Feb 23

Officials: Historic crisis affecting US West Coast… We’re facing a fisheries disaster… Very never-seen-before things… Should be exclamation alarm to public — Threat of extinction of salmon runs; Loss of sardines, squid, sea urchins, kelp; Massive sea star deaths; Marine mammal strandings… more:

Press Democrat, Feb 11, 2016 (emphasis added): Scientists and lawmakers foresee grim outlook for California’s ocean fisheries… the outlook is overwhelmingly grim, presenters said at an annual forum of the joint legislative Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture. “Something’s going on in the ocean, and it’s not right, and it doesn’t fit our historical understandings,” California Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham told members of the committe… Bonham noted stretches of coastline suddenly barren of sea urchins… [N]umerous anomalies… are growing increasingly apparent, Bonham said. “This should be an… alarm to the general public”… Bonham said… [S]everal witnesses Thursday forecast what most in the industry already have anticipated: a collapse, or near collapse, of key salmon runs in the state… “I cannot say this more bluntly,” [State Senator Mike McGuire] said. “We are facing a fishery disaster here in California”… U.S. Department of Commerce [is] considering a request by Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a fishery disaster… Continue reading »

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Apr 20

Pacific Sardinesstock_biomass_2

Just In: Emergency closure of fishery along entire West Coast — Almost no babies surviving since 2011 — “Catastrophic crash… Population decimated… Crisis… Collapse so severe” — “Latest in series of alarming die-offs… mass reproductive failures… strange diseases” — Official: “A lot of weird things out there” (ENENews, April 16, 2015):

NY Times, Apr 15, 2015 (emphasis added): [Regulators] approved an emergency closure of commercial sardine fishing off Oregon, Washington and California… Earlier this week, the council shut down the next sardine season… [R]evised estimates of sardine populations… found the fish were declining in numbers faster than earlier believed… [Stocks are] much lower than estimated last year… The reasons are not well-understood.

Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting, April 13, 2015: Ben Enticknap, Oceana senior scientist (1:08:00 in) — “We’ve seen a significant change in recruitment [Recruitment: The number of new young fish that enter a population]. There’s been practically no recruitment in recent years, and this was not expected.” Continue reading »

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Jun 22

S. California fishermen ‘skunked… haven’t seen a squid’, usually 10,000+ lbs/day — ‘Complete crashes’ at oyster hatcheries — Sardines, mackerel missing in areas — Pelican sites alarmingly deserted — Record # of sick sea lions — Ultra-rare whales appear after decades — Mammals, birds, fish in odd places (ENENews, June 17, 2014):

KPBS, June 11, 2014: Unusual Fish Catches Off San Diego Signal Large-Scale El Niño […] “We’ve already started to see very unusual fish catches here,” [Tim Barnett, Scripps Institution of Oceanography said.] “Yellowfin tuna was caught in May — that has never happened before to anybody’s recollection [and] dorado Mahi Mahi — first of June […] has never happened” […]

Pete Thomas Outdoors, June 13, 2014: Unusual catches, whales in odd places, pelican woes could be signs that impending El Niño will be significant […] mammals, birds and fish showing up where they don’t typically belong […] Earlier this week two Bryde’s whales [were] off Huntington Beach […] Sightings off California, however, are extremely rare. […] between 1991 and 2005, there was only one […] Less than a week earlier, a large pod of pilot whales showed off Dana Point […] nearly 20 years since they were last spotted off Southern California. In late March, false killer whales, another ultra-rare visitor [were] off Orange County. […] Sam Anderson, a UC Davis biologist […] would typically encounter tens of thousands of breeding pairs of pelicans, there were only sparse numbers. Some nesting sites were alarmingly deserted. […] Anderson, however, was reluctant to place all of the blame for the pelicans’ plight on the developing El Niño. Continue reading »

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Jan 15

“They’re All Gone”: Shock as sardines vanish off California — Fishermen didn’t find a single one all summer — Scientist: This is about the entire Pacific coast… Canada, Mexico, U.S. — NOAA: We don’t know why; The young aren’t surviving (ENENews, Jan 14, 2014):

Long Beach Press Telegram, Jan. 13, 2014: Sardine vanish off the coast; squid and anchovy fill the void for fishermen — [Larry Derr] has pulled up [Pacific sardines] by the ton since the 1980s […] it was a shock when he couldn’t find one of the shiny silver-blue coastal fish all summer […] anchovies have proven a poor replacement since sardines became scarce. Fortunately, a boom in market squid has propelled Derr and other coastal pelagic fishers. […] Some have attributed recent rashes of sea lion pup and pelican deaths to the sardine population decline, which began a few years ago and was officially recognized in December […] “Everybody’s calling me every day for sardines,” Derr said. “They’re all gone. Even Monterey Bay Aquarium is still waiting for some to restock one of their exhibits.” […]

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Dec 22

Experts: “Really an off year” — Pelicans starving in Pacific Northwest since 2011, killing baby birds for food — Breeding success “really poor” since 2011 — “I believe pelicans are responding to large scale changes” — “Sardine crash” persists in Pacific since decline in 2011 (ENENews, Dec 22, 2013):

Laird Henckel, environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Dec. 19, 2013 (emphasis added): [P]elicans that would have normally migrated as far north as British Columbia decided to stick around the Central Coast, where an anchovy smorgasbord is taking place. […] “In 2011 and 2012, the pelicans got up there and ran out of food […] They were starving and scavenging for food” […] During this three year period, brown pelicans were reported to have been killing murre chicks for food […]

Wildlife biologist Deborah Jaques of Pacific Eco Logic in Astoria, Oregon, Dec. 19, 2013 (emphasis added): “Not as many birds flew north this year” […] she does not know what is directly causing the decline […] The large quantity of anchovies in Monterey Bay may have helped the pelicans avoid another year of starvation that has been affecting the birds for the past three years […] “Breeding success on the Channel Islands was really poor for the last three years […] For reasons unknown […] many pelicans have been overwintering in the north during the last several years instead of migrating back south around November as is expected. […] Patterns are changing, and I believe the pelicans are responding to these large scale changes.”

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Nov 04

Sardine population plummets along U.S. West Coast — AP: Collapse of species feared — “Canadian Pacific fishermen catch no sardines in 2013″ (ENENews, Oct 4, 2013):

Orange County Register, November 3, 2013: A steep decline in West Coast sardine populations prompted regulators on Sunday to approve sharp limits on commercial fishing for the species in 2014. At a public meeting, the Pacific Fishery Management Council set a catch limit guideline of […] less than half the limit for the previous year. […]

Fishery Nation, November 3, 2013: Pacific Fishery Management Council – deep cuts for Sardines […] The decline in West Coast sardine populations saw regulators on Sunday approve sharp cuts on commercial fishing for the species in 2014. […]

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