Resource: Salmon News Summary – August 25, 2016

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Fraser River sockeye salmon at lowest numbers since records began in 1893, (Georgia Straight, Aug 22 2016)

Fraser Sockeye

The number of sockeye salmon returning to the Fraser River is expected to hit a record low this summer. “This is the lowest run-size ever estimated since estimates began in 1893,” reads an August 19 bulletin issued by the Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC). The estimate of 853,000 fish has caught scientists by surprise because it falls well below averages for other low points in these cycles. The Vancouver-based Watershed Watch Salmon Society responded to the news with a release that calls attention to the impacts that climate change can have on salmon runs in southern B.C.

72 hours to vacate: First Nation gives eviction notice to salmon farm, (CBC, Aug 22 2016)


A B.C. First Nation has served a 72-hour eviction notice to a fish farm. Hereditary chiefs from Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation boarded a Cermaq/Mitsubishi salmon farm off the Burdwood Islands earlier this week. Their message was clear: it’s time to leave. “This is a 72-hour eviction notice to all salmon farmers in the unceded territory of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw,” said the Kingcome band’s hereditary chief Willie Moon to a pair of farm workers.


Taking aim at flood control boxes on the Lower Fraser(Chilliwack Progress, Aug 17 2016)


It’s all about increasing water quality and flow to the local slough to restore salmon habitat in Chilliwack. Urbanization and agriculture has almost destroyed the once stellar fish habitat over the years, but diking infrastructure also has a role to play. Lina Azeez, community engagement coordinator with Watershed Watch Salmon Society, invited The Progress and members of the Save Our Slough group for an up-close look at the Camp slough system last Friday.


RCMP Arrest Four Indigenous Protesters over Fish Farm Action, (The Tyee, Aug 25 2016)

RCMP arrest

The RCMP has arrested and released four Indigenous protesters in the community of Ahousaht, B.C. for trying to obstruct a fish farm company from restocking an empty feedlot with new Atlantic smolts. The incident happened Monday evening when Lennie John, Sacheen Seitcham and two other residents of the Ahousaht community protested at the Dixon Bay farm north of Tofino as a barge attempted to stock the previously closed farm with new smolts, or young Atlantic salmon.


Haida strips titles from two hereditary chiefs for supporting Northern Gateway pipeline, (National Post, August 18 2016)


The extraordinary decision by a Haida clan to strip two of its hereditary chiefs of their titles for secretly supporting Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline is being closely watched by First Nations across Canada. The rebuke, which was delivered last week in an elaborate ceremony witnessed by more than 500 people, came as the Haida nation rejected what they say is a growing trend by companies to enlist the support of hereditary chiefs as a way of claiming broad First Nations support.


Smith Island tidal marsh reclamation is well underway(Herald News, Aug 22 2016)

Smith Island

Within earshot of I-5, a landscape of green and yellow opens up toward Puget Sound. Birds cruise through marine-fresh air, above watery channels where chinook, coho and pink salmon migrate inland to spawn. This is the Nisqually River Delta seven years after the federal government and the Nisqually Tribe oversaw a project to breach dikes to re-flood farmland. Channels snake their way through mud and marsh, reviving an estuary that had long lain dormant.


Interior First Nations robbed of food fish on Fraser receive sockeye from Okanagan River, (Vancouver Sun, Aug 24 2016)


Unlike Fraser River sockeye, salmon in the Okanagan River in southern B.C. must navigate their way up the Columbia River past a gauntlet of hydroelectric dams before reaching their spawning grounds just north of Oliver. There have been tough years, dry and drought years, when precious few have made it. But not this year. The Okanagan River is experiencing such healthy sockeye returns that First Nations are sharing their catch with those from communities in the Williams Lake region and north who are suffering because of historic low sockeye returns on the Fraser system.


Anchovy schools are back in session, with ‘phenomenal numbers’ spawning in Howe Sound, (Vancouver Sun, Aug 20 2016)


Anchovies are being seen in “phenomenal numbers” in Howe Sound, likely as a result of El Nino’s warming impact on West Coast waters, a Vancouver Aquarium biologist says “Anchovies are a southern species centred in California around Catalina Island,” said Dr. Jeff Marliave, vice-president of marine science at the Vancouver Aquarium. “They are here from time to time but it tends to be in the warm El Nino years.”

Rivershed Society of B.C. prime next generation to fight for the Fraser River, (Georgia Straight, Aug 17 2016)

Rivershed Society

Fin Donnelly’s love affair with the Fraser River began more than two decades ago. As a young man, the Port Moody–Coquitlam NDP MP was a marathon swimmer, crossing the Strait of Georgia several times. But it was his journey down the length of the Fraser River in 1995 that changed his life.


About 35 percent of Snake River sockeye presumed dead, (Spokesman Review, Aug 18 2016)

About 35 percent of this year’s Snake River sockeye salmon run hasn’t shown up at Lower Granite Dam, and the fish are probably dead, the Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday. About 1,240 adult Snake River sockeye were counted at Bonneville Dam on the Lower Columbia earlier this summer. But only 788 of those fish have been detected at Lower Granite, the farthest upstream dam of the four Lower Snake River dams.



Sockeye salmon return to the Fraser River hits record low(FIS, Aug 24 2016)

Given the number of sockeye salmon return to the Fraser River is expected to hit a record low this summer, the Government has suspended all the fisheries of this resource, including commercial and indigenous fishing. The Pacific Salmon Commission measured water in the Fraser River on August 18 and found it to be 20.6 °C or 2.5 °C higher than the average for that date. Salmon are a cold water fish and adults begin to die when the water temperature goes above 18 or 19 degrees. Meanwhile, Watershed Watch Salmon Society responded to the news with a release that calls attention to the impacts that climate change can have on salmon runs in southern BC.

It’s like writing a blank cheque(Discourse Media, Aug 19 2016)


By Wednesday, members of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation in northwest B.C. need to respond to an opinion poll that asks if they support energy development in their territory. The polling follows a series of four information sessions held by the band council in June, focused on plans for liquified natural gas (LNG) development. At the information sessions, band members were presented with a proposed package of benefits that hinge on them voicing their support for the contentious Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW LNG) project at the mouth of the Skeena River.

First Nation criticizes DFO’s approval of Port Coquitlam stream relocation(CBC, Aug 24, 2016)


Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it consulted with a local First Nation before approving a controversial Port Coquitlam stream diversion, but the Indigenous group says that description is a vast exaggeration. The DFO has approved the diversion of Maple Creek to make way for the construction of a 10,000-square-foot house.


River advocates still pushing against tide(Delta Optimist, Aug 24 2016)

River Advocates

MP organizes meeting to discuss Fraser concerns, but some leave feeling they just got lip service. A roundtable meeting to discuss concerns about the Fraser River has some who took part feeling they’ve received nothing more than lip service. Taking place late last month at the Delta View Centre in East Ladner, the meeting was arranged by Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, who invited several groups and concerned citizens.  


Cullen wants changes to the fisheries system(Northern View, Aug 21 2016)


The fisheries system in the North West of Canada needs an overhaul. That was the message from the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP, Nathan Cullen, last week when he spoke with media. An incident between a few fishermen and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) officers on Aug. 2 has increased tensions in the area, and Canfisco Oceanview plant saw an increased presence of officers.

Why is the water so green around southern B.C.?(CBC, Aug 22 2016)

green water

If you’ve noticed the waters off the shores of southern B.C. looking greener than usual, give yourself a pat on the back for being attuned to the shades of the sea. There is a massive algae bloom in the Strait of Georgia, extending into Howe Sound, that’s left the colour of the water looking more emerald than usual.


Salmon rescuers to blast rock to help fish spawn in Seymour River(CBC, Aug 22 2016)


First, volunteers tried trucks. Now, it’s time for explosives. Salmon on the Seymour River have been unable to reach their spawning grounds upstream since a massive rockslide dumped rocks as big as houses into the North Vancouver, B.C. waterway in December 2014. Last year, a concerted volunteer effort caught and trucked fish from the bottom of the river around the rockslide and then released the fish to spawn upstream. Brian Smith, the hatchery manager with the Seymour River Salmonid Society, says the group will try to blast the rock away, because moving fish by hand was not a good long-term strategy.



With Record Antibiotic Use Are Salmon Farms Brewing Superbugs? (gCaptain, Aug 17 2016)

In a bid to combat an epidemic fish disease, last year Chile’s aquaculture industry doused its salmon with 557 metric tons of antibiotics — a record high on a per-fish basis. This flood of drugs may be breeding bacteria able to withstand antibiotics widely used in human medicine. But a tight-lipped industry and opaque supply chains are keeping consumers in the dark about how their salmon was raised. Chile’s salmon industry has amped up its use of antibiotics every year since 2010. In 2015, salmon farmers there used 660 grams of antibiotics per metric ton of fish. Norway, in contrast, produces more salmon than Chile but uses far fewer drugs — around 0.17 grams per ton.


Protect our most precious resource, or we’re all dead in the water(Vancouver Sun, Aug 24 2016)


Recent headlines — from the Nestle water showdown in Ontario, to the recognition of drought as the biggest health risk in Africa (even ahead of AIDS), to California and Australia facing persistent and historical levels of scarcity — demonstrate what a water crisis can look like. Closer to home, last year’s panic-inducing drought and this summer’s failed Fraser River salmon run show the growing concern around our most precious resource: water. The ominous threat of a water crisis looms even here in British Columbia. The implications are monstrous, affecting everything from our economy, our environment, and even our health and quality of life.


Deep Sea Mining: An Invisible Land Grab(National Geographic, July 21 2016)

Deep Sea

Thousands of meters beneath the azure ocean waters in places like the South Pacific, down through a water column saturated with life and to the ocean floor carpeted in undiscovered ecosystems, machines the size of small buildings are poised to begin a campaign of wholesale destruction.  


CFIA confirms whirling disease in fish from lake in Banff National Park(Canadian Press, Aug 25 2016)

CFIA whirling

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says whirling disease has been discovered in fish from Johnson Lake in Banff National Park. The CFIA says it’s the first time it has confirmed the disease in Canada. Whirling disease is caused by a parasite that causes skeletal and neurological damage in young trout and salmon. Parks Canada says it has closed the area around Johnson Lake and banned any recreational activities to reduce risk of the disease spreading.


Mayors scramble to stop diversion of water from Great Lakes(Canadian Press, Aug 22 2016)

Inland Wisconsin city of Waukesha got green light to divert water from Lake Michigan to its taps. A group of mayors from Canada and the U.S. is trying to challenge a recent decision allowing an American city to draw water from the Great Lakes, arguing that it sets a dangerous precedent.


Leading fish biologist calls for closure of N.L. capelin fishery(CTV News, Aug 23 2016)


They are tiny fish that feed the mightiest of mammals — and they’re in trouble. Capelin travel in large schools off Canada’s east coast and are the preferred food of many species of whales, but these silver, smelt-like fish experienced a population crash in the early 1990s from which they have yet to recover. A leading biologist in Newfoundland and Labrador says the recovery of capelin is so important that the province’s commercial fishery for capelin roe — known as masago among sushi fans — should be stopped.


$3.1-million settlement for navy ship damaged by trawler(Times Colonist, Aug 23 2016)

The federal government is receiving $3.1 million in an out-of-court settlement for damage to HMCS Winnipeg after it was hit by an American fishing vessel in 2013. An agreement on costs was reached in June, a federal official said Tuesday. Canada’s Department of Justice had launched an action in Federal Court against the owner of the American Dynasty fishing vessel to recoup costs to the Halifax-class frigate.



Poor production of pink salmon mystifies(Juneau Empire, Aug 18 2016)


Weather patterns contributed to a screwy sockeye run in 2015, and this year the same is happening to pinks, the second-largest salmon harvest in Alaska. In 2016, commercial fishermen have only harvested 8 million pinks as of Aug. 15 in Prince William Sound, the state’s largest pink run. Only one-third are hatchery fish, a marked turn from last years’ massive pink haul of 96 million in the Sound, a 20-year record-breaker over 93 million pinks in 2003.


Iowa startup company to potentially turn salmon into cash crop(KETV, August 18 2016)

As Americans eat more fish, fresh Atlantic salmon are filling restaurants and stores. “It costs from 45 to 70 cents a pound to ship fresh salmon in from Chile, Norway and the United Kingdom,” said Jackson Kimle, Vice President of Inland Sea. Kimle and his startup, Inland Sea, want to grow the fish on quiet fields outside Harlan, Iowa.


Klamath Salmon Festival will be without salmon(KRCR News, Aug 19 2016)

Klamath Salmon

The Yurok Tribe is getting ready to celebrate the 54th Annual Klamath Salmon Festival on Saturday. However, there won’t be any salmon this year. Yurok Tribal Chairman, Thomas P. O’Rourke, said this is the first time in the events history there won’t be salmon. He said the Yurok Tribal Council made the decision this year based on the predicted record low run.


Sockeyes are silver lining in an otherwise miserable year for Alaska salmon(Alaska Dispatch, Aug 20 2016)

Alaska’s 2016 pink salmon fishery is set to rank as the worst in 20 years by a long shot, and the outlook is bleak for other salmon except sockeyes, too. The peaks of the various salmon runs have passed. The pink salmon catch so far has yet to break 35 million during a year when the forecast called for 90 million fish. Last year, 190 million were harvested.


Vancouver-based mining company receives go-ahead to expand near Alaska eagle preserve(CBC, Aug 20 2016)


The Canadian company exploring for copper, zinc and gold upstream of a southeast Alaska bald eagle preserve has received permission from a U.S. federal agency to expand. Vancouver, B.C.-based Constantine Metal Resources Ltd. is exploring upstream of the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve outside Haines. The preserve sees the world’s largest gathering of bald eagles in early winter. Up to 4,000 of the raptors fly in to feed on salmon that spawn, die and collect along the Chilkat River after other waterways have frozen. Mine critics say it’s unreasonable to allow a mine — and the threat of contaminated wastewater spill or other consequences — so close to the Chilkat.


The Biggest California Water Decision You’ve Never Heard Of(KQED, Aug 19 2016)

Many of California’s farmers, facing severe water cutbacks yet again this year, are blaming the hand they’ve been dealt on environmental protections for endangered fish. The protections limit how much water can be taken up by the huge pumps that serve much of the state. But there’s another root of the problem, often overlooked, that controls both the state’s water supply and the fate of endangered fish: the San Joaquin River.


California Passes Toughest Greenhouse Gas Emission Curbs(Bloomberg, Aug 24 2016)


California is poised to make the nation’s strictest carbon emission controls even tougher, with a bill to cut greenhouse-gas discharges to 40 percent less than 1990 levels by 2030 now headed to Governor Jerry Brown.



Sakhalin Hatchery Reform, Russia(OceanOutcomes, Aug 13 2016)

Accounting for 40% of global wild salmon production, the Russian Far East is home to some of the most prolific salmon runs on the planet. While salmon runs and fisheries are flourishing on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Sakhalin Island is now in the midst of its sixth year of low salmon returns. While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for declining returns, poaching and oil and gas development are the two most commonly cited reasons. Unfortunately, this season is shaping up to be another bust as Sakhalin fishermen have only been able to harvest 28,600 metric tons of pink salmon so far.


We’re trashing the oceans — and they’re returning the favor by making us sick(Washington Post, Aug 8 2016)

Six years ago, in a bracing TED talk, coral reef scientist Jeremy Jackson laid out “how we wrecked the ocean.” In the talk, he detailed not only how overfishing, global warming, and various forms of pollution are damaging ocean ecosystems — but also, strikingly, how these human-driven injuries to the oceans can be harmful to those who live on land.


A Musician Creates an Americana Soundtrack for the Colorado River(National Geographic, July 27 2016)


The four members of the Infamous Flapjack Affair, an indie folk band started in Oxford, England, share a love of music as well as concern for the environment. So when cellist James Mitchell brought up his dream of playing Bach suites in a canyon along the Colorado River, the other members—guitarist David Carel, fiddle player Sarah Noyce, and banjo and guitar player Benjamin Barron—didn’t balk. Instead, they batted around ideas and came up with a plan.


Ocean Slime Spreading Quickly Across the Earth(National Geographic, Aug 19 2016)

Toxic algae blooms, perhaps accelerated by ocean warming and other climate shifts, are spreading, poisoning marine life and people. The algae bloom that blanketed the West Coast in 2015 was the most toxic one ever recorded in that region. But from the fjords of South America to the waters of the Arabian Sea, harmful blooms, perhaps accelerated by ocean warming and other shifts linked to climate change, are wreaking more havoc on ocean life and people. And many scientists project they will get worse.


Norway on track to produce 5% less salmon in 2016(Undercurrent News, August 25, 2016)

There has been a decline in salmon production in Norway of almost 9%, or about 45,000t, in the first half of this year, compared with last year.


ISA outbreak can’t stop SalMar doubling its Q2 profits(Undercurrent News, August 25, 2016)

Infectious salmon anemia at firm’s newly-formed Central Norway site forced early harvesting and had knock-on effects for processing.