February 04, 2009

Tweets From Day 2 Salmon Conference

Here are my Tweets from today's State of the Salmon 2009 conference sessions (second of three days), in last-to-first order:

BTW. today's sessions wrapped up with a plea from octogenarian Pearl Keenan -- nice to have some heart instead of statistics. She's from the Tlingit First Nation in the Yukon. Her basic plea? Please stop taking all the fish at the mouth of the river -- she lives near the headwaters, and they're all gone up there. I had to find her later and thank her for speaking from the heart, and hoping we would listen to something other than "science" and PowerPoints.

Long: Washington State fisheries are dependent on hatcheries

Busack: Argument is now how serious is domestication (hatchery fish), not if it exists.

Busack: Concern that interbreeding between hatchery and wild fish reduces fitness.

Researchers find what they look for, and when you bring up other potential factors, they get defensive.

When issues arise, it's time to break for coffee. Sheesh.

One word I have yet to hear at this conference is "pollution."

Q&A: Beamish -- coho and chinook in St of Gerogia are critical and think will get worse.

Walters: But culling seals is no solution because they also keep down other predators.

Walters: Huge growth in harbour seal population in Georgia Strait.

Walters: Ocean mortality causes hypotheses - hatchery disease, ocean warming, predators??

Walters: We don't know what is causing coho and chinook ocean mortality.

Walters: South BC chinook continue to decline despite closing commercial fishing in 80s and sport in 90s.

Walters: coho spawning in south BC has collapsed even with hatchery supplementation.

Walters: Declining marine survival is the biggest hit to salmon.

Walters: there has been no substantial habitat loss since 1990. Huh?

What data? Historic salmon runs - data never goes back more than a century, so how is that "historic"?

Walters: severe coho and chinook declines in south BC - threats are other than fishing.

Some speakers really need to take a Plain English course! Jargon-itis puts the audience to sleep.

What the heck is a "mortality objective"?

Schindler: geomorphic variation in fresh water is reflected in ocean growth of salmon.

Schindler: spawning productivity of rivers changes over time -- me: so shouldn't we protect *all* rivers?

Schindler: Are doomsday scenarios the best way to get the message out to the public?

By the time this conference is over we'll have eaten all the fish in the sea.

Q&A - Hokkaido also has conflicts between agriculture and fisheries.

Q&A - salmon can quickly repopulate territory if habitat is cleaned up and access enabled.

Q&A - unfortunately, education on salmon preservation is weak.

Q&A - if policymakers would err on the side of safety, we'd have better monitoring.

Q&A - Japan considers 2nd-gen hatchery spawners to be "wild" as long as from same stock.

Walton: need to look at viability of salmon at local levels -- creeks.

Walton: hatchery reform will be crucial to the survival of wild salmon.

Walton: over-harvest and hatcheries impact wild fish.

Walton: if you want to keep salmon runs strong, don't ruin your rivers.

Walton: after a century of using salmon hatcheries, we still don't know if they benefit salmon.

Walton: challenge is to develop a concise story we can tell people about protecting wild salmon.

Walton: How are we going to change human behaviour in relation to wild salmon?

Walton: do we have a common vision for a wild salmon policy?

Walton: endangered salmon are a West Coast-wide issue.

Walton: we have been working on recovery plans for a long time, but need people's support.

Last US administration (Bush) gave little support to conservation.

Bowles: fish only care about action -- what are we doing to fix things?

Bowles: "plan" has become a four-letter word, but plans are essential for salmon recovery.

Bowles: hatchery fish are not a replacement for natural populations.

Bowles: key threat to salmon is apathy.

Bowles: public becoming more disconnected from fish and their watersheds.

Riddell: conservation of wild salmon and their habitat is the highest priority.

Riddell: in BC/Yukon there are 8300 combinations of streams/salmon species.

Riddell: diversity is key to preserving salmon.

White: all groups that harvest salmon have a sense of entitlement.

Kulikov: sounds like Russia also has jurisdictional and bureaucratic issues.

Kulikov: First protected area in Khabarovsk area was created in 1920s.

Nagata: Japan looking at zone management for coexistence of hatchery and wild salmon.

Nagata: Commercial and game fisheries in rivers are prohibited in Hokkaido.

Nagata: Hokkaido fishery needs to change to wild salmon management objectives.

Nagata: calls native salmon spawning "traditional management", hatcheries "modern management".

Nagata: Hatcheries in Japan were established in 1888 from US.

Rawson: Pogo - we have met the enemy and he is us.

Rawson: we can't be doing things the same way that we have been doing them.

Rawson: habitat protection is the key contributor to saving the salmon.

Rawson: there is little public confidence in process for protecting habitat.

Rawson: Spawner return in some Puget Sound rivers is less than 10% of historic figures.

Rawson: lost 75-90 % of estuary habitat in Puget Sound.

Rawson: Habitat loss is the key factor for decline of Puget Sound chinook salmon.

Rawson: Hatchery risks - genetic, ecological, disease, etc.

Rawson:hatcheries are our arrogant assumption that we can do better than Mother Nature.

Rawson: causes of chinook decline - harvest, hatcheries and habitat.

Rawson: Skagit chinook have declined dramatically over last 50 yrs.

Rawson: Puget Sound chinook listed as threatened.

Quinn: larger fish may enter spawning grounds ealier than small fish.

Quinn: in some cases, middle of run is fished hard, with early and late less exploited.

Quinn: so we might be hitting more "early" fish, and more "late" fish.

Quinn: human exploitation appears to affect timing of spawning runs to some degree.

Quinn: fishing rates (exploitation) vary widely during run timing due to management.

Quinn: fisheries are less size-selective than they used to be.

Quinn: intermediate sizes of fish are most vulnerable to being caught.

Quinn: expected that gillnet fishery is selective against large fish.

Quinn: salmon have been declining in body size -- selective effects of fishing?

Quinn: humans have an impact on evolution of animals through hunting.

Quinn: humans have a long history of affecting the evolution of animals.

First nations comment - science must work with first nations knowledge.

Audience comment - global warming is a symptom of overpopulation.

Williams: Aldo Leopold - humans must change from conquerors of land to members of it.

Williams: to save salmon - land ethic, multiple scales and political boundaries, restoration economy.

Williams: hatcheries alone cannot solve problem of declining salmon, declining biodeversity.

Williams: artificial species restocking is not biologically viable without addressing causes of decline.

Williams: impacts - rising temps, reduced snowpack, variability in flows, fires.

Williams: Stressors - human pop growth, resource consumption, invasive species, climate change.

Williams: reconnect rives to their floodplains, do not channel them.

Williams: Protect remaining habitat, Reconnect to other areas, Restore urban waterways.

Williams: we must protect remaining habitat.

Williams: 29% of Pacific northwest salmon stocks are extinct

Williams: Laws and regulations are not enough. We are destroying Earth -- ecological footprint.

How the heck do you "increase salmon resilience to climate change"? Isn't that evolution?

Posted by Paul at February 4, 2009 08:15 PM