Do Not Copy

Do Not Copy

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

8-25-13 They Came, Did They Stay This Time?

Sunday, August 25th
...early morning I am awakened to killer whale calls on the hydrophones...running around to get dressed and out the door, I first hear J and K pod calls...now that was a surprise as I had heard that L pod was coming in!
...once again I had the privilege of going out on Orca with Dave Ellifrit of the Center for Whale Research...today it was not raining and the seas were flat calm...it was not a superpod as only about half of L pod was present...
...maybe some salmon had come in and were moving up...I know that last night the purse seiners were getting ready for the next morning for the 7:00 a.m. 'bell' to drop their nets for a one day opening for them for pink salmon...
...the pink salmon numbers were looking good...originally estimated to be 17,000,000 it had been down graded to 10,000,000 but I guess that was enough for a short opening...pink salmon are not something the Residents eat...it's the Fraser River chinook salmon they want...pink salmon are only about 4.5 pounds - that's like eating a crumb...
...the whales were definitely heading north, looking like they might go all the way to the Fraser River...many of them were right out in the middle of Haro Strait going against the ebb tide while some others were in closer to shore, most likely using the back eddy...when they got closer to the entrance to Active Pass they went wild!...it was an amazing experience to watch and attempt to get images of the whales...note: Scoter K-25 still has a piece of metal sticking out of him from that tagging...
...out on Maya's Westside Charters for an afternoon trip we saw three family groups of Transients (see prior post) just 'around the corner'...but while out with them we learn that the Residents had gone just about to where they would normally stop and forage up near the Fraser River, but instead turned around - no foraging- yikes scary!- and were heading back down...now that is not a good sign at all...
...out later to meet them at East Pt. in Boundary Pass as the whales came back south...Blackberry J-27 made a big huge lunge as he and others passed along the shore at Saturna Island...
...Mike J-26 and others...
...more were approaching Boiling Reef (not sure if that is it's official name)...on the inside of the reef...and harbor seals were paying attention to these 'black and whites' too...
...a group got to the bottom of the reef and began to surf in what I can only imagine was a strong back eddy...it was wild to see and near impossible to photograph!...it only lasted a few moments so no time for video...
...on down the shore of Saturna...everyone loves to see the whales...

What will happen if these whales who know this place as their summer habitat and the humans who have designated it as the whales' critical habitat, do if the whales stop coming here.
So sad to think about it.
And I think that might be one of the problems.
'If I don't acknowledge it then it will go away' might be what some are saying.
In this case it might very well be the truth.
If it is not acknowledged and acted upon the whales may very well go away.

Oh, and the whales left the area that same night and were seen the next day heading west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 
I am posting this 3 days after the whales left.  
There were additional openings for the purse seiners as the pink salmon estimate was increased to a 14,000,000 return. That's a lot of 'crumbs' but not something the Southern Residents eat.
Last night it rained a lot.  A rain that is much needed. Perhaps there are salmon, chinook salmon, out there that will move in.
 

2 comments:

Susan Marie Andersson said...

Jeanne,

There are many of us who really are concerned about the lack of Chinook this year and yet there does not appear to be any concern in regards to fishing regulations. I realize this would be just the tip of the ice berg in regards to issues we need to resolve to restore the runs, and this may be a naive question, but why have the Chinook not been put on the endangered list a or at the very least illegal to catch in our local waters? Is there something we can be doing to propose legislation? What about Canada? Iknow they put a moratorium on chinook this summer in the Fraser...

Thanks Jeanne. I really enjoy your blog and it was really an honor to be with you last week with David Howitz and Maya's Westside Charters. Your knowledge is astounding and your passion inspiring.

Susan Andersson
Bainbridge Island, WA

Jeanne said...

Thanks for your comments and your concern for the Southern Residents and the Chinook salmon. Here is one link to refer to: http://www.fishwatch.gov/seafood_profiles/species/salmon/species_pages/chinook_salmon.htm

I believe the Chinook salmon in this area are listed as endangered. I too don't understand why fishing for Chinook salmon has not been stopped. I believe that many of those who are sport fishers may not even be aware of the situation and are abiding by what the current regulations say. So how does one get this critical situation out there so some immediate action could be taken by those who regulate the sport fishing? After all there are other salmon in these areas now who are not endangered, so there would still be fishing that could happen.
On the site that the link above on the right hand column is some information about the SRKWs and Chinook salmon. Problem is that more talk doesn't get results. The whales and the salmon don't have time to wait for more studies and more money thrown in the wrong direction. Immediate action is what is needed. Is there something you can be doing? Yes. Talk about it. Bring it up. Make people aware as to what is happening. Not from 'the sky is falling' manner but from an educational manner because I think most people just aren't aware of it.