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Old 01-06-2020, 06:18 PM   #1
Gus Orviston
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Default Whale topic

I am pondering the entire Orca fiasco in the sound. The pods are depleting and it is suggested it is going to get worse because of the possible breading pairs that remain, life expectancy etc.

Few other things that I heard is the lack of chinook are what is causing the issue and potentially the increase in pinks (?) getting in the way of finding their favorite food species the chinook.

Ok. I buy that premise.

Seattle is now blaming all the sewage etc for the catastrophic effect on the salmon , climate change is wrapped in their too.

Now. What I would like answers too is how this pod (3 pods) got started in the sound. My guess is the “rise of the pods” probably aligns well with the operation of fish hatcheries in the estuaries of the sound. And for years the whales thrives on an abundant return of hatchery fish.

Now hatcheries are shut down and there are few-several hundred thousand less fry released. (Maybe millions? ) This greatly reduces the return and the overall food source. Hence unhealthy orcas

This theory too simple , makes sense?

So a good fix for the whales is crank up the hatcheries !

Gus



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Old 01-06-2020, 06:27 PM   #2
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Default Re: Whale topic

Nope Gus. You're not off the topic by any means.
But it's only part of the problem.
There are so many factors that are critical, it's hard to nail down just one.
I'm afraid that when we ALL realize there's a REAL problem, it'll be way too late.
But you're on track, as are a bunch of us.
But NOT enough of us.
Keep on posting. Good to hear from you.
Keep on posting.
Ff
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Old 01-06-2020, 10:31 PM   #3
Gus Orviston
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Default Re: Whale topic

Thanks


Well a part of this problem would be we may have created the issue by pumping so many fish in there for decades- since the 50s and made this fake ecosystem. So I ask. Is there really a problem ?


Then on the other hand I say crank up the hatcheries and lets fish :-)


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Old 01-07-2020, 09:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Whale topic

With all of the focus on the plight of the SRKW there is a lot of research being conducted and the emerging results make it clear that it is a very multi-faceted and complex issue particularly related to Puget Sound Chinook.

There has been the deterioration of spawning habitat.

There has been the Blob (ocean conditions).

There has been the significant reduction in hatchery output.

There has been the significant increase in pinnipeds and particularly harbor seals and their impact on outbound smolts - something like 22% of all Puget Sound smolt (hatchery and wild). See the Chasco report. Adjusted to adult equivalents Chasco et al estimated their impact at twice what SRKW consume and six times all human harvest (a number which has been decreasing over time).

Now it is emerging that NRKW may be "corking" the SRKW both in total quantity as well as the more desirable larger Chinook. As I recall the reports indicate the NRKW population has been consistently growing and is over 300 animals.

One other aspect is that it is now opined by academia that indigenous peoples probably kept the pinniped population well below current numbers. Local Seattle news last night had one of the Seal Watcher group lamenting a dead sea lion washed up on a Seattle beach. The carcass was too deteriorated for a necropsy - probably been in the water since the 2019 net fisheries.

What I have touched upon is certainly not a complete list but it is fairly clear to me that we cannot simply pump more fish into the system and expect to see the SRKW recover. Let the hand wringing begin.
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Old 01-07-2020, 11:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: Whale topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus Orviston View Post
So a good fix for the whales is crank up the hatcheries !

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I will preface with the statement: I am not anti-hatchery, but I am not against questioning hatcheries.

As a health care professional I have often found that western medicine focuses too much on quick fix cures. Instead of understanding the problem and working to alleviate the problem, many of us want the magic pill to alleviate the symptoms. The issue with this approach: the symptoms may be gone but the problem is still there.

I have grown up fishing hatchery streams and have watched them fluctuate over the years. For how many fish that have been pumped into these streams you would think a decent natural run would be established. Or, at least, we would be working to restore habitat while trying to let a natural run be established. I have fished many rivers where the planting has stopped and there are very few fish to be found. Spawning surveys validate my perceptions as an angler. And the habitat still looks the exact same - atrocious. So that tells me people are looking for a quick fix (catching fish) rather than addressing the actual problem.

the problem is still there. Habitat is atrocious and most of us don't have a clue because it is all we have known. We assume it is the way it is, and that's the way its going to be.

This really changes the debate to: Do you want to address the habitat problem, or do you want to continue to look the other way?

The best doctors I know are the ones who understand why something is happening. The best dentists I know are also the ones who understand why something is happening. Who do you want working on you - the guy who understands the problem, or the guy who wants to get it done the easiest way?

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Old 01-07-2020, 11:51 AM   #6
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WFC is the organization I blame! They have filed so many lawsuits stopping hatchery production. It's to the point I believe they want dead orcas. Hatchery production must happen on puget sound. Streams have been degraded, dams built, water flow issues, temperature issues, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals being dumped through humans in waterways, toxic waste, etc, etc, etc, etc. Your wild fish are from hatchery crosses. Without hatcheries salmon numbers will always be marginal at best in the sound. Remember the Ballard lock steelhead run. Where worthless California sea lions were allowed to eat the run to extinction.
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Whale topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gus Orviston View Post
I am pondering the entire Orca fiasco in the sound. The pods are depleting and it is suggested it is going to get worse because of the possible breading pairs that remain, life expectancy etc.

Few other things that I heard is the lack of chinook are what is causing the issue and potentially the increase in pinks (?) getting in the way of finding their favorite food species the chinook.

Ok. I buy that premise.

Seattle is now blaming all the sewage etc for the catastrophic effect on the salmon , climate change is wrapped in their too.

Now. What I would like answers too is how this pod (3 pods) got started in the sound. My guess is the “rise of the pods” probably aligns well with the operation of fish hatcheries in the estuaries of the sound. And for years the whales thrives on an abundant return of hatchery fish.

Now hatcheries are shut down and there are few-several hundred thousand less fry released. (Maybe millions? ) This greatly reduces the return and the overall food source. Hence unhealthy orcas

This theory too simple , makes sense?

So a good fix for the whales is crank up the hatcheries !

Gus



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Gus,


If only it were that simple!


So very much regarding the endangered SRKW (southern resident killer whale) is not even mentioned in the articles and reports. Let's begin with this: the average number of SRKW over the last 50 years is 70. There are 73 now. The population has ranged up to 100 or so and down to about 60-something. I'm not saying that they are in good shape, only that they are about where they have been for a half century. Because of the life history of these whales, longevity, age at breeding, etc., the fate of these whales may have been sealed many years or even decades ago.



Maybe we can do something for them now, and maybe we can't. We seem to know that they are starving right now. They need more food today, not in 10 or 20 years. So what do we do? We talk (taking valuable time) about actions like ramping up hatchery production that won't produce food for 3 or 4 years, or removing the lower Snake River dams, which will take 10 to 20 years if it ever happens at all. I think what we are really doing is dedicating our efforts to valiant and high quality lip service about saving the SRKW, without actually doing anything effective to save them.


Take the Chinook food supply, for instance. Although hatchery production of Puget Sound (PS) Chinook has been reduced, there are still a lot of them, and they are the most abundant Chinook in PS. What isn't being said is that almost the entirety of PS Chinook are Green River (GR) hatchery stock, regardless of which PS hatchery raises and releases them. And GR hatchery Chinook, which in 1980 mostly returned as 16 pound 4 year olds, now return as 12 pound, with many being 3 years old. And SRKW prefer large Chinook (more calories per salmon pursued). Ramping up the production of PS hatchery Chinook will increase the number somewhat, but if you consider the bell-shaped curve of run timing, you can see that there will simply be slightly more of the same Chinook that are already out there. I'm not saying it won't increase the SRKW food supply. It will, but it won't increase the food supply in times and locations where it is currently lacking, which is something the SRKW really need.


And what Chinook do the SRKW really need? They need more Chinook like the recent year declining abundance of Harrison River and SF Thompson River Chinook, which are larger (20 pound plus) and have a different, earlier, run timing than PS GR Chinook. The reports ignore that because they apparently can't see north of the 49th parallel, the border between the US and Canada. The SRKW could also use more Skagit and Stillaguamish Chinook, which are summer run timing, wild, and much larger than PS GR Chinook. But those stocks are also in decline, with the Stilly Chinook practically extinct, but for small hatchery efforts to keep them going. There are no quick or easy fixes to these Chinook shortages, and the SRKW saviors aren't even talking about this. Maybe they don't know, and aren't all that interested in finding out. Anyway, the budget appropriations to increase hatchery Chinook production won't amount to diddly for saving the SRKW.


Yes, there is much talk about water pollution in PS. Talk about short memories! PS is vastly cleaner today than it was 50 years ago. Pulp mills used to dump gazillions of tons of mercury and sulphite waste liquor into PS, and every city dumped untreated sewage into PS, and there were lots of salmon, and no one complained about a lack of SRKWs. I'm not saying that pollution is good for either fish or whales, but to blame it for the present lack of either Chinook or whales is to be blind to what is going on and what has gone on.


As if that isn't enough, it's just possible that SRKW are at an evolutionary dead end. Transient KW are increasing in population, perhaps because they eat seals, and the seal population has been increasing like crazy. And the Northern Resident KW (NRKW) are increasing in population. They also eat fish, and prefer larger Chinook salmon as favorite forage. And being located further north, they are in a key position to "low hole" the SRKW by intercepting Chinook before they make it to the foraging areas of the SRKW. This leaves me thinking that if the SRKW cannot adapt and switch their diet to marine mammals like the Transient KW, then just maybe the SRKW are on an unavoidable collision path with extinction. And nothing in the WA Governor's one billion dollar SRKW recovery plan will change that outcome. But you can bet every cent in that plan will get spent - a cynical comment I can't resist making.
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: Whale topic

A recent article also points to small Chinook as part of the problem. With the average size of Chinook being significantly smaller than previous decades, the whales don't get the same amount of nutrients with each expenditure of effort per fish.

Only explanation I've seen that passes the smell test for Chinook size decreasing is the statical probably of bigger 4&5 salt fish not surviving nets after years and generations of nets that cull out the bigger fish every year. There are reasons for local population size drops such as the dam killing off huge summer hogs on the Columbia, or crazy sportsman pressure on kenai chinook that result in targeting and removing bigger fish in past years. That doesn't really work for most places as most sport salmon fishers are happy to just get keeper fish and don't have the luxury of trying to retain only large fish.

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Old 01-07-2020, 01:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quiet Riot View Post
A recent article also points to small Chinook as part of the problem. With the average size of Chinook being significantly smaller than previous decades, the whales don't get the same amount of nutrients with each expenditure of effort per fish.

Only explanation I've seen that passes the smell test for Chinook size decreasing is the statical probably of bigger 4&5 salt fish not surviving nets after years and generations of nets that cull out the bigger fish every year. There are reasons for local population size drops such as the dam killing off huge summer hogs on the Columbia, or crazy sportsman pressure on kenai chinook that result in targeting and removing bigger fish in past years. That doesn't really work for most places as most sport salmon fishers are happy to just get keeper fish and don't have the luxury of trying to retain only large fish.

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You have apparently missed the several posts in this thread mentioning the emerging theory that NRKW are picking off those more desirable bigger Chinook effectively doing what you suggest human fishermen are doing. Over three hundred NRKW with a range down to upper Vancouver Island have the potential for adversely affecting both the size and number of the most preferable morsels.

Again, not to say it is the only factor but it certainly is a plausible factor.
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: Whale topic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pipe Dream View Post
With all of the focus on the plight of the SRKW there is a lot of research being conducted and the emerging results make it clear that it is a very multi-faceted and complex issue particularly related to Puget Sound Chinook.

There has been the deterioration of spawning habitat.

There has been the Blob (ocean conditions).

There has been the significant reduction in hatchery output.

There has been the significant increase in pinnipeds and particularly harbor seals and their impact on outbound smolts - something like 22% of all Puget Sound smolt (hatchery and wild). See the Chasco report. Adjusted to adult equivalents Chasco et al estimated their impact at twice what SRKW consume and six times all human harvest (a number which has been decreasing over time).

Now it is emerging that NRKW may be "corking" the SRKW both in total quantity as well as the more desirable larger Chinook. As I recall the reports indicate the NRKW population has been consistently growing and is over 300 animals.

One other aspect is that it is now opined by academia that indigenous peoples probably kept the pinniped population well below current numbers. Local Seattle news last night had one of the Seal Watcher group lamenting a dead sea lion washed up on a Seattle beach. The carcass was too deteriorated for a necropsy - probably been in the water since the 2019 net fisheries.

What I have touched upon is certainly not a complete list but it is fairly clear to me that we cannot simply pump more fish into the system and expect to see the SRKW recover. Let the hand wringing begin.

The Puget Sound folks seem to make a big deal out of every seal found on the beach. Its amazing they don't ask Olympia for a special Seal CSI team. Poor little critters are just being killed and dying from human intervention.



Just watch this film and decide for yourself what the REI and Starbucks folks are being fed in the Seattle area.
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Old 01-07-2020, 02:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Soulakala View Post
The Puget Sound folks seem to make a big deal out of every seal found on the beach. Its amazing they don't ask Olympia for a special Seal CSI team. Poor little critters are just being killed and dying from human intervention.



Just watch this film and decide for yourself what the REI and Starbucks folks are being fed in the Seattle area. Artifishal Full Film | The Fight to Save Wild Salmon - YouTube
To add to the story NOAA was contacted and it was that Agency personnel's opinion that the carcass was too deteriorated for a necropsy. I would suggest that they know full well what killed that sea lion and who did it. And because of that there will be no investigation because they don't want to rock that boat. Better for them to just look the other way.........
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Old 01-07-2020, 03:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pipe Dream View Post
You have apparently missed the several posts in this thread mentioning the emerging theory that NRKW are picking off those more desirable bigger Chinook effectively doing what you suggest human fishermen are doing. Over three hundred NRKW with a range down to upper Vancouver Island have the potential for adversely affecting both the size and number of the most preferable morsels.



Again, not to say it is the only factor but it certainly is a plausible factor.
Not at all, you apparently missed the part about how that has nothing to do with Chinook size in general having declined overall, not just where there are orcas feeding on them at certain times of the year.... Or the dam, or... The NRKW are also feeding on smaller Chinook sizes than in recent decades. The poster above me posted some more specific things to the Puget sound area, all those have an effect I'm sure. But if the whole population of Pacific Chinooks are smaller, it has more to do than just the northern orca pack picking them off, they just get first shot at what's left. Or second after the nets..

The trend of smaller size of Chinook is going on longer than the ocean warming blob, orca pod sizes fluctuating etc. The bigger breeder Chinook are being targeted at statically higher rates all over the ocean than the smaller Chinook it appears. Nets do that by letting smaller fish through.

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Old 01-07-2020, 05:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Quiet Riot View Post
Not at all, you apparently missed the part about how that has nothing to do with Chinook size in general having declined overall, not just where there are orcas feeding on them at certain times of the year.... Or the dam, or... The NRKW are also feeding on smaller Chinook sizes than in recent decades. The poster above me posted some more specific things to the Puget sound area, all those have an effect I'm sure. But if the whole population of Pacific Chinooks are smaller, it has more to do than just the northern orca pack picking them off, they just get first shot at what's left. Or second after the nets..

The trend of smaller size of Chinook is going on longer than the ocean warming blob, orca pod sizes fluctuating etc. The bigger breeder Chinook are being targeted at statically higher rates all over the ocean than the smaller Chinook it appears. Nets do that by letting smaller fish through.

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Okay, I think we have our respective positions established.
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Old 01-07-2020, 05:17 PM   #14
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Default Re: Whale topic

Wow, Gus Orviston. Haven't seen you around in a long time!
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Old 01-07-2020, 07:02 PM   #15
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Default Re: Whale topic

its a combination of many things that we the people are doing to destroy our planet. with little help from the populace as they dont want to give up their claim to what is left of the disappearing resources.


what is in vogue now is to kill off what is taking what we want to kill off first.
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Old 01-08-2020, 08:16 AM   #16
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its a combination of many things that we the people are doing to destroy our planet. with little help from the populace as they dont want to give up their claim to what is left of the disappearing resources.


what is in vogue now is to kill off what is taking what we want to kill off first.

The problem is everyone is trying to tackle all fronts at the same time and pointing fingers at others saying they are part of the problem. If we would tackle one issue at a time in unified effort maybe we could achieve something. Its also better to lose one battle front than the war. This problem did not happen overnight or to one specific region, and with the international aspects of it perhaps some issues will never resolve themselves. Then to top this off we sometimes complicate the issue with studies and absurd planning, as we know now its called analysis paralysis, and we sure have been impacted with that - A LOT.
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Old 01-08-2020, 08:40 AM   #17
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Wow, Gus Orviston. Haven't seen you around in a long time!


Lol. Well fishing had been so poor in have been doing other stuff

This whale topic has been bugging me and I can think of many things that contribute so I wanted to come where there are more smart people to discuss. And the awesome people here did not disappoint !!!!


Nice to see you. And to be seen !


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