Shellfish farmers confront silent watershed crises

by Tim Flanagan on August 31, 2011

Lynda V. Mapes has this story in her nature blog at the Seattle Times:

Remember Luna, visit this the orca whale who lost contact with his family in Puget Sound in 2001 and turned up near Vancouver Island in Nootka Sound, hanging around boats and docks?

Luna, the lonely whale. Cameron Forbes, photo

We covered his life — and tragic death by boat propeller — extensively in The Seattle Times.

His life is the subject of a film that will be screened September 9 -15 at the SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center and in Tacoma at The Grand Cinema. Suzanne Chisholm is the film’s producer and co-director. It is distributed by Paladin.

For more information on the film, see the film’s website.

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Christopher Dunagan has this story in his blog at the Kitsap Sun:

Given the excitement of the moment, treatment
including comments over the radio, stomatology
some people still believe that L-90, sick
a 19-year-old female orca named Ballena, was struck by a boat off the west side of San Juan Island on Friday.

An experienced driver for the Prince of Whales whale-watching company was mentioned as a likely witness.

I talked to a spokeswoman for the company who told me that nobody she knows has any pictures. The only interviews granted by staff were with enforcement officers for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Sgt. Russ Mullins, one of the WDFW officers who patrols that area, said he has investigated the incident. As best as he can tell, no collision occurred.

“Nobody witnessed an actual strike,” he told me. “It was a close call perhaps, but we do not have vessel-related injuries on this animal.”

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This unsigned story appears in the Tacoma News Tribune:

A group of about six orca whales has been spotted in South Sound over the past few days, troche
according to reports to Cascade Research Collective, an Olympia-based marine mammal research group.

The whales, which appear to include two calves or young whales, are transient orcas and not part of the three pods, or families of orca whales that reside much of the year in Puget Sound.

Since Friday, the whales have been seen in Budd Inlet, Boston Harbor, and Dana and Pickering passages, according to Cascadia Research biologist Annie Douglas.

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Christopher Dunagan has this item in his blog at the Kitsap Sun:

When killer whales swim really fast, nurse
it’s called porpoising. Some of the most dramatic orca photographs capture whales in mid-leap. If you haven’t had enough killer whale images the past few days, stuff
I’d like to share a video shot Friday by amateur videographer Arpad J. “Jay” Faher of Renton.

The resident whales, tooth
including members of J pod, were swimming north near Patos Island in the Strait of Georgia, heading toward the Canadian border. Jay said he and his wife Angela and son Dalton were aboard the whale-watch boat Peregrine, operated by Capt. Jim Maya. It was about the same time Friday evening that transient killer whales were seen in Bremerton’s Sinclair Inlet. See Saturday story in the Kitsap Sun.

Boaters are reminded that they must stay at least 200 yards away from killer whales, as required by federal regulations. Moving into the path of whales is not allowed. It’s not easy shooting video from a boat at that distance, as Jay can testify.

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Migael Scherer has this item at Three Sheets Northwest. I want to add my two cents: I love Anacortes! When I was a kid, medical we trailered our boat up from Portland, viagra
Oregon, stomach
each summer, and Anacortes was merely a “jumping off point”. Once we left Anacortes, our “real” vacation could start. Nowadays, however, I like Anacortes. As a destination. The lamb burger at the Brown Lantern alone makes it worth a stop. The staff at Cap Sante have always treated me extremely well, even when I’ve been obliged to request special consideration for one reason or another.

On with Ms. Scherer’s profile:

[Cap Sante Boat Haven, looking west from the top of Cap Sante. Photos by Migael Scherer]

The city of Anacortes is centered on the northeast tip of Fidalgo Island, bordered by Fidalgo Bay and Guemes Channel. Once the site of many canneries — this was the largest cod fishery on the west coast in the early 1900s — its most visible industry now is the oil refinery on March Point. Tankers dock at the piers in Fidalgo Bay and at night the refinery towers glitter like a futuristic Oz.

For most visitors, Anacortes is the gateway to the San Juan Islands, via the state ferry terminal in Ship Harbor and the Guemes ferry on the north edge of town. Boaters are drawn by the facilities for commercial and pleasure craft that line the shore along Fidalgo Bay and Guemes Channel. Cap Sante Boat Haven, operated by the Port of Anacortes, has ample guest moorage, is right in town, and is a great place to relax and provision.

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Recent problems facing the shellfish industry have made nurturing the tender little bivalves a little tougher, link
leaving farmers struggling to stay productive and sustainable. Tiffany Ran has the story at Crosscut:

Ask a shellfish farmer about his plans and he would first consult his tide calendar. Between now and the equinox, Gary Webb of Eagle Rock Shellfish Company, must use any remaining daylight low tide hours to finish up maintenance and work on his nets. As of the first week of October, he will no longer be able to see his tideflats without a head lamp. This he knows for a fact.

The farming of bivalves, like mussels, oysters, clams, geoducks, and scallops, has long been regarded as one of the most sustainable forms of aquaculture. Unlike fish farming, which requires added feed, the suspended bivalves feed off nutrients in the water and act as filters.

In 2010, the World Wildlife Federation released a list of global standards for sustainably farming bivalves. This year Food Alliance started training certifiers to accredit North American shellfish farms practicing sustainable aquaculture. These standards touch upon a variety of issues like pesticide use, avoiding the co-optation of bays with structures friendly to other wildlife, and international protocols for disease prevention, as well as providing a safe working environment and fair wages to workers.

“Sustainability, especially for a small guy like me, it’s everything,” said Webb. “There is sustainability, and you also need consistency.”

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