‘Alarm’: Feds find ‘bizarre’ results in survey of Pacific Ocean — Record low numbers of fish — Expert: “We pulled that net up, and there was not a thing in it…

from ENE News:

Seattle Times, Oct 9, 2017 (emphasis added): Scientists survey Pacific Northwest salmon each year. For the first time, some nets are coming up empty — Scientists have been hauling survey nets through the ocean off the coasts of Washington and Oregon for 20 years. But this is the first time some have come up empty… In a report on their trawl survey, the scientists logged some of the lowest numbers of yearling Snake River spring chinook recorded since the survey began in 1998. Coho numbers were just as depressed… This year’s bizarre survey results all started with The Blob… [NOAA’s David] Huff said the purpose of a memo the research team wrote to managers about their survey results was intended to provide an early warning of how poor and just plain strange conditions in the ocean off Washington and Oregon’s coasts are…

David Huff, NOAA Fisheries, Oct 9, 2017: “We were really worrying if there was something wrong with our equipment… We have never hauled that net through the water looking for salmon or forage fish and not gotten a single salmon. Three times we pulled that net up, and there was not a thing in it. We looked at each other, like, ‘this is really different than anything we have ever seen.’ It was alarming.”

Brian Burke, NOAA Fisheries, Oct 9, 2017: “Every year is different. But this year popped out as being really different… Not just a bunch of normal metrics that point to a bad ocean year, but the presence of these things we have never seen before, really big changes in the ecosystem. Something really big has shifted here.”

Daily Astorian, Sep 4, 2017: Warning signs for salmon… The numbers of young salmon caught off the Oregon and Washington state coasts during an annual federal survey cruise this June were among the lowest recorded in the past 20 years. In fact, numbers were low across nearly all the species researchers regularly catch or observe — from birds like the common murre to forage fish like anchovies and smelt… Brian Burke [with NOAA said,] “it was clear that there were not many fish out there.”… Burke said their understanding of why so many juveniles apparently diedcould shift.

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