The mysterious decline of Puget Sound herring

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by CacheCreek, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. kelvin Active Member

    Posts: 1,996
    Seattle,WA
    Ratings: +276 / 0
    what do you think it would take to have them let people place artifical reefs?
  2. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

    Posts: 4,095
    Near the Fjord
    Ratings: +562 / 0
    AMEN!!!!
  3. Jonathan Tachell Active Member

    Posts: 790
    Gig Harbor, Washington
    Ratings: +186 / 0
    Considering how strict the rules are and how many hoops have to be jumped through to do anything in Puget sound anymore, I'm pretty sure that they would not allow individuals to create artificial reefs. The wdfw would have to get the ok from several agencies and actually push for it to happen. That being said if enough people voiced their opinion in favor of artificial reefs and volunteered to help in the process I'm sure wdfw could be convinced to make it happen. Especially since they get grants from the feds to monitor rockfish in Puget sound. Why not enhance the population instead of just observing them as their numbers remain stagnant or in decline.
  4. mbowers Active Member

    Posts: 200
    Jupiter, FL / Victoria, BC
    Ratings: +81 / 0
    Since the problem seems to be sand recruitment to the beaches and eelgrass spawning habitat but not habitat for adult fish, artificial reefs would not help IMHO. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/06/19/are-artificial-reefs-good-for-the-environment.html

    I would guess removing the armor on the beaches is not likely to fly. Maybe adding the appropriate type and amount of sand to the seaward side of the armored beaches to make up for the sand that is not being naturally recruited would be a better option IMHO :)
  5. Jonathan Tachell Active Member

    Posts: 790
    Gig Harbor, Washington
    Ratings: +186 / 0
    So how do you explain that within months of any artificial structure being put into Puget sound that rockfish, lingcod and countless other marine life utilizes it? Every rock jetty sharp rock drop off, submerged boat, narrows bridge and bunch of steel cables in the sound has bottomfish on it. But these locations are so few and small that they cannot support many fish or receive much fishing pressure from rec anglers or spear divers. Trust me I have seen it happen. If you dump a few tons of boulders or concrete in the sound you will have fish on it. I'm not disagree that a shortage of eel grass and kelp is not deleterious to the bottom fish population but I am positive the sound, right now, could support more bottom fish if artificial reefs were put in place.
  6. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,792
    Marysville, Washington
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    It should be noted that different species have different habitat needs/requirements. High relieve hard structures (rock piles or artificial reefs) are the preferred habitat for rockfish, lings etc. Herring require much different habitats they need spawning areas and then become much more pelagic in their feeding needs than rockfish etc. Don't see artificial reefs being a significant "solution" for herring production problems.

    BTW -
    Things like bridge debris can be pretty "dirty" - and as such not a preferred material for such structures. It should also be noted that throughout Puget Sound where ever there is the needed currents to sweep the finer gravels and sand away there are exposed "hard bottoms" that are being used by rockfish etc. Placing artificial reefs in areas without hard bottoms means that it is probable that the currents to sweep away that smaller material is not present and such reefs will ultimately be buried. As that burying process goes on the "effectiveness" of such reefs are lost.

    Curt
  7. Jonathan Tachell Active Member

    Posts: 790
    Gig Harbor, Washington
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    Yeah curt I was speaking on the rock fish and lingcod issue as it came up in the thread. And of course your absolutely right about the need for eel grass and kelp for herring spawning and nurseries.
  8. mbowers Active Member

    Posts: 200
    Jupiter, FL / Victoria, BC
    Ratings: +81 / 0

    If the marine life prefers that type of structure they will be attracted to it from a wide area of less desirable habitat and relocate. The animal density might be way up in the 100 sq yards near that structure, but if you look at the density of animals per sq mile it may well be the same, it's just that almost all the animals are in 100 sq yards of that sq mile. Overfishing is now actually easier to achieve for humans and maybe for seals too.

    I'm not saying artificial reefs can't help, just that they have to be carefully analysed to determine if there really is a net benefit.

    If the forage fish were booming while the predators were not then I could see more predator habitat helping, but if the forage fish are crashing (which I think is what all the data shows), I don't think extra habitat will increase the number of lingcod. Are the fish on the artificial structure big mature fish or just little guys happy to be king of the hill? If it's all big fish then I could believe habitat would make a difference but if it's small fish I would guess that forage base is the cause: just not enough food around to grow big fish to compete for habitat so adding more habitat is not the most important fix.
  9. Richard Torres Active Member

    Posts: 1,350
    Mill Creek
    Ratings: +76 / 0
    The tracks have been there for over a hundred years.
    (accident just south of Picnic Point back in the day)
    Capture.PNG
    Did a mud slide cause this? That I don't know.
    The tracks were (and still are) our sign of progress. Back then nobody really thought of (or cared) what the effects they would have on the beaches . Without them we wouldn't be where we are today. I can only visualize how much better the fishing might be if they weren't there.
  10. Derek Day Rockyday

    Posts: 567
    Olympia
    Ratings: +146 / 0
    There is a significant amount of shoreline armoring being removed (mostly on public land) and there are efforts to add more sand (beach nourishment), which can often be as effective at reducing errosion as traditional hard armoring. Nourishment is a replacement for the natural sediment that gets cut off when sediment suply sources (feeder bluffs) get armored--it however doesn't fix the root of the problem (just like mitigation hatcheries on dammed rivers). It's a solution that requires maintenence in perpituity. There are also efforts to utilize more "soft" armoring where it's actually necessary to protect infrastructue. In snohomish, they're trying to get funding to do a pilot project that would use dredge spoils from the snohomish river to nourish the beach in front of a section of railroad tracks--making the best of a bad situation.

    The 'crux' of the armoring issue is areas that will be armored in the next 10-20 years (Mason and Kitsap Counties have the highest new armoring rates). The best way to protect beaches is to have appropriate shoreline setbacks. These are dictaed by local Soreline Master Programs, local codification of the Shoreline Management Act. If you don't build too close to the shore, you don't need a bulkhead. These are written ansd decided at the local level and approved by Ecology. If you care about beachs in these areas, check with your city or county government to see if they're still in the public input/comment period (Mason County is curently reviewing thiers) and let them know that you care about having heathy beaches.
  11. DimeBrite MA-9 Beach Stalker

    Posts: 850
    Marine Area 9
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    Nice historic photo Richard. It looks like the Union Pacific accidentally tried to make an artificial reef ;). At Meadowdale beach I see old train wheels and axles buried in the sand occasionally. There must have been many accidents like this due to the mudslides.

    Back to the artificial reef topic. I know that old Christmas trees are used to create fish habitat in fresh water, but am not sure if they would be helpful in saltwater out here for local baitfish. Up north small trees are used to collect herring roe, so at least herring feel comfortable using them for spawning structure.


  12. skyrise Active Member

    Posts: 590
    everett, wa.
    Ratings: +51 / 0
    years back (maybe 10) when i had my 12 footer running i would come down the Snohomish and swing into Jetty Island. did notice more than a few times these skinny long bait fish. i think they were sand lance. now the whole mouth of the snohomish has tons of sand and very low tidal waters for sand lance and maybe more ? Same with the mouth of the stilly. or maybe its a bad thing. the low water due to so much sand and silt being added ?
    sadly though there are tons of cormorants too.
  13. Baitfish Member

    Posts: 95
    Gig Harbor
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I'd be very curious to know if some of you think the penniped explosion has any direct impact? It sucks when there are a half dozen furbags or so following your boat all the time!

    In the last three years I have caught my fair share of cod/rockfish in MA13. It is refreshing to know they are making a comeback, but on the same token, I hate hooking them!
  14. Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

    Posts: 2,572
    Mount Vernon, WA
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    You Must have known my old school chum Danny Pentilla, I'm the only one that can call him Danny
  15. Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

    Posts: 881
    Silverdale, WA
    Ratings: +369 / 0
    Here's another interesting read about PS forage fish: http://wfrc.usgs.gov/fieldstations/marrowstone/ps_forage.html

    While I agree there's lots of environmental/habitat issues that's affected forage fish stocks as related in previous posts, I was surprised to learn there is a parasite impacting PS herring also.

    First I've heard of it. Sounds as if Ichthyophonus hoferii is another hazard!
  16. Tacoma Red Active Member

    Posts: 584
    Kitsap
    Ratings: +286 / 0
    Here's additional information to support the critical involvement of near-shore habitat to forage fish ecosystem. People living within the Puget Sound Ecosystem are very unaware of the importance and widespread impact of the destruction of the near-shore habitat for forage fish and how that translates to quaternary food chain consumers...salmon, orca, you and me.

    http://www.pugetsoundnearshore.org/technical_papers/marine_fish.pdf