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Author Topic: Marine mammals now taking more salmon than sport and commercial fishing combined  (Read 1681 times)

Offline Sitka_Blacktail

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Interesting article. Think of the implications. Meanwhile, all the recovery efforts and restrictions in the world won't help west coast salmon if over-recovered sea mammals aren't dealt with. It's time to stop pretending that sea mammals are endangered.

https://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/news/features/recovering_marine_mammals_increase_pressure/index.cfm
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 02:17:52 PM by Sitka_Blacktail »
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Offline Special T

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Couldn't get it to open.

There is no Graft available when you solve a problem through a hunting season.

Cornmerants, Merganzers, sealions.. There is no danger of these guys going extinct. The Walt Disney world folks can't seem to compared what is going on.

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Offline Boss .300 winmag

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Well thatís what happens when the top of the natural food chain goes unchecked. :bash:
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Online JimmyHoffa

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I'd like a nice warm harbor seal pelt....

Offline plugger

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FAKE NEWS, Its all because of walleye. Pull all the limits, kill them all. That will bring them back. Oh wait, there are no walleye on the west side with the exception of the Columbia. My bad.

Offline Stein

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I would assume that is normally the case, how many tens of millions of fry are released every year/?

Offline Sitka_Blacktail

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Couldn't get it to open.

I didn't have any trouble opening it just now Special T. But I'll copy and paste some of the text.

"Recovering populations of sea lions, harbor seals, and other marine mammals on the West Coast are eating more and more Chinook salmon, and their consumption may now exceed the combined harvest by commercial and recreational fisheries, a new study finds.

The study used models to estimate marine mammal consumption of Chinook salmon based on several assumptions about their diet and the size and weight of salmon. The researchers estimate that from 1975 to 2015, the yearly biomass of Chinook salmon consumed by sea lions, seals, and killer whales increased from 6,100 to 15,200 metric tons, and from five to 31.5 million individual salmon.

Over the same time span, they found that the annual Chinook harvest by fishermen decreased from 16,400 to 9,600 metric tons, and from 3.6 million to 2.1 million individual fish. (While marine mammal consumption includes many juvenile salmon, fishermen harvest only adults.)"
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Offline onmygame

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The title of this thread states the mammals are now taking more salmon than fishermen.

The text of the study states they MAY be taking more.

The numbers are all over the place in this study - and it merely suggests the possibility.

Offline bighorn1

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And it's not just salmon they are also targeting oversize sturgeon.

Offline Skyvalhunter

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Well just you wait the greenies will side with the seals

Offline Sitka_Blacktail

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The title of this thread states the mammals are now taking more salmon than fishermen.

The text of the study states they MAY be taking more.

The numbers are all over the place in this study - and it merely suggests the possibility.

I'm guessing the article says "may" because it's an estimate based on computer models. Sea mammals obviously don't report their take like humans.

But other than being an estimate, this sounds pretty definitive. I'm sure they will do more research and decide if their computer models are realistic.

"The researchers estimate that from 1975 to 2015, the yearly biomass of Chinook salmon consumed by sea lions, seals, and killer whales increased from 6,100 to 15,200 metric tons, and from five to 31.5 million individual salmon."

"Over the same time span, they found that the annual Chinook harvest by fishermen decreased from 16,400 to 9,600 metric tons, and from 3.6 million to 2.1 million individual fish. "

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Offline onmygame

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The title of this thread states the mammals are now taking more salmon than fishermen.

The text of the study states they MAY be taking more.

The numbers are all over the place in this study - and it merely suggests the possibility.

I'm guessing the article says "may" because it's an estimate based on computer models. Sea mammals obviously don't report their take like humans.

But other than being an estimate, this sounds pretty definitive. I'm sure they will do more research and decide if their computer models are realistic.

"The researchers estimate that from 1975 to 2015, the yearly biomass of Chinook salmon consumed by sea lions, seals, and killer whales increased from 6,100 to 15,200 metric tons, and from five to 31.5 million individual salmon."

"Over the same time span, they found that the annual Chinook harvest by fishermen decreased from 16,400 to 9,600 metric tons, and from 3.6 million to 2.1 million individual fish. "

You do understand the difference between NOW doing something an MAY BE doing something.

There is absolutely nothing definitive about that. Period.

As I said earlier, the numbers are all over the place - and a range from between 5 million and 31.5 million fish makes the study look to be more speculation than scientific in nature.

Don't get me wrong - I applaud your efforts to enlighten those here on any developments, new, old or otherwise, and suspect your efforts are pure of heart.

What you might consider in the future though, is not editorializing these things - if your intention is to simply report them.

Let the data speak for itself, and let everyone come to their own conclusion - which may differ by the way - from yours, or someone else'.  Herd mentality is best served on four hooves.

Offline metlhead

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I don't believe that 5 million to 31.5 million was a range. The way I read it is a difference between years.

Offline onmygame

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I don't believe that 5 million to 31.5 million was a range. The way I read it is a difference between years.

I do believe you're right.

So from that timeline did we have more mammals, or more fish? Both? Was it proportionate?

Good eye though -

Offline lokidog

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I have been in the San Juans about 12 years now. 

After first arriving, the Harbor Seal population seemed to increase a lot each year. In the last three or four years, it actually seems that their levels locally are down. I've also received less calls to check out marine mammals from the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, of which I am a responder, in the last three years. Having said that, there are still an awful lot of seals.

Sea Lions, on the other hand, specifically the huge Steller Sea Lions, have shown a steady increase since I first came here.  The Steller can be 8X the weight of a Harbor Seal.  They also can catch, and eat, much larger prey.  I would guess that the Harbor Seals are the primary mammalian predator of juvenile salmon whereas the Stellars, at least adults, eat many more adult and almost adult fish. Imagine how many 8-15 pound Chinook salmon a 2400 lb animal needs to eat to survive....   :bash:

Offline Miles

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The title of this thread states the mammals are now taking more salmon than fishermen.

The text of the study states they MAY be taking more.

The numbers are all over the place in this study - and it merely suggests the possibility.

HW thrives off drama.  Donít be realistic, it ruins the excitement.  Itís the end of salmon in WA, damn it!

Offline lokidog

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#Miles or you could quote more of his comments....   :rolleyes:

I don't believe that 5 million to 31.5 million was a range. The way I read it is a difference between years.

I do believe you're right.

So from that timeline did we have more mammals, or more fish? Both? Was it proportionate?

Good eye though -


Offline Special T

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Regardless of the exact amount, it does show the trend that there are less fish due to increases in seals.

Are the Killer whale number increasing dramatically?

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Offline James

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Now that Harbor seal and California Sea lion populations have recovered it bothers me to no end that we can't have a hunting season for them.

Just because they look like dogs of the ocean doesn't mean they shouldn't be managed like game animals. Balancing carrying capacity of the environment, human interactions, sustainability, etc. to targeted seasons and bag limits.


We need to repeal the marine mammal protection act and start selling tags for a sustainable hunt. I would buy one.
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Offline Skyvalhunter

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I could have swore that several weeks ago I heard that the killer whale population was decreasing and they attributed it to the decrease in the Chinook salmon their main food source.

Offline James

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I could have swore that several weeks ago I heard that the killer whale population was decreasing and they attributed it to the decrease in the Chinook salmon their main food source.

The southern resident Orcas are struggling to get enough food because they refuse to eat much of anything other than salmon.

Salmon populations in Puget Sound have been declining for quite a while, as Seal and Sealion populations have been on the rise. Add in restrictive fishing seasons and you can see how the tables have turned in terms of who catches the most fish.
You will never shoot a camp bull by spending all your time hunting in the woods.

Online JimmyHoffa

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I could have swore that several weeks ago I heard that the killer whale population was decreasing and they attributed it to the decrease in the Chinook salmon their main food source.

The southern resident Orcas are struggling to get enough food because they refuse to eat much of anything other than salmon.

Salmon populations in Puget Sound have been declining for quite a while, as Seal and Sealion populations have been on the rise. Add in restrictive fishing seasons and you can see how the tables have turned in terms of who catches the most fish.
I wonder if the whales know something about the seals?  Like do the seals accumulate toxins at such a high level to be dangerous or did a past whale have a bad experience with a seal in the past--like watch its mom choke on a seal.  Maybe they just didn't bother eating them in the first place because the salmon used to be plentiful and they've never thought to eat the seals.  Just seems odd that a rather intelligent animal won't adapt with such a plentiful food source around.  I know that bears will take off as fast as they can when they see, hear or smell me in an open hunting unit; but if I go to the other side of the ridge inside the national park the bears feed right up next to me and will take naps under the same tree you're camping under.  A whale I assume is quite a bit smarter than the a bear.   :dunno:

Offline Special T

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I watched a program with my kids on Killer whales, and how thier diet is differ from locations. Different Pods eat everything from salmon, seals, rays, and even Great White Sharks! They have determined that they pass different hunting strategies via learning.

One could hope that they pickup on hunting techniques from the transient pods that come from elsewhere.

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Offline magnanimous_j

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I wonder if the whales know something about the seals?  Like do the seals accumulate toxins at such a high level to be dangerous

Yes, but so do the whales. All large, long-lived marine predators bio-accumulate high levels of toxins and heavy metals. It's why you can eat smelt for every meal and be just fine but eating swordfish twice a week will turn you into a thermometer.

Online JimmyHoffa

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You think the whales actively or instinctively know this?  "Whale so and so ate a diet of seals all his life and died at 30, all the whales that eat salmon live to be 70.  I'll eat salmon only!"

 

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