Feds plan to curtail West Coast salmon fishing to help orcas

adamcu280

Active Member
@adamcu280, Date would have been May 15, I don't have the exact location, but I ran into them on my way due west from Tatoosh, I think about 5 miles west of table top. . .pick a spot. . . say 12 miles due west of Tatoosh on my way to a favorite reef. There were at least 3 animals, one a big male (tall dorsal), I didn't take it off step to watch them, just made a mental note and kept on going. It was about 7:30am. There was a patch of life out there, in that spot, tons of birds, feed all over the meter, a humpback, even a couple sealions, which I thought was odd for being that far off.

Are the South Sound orca's around here the last few weeks likely transients?

fb
Ah cool! Well, we were out there that day but apparently we weren't out there in the right place/right time. Part of the challenge is being just one boat in the huge ocean where what you're looking for could be anywhere from CA to AK.

Given the other marine life out there that could easily be T prey, you probably saw fish eaters.

The Gs we saw on the 10th were pretty spread out when we first saw them so if you were just cruising by the 10 animals we saw could have easily been three. For all we know we only saw a fraction of the total animals in the area. We only had a couple hours and couldn't follow them into Canada.

Sorry, yes, all the animals that have been seen in South Sound are mammal eaters. It's been a big spring for them.
 
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Burning question, but almost too embarrassed to ask..... How the heck do you collect fecal samples from killer whales? And then the follow ups....How do you know it's from them? What do you learn from the samples?
 

HalfCaff

New Member

Thoughts on this?
I fear that this is one of those moves that might look good but is largely without effect. Other than to enrage lower 48 costal fishermen.

SRKW evolved feeding on Chinook because they were worth the time to chase down and consume. [email protected] 30# Chinook to meet their daily diet was an easy target back in the day. Now if they are lucky enough to find a school, they need to catch about 40 average fish. No wonder they are endangered.

It is unfortunate that the culprit appears to be the mixed stock fisheries in BC and Alaska that are year after year cropping off the Kings. And apparently beyond all control.

Our Chinook become marketable well before they hit terminal areas and have the opportunity to spawn. This means multiple times through the gauntlet before they make it inside Puget Sound or back to the mouth of the Columbia.

If you have heard of "fishing the highway" these are the impacts that need controlling.

Just my 2c.
 

cabezon

Sculpin Enterprises
WFF Supporter
I fear that this is one of those moves that might look good but is largely without effect. Other than to enrage lower 48 costal fishermen.

SRKW evolved feeding on Chinook because they were worth the time to chase down and consume. [email protected] 30# Chinook to meet their daily diet was an easy target back in the day. Now if they are lucky enough to find a school, they need to catch about 40 average fish. No wonder they are endangered.

It is unfortunate that the culprit appears to be the mixed stock fisheries in BC and Alaska that are year after year cropping off the Kings. And apparently beyond all control.

Our Chinook become marketable well before they hit terminal areas and have the opportunity to spawn. This means multiple times through the gauntlet before they make it inside Puget Sound or back to the mouth of the Columbia.

If you have heard of "fishing the highway" these are the impacts that need controlling.

Just my 2c.
While the new Fed focus on winter food supplies is overdue (and appropriate), the intercept of Puget Sound and Fraser river chinook before these fish come even close to the Salish Sea merits closer examination as well. And the explosion of the chum fishery in the Sound, the last major opportunity for the SRKW to gorge on salmon before heading to the coast, is also a concern.
Steve
 
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adamcu280

Active Member
Burning question, but almost too embarrassed to ask..... How the heck do you collect fecal samples from killer whales? And then the follow ups....How do you know it's from them? What do you learn from the samples?
Totally fair question!
Scroll through to the video at the end of this IG post and you can see the easiest way to collect poop is by literally following in the "footprints" behind the animals and waiting until we see the poop at the surface. Then we collect it in a pool skimming net or modified bottle on a stick. I'm driving the boat and my colleague is on the bow with the pool skimmer and we just hope that a whale poops.

Before we get into this following pattern we get ID shots of the animal(s) we're following so we have an idea of who the poop belongs to. Ideally we follow singles or smaller groups so we can keep track of the animals but the more rumps, the more dumps.

Once we have the samples we tag and bag. Once the samples are at the lab, analyses can give all kinds of amazing results on topics from pregnancy rates, to stress hormones, to type of food eaten, to DNA from the pooper, and so forth.

In addition to finding the samples ourselves, there is a UW-based project that uses a poop-sniffing dog to detect the samples while they float. Here's a short video showing how the process works. I was a part-time vessel operator for this project in the early days. Tucker the star poop sniffing dog passed away a few months ago. :(

Here are some links to some of the results:
 
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Totally fair question!
Scroll through to the video at the end of this IG post and you can see the easiest way to collect poop is by literally following in the "footprints" behind the animals and waiting until we see the poop at the surface. Then we collect it in a pool skimming net or modified bottle on a stick. I'm driving the boat and my colleague is on the bow with the pool skimmer and we just hope that a whale poops.

Before we get into this following pattern we get ID shots of the animal(s) we're following so we have an idea of who the poop belongs to. Ideally we follow singles or smaller groups so we can keep track of the animals but the more rumps, the more dumps.

Once we have the samples we tag and bag. Once the samples are at the lab, analyses can give all kinds of amazing results on topics from pregnancy rates, to stress hormones, to type of food eaten, to DNA from the pooper, and so forth.

In addition to finding the samples ourselves, there is a UW-based project that uses a poop-sniffing dog to detect the samples while they float.

Here are some links to papers resulting from projects I've been involved in:
Thanks and wow - Detection Dogs. Amazing stuff!
 

adamcu280

Active Member
I fear that this is one of those moves that might look good but is largely without effect. Other than to enrage lower 48 costal fishermen.

SRKW evolved feeding on Chinook because they were worth the time to chase down and consume. [email protected] 30# Chinook to meet their daily diet was an easy target back in the day. Now if they are lucky enough to find a school, they need to catch about 40 average fish. No wonder they are endangered.

It is unfortunate that the culprit appears to be the mixed stock fisheries in BC and Alaska that are year after year cropping off the Kings. And apparently beyond all control.

Our Chinook become marketable well before they hit terminal areas and have the opportunity to spawn. This means multiple times through the gauntlet before they make it inside Puget Sound or back to the mouth of the Columbia.

If you have heard of "fishing the highway" these are the impacts that need controlling.

Just my 2c.
Fishing is not "the" culprit. It's one of many culprits that's caused/causing Chinook stocks to crash.
 

HalfCaff

New Member
Fishing is not "the" culprit. It's one of many culprits that's caused/causing Chinook stocks to crash.
Quite true but it is one of very few "culprits" that the Feds. can control.

Another culprit to consider is the Departments policy of randomly spawning every fish entering the weir. Dumping 25% Jacks back into the gene pool every year is not helpful.
 

adamcu280

Active Member
Quite true but it is one of very few "culprits" that the Feds. can control.

Another culprit to consider is the Departments policy of randomly spawning every fish entering the weir. Dumping 25% Jacks back into the gene pool every year is not helpful.
I'd counter that by saying that most of the culprits, aside from "changing ocean conditions" (and even that is likely to have human influence), is under Fed, state, or some level of government control.
 

speedbird49

Active Member
While the new Fed focus on winter food supplies is overdue (and appropriate), the intercept of Puget Sound and Fraser river chinook before these fish come even close to the Salish Sea merits closer examination as well. And the explosion of the chum fishery in the Sound, the last major opportunity for the SRKW to gorge on salmon before heading to the coast, is also a concern.
Steve
I really think we need to ask if it is even appropriate to keep allowing commercial salmon fishing in the sound, at least the non treaty commercial fishing. What percentage of the Washington fishing fleet is based in the Sound? Commercial fishing is an economic lifeline in many communities, but is the Puget Sound region really one of those communities?
 

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