Saturday, October 29, 2011

Farmed Fish Disease Spreading

NY Times - ISA found in the Fraser

More evidence that fish farming is a dirty industry and more evidence that a large scale offshore farm in the Strait of Juan de Fuca should not even be considered.

With WDFW reducing the seasons on Strait of Juan de Fuca rivers by one month to protect declining steelhead populations we should not even consider raising steelhead in farms off these streams river mouths.  Where do the farm proponents think the escaped steelhead will go?  If we are concerned about Chambers Creek steelhead in the Elwha, we should be even more concerned about farm raised steelhead escaping and straying into the Elwha and other small streams along the Strait.

The Strait is a major feeding ground for both outgoing and incoming salmon.  How will the sealice, waste, and disease impact the populations of forage fish our wild fish depend on.  With the strong currents these negative impacts coming from the farms will be less localized and impact the entire Strait.

How much more evidence do we need to stop the expansion of fish farming?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Deep Wading

Seattle Times Article on Strait of Juan de Fuca Fish Farms

The corporate BS is getting deep on this one.  Just after the discovery of a major disease from farmed salmon in BC this quote from the article jumped out at me.

"Bielka, with Pacific Aquaculture, said he knows the company will face scrutiny, but "the science is behind us 100 percent," he said."

100 percent?  Your aquaculture operations are perfect according to all the available science?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Take Action for Wild Fish

Two important things to do for wild fish.

First up is the 2012-2013 Sportfishing Rule Proposals from WDFW.  There are important rule changes regarding wild fish protection throughout Puget Sound and the Coast.  Write or attend the meeting (or both) regarding protecting juvenile salmonids and resident trout.

2012-2013 Rule Proposals

Second up is the Wild Fish Conservancy's campaign against non-native hatchery fish in the Elwha River.  Help them help wild fish recovery after the dam removal.

Protect Wild Elwha Steelhead and Salmon

Friday, October 21, 2011

Summer's Last Stand

The call came late in the evening asking if I wanted to head out for some saltwater coho action.  I immediately answered yes without checking with the wife.  It was a good call as we ate fresh coho the next evening for dinner.

The next day was spent swinging flies on glacial rivers.  Bushwacking through the woods and exploring new water is always worth it regardless of getting skunked.  Enjoying almost 70 degree sunshine on the coast in October is a rare treat.

A couple days later spent a day exploring a favorite cedar stained creek for cutthroats.  Found a few beautiful specimens.  The coolest thing about the day was seeing stray pink salmon spawning in the lower reaches of this coastal creek.  Amazing to see the amount of straying that comes from the huge Puget Sound pink runs.

And to top it all off the fall colors on the west end of the Olympic Peninsula are just spectacular right now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alexandra Morton is a Hero

Recent news of a european strain of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) being found in samples of sockeye salmon in British Columbia should be a final wake up call for anyone on the fence regarding the impacts of fish farming.

Of course with any negative news about the fish farming industry we will once again be treated to attacks on wild fish activists such as Alexandra Morton.  We need to stand up and not accept this.  The industry has attempted to attack her for years but she keeps fighting.  What she says has continually been proven to be true time and time again yet many still want to believe that farming fish will somehow help our beleaguered wild fish runs.  We need more people like Alexandra Morton, not less.   

With new farms being proposed close to the mouth of the Elwha River this recent news means we cannot risk giving away our marine waters to corporations who only care about the bottom line.

Links to ISA news

NY Times Article

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shared Sacrifice

In this current era of racing to the bottom I have to ask why Bristol Bay thinks it is better than the rest of us.  We citizens in the lower 48 states have dammed, logged, developed, and mined every last one of our salmon and steelhead rivers.  Even our most protected rivers have been seriously degraded.

Why should Alaska be any different?  Come out of the 1800's and embrace fishing over 1-5% of historic salmon and steelhead numbers.  You too can enjoy the spoils of modern technological resource extraction and the smaller numbers of fish.  You will enjoy the additional challenges that come with tiny run sizes.  How hard is it to catch fish that number in the millions?  Try catching one when the run size is in the tens of thousands or hundreds.  That's a real challenge.

It is time to bring Alaska into the 21st Century.  That means degraded watersheds and less fish and wildlife.  After Pebble Mine and it's jobs are gone there will still be plenty of employment opportunities.  There will be jobs in cleanup, environmental restoration, and hatcheries. 

Embrace the environmental disaster that is Pebble Mine and join your fellow citizens in destroying the finest salmon producing rivers in the World.  Sacrifice the good of the many for the good of a the few.  It is the American way.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Rare Win

It looks like science and wild fish ruled the day when it came time for WDFW to decide on whether to renew the Snider Creek Program on the Sol Duc River.

Kudos to everyone who sent in letters in favor of managing the healthiest wild steelhead run in Washington State for wild fish.

A rare win for wild fish.  Let's keep up the pressure on WDFW and fish managers throughout the region.  Our voices as citizen lobbyists can make a difference.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Urgency of Fall

I awoke this morning to see a dusting of snow on the high peaks looming over the coastal town I call home.  The snow makes sense when looking at the calendar but my mind revolts against the very idea that winter is bearing down on us.

The urgency of the season we call Fall is a blur.  A blur because this season happens to be one of the best for outdoor pursuits, especially fishing in the Pacific Northwest.  The remnants of this past summer are still available.  Summer steelhead and saltwater salmon still give us one last taste of the warmer months that seem just like yesterday.  Salmon are now pouring upriver with every rain and high tide.  Sea run cutthroat prowl saltwater beaches and rise to dry flies in the fog draped river valleys.

There are too many options in the Fall.  As I try to decide where to fish later this week I feel an urge that cannot be fulfilled.  I still have places, rivers, and beaches I dreamed of fishing this summer and fall.  Those dreams are burned into my memories and as long as winter stays away I keep the delusion alive that I still have a chance to take advantage of them.  Like an addict I think if only the weather stays dry or the ocean breezes stay mild I could still take advantage of all that the Pacific Northwest offers.  It is a fool's errand.  Winter will eventually arrive.  There is no stopping it's steady march towards our shores.

I will eventually accept the truth and start looking forward to what lies ahead.  I just need another couple weeks.