I live in the Pacific Northwest and have been hearing about this in the local news. ENENEWS has gathered a collection of news reports that show how widespread and alarming the situation is to the local fish population. — Editor
Ocean conditions have ‘gone to hell’ — Salmon covered in fungus, red lesions all over, big gaping sores — Extinction concerns, “it could be the end” — Experts: It’s crazy… Unprecedented… Catastrophic… Worst they’ve ever seen…
USA Today, Jul 31, 2015 (emphasis added): … weather in the Pacific Northwest is killing millions of fish…
AP, Jul 27, 2015: More than a quarter million sockeye salmon returning from the ocean to spawn are either dead or dying in the Columbia… wiping out at least half of this year’s returning population… [NOAA’s Ritchie Graves] says up to 80 percent of the population could ultimately perish.
Eureka Times Standard, Jul 29, 2015: With recent fish counting surveys on two Klamath River tributaries showing alarmingly low numbers… fisheries experts are growing increasingly concerned… The South Fork Trinity River is also showing a low presence of wild Chinook salmon adults… Fisheries experts are not certain why the tributaries have such a low salmon population…
Washington Post, Jul 30, 2015: … Native American tribes are becoming increasingly worried [wild salmon] might disappear… the current threat is worse than anything they have seen… “We’re very worried,” said Kathryn Brigham, chair of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission… An estimated quarter-million salmon, more than half of the spring spawning run up the Columbia River, perished, likely killed by a disease that thrives in warm water and causes gill rot… Adults stay in the Pacific Ocean from three to seven years… Some populations “could go extinct,” [Greg McMillan with Oregon’s Deschutes River Alliance] said.
KOIN transcript, Jul 27, 2015: Half of the sockeye salmon in the Columbia River are dying… Biologists are calling this die-off unprecedented… (Nick Blevins, fisherman:) “The fish are not looking in good condition… Some of them will have lesions… The sockeye already have gill diseases“… It could be the end for these endangered species. (Blevins:) “For something that’s been here longer than us that’s going to go to extinction, we’re not too far behind then.”
Spokesman Review, Jul 24, 2015: “Never in my entire (29-year) career have I seen anything like this,” [Jeff Korth, fisheries manager] said. “A minimum of 300,000 adult salmon have died… We’re seeing big gaping sores… 15,000 sockeye tried to go up the Okanogan last week… They all died… My goal was to retire before ocean conditions go to hell again.”
Seattle Times, Jul 27, 2015: … the Columbia [has turned]into a kill zone where salmon immune systems are weakened and fish die of infections… Some [are]suffering from a bacterial disease. Others have backs covered with a mottled white fungus. All are expected to die… Mary Peters, a microbiologist who works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [said]“It’s crazy.”… Salmon also face challenges in the ocean… “My guess is that this is going to be one of the poorest years for salmon (ocean) survival” said Bill Peterson, a [NOAA] scientist… “Things do not look good”… Diseased fish with red marks that are signs of a bacterial infection have been found… Some of them actually have red splotches all over…
Daily Record, Jul 31, 2015: [Toby Kock, Columbia River Research Laboratory biologist is] seeing a great many fish suffering from columnaris bacterial infections which shows up as frayed or ragged fins, ulcerations and fungus-like white patches on skin and gill filaments.
Spokesman Review, Jul 17, 2015: “Catastrophic“ is a word that’s being used as scientists begin to unravel the mystery… [They’re] finding dead fish, both shad and sockeye… the words scientists use to describe what’s going on are freakier than the photos:
- WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife: “Very bad news… carnage is ugly… conversion rates… 2-5%”
- Scientist from B.C., Canada: “Catastrophic losses… have begun to occur… It may be advisable for DFO communications to identify “talking points”… very soon to get out in front of events… [in] more than 40 years and cannot remember anything comparableto what were currently seeing unfold on the coast!“
- Reports from Alaska: Many salmon with strange growths inside, concerns about health and safety — “Skin illness on white fish raise concerns… Never caught any like this” — Gov’t predicts ‘catastrophic’ king salmon run (PHOTOS) January 28, 2014
- Unprecedented emergency statewide fishing closures enacted in Pacific Northwest — “We’ve never had to do anything like this” — “Very alarming” mass die-offs linked to disease outbreak — Nearly 100% infection rate in some areas — Rotting gills, distended bellies — NOAA: It’s a ‘head scratcher’ (VIDEOS) July 17, 2015
- Gov’t Experts: Hordes of jellyfish 10 blocks long off west coast of Seattle; So dense it’s like you can just walk on them… Disturbing when all you pull up are huge masses of jellyfish — NPR: They seem to be replacing fish in food chain — Herring disappear, mysterious spike in salmon deaths (PHOTOS) May 14, 2015
- “Sea creatures sick, dying or disappearing at alarming rate all along Pacific coast… Some wonder if it’s fallout from Fukushima” — New York Times: “Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction” — Study: “We may be on precipice of major extinction event” in marine wildlife (VIDEO) January 18, 2015
- 10,000 baby sea lions dead on one California island — Experts: “It’s getting crazy… This is a crisis… Never seen anything like it… Very difficult to see so much death” — TV: “Numbers skyrocketing at alarming rates” — “Woman is burying the rotting mammals” after digging graves at beach (VIDEOS) March 16, 2015