Tiny Fish May Cure Salmon Farming’s Environmental Problem
Whole Foods’ pesticide ban is changing salmon farming.
by Claire Leschin-Hoar
It may not look like anything important, but see that adorable little fish in the photo above? It’s a lumpsucker from Norway, and it may hold the answer to one of salmon farming’s most vexing problems: destructive sea lice and the chemicals commonly used to stop them.
Near the tiny island of Indre Kvaroy, just off the central coast of Norway, I recently visited the family-owned salmon farm Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett, which has been using those sweet little lumpsuckers instead of chemicals or pesticides to keep their salmon pens free of sea lice—and so far, the results look promising.
If the term “lice,” sea or not, has you crinkling your nose, you’d be justified. Sea lice are marine parasites that attach themselves to other host fish—in this case, salmon—typically feeding off the mucus and skin of the fish, and possibly lowering the salmon’s immune system, leaving it susceptible to other diseases. Environmentalists say it’s the transfer of sea lice from farmed salmon to wild salmon that can threaten the health of wild stocks…
(read more: TakePart.org)
photograph by Claire Leschin-Hoar

Tiny Fish May Cure Salmon Farming’s Environmental Problem

Whole Foods’ pesticide ban is changing salmon farming.

by Claire Leschin-Hoar

It may not look like anything important, but see that adorable little fish in the photo above? It’s a lumpsucker from Norway, and it may hold the answer to one of salmon farming’s most vexing problems: destructive sea lice and the chemicals commonly used to stop them.

Near the tiny island of Indre Kvaroy, just off the central coast of Norway, I recently visited the family-owned salmon farm Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett, which has been using those sweet little lumpsuckers instead of chemicals or pesticides to keep their salmon pens free of sea lice—and so far, the results look promising.

If the term “lice,” sea or not, has you crinkling your nose, you’d be justified. Sea lice are marine parasites that attach themselves to other host fish—in this case, salmon—typically feeding off the mucus and skin of the fish, and possibly lowering the salmon’s immune system, leaving it susceptible to other diseases. Environmentalists say it’s the transfer of sea lice from farmed salmon to wild salmon that can threaten the health of wild stocks…

(read more: TakePart.org)

photograph by Claire Leschin-Hoar

Freshwater fishes are an integral component of our environment…
yet large gaps persist in our scientific knowledge of their diversity, distribution, and ecology. 
Several conservation groups recently joined forces to announce the first “Global Freshwater Fish BioBlitz”, which will allow non-specialists to upload photographs of freshwater fishes observed in their natural habitat, along with details of where and when they saw the fish. 
In addition to providing useful data about the world’s freshwater fishes, this initiative is intended to raise awareness of the threats faced by our planet’s freshwater fishes and the importance to all of us of preserving unpolluted, well-functioning freshwater ecosystems. Although most fish species spend their lives in either freshwater or marine habitats, some, such as many salmon, move between the sea and freshwater during their lives, connecting these habitats in ecologically important ways. 
Listen to Encyclopedia of Life’s One Species at a Time podcast about one group’s efforts to educate schoolchildren all across British Columbia, in western Canada, about how the actions and choices all of us make in our daily lives impact Chinook Salmon and the habitats in which they live. Listen to the podcast: Encyclopedia of Life Read the news story: Globe News Wire Explore BioBlitz resources on EOL: EOL BioBlitz The One Species at a Time podcast series is supported by the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology. Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Freshwater fishes are an integral component of our environment…

yet large gaps persist in our scientific knowledge of their diversity, distribution, and ecology.

Several conservation groups recently joined forces to announce the first “Global Freshwater Fish BioBlitz”, which will allow non-specialists to upload photographs of freshwater fishes observed in their natural habitat, along with details of where and when they saw the fish.

In addition to providing useful data about the world’s freshwater fishes, this initiative is intended to raise awareness of the threats faced by our planet’s freshwater fishes and the importance to all of us of preserving unpolluted, well-functioning freshwater ecosystems. Although most fish species spend their lives in either freshwater or marine habitats, some, such as many salmon, move between the sea and freshwater during their lives, connecting these habitats in ecologically important ways.

Listen to Encyclopedia of Life’s One Species at a Time podcast about one group’s efforts to educate schoolchildren all across British Columbia, in western Canada, about how the actions and choices all of us make in our daily lives impact Chinook Salmon and the habitats in which they live.

Listen to the podcast: Encyclopedia of Life

Read the news story: Globe News Wire

Explore BioBlitz resources on EOL: EOL BioBlitz

The One Species at a Time podcast series is supported by the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Photo: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service


JOBS:  USFWS_Pacific Region
“I never would have guessed that I would be earning college credits while swimming with local trout and salmon populations!" 
- Travis Hendrick, USFWS intern & Evergreen State College student. From stream electrofishing and snorkeling to youth education and estuary sampling, USFWS interns often find themselves trading university classrooms for schools of fish or books for hiking boots. Read more about the adventures of Travis and learn more about USFWS internships: 
http://bit.ly/15fESKhPhoto credit: Roger Tabor/USFWS

I never would have guessed that I would be earning college credits while swimming with local trout and salmon populations!"

- Travis Hendrick, USFWS intern & Evergreen State College student.

From stream electrofishing and snorkeling to youth education and estuary sampling, USFWS interns often find themselves trading university classrooms for schools of fish or books for hiking boots. Read more about the adventures of Travis and learn more about USFWS internships:

http://bit.ly/15fESKh

Photo credit: Roger Tabor/USFWS

Endangered Ocean Creatures Beyond the Cute and Cuddly

by Emily Frost

Our oceans are taking a beating from overfishing, pollution, acidification and warming, putting at risk the many creatures who make their home in seawater. But when most people think of struggling ocean species, the first animals that come to mind are probably whales, seals or sea turtles.

Sure, many of these large (and adorable) animals play an important part in the marine ecosystem and are threatened with extinction due to human activities, but in fact, of the 94 marine species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), only 45 are marine mammals and sea turtles. As such, these don’t paint the whole picture of what happens under the sea. What about the remaining 49 that form a myriad of other important parts of the underwater web?

These less charismatic members of the list include corals, sea birds, mollusks and, of course, fish. They fall under two categories: endangered or threatened. According to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (pdf), one of the groups responsible for implementing the ESA, a species is considered endangered if it faces imminent extinction, and and a species is considered threatened if it is likely to become endangered in the future. A cross section of these less-known members of the ESA’s list are described in detail here…

(read more: Smithsonian Magazine)

(photos: T - Atlantic Salmon by E. Peter Steenstra/USFWS; ML - Short-tailed albatross by USFWS; MR - White abalone by John Butler, NOAA; B - Staghorn Coral by Albert Kok)

Demolition dam: Why dismantle a huge river barrier?
A year ago today the Elwha Dam in Washington state came down, after blocking salmon access to approximately 70 miles of pristine habitat and bull trout migratory corridors in the Elwha River for nearly 100 years. 
The dam’s removal will help revive a threatened salmon run on the river and enable the restoration of sacred tribal sites flooded decades ago.

The Elwha dam was built in 1913 in what is now the Olympic National Park. A second hydro-electric dam a few miles away - the Glines Canyon dam, built in 1927—has already been demolished as part of the biggest project of its kind in US history…
The park is home to the Klallam tribe, whose identity is strongly connected with the river and with salmon fishing. The failure to build fish ladders when the dams were originally built had decimated what was once one of the richest salmon runs outside Alaska.
Adding new ladders would have proved prohibitively expensive. And the dams also needed major upgrades because they no longer met modern environmental standards or produced energy at an efficient price.
The BBC went to see the drilling and explosions in action and to find out how the salmon will be reintroduced to the river.
(read more: U.S. Fish and wildlife Service)
(photo: Kate Benkert - USFWS)

Demolition dam: Why dismantle a huge river barrier?

A year ago today the Elwha Dam in Washington state came down, after blocking salmon access to approximately 70 miles of pristine habitat and bull trout migratory corridors in the Elwha River for nearly 100 years.

The dam’s removal will help revive a threatened salmon run on the river and enable the restoration of sacred tribal sites flooded decades ago.

The Elwha dam was built in 1913 in what is now the Olympic National Park. A second hydro-electric dam a few miles away - the Glines Canyon dam, built in 1927—has already been demolished as part of the biggest project of its kind in US history…

The park is home to the Klallam tribe, whose identity is strongly connected with the river and with salmon fishing. The failure to build fish ladders when the dams were originally built had decimated what was once one of the richest salmon runs outside Alaska.

Adding new ladders would have proved prohibitively expensive. And the dams also needed major upgrades because they no longer met modern environmental standards or produced energy at an efficient price.

The BBC went to see the drilling and explosions in action and to find out how the salmon will be reintroduced to the river.

(read more: U.S. Fish and wildlife Service)

(photo: Kate Benkert - USFWS)

Mystery Solved: Salmon Navigate Using Magnetic Field

by Carrie Arnold

Whoever said you can’t go home again has never met a sockeye salmon, which navigates more than 2,485 mi (4,000 km) to spawn in the same stream in which it hatched. 

Now, scientists have finally solved how the species accomplishes its navigational feat—the fish uses Earth’s magnetic field to steer itself home.

“To find their way back home across thousands of kilometers of ocean, salmon imprint on [i.e. learn and remember] the magnetic field that exists where they first enter the sea as juveniles,” study leader Nathan Putman, of Oregon State University, said in a statement.

“Upon reaching maturity, they seek the coastal location with the same magnetic field.”

Like several other species of salmon, sockeye hatch in many of the streams and tributaries of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. After hatching, they live and mature in the gravel beds of these freshwater streams for one to three years. Then, the salmon make their way from their freshwater nurseries to the open waters of the Pacific Ocean, where they spend another several years feeding. Eventually the fish make their way back to the streams in which they were born to spawn and begin the cycle anew…

(read more: National Geo)            

(photos: T - Tom Quinn, Univ. of Washington; B - Todd Mintz, Your Shot)

MIGRATORY FISHES

Diadromous fish:  Truly migratory fishes which migrate between the sea and fresh water.

  • Anadromous: Diadromous fishes which spend most of their lives in the sea and migrate to fresh water to breed.  (ex: Salmon)
  • Catadromous: Diadromous fishes which spend most of their lives in fresh water and migrate to the sea to breed.  (ex: American Eel)

Potamodromous: Truly migratory fishes whose migrations occur wholly within freshwater.  (ex: some populations of Alewife, Brown Trout, and species of Amazonian catfish)

Oceanodromous:  Truly migratory fishes which live and migrate completely in the sea.  (ex: Tuna)

(via: Wikipedia)

(photos: T - spawning Sockeye Salmon by TheInterior; B - American Eel by Claude Nozeres, World Register of Marine Species; Alewife via The Nature Conservancy)

GIANT STRIP MINE THREATENS ALASKA’S ICONIC BRISTOL BAY  
PICK THE WORST PLACE ON THE PLANET FOR A GIANT STRIP MINE, IN THE HEART OF AMERICA’S WILDEST AND MOST PRODUCTIVE ECOSYSTEM. THAT’S EXACTLY WHERE ONE IS PLANNED.  
by Ted Williams
What possibly could unite these diverse and in some cases adversarial players in outrage and action: 700 businesses; 700 hunting and angling groups; 77 commercial fishing groups; 200 chefs and restaurant owners; the National Council of Churches, representing 45 million people; major newspapers; leading jewelry retailers; and ultra-conservative legislators?
It would be a plan to gouge and hack the Bristol Bay watershed of southwest Alaska with the continent’s biggest strip mine.
A vestige of what America used to be survives here. The region is the size of Ohio, with a population of 7,500. It is changeless and timeless, laced by pristine rivers that rush and dawdle through forests never logged and un-scarred tundra that alternately blazes with wildflowers and glistens with snow. There are no access roads. You enter by plane or helicopter, threading between jagged, ice-clad peaks. The vastness and wildness start to sink in after you’ve flown for, say, two hours and seen no hint of human defilement.
Everything about Bristol Bay takes someone’s breath away. For me it’s the beauty, the fishing, and especially the wildlife. For folks like John Shively, CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership, it’s the $500 billion worth of copper, gold, and molybdenum in the “Pebble Deposit” under the headwaters of the world’s two most productive salmon rivers—the Kvichak and the Nushagak…
(read more: Audubon Magazine)           (photo: Michael Medford/Nat. Geo.)

GIANT STRIP MINE THREATENS ALASKA’S ICONIC BRISTOL BAY  

PICK THE WORST PLACE ON THE PLANET FOR A GIANT STRIP MINE, IN THE HEART OF AMERICA’S WILDEST AND MOST PRODUCTIVE ECOSYSTEM. THAT’S EXACTLY WHERE ONE IS PLANNED.  

by Ted Williams

What possibly could unite these diverse and in some cases adversarial players in outrage and action: 700 businesses; 700 hunting and angling groups; 77 commercial fishing groups; 200 chefs and restaurant owners; the National Council of Churches, representing 45 million people; major newspapers; leading jewelry retailers; and ultra-conservative legislators?

It would be a plan to gouge and hack the Bristol Bay watershed of southwest Alaska with the continent’s biggest strip mine.

A vestige of what America used to be survives here. The region is the size of Ohio, with a population of 7,500. It is changeless and timeless, laced by pristine rivers that rush and dawdle through forests never logged and un-scarred tundra that alternately blazes with wildflowers and glistens with snow. There are no access roads. You enter by plane or helicopter, threading between jagged, ice-clad peaks. The vastness and wildness start to sink in after you’ve flown for, say, two hours and seen no hint of human defilement.

Everything about Bristol Bay takes someone’s breath away. For me it’s the beauty, the fishing, and especially the wildlife. For folks like John Shively, CEO of the Pebble Limited Partnership, it’s the $500 billion worth of copper, gold, and molybdenum in the “Pebble Deposit” under the headwaters of the world’s two most productive salmon rivers—the Kvichak and the Nushagak…

(read more: Audubon Magazine)           (photo: Michael Medford/Nat. Geo.)

ichthyologist
ichthyologist:

Salmon Run
Salmon are able to jump as high as 3.65m (12ft) as they travel up cascades to reach spawning grounds. This exceptional feat is attributed to physiological changes when approaching mating season.
The salmon develop specialized muscles that provide the energy needed for the tiresome journey upstream. Salmon also rely on hydraulic jumps, upwellings of water created by currents, that provide the vital extra boost.
Ken Bondy on Flickr

ichthyologist:

Salmon Run

Salmon are able to jump as high as 3.65m (12ft) as they travel up cascades to reach spawning grounds. This exceptional feat is attributed to physiological changes when approaching mating season.

The salmon develop specialized muscles that provide the energy needed for the tiresome journey upstream. Salmon also rely on hydraulic jumps, upwellings of water created by currents, that provide the vital extra boost.

Ken Bondy on Flickr

Sakhalin taimen (Hucho perryi)
CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
… also called the Stringfish, Japanese huchen, or Ito, is a species of fish in the salmon family (family Salmonidae) of order Salmoniformes. Sakhalin taimen is one of largest, most ancient salmon species and primarily inhabitats the lower to middle reaches of lakes and rivers.
Fishes over 30 cm long are almost exclusively piscivores, while the young feed mostly on aquatic insects. Females typically lay between 2,000-10,000 eggs in the spring on the sandy or gravelly river bottom. The average specimen caught have weighed around 5 kg (11 lb).
The global population of Sakhalin taimen has dwindled in recent years for a variety of reasons. The loss of more than 50% of their original habitat due to agriculture, urbanization, and more recently oil and gas development, is a major factor. Other considerable pressures include bycatch in the commercial salmon fisheries of Russia and Japan, as well as illegal fishing practices in Russia. The fish are also prized as trophies by Japanese recreational anglers…
(read more: Wikipedia)              
(illustration from Notes on some figures of Japanese fish : taken from recent specimens by the artists of the U. S. Japan expedition, 1856, James Carson Brevoort)

Sakhalin taimen (Hucho perryi)

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED

… also called the Stringfish, Japanese huchen, or Ito, is a species of fish in the salmon family (family Salmonidae) of order Salmoniformes. Sakhalin taimen is one of largest, most ancient salmon species and primarily inhabitats the lower to middle reaches of lakes and rivers.

Fishes over 30 cm long are almost exclusively piscivores, while the young feed mostly on aquatic insects. Females typically lay between 2,000-10,000 eggs in the spring on the sandy or gravelly river bottom. The average specimen caught have weighed around 5 kg (11 lb).

The global population of Sakhalin taimen has dwindled in recent years for a variety of reasons. The loss of more than 50% of their original habitat due to agriculture, urbanization, and more recently oil and gas development, is a major factor. Other considerable pressures include bycatch in the commercial salmon fisheries of Russia and Japan, as well as illegal fishing practices in Russia. The fish are also prized as trophies by Japanese recreational anglers…

(read more: Wikipedia)              

(illustration from Notes on some figures of Japanese fish : taken from recent specimens by the artists of the U. S. Japan expedition, 1856, James Carson Brevoort)

Salmon Re-enter Olympic National Park River Thanks to Elwha Dam Removal
Posted by Brian Clark Howard, National Geo. News
The National Park Service reported this week that adult Chinook (king) salmon have been seen in the Elwha River in Olympic National Park, less than five months after removal began on the Elwha Dam. According to the Park Service, the fish are the first of their kind known to enter the park through that river, since Olympic was established twenty-five years after the dam went up in 1913. (See a map of the region.)
The dam had blocked off more than 70 miles of formerly prime Elwha River habitat for the fish, which had been an important part of the local ecosystem and a key food source for local indigenous people. As National Geographic previously reported, the Klallam Tribe still say that the Elwha River had been so full of salmon that a person could cross from one bank to the other by walking atop the thrashing bodies of fish struggling to move upstream to spawn.
According to the Park Service, Chinook were seen this week about two miles upstream from the park border by Phil Kennedy, the park’s lead fisheries technician.
Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are the largest of the Pacific salmon, and historically entered rivers from California to Alaska, as well as in parts of Asia. Adult fish tend to range in length from 33 to 36 inches (840 to 910 mm) but may be up to 58 inches (1,500 mm). They average 10 to 50 pounds (4.5 to 23 kg), but may reach 130 pounds (59 kg). Their numbers have dropped due to loss of spawning grounds, and nine local populations are listed as threatened or endangered in the U.S…
(via: National Geo - Water Curents)        (photo: USGS)

Salmon Re-enter Olympic National Park River Thanks to Elwha Dam Removal

Posted by Brian Clark Howard, National Geo. News

The National Park Service reported this week that adult Chinook (king) salmon have been seen in the Elwha River in Olympic National Park, less than five months after removal began on the Elwha Dam. According to the Park Service, the fish are the first of their kind known to enter the park through that river, since Olympic was established twenty-five years after the dam went up in 1913. (See a map of the region.)

The dam had blocked off more than 70 miles of formerly prime Elwha River habitat for the fish, which had been an important part of the local ecosystem and a key food source for local indigenous people. As National Geographic previously reported, the Klallam Tribe still say that the Elwha River had been so full of salmon that a person could cross from one bank to the other by walking atop the thrashing bodies of fish struggling to move upstream to spawn.

According to the Park Service, Chinook were seen this week about two miles upstream from the park border by Phil Kennedy, the park’s lead fisheries technician.

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are the largest of the Pacific salmon, and historically entered rivers from California to Alaska, as well as in parts of Asia. Adult fish tend to range in length from 33 to 36 inches (840 to 910 mm) but may be up to 58 inches (1,500 mm). They average 10 to 50 pounds (4.5 to 23 kg), but may reach 130 pounds (59 kg). Their numbers have dropped due to loss of spawning grounds, and nine local populations are listed as threatened or endangered in the U.S…

(via: National Geo - Water Curents)        (photo: USGS)