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zephyr
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zephyr
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PostMon Sep 25, 2017 7:37 pm 
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I happened to see Mike's post in another thread.  It's about the escaped farm salmon earlier this summer.  I can't quote it directly because the thread is locked.  I am not trying to revive the salmon escape/release subject, but share something about the orcas that I learned today.

First here's mike's comment:

Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:22 am

What orca? they aren't around this year. thought to be because of low fish numbers but no one knows for sure.  last seen off Vancouver Island. (No wifi or cell service out there so they probably haven't heard yet.) anyway they are pretty species specific, chinook in the case of the "resident" J, K, L pods. mammals in the case of the "transients". The "transients" have ironically become the current residents as seal and porpoise numbers are good.

and according to the article atlantics were reportedly being caught in the Skagit so that should answer that question.

edit: also record being caught in the Seiku R.


I stumbled on to the above while looking through some other posts and it reminded me of this article I saw today in the West Seattle Blog.  Many folks on the Peninsula and Vashon enjoy our local orcas so they get featured with every sighting in the neighborhood.  I am sure it's this way all around the Salish Sea.  The story is about yet another death in the local resident group--J Pod.

"The Center for Whale Research confirms today that Puget Sound’s resident orca population has dropped again, with the death of J52, nicknamed Sonic."

It goes on to talk about how he died of starvation essentially.  More here from the quoted newsletter:  "As of 19 September, another Southern Resident Killer Whale, J52 – a two and a half year old male born during the so-called Baby Boom of 2015/2016 – is deceased, presumably from malnutrition.

His obligatory nursing ended more than a year ago, and his life was dependent upon salmon that have become in short supply this summer.

He was last seen alive near the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca on 15 September 2017, and photographs taken at the time reveal severe “peanut-head” syndrome associated with impending death. Young J52 was accompanied by his mother (seventeen and a half year old, J36) and an adult male (twenty-six year old L85, potentially his father) at least five miles away from the other members of J and L pods that were foraging within a mile or two of the coastline from Camper Creek to Bonilla Point west of Port Renfrew, British Columbia."


...
"All indications (population number, foraging spread, days of occurrence in the Salish Sea, body condition, and live birth rate/neonate survival) are pointing toward a predator population that is prey limited and non-viable. We know that the SRKW population-sustaining prey species is Chinook salmon, but resource managers hope that they find something else to eat for survival, at least beyond their bureaucratic tenure."

I haven't known a lot about this situation, but as probably many of you already know, this particular group of orcas preys on one species of salmon--the Chinook.  The Chinook salmon are in decline for a number of reasons.  I haven't been following this and it must have already been discussed here in this forum.  But I mainly wanted to link to the WSB article and the coverage of the relationship between the decline of the Chinook and the decline of the Southern Resident Killer Whales.  ~z
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Ski
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Ski
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PostMon Sep 25, 2017 7:45 pm 
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Looks to me like they're all in decline. I've been posting the WDFW news releases on recent closures of rivers due to low return numbers in the original thread on the escaped Atlantic Salmon.

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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Chico
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PostMon Sep 25, 2017 8:40 pm 
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Why? Because people continue to spew into the area. More homes, more roads, more runoff with additional pollutants into the water.

Yeah, I think "spew" is the right word!

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Chico
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PostMon Sep 25, 2017 8:47 pm 
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Another young Orca dead. q13fox.com

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tmatlack
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PostTue Sep 26, 2017 12:35 am 
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This is a pink/humpy run year and only Sno/Sky drainage up to Wallace River in Sultan is open.

Reason: hot dry summer two years ago prevented the fishies from getting into the upper rivers for spawning; thusly lower numbers this year.

Now we had another hot dry summer, the rivers are piss streams, and so it goes.

Tom
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mike
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PostTue Sep 26, 2017 7:39 am 
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peanut-head
peanut-head

article by Ken Balcomb
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zephyr
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Joined: 21 Jun 2009
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zephyr
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PostTue Sep 26, 2017 11:14 am 
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Chico wrote:
Another young Orca dead. q13fox.com

Yes, that's the same one mentioned in the West Seattle Blog article above:  J52.  ~z
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Forum Index > Stewardship > Decline of resident orcas and salmon.
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