro, Postmedia NewsJuly 27, 2011 8:22 AM

Read more: http://www.canada.com/technology/Ottawa+silences+scientist+over+West+Coast+salmon+study/5162745/story.html#ixzz1TKOP1YKA
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Cawatcher on August 25, 2011, 06:51:53 AM
Alexanda Morton Update on Cohen hearings

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Bluewing4 on August 25, 2011, 07:20:32 AM
Here is an article published yesterday showing  support of Alexandra Morton's message. The results of a New Zealand study on the connection between salmon farming and the spread of sea lice is well documented and the research is being published. Finally !


Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Tigerlady105 on August 25, 2011, 01:40:29 PM
This whole situation is a travesty.  The very people who are paid to do good science are being prevented from discussing and publishing what they find.

Thank goodness Dr. Kristi Miller is finally able to bring her findings out in the open and Alexandra Morton's efforts are paying off.  I hope that this causes the B.C. government officials that have silenced Dr. Miller to back down and allow her to continue to do her research, speak out and publish her findings!  (I'm a dreamer.)

This is part of a much larger picture and not just a B.C. concern!
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: passerine on September 07, 2011, 11:00:47 AM
This is a must read article http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2011/09/today-i-am-on-the-stand.html

Alexander Morton is going to be testifying today on the Cohen Report. It will be live streamed here http://rabble.ca/
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: emc on September 07, 2011, 11:31:23 AM
Powerful information there! Don't know what to say that won't get me censored!  :nope

A real mess and lots of coverup going on. That really rubs me the wrong way when it is so clear that a coverup is taking place. And at whose expense? The list grows daily... of innocent victims.

I had a difficult time finding the audio.this is the link for ipad anyway.


Edited: it could just be me, but can't get it on ipad even after downloading app for it. :(
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Tigerlady105 on October 05, 2011, 10:57:36 PM
This was posted by Alexandra Morton on Facebook, Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011:

Alexandra Morton:

"Just back from the Fraser river, where hundreds of dead salmon are floating down the river, dead with their eggs still in them. I have been asking DFO but no one seems to want to talk about this. Is this due to a virus or not we deserve to know!"

Anissa Reed also posted photos on Facebook on Oct. 5 on the same page (went to locate and examine dead salmon with Alexandra Morton):

“‎Alexandra Morton and I headed over to the mainland to follow a lead on salmon dying by the thousand in the river. We collected many fish and every single one we found, Sockeye, Coho and some scary looking yellow pink salmon... every one ws either full of eggs or milt. Not spawned!! This is crazy. Some people we talked to said over the previous 6 or so weeks silver sockeye were floating down the river with major bleeding from their fins too. When I looked out across the river I could see salmon floating everywhere I looked.

Also what is up with those bright yellow "Pink Salmon" I've never seen anything like it. They were fresh dead, not stinky at all, much less blood then any other salmon, disgusting livers that were green and lumpy and blotchy, Their kidneys looked messed up and even their flesh was yellow. In the limited time we had access to the water we found four of them.”

Pre-spawn Salmon Mortality - 2011 -  Photos of dead salmon being checked for abnormalities also were posted with Anissa Reed's comments.

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Tigerlady105 on October 07, 2011, 11:32:10 AM
This open letter to Fisheries and Oceans Canada re dying salmon was posted by Alexandra Morton on October 6, 2011:  (Caution:  photos of several of the dead salmon she examined are pictured.)

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: passerine on October 07, 2011, 02:17:52 PM
Thanks Tig for posting that, it is very disturbing. I feel so bad for Alexander she tries so hard to make the wrong right & continually seems to go to deaf ears. Hopefully Dr, Laura Richards answer her.

Picture of yellow Salmon from the above article.  :ecsad

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: emc on October 08, 2011, 08:58:23 AM
The cover up for the Salmon problem is so ridiculous! There is obviously a problem. They need to get to the bottom of it, whatever that is . Ignoring it is just making it thousand times worse. I posted it in on  my facebook page.  Thinking of forwarding it to our newspaper editor, and a few others.

Edit: I forwarded the article to our local paper and to the Los Angeles Times editor for the environment. And to our son who likes to eat Salmon. :(
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: emc on October 21, 2011, 02:30:34 AM
An article about finding a virus in Pacific Coast Salmon.

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on November 08, 2011, 08:05:58 PM
Final submissions were made today. It is now up to Commissioner Cohen to decide whether salmon farms threaten wild species and the environment.

Fish farms' risks on the menu
by The Canadian Press - Story: 67022
Nov 7, 2011 / 8:33 pm

The head of the inquiry into British Columbia's salmon fishery must decide whether salmon farms are incubators of disease that threaten wild stocks, or pose no threat to the environment and migrating species.

Opponents and proponents of B.C.'s fish-farming industry asked the commissioner hearing evidence into the collapse of the 2009 Fraser River sockeye run to weigh the two drastically different viewpoints during closing submissions Monday.

Commissioner Bruce Cohen heard testimony from 173 witnesses over 125 days and will soon write his report, which is due June 30, 2012.

Gregory McDade, legal counsel for the Aquaculture Coalition, a group of industry critics that includes biologist Alexandra Morton, said the high-density environment of B.C.'s salmon farms are incubators of disease, and that it's only a matter of time before a devastating pathogen emerges.

McDade said 30 of about 100 farms report fish-health events annually, and that some three million fish die each year from unexplained causes.

He urged that salmon farms be moved away from the migratory routes of wild stocks.

"The real issue here is proof versus risk," said McDade. "The risk here is real. Don't wait for 10 years until this is proven and we have no fish left."

But Alan Blair, counsel for the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, said experts have already told the commission that properly managed aquaculture sites can co-exist with the marine environment.

He said there was no significant relationship between salmon farms and the decline of the Fraser River run, contending that experts had ruled out the impacts of waste, escaped Atlantic salmon and sea lice.

Blair said critics have repeatedly raised concerns about sea lice, viruses and marine anemia, most recently infectious salmon anemia, with little success.

"Each one of these risks is brought breathlessly to the public in a sensational way and each one so far has been demonstrated to be something less than advertised," he said.

Final submissions will continue Tuesday, when the commission will hear from the Conservation Coalition, an organization representing seven environmental groups, as well as commercial fishermen.

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on April 25, 2012, 10:29:32 AM
This topic has been moved here from Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation.

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on April 26, 2012, 07:17:17 AM
From Alexandra Morton:

We have sent an application to the Cohen Commission to reopen the inquiry into the decline of the Fraser sockeye to hear all the evidence about the Norwegian salmon heart virus that we are finding in farm salmon in supermarkets in Vancouver and Victoria. alexandramorton.typepad.com

Also, this weekend the Globe and Mail ran a profile on me for Earth Day.


Thank you Mark Hume for the kind words.


(excellent article with very interesting observations of underwater sounds, etc.)
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Rajame on April 26, 2012, 07:27:03 AM
Thank you Blue. A very important article. :hug
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: passerine on June 02, 2012, 01:30:12 PM

From Alexandra Morton:

Salmon in crisis: This month there were three outbreaks of lethal viruses at west coast salmon farms leading to the slaughter of 1.5 million fish to keep the viruses from spreading. As a biologist I have seen strong evidence suggesting viruses like these have led to the loss of tens of millions of wild salmon. 

Attempted government cover up: I was devastated to receive lab results showing large supermarket chains are selling B.C. farmed salmon that test positive for deadly viruses including salmon flu and salmon heart virus -- and the provincial Government actually attempted to pass a bill this week that would make it illegal for anyone to publicly report virus outbreaks.

Petition for COSTCO, Safeway & Loblaws: We Don't Want to Eat Salmon Flu or Heart Viruses: http://www.change.org/petitions/costco-safeway-loblaws-we-don-t-want-to-eat-salmon-flu-or-heart-viruses?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mnHBdbZnyz&alert_id=mnHBdbZnyz_cCymlTYSRO (http://www.change.org/petitions/costco-safeway-loblaws-we-don-t-want-to-eat-salmon-flu-or-heart-viruses?utm_source=action_alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mnHBdbZnyz&alert_id=mnHBdbZnyz_cCymlTYSRO)

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Rajame on June 02, 2012, 04:57:22 PM
Thank you Passerine. This is most distressing. Best to be informed. :hug
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Blue on June 03, 2012, 02:11:05 PM
May 30/12


Almost unbelievably Minister Don McRae's Bill 37 has been withdrawn. It remains on the order paper, but will not be revisited in this sitting of the BC Legislature!  The Liberals have cancelled the fall sitting, so it won't come up for another year. Therefore,  we are free to continue tracking these viruses, figuring out which ones are present and where and what they are doing.  The threat of prison was extremely unpleasant, but we had decided to challenge the act had it passed - a number of lawyers thought it was unconstitutional.

I want to thank all of you who wrote letters, posted comments on the Salmon Are Sacred facebook page, signed the petition (please keep signing). Lana Popham, Michael Sather, and Scott Fraser are fantastic wild salmon warrior MLAs, Bea Olivastri of Friends of the Earth wrote a press release on this Bill from Ottawa this morning, Andrew Gage of West Coast Environmental Law wrote a powerful critique of the Bill in a letter to McRae, Elizabeth Denham, BC Information and Privacy Commissioner also wrote a powerful letter to McRae laying out the implications of his draconian bill. Karen Wristen, Greg McDade, John Davis, Jeff Jones, David Sutherland, Vince Gogolek all lawyers whose response to the bill helped us sort this out. Thank you to everyone who donated - so glad we can use the money for testing now! Thank you Ethan Baron for the fantastic reporting that first alerted us and then further reported on McRae's comments about needing this bill ASAP in case of a summer epidemic that might require limits to free speech. Thank you to all the people of this coast who have seen enough and are speaking up to tip us about the situation out on the salmon farms right now. Thank you Anissa Reed!!! You are awesome, Thank you Sabra Woodworth for always being there.

We turned this terrible thing back, it was all of us, not one person less, perhaps democracy is still alive. It is SO rare to get good news, but this is huge. We can get back to work now to turn off the viral spills. We are truly a movement now, a beautiful, inspired creative, peaceful, diverse enormous, movement not afraid to use our voices. We just want wild salmon to survive, and to protect them we have become like them we don't give up, thank you, thank you, thank you all of you!

Alexandra Morton

Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Rajame on June 05, 2012, 09:48:43 PM
Thank you Blue! This is indeed good news! I hope that people come to their senses about this. :hug
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: NancyM on November 20, 2012, 12:17:30 PM
The fight has continued, and today Alexandra Morton posted this on Facebook:  
(link >>>)  Salmon Are Sacred (https://www.facebook.com/groups/111365508874859/525966427414763/?notif_t=group_activity)

The near-epic 20-year battle to protect our oceans, fish and way of life from industrial salmon feedlots continues. This slide show is a call to action from those of us on the front line. The industry has millions to spend on convincing us to turn a blind eye, all we have is us. Please share, sign, donate and get this issue to the mainstream public. Turn up the volume - we are trying to cross the finish line ahead of the viruses. The links to the petition and the donations are below.

http://www.gofundme.com/FishFarmsOut (http://www.gofundme.com/FishFarmsOut)

http://www.change.org/petitions/premier-christy-clark-do-not-renew-salmon-farm-leases (http://www.change.org/petitions/premier-christy-clark-do-not-renew-salmon-farm-leases)


Watch the video (it is very powerful)

Sign the petition

Help if you can  

(btw, McDonald's is bringing a salmon wrap to its Norwegian restaurants,
 http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/4937/mcdonalds-is-launching-salmon-wrap-with-salmon-from-marine-harvest (http://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/4937/mcdonalds-is-launching-salmon-wrap-with-salmon-from-marine-harvest) )
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: Cawatcher on November 20, 2012, 01:45:34 PM
Thank you  Nancy
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: emc on November 21, 2012, 08:29:44 AM
This is not a current article, written in 2003, but extremely interesting written about farming salmon starting in Hitra, ( where Mc Donald's processing plant is).

http://www.worldlakes.org/shownews.asp?newsid=1548 (http://www.worldlakes.org/shownews.asp?newsid=1548)
Title: Re: Fish Research Place
Post by: NancyM on February 02, 2013, 03:49:06 PM
Infected salmon declared fit for human consumption by Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has approved a quarter million Nova Scotia salmon infected with the ISA virus for human consumption, but the U.S. won't take the fish.

 By: Marco Chown Oved Staff Reporter, Published on Fri Feb 01 2013

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/02/01/infected_salmon_declared_fit_for_human_consumption_by_canadian_food_inspection_agency.html (http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/02/01/infected_salmon_declared_fit_for_human_consumption_by_canadian_food_inspection_agency.html)

Title: Re: Fish Research
Post by: boonibarb on March 16, 2013, 02:21:22 PM

There is an excellent article about Herring in this week*s Island Tides Newspaper!
The article is on page 2 & is called Herring mismanagement — ’cultural genocide’
by Briony Penn

Click here to download the pdf. file of the paper (http://www.islandtides.com/assets/IslandTides.pdf)
Title: Re: Fish Research
Post by: winterwren on April 10, 2013, 08:58:22 PM
This is the latest documentary about Alexandra Morton's work. I watched it at a showing here on the island, but the film maker, Twyla Roscovich, has taken the unusual step of releasing it online right away, because of the urgency of the information it contains.

It is profoundly scary, but as usual Alexandra leaves us with hopeful, practical solutions.

http://salmonconfidential.ca/ (http://salmonconfidential.ca/)
Title: Re: Fish Research
Post by: Sandor3 on April 10, 2013, 10:08:08 PM
I agree Winterwren.  While in Ucluelet last week, there was an interesting/sad letter to the editor about the negative effect of fish farms on the herring spawn in that area.  Wonder if the 35 - 40 farms in the Salmon Narrows had an effect on the Hornby spawn this year.     
Title: Re: Fish Research
Post by: boonibarb on April 11, 2013, 07:57:44 AM

That was a fantastic documentary winterwren, thanks for posting the link.
Title: Re: Fish Research
Post by: boonibarb on April 30, 2013, 08:25:14 AM

Another fantastic, realistic but hopeful interview with Alexandra Morton here. (http://thetyee.ca/Video/2013/04/25/Alexandra-Morton/?utm_source=mondayheadlines&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=290413)
Title: Re: Fish Research
Post by: emc on May 30, 2013, 01:28:02 PM
Perhaps of interest to Alexandra Morton is that a fish with what looked like an open sore was given to the female Osprey at the Hellgate Nest and she ate it. She didn't eat anything at all for several days no matter how hard her mate tried to tempt her. She finally has resumed eating tho.
 There was a picture taken of the fish. I was trying to locate the picture again to bring it over but haven't located it yet.
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Cawatcher on June 19, 2013, 02:56:17 PM
an update from Alexandra Morton on farmed fish :

http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2013/06/the-mother-country-turns-on-salmon-farming.html (http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2013/06/the-mother-country-turns-on-salmon-farming.html)
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Sandor3 on June 20, 2013, 05:08:57 PM
Thanks for posting this, Cali.  People should pay attention to this information.  Farmed salmon is not good for you even though they have been blah blahiing on the news how fish farming is now exceeding beef farming.  Wild salmon don't do drugs, just like the bumper sticker says.  Who wants to eat fish that has been fed pesticide to keep the sea lice at bay?  Artificial colouring, antibiotics, and the list goes on.  The consistency of farmed salmon is bleh!  My partner (recently from Alberta) says he wouldn't know anything about this if he still lived in Alberta.  That goes for anyone who doesn't live near the affected areas.  Thanks again, Cali!
Title: salmon
Post by: Sandor3 on August 14, 2013, 10:20:12 AM
This isn't an eagle point of interest, but a salmon story.  An historic 61 1/2 pound salmon has been caught in the annual tyee fishery.  See the photo and story here.... http://www.courierislander.com/ (http://www.courierislander.com/)
Title: salmon
Post by: Sandor3 on August 14, 2013, 10:29:59 AM
Another salmon story...29 pound little girl, 32 pound salmon.  http://issuu.com/campbellriver-courierislander/docs/crci20130809 (http://issuu.com/campbellriver-courierislander/docs/crci20130809)
Title: salmon
Post by: passerine on August 14, 2013, 02:06:53 PM
Sandor thank-you for links, good stories.
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: linused on January 31, 2014, 11:37:11 PM
http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2014/01/its-a-game-and-we-are-pawns.html (http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2014/01/its-a-game-and-we-are-pawns.html)

      Gulp    There are so many people out there who are fighting hard to preserve our wild salmon. This decision must be very hard to hear.   Do they keep fighting?
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: NancyM on February 03, 2014, 02:19:35 PM
Thanks for that link, linused.  I read the blog and was shocked to hear how willingly scientific evidence is being completely ignored by the politians and industrial types.

Today I received this email (I am on Alexandra Morton's email list through Change.org.)

The Harper government of Canada gave the Norwegian salmon feedlot industry the green light to expand in BC. Days later on January 28, 2014, the biggest Norwegian company using British Columbia to grow "salmon" was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. They are talking big expansion, looking for US investors. Each fish farm is now issued a federal licence giving the companies the power to use fish infected with salmon viruses in their farms. I am in court fighting this. This is a death sentence to the wild salmon of British Columbia.

Each salmon farm also needs a provincial licence - a rental agreement for the seafloor below the floating farm. I need your help to send a clear message to the Premier of British Columbia - do not rent the seafloor to the salmon farming industry. See my blog for details http://alexandramorton.typepad.com (http://alexandramorton.typepad.com) Please share this petition with your friends and family - for the wild salmon. Thank you

Petition (if you have not already signed it)
  http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/restore-wild-salmon-ban-salmon-feedlots-in-bc?utm_source=supporter_message&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_message_notice (http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/restore-wild-salmon-ban-salmon-feedlots-in-bc?utm_source=supporter_message&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=petition_message_notice)
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: linused on February 03, 2014, 11:35:17 PM
Nancy,  Thank you Thank you for posting Alexandra's petition.  Signed!!  It truly is shocking that this government is barging forward with an industry that is being closed out of the rest of the world.  How do you fight madness?
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: auroradawn on March 13, 2014, 08:40:31 AM
There is always a lot of discussion this time of year about the herring run & spawning.  Here is an interesting article about this from the local newspaper.

http://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/sports/249883201.html (http://www.comoxvalleyrecord.com/sports/249883201.html)
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: boonibarb on March 13, 2014, 10:09:53 AM

Thanks Dawn, that is a great article.
The Herring Fishery just seems like a big waste of important life to me.
i wish we could just leave it alone.

Here (http://www.islandtides.com/assets/IslandTides.pdf) is the pdf file of the latest Island Tides Newspaper.
On page two is another article about Herring.
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: mishikeenhquay on March 14, 2014, 09:05:39 AM

another article on herring spawn / gill nets.....

Will humans ever learn, or truly understand?  We survive together, or not at all.

http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/archives/2014/0313/bill-aims-to-end-drift-gillnets-as-much-a-killer/article_2506436e-aa4d-11e3-88a6-001a4bcf6878.html#.UyH_q9njSBg.facebook (http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/archives/2014/0313/bill-aims-to-end-drift-gillnets-as-much-a-killer/article_2506436e-aa4d-11e3-88a6-001a4bcf6878.html#.UyH_q9njSBg.facebook)
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Sandor3 on November 05, 2014, 02:36:23 PM
After days and days of wind and rain, we had SUNSHINE!  We decided to go down to Biq Qualicum Hatchery and see some fish.  There were many in the river below the counting gates, many above the gates, and here are some in the observation "room"...didn't know chum could grow this big!


Here at the end of the holding channels, the fish are still trying to jump the fences.  


Then on the way home we stopped at the Sandbar Cafe in Qualicum Bay...as we were leaving, Wren popped up in my rear view mirror!  I knew there was going to be a release in the area, but didn't know the details.  So a quick hug and an introduction to Passerine, we headed for home.  Missed meeting Dawn and saw this morning that Crazylady was there, too.  

I think we all had a great day!
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on November 05, 2014, 06:07:24 PM
Sandor, how beautiful! Thank you so much for those gorgeous sights. Yes, some of those Chum are really big fish! I think they are the largest salmon aside from the Spring.
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: passerine on November 06, 2014, 05:52:13 PM
Amazing creatures the salmon & all they endure to make sure there are more salmon to carry on. TY for videos Sandor.

It was nice meeting you & the mister. We sure did luck out on the weather for the release & your trip to the hatchery. :ecsmile
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: linused on January 29, 2015, 12:00:06 AM
http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2015/01/the-industry-is-on-the-move.html#sthash.amcVCBxK (http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/alexandra_morton/2015/01/the-industry-is-on-the-move.html#sthash.amcVCBxK)

The impact of this is immeasurable
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: boonibarb on January 29, 2015, 09:03:57 AM

Thank you linused!
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: linused on April 19, 2015, 02:10:47 PM
The young salmon are entering the ocean.  This is one of the obstacles that they face
   http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/ (http://alexandramorton.typepad.com/)       
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Tigerlady105 on April 22, 2015, 09:21:21 PM
Thank you, Linused.  This issue is bigger than most people realize.
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Rajame on April 23, 2015, 09:59:50 AM
 :eccry This is a tough realization. Thank you for posting.
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: NancyM 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 (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 (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.

Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren 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 (http://salmoncoast.org/history) 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
(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/520/19097993695_1030cf6956_z.jpg) (https://farm1.staticflickr.com/520/19097993695_0b6718a414_k.jpg)

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.

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3909/18910304428_6443730ec7_z.jpg) (https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3909/18910304428_fddb97e058_k.jpg)

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.
(https://farm1.staticflickr.com/443/18910223070_5d06a3f179_z.jpg) (https://farm1.staticflickr.com/443/18910223070_06bf6f8f1c_k.jpg)
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren 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
(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3735/18475360704_bf64b9cd78_z.jpg) (https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3735/18475360704_e96d9f78cc_k.jpg)

Ashore, cute little houses and gardens everywhere.
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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.

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If I ever go and volunteer there, this is the cabin I'd like to stay in. Just the right size for a wren.
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There's even a fire hall. It's not very big.
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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.
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Tigerlady105 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
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on June 23, 2015, 10:12:58 PM
Here's the inside of the main lab.
May 23, 10:55 am
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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.

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Back outside after a neighbourly cup of coffee. Gardens everywhere. And a plastic heron, go figure.
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Back down to the dock to get back in our boats and paddle home.
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Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Tigerlady105 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
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: NancyM 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 (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. (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.
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren 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 (http://marinesurvivalproject.com/the-project/why/), which supports the Project Watershed Society (http://projectwatershed.ca), and the Nile Creek Enhancement Society (http://nilecreek.org).
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.
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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.
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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.

Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren 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.
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Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren 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.
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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.
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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.
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Rob transfers data from the sensor nearest the water surface to the data shuttle, Kingfisher, March 29.
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(to be continued...)
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: jeavverhey 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:
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: amazedbyeagles 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
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Tigerlady105 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
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren 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.
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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.
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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.
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Continued...  :ecsmile
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: paintnut on November 01, 2016, 11:08:55 AM
Thank you Wren - absolutely fascinating.  Can't wait to read more....
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Cawatcher on November 01, 2016, 11:27:24 AM
Excellent narration and information, Wren.. and all thos birds must be great food out there  :eceek
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on November 01, 2016, 03:06:30 PM
A curious thing was happening at Cape Lazo, and to a lesser degree at the previous site near Kingfisher: by late May, wild kelp had started growing on the unseeded part of the rope. It took me a while to wrap my brain around how this could happen and what it meant, but after Bill patiently explained a few times here is what stuck: the ‘recruited kelp’ got there because there are still small rafts of healthy kelp, ripped from their holdfasts by storms and other disturbances, floating around the area and dropping their sori. Or else it is the smaller gametes that were cast adrift somehow and landed on the ropes. The particular sections of rope where the wild kelp grew were floating fairly close to the surface: joining a plantation to its marker buoy in the case of the Kingfisher site, and accidentally adrift from moorings of a previous planting site at Cape Lazo. Proximity to the surface kept the kelp away from the voracious urchins that graze everything they can reach, and also gave it more favourable lighting conditions. It is standard practice to have the growing ropes raised a few feet off the bottom, but starting off the growing process even closer to the surface and sinking the ropes later might be a more viable way to go at these sites, and I understand we might try this next year.

Young kelp on a line, May 2, photo R. Zielinski. You can see the seed string wound around the grow rope on the bottom right of the photo.
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A data sensor (upper left) from an additional monitoring station near Little River. A squid has attached its translucent egg case among the lead weights that held the rope to the bottom. March 29.
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Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on November 01, 2016, 03:07:27 PM
The Kingfisher kelp did not live long enough to produce sori, but the Cape Lazo planting fared better, especially the wild kelp that grew on the salvaged rope. We found that rope attached to a float that had partly filled with water, and when we towed it to our plantation I got a glimpse of the hidden world below the surface: the float was covered in sea life, layers and layers of creatures growing on top of each other, fiercely competing for space. Most fascinating were the caprellids, or skeleton shrimp, mythic-looking little creatures that clung like velcro to everything they touched, including the dive suits.

Here’s that old float, almost invisible for all the creatures populating it: seaweeds, caprellids, tiny barnacles, a circular colony of bryozoans below the centre of the photo. Cape Lazo, May 25.
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Here’s a better view of some caprellids or skeleton shrimp. The one on the left is head down. The large ones were about 3 cm tall. Cape Lazo, March 29.
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Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on November 01, 2016, 03:22:00 PM

On May 25, the day the divers retrieved that floating line and attached it to the Lazo Shoal plantation, we also collected samples of kelp blades for DNA analysis. This was part of related research by Dr. Felipe Alberto of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee on the population genetics of bull kelp from California to Alaska. While the divers were underwater, I processed the small pieces of kelp blades that we had cut out with scissors, wiping off the caprellids and bryozoans and packing the little brown squares in baggies of blue dessicant beads.

The very high-tech DNA collection tool: Bill cuts out samples from kelp blades. The kelp sporophytes are still only a fraction of their mature size. Cape Lazo, May 25.
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A few kelp samples, wiped dry and packed in dessicant. The dessicant beads turn pink when they absorbs moisture. Cape Lazo, May 25.
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Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Tigerlady105 on November 01, 2016, 03:44:40 PM
Wren, thank you for this series.  I enjoy learning about Marine Biology and watch two different live remote cams that show scientists exploring the deep ocean during the Spring and Summer seasons.

"Hi-tech" equipment, indeed...scissors!      :nod2
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on November 01, 2016, 03:54:38 PM
Three more sites remain on the list, the inside and outside of Maude Reef, and a monitoring station across Lambert Channel at Eagle Rock. We usually checked these sites, so close to home, on a separate day.
The monitoring station is just an anchored buoy with a vertical line that holds sensors. At each visit, after Rob cleaned the sensors and collected the data, we did a sampling of the water column with the sonde. We also scouted the edge of the reef all the way to Chrome Island, looking for remnants of what was once a thriving underwater forest, and found not a blade. Rob mused that this project also has been about watching the slow demise of the area’s last great kelp bed, from ailing to thinned out, and now to nothing. The project’s organizers had chosen this site as reference because it grew the last kelp bed in our area, but now that is gone.

After this, the planting inside Maude Reef was such a comfort to see: finally the neat rows of kelp, aligned with the planting ropes, that one would have hoped to find at all the sites.
Rob examines the kelp, inner Maude Reef, July 3.
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This one’s from Rob’s point of view, looking at the line of kelp to the dive boat. Ford Cove’s dock is in the background. Inner Maude Reef, July 3. Photo R.Zielinski.
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The outer reef plantation did just as well, but with the lines deeper in the water I could not see the seaweed rows from the surface. From the water, they were lovely to see.

Outer Maude reef, July 3, photo R. Zielinski.
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As they should, these plantations sheltered a whole range of sea life…

Two Hooded Nudibranchs among the kelp blades, Inner Maude reef, July 3. Photo R. Zielinski.
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Juvenile herring? Inner Maude reef, July 3. Photo R. Zielinski.
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A Painted Anemone and a Blackeye Goby under the shelter of the kelp forest, inner Maude Reef, July 3. Photo R. Zielinski.
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To be continued!
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on November 01, 2016, 08:39:56 PM
As the season advances, the kelp starts to decay, a process speeded up by the growth of other organisms on its surface. Here, circular colonies of bryozoans or ‘moss animals’ are joined by some green algae.
Inner Maude reef, July 3, photo R. Zielinski.
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The edges of the blades start decomposing… The kelp crabs help shred them out too.
Inner Maude reef, July 3, photo R. Zielinski.
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It’s a race between that decaying process and the production of sori. Some of the smaller plants don’t stand a chance.

Half-eaten kelp, Outer Maude reef, July 3, photo R. Zielinski.
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Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on November 01, 2016, 09:15:41 PM
End of the season

In September, Bill went out on sorus-collecting expeditions at the usual sites. Then in October we wrapped up the season, hauling aboard the grow lines and any equipment that will not be in use next year.

As the lines came aboard after nine months underwater, I delighted in seeing creatures coming out of the deep…

Culture rope with nudibranch egg mass on a blade of red seaweed, Cape Lazo, October 10. There are also some worms and the ever-present caprellids, a nice large one hanging upside-down at the top of the photo.
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Another section of culture rope with a compound tunicate, another colonial animal, that is engulfing what look like some stringy kind of hydroids maybe? Plus at least three other kinds of seaweeds. Cape Lazo, October 10.
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A decorator crab hitched a ride up on the grow lines too… I took a portrait before sending it back to the water. Cape Lazo, October 10.
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This is what a kelp holdfast looks like. Seaweeds don’t have true roots, just various ways to attach to whatever they’re growing on. Rising up to the left is the leathery remnant of the stem, or stipe. From Maude Reef, October 11.
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Another compound tunicate, a fascinating colonial animal, engulfing a grow line; this one is an invasive species. Click the picture to enlarge; each white dot, or maybe pair of dots, represents one animal. From Maude Reef, October 11.
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Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on November 01, 2016, 09:56:22 PM
We will not be reusing the Kingfisher site next year, so not only the lines but also the anchors had to come aboard.
Rob and Bill lifted them from the bottom using salvage air bags. Those heavy-duty bags were attached to each anchor, then filled with air from spare dive tanks on board. As soon as each anchor surfaced, I pulled it in, right next to the boat, and tied it off before the air leaked out from the bags. Then we used a hand-cranked winch and elbow grease to lift the anchors aboard.

Rob surfaces with an air bag, to which an anchor is attached. The red line is just an ordinary air hose, except that it’s 100 feet long. Kingfisher, October 10.
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One anchor attached to the winch and ready to come aboard, another still hanging below the surface from the inflated air bag. The anchors are just cement cylinders with metal loops. Kingfisher, October 10.
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Our fancy hand-crank winch.
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At the outer Maude Reef site, one line was still growing kelp so we left it there. The other lines, plus the four from the inner reef site, we pulled aboard too.

The outer dock at Ford Cove was the perfect platform to clean the ropes and unwind the grow string that had held the kelp ‘seed’. The sea birds and weather will finish the cleanup, then next winter we will wind fresh grow string around the ropes and the cycle will start again. Rob and Bill are planning for an earlier start next season, always trying to find ways for the kelp to gain a foothold before its multitude of competitors and predators does. A lot of work will happen off the boat in the meantime: data will get analyzed and shared with other groups, and slowly we will gain more knowledge on what makes the lovely kelp forests grow and thrive.

Grow ropes on the dock, Ford Cove, October 11.
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Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Tigerlady105 on November 01, 2016, 09:59:15 PM
It's beautiful below the surface of the sea.   :nod2

Please keep your reports and the pictures coming!
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on November 01, 2016, 10:10:58 PM
Thank you, Tigerlady!
While researching this article I found a beautiful video clip about the kelp forests and the role our disappeared Sea Otters used to have in their maintenance - a role they still fulfill closer to where you live, consuming urchins and making room for the kelp to keep growing.
Click the video at the top of the page: Dr. Jane Watson, UBC Adjunct Professor and VIU Professor speaks on the kelp forest’s importance and its ecosystem. (http://nilecreek.org/kelp-habitat)

The Nile Creek enhancement society is one of our funders, and it is our kelp project that is mentioned on this page.
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: amazedbyeagles on November 02, 2016, 09:06:52 AM
This is a fascinating story, Wren!  How wonderful you have this opportunity to learn about kelp and the complex ecosystem it anchors!  And how wonderful of you to share your experience with us!!!  Thank You!! :eclove
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Tigerlady105 on November 02, 2016, 04:02:32 PM
Thank you for the link, Wren.  I've saved it to look at the video and information.   :eclove
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Faerie Gardener on November 03, 2016, 08:31:16 AM
Very nice story and pictures Wren! I'll share with my Daughter in Law who teaches Biology in HS, because I think it's an eye catcher!
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on December 06, 2016, 07:22:46 PM
With all I wrote in my previous series of posts, I still had not answered the question people ask me most often about our kelp forests: what happened to them? How and why did they disappear in the first place?

So I went back to my sources with that question and wrote a short article that appeared in our monthly local paper, The First Edition.

Here is the article.

What happened to the kelp?

This was the most-asked question when Conservancy Hornby Island held an open house on October 22, presenting a series of maps of the marine values around the island.
One map showed the eelgrass beds, and the sites where the forests of bull kelp used to be. That ‘used to’ took a lot of people by surprise.

Is it really all gone? What happened?

I asked Amanda Zielinski from Hornby Island Diving, who volunteers for the local kelp restoration project.
The decline has been going on for decades, all over the Pacific Coast, but it is most obvious throughout the Salish Sea, where there is not as much water movement as on the open coast. 
Amanda moved here in 1998, and by then the vast majority of the kelp beds were already gone. Rob Zielinski had long ago mapped the areas where they used to be, and this is the data that was on view at the Community Hall.

As with many things in nature, there are several factors at work.

Kelp is very sensitive to sea temperatures. The temperatures have risen most of all near the surface, and that is where the kelp’s reproductive tissues are formed, on the leaf-like blades that we can see at low tide. Warmer water also speeds the growth of various other algae and sea creatures that can engulf the kelp before it is large enough to outgrow them.

Kelp is also sensitive to increases in UV radiation… And of course that is mostly felt at the surface too, where those delicate reproductive structures are.

Kelp is sensitive to many man-made pollutants. Think about the eight pulp mills around the Salish Sea that poured out untreated waste, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for most of a century. Mill closures and tightened regulations about the disposal of waste water have helped this situation, but not a moment too soon. Treated-lumber manufacture and storage on the Fraser River has also been implicated.

Kelp is sensitive to sedimentation. Upland development and logging have increased the amount of silt released into our waters. This would affect the kelp most at its microscopic stages but an increase in sediments suspended in the water also means a decrease of light, so this would slow down the growth of the kelp at all stages.

Kelp is also affected by grazers. Sea urchin numbers are increasing. Aside from Sea Otters, whose numbers crashed almost two hundred years ago and who may not have populated the Salish Sea anyway, other animals control sea urchins. The most notable is the Sunflower Star, a huge, many-armed sea star. Disease wiped out our area’s Sunflower Stars three years ago. In the few years before then, there had been a little bit of kelp regrowth at Gravelly Bay, near the ferry dock, and the last large kelp bed near Chrome Island was showing signs of recovery, but after the demise of the Sunflower Star these areas crashed again. This year Rob searched the area and found not a blade.

Since 2011, the Zielinskis and Amanda’s father, biologist Bill Heath, have been working on a kelp restoration project, one of many that have started on both sides of the border. These projects have increased our knowledge of how the kelp grows. Is it too late to restore our kelp forests? What else is here, in that ocean surrounding us, unnoticed and possibly threatened as we go about our daily lives?

Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: jeavverhey on December 07, 2016, 01:33:13 AM
Thank you for posting this very detailed and helpful information Wren.   I Have laboured under the impression  that the kelp demise was due to the  loss of  seals and the resulting rise iin numbers of sea urchins     
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Sandor3 on December 07, 2016, 07:02:52 AM
Thank you for this information, winterwren. 
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Tigerlady105 on December 07, 2016, 10:12:08 AM
Thank you, wren.  That area is beautiful and I've been to the Salish Sea.  My brother lives near there and has a very nice map/art work of it on the dining room wall.
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on January 29, 2017, 07:42:50 PM
Here's the next part of the kelp restoration project... The only part of the process I had missed last year.

Early in January, we started a new season: went out and installed our grow ropes again, with new seed string holding tiny baby kelp sporophytes.
We're doing this earlier this year, trying to give the kelp more time to grow before the water warms up.

First we coiled the ropes we had left on the outer dock to get cleaned by the rain and birds over the winter. Everything got loaded onto the dive boat; and we also towed out a smaller boat.

Here's all the equipment aboard, ready to go: ropes, floats, dive gear.
Ford Cove, January 4, 11 am
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This is what the seed string looks like!
Click on the picture... The brown fuzz clinging to the thin string that is wound all around the plastic cylinder is a whole lot of minuscule kelp plants, at the start of the sporophyte stage. Each tiny strand could potentially become one of those long kelp stems. In reality only a  fraction will make it to full size.

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What looks like ice at the end of the cylinder is indeed ice. It's been so cold, even the sea water surrounding the cylinders partly froze overnight.

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I had been wondering how we would get the seeded string wound around those long grow ropes... Here's how: we pass each rope through the plastic cylinder that holds each string... And tie the end of the string to the rope... And gently pull the rope through! The string unwinds from the cylinder onto the rope... Clever!
Off the frame to our left, a small boat is slowly stretching the rope away from the dive boat.

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Once the ropes were all stretched out away from the boat, down the divers went, to anchor them to the bottom.
Meanwhile a curious Red-necked Grebe checked out the scene, maybe curious to see if those large seal-like beings might scare up some fish to the surface.

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Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: jeavverhey on January 30, 2017, 03:34:42 AM
Thank you for that Wren - great info -  I found the whole process so  very encouraging and interesting. :thumbup:
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Cawatcher on January 31, 2017, 07:14:24 AM
Thank you wren, What a wonderful ingenious way to restore the kelp beds this is so interesting!
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: winterwren on February 15, 2017, 08:14:34 PM
Next day, January 5, we did more of the same.
We are only using one site near Comox this year, the one at Cape Lazo; the ones near the Courtenay River estuary didn't do well enough to warrant our continued efforts.

More kelp babies growing on string, the string wound around plastic tubes. These kelp babies are all grown from spores collected last summer.

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Another look at a spool of string, just before we pass the grow line through the spool and let the string wind onto the rope.
Today we don't have the little boat, so one of the divers stretches the ropes away from the dive boat while the string winds onto it. Then the two divers will go anchor the ropes to the bottom.

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See this earlier post (http://www.ournaturezone.com/index.php?topic=67.msg175894#msg175894) for an explanation of the life cycle of kelp.

The divers pick up any stray bit of rope or plastic that they find at the site, whether it's ours or comes from another group. There's enough plastic floating out there, no need for us to add any.
This little section of rope holds its own small ecosystem, all of which got sent overboard before we disposed of the rope.
This was a new sea star to the deckhand... A Mottled Star, I'm told. It is large enough to eat the smaller Blue Mussels that are attached to the rope.
A few annelid worms hid among the mussels, and the ever-present caprellids or Skeleton Shrimp.

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Again a Red-necked Grebe is checking out the area while the divers are underwater. Birds pay attention to big critters that may disturb the little fishes and cause them to reveal their whereabouts.

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Headed back... Over the Comox Bar we always see a lot of birds.
Greater Scaups and Long-tailed Ducks here.

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Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Sandor3 on October 26, 2017, 12:41:45 PM
An excellent radio interview with Alexandra Morton today regarding fish farming and diseases in their pens. 
Title: Re: Fish Tales
Post by: Tigerlady105 on October 26, 2017, 09:39:33 PM
Thank you for the link, Sandor3.   :nod2