In this issue: Tufted Puffin recovery efforts made possible by small group of SeaDoc donors, rehabilitated Steller sea lion released and tracked, successful book launch, huge response for GiveBIG, derelict gear in the news.
SeaDoc’s Jen Renzullo, who works on derelict fishing gear programs in California, was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article about the record number of whales that have been entangled in crab fishing gear off the California coast.
“There are a couple of things going on here, and they’ve become political,” Jennifer Renzullo, a research biologist at UC Davis, said in an interview. “For some reason, perhaps because of unusual conditions at sea, humpback and gray whales that tend to migrate through the areas such as Monterey Bay have been spending more time there. Coincidentally, the crab population was healthiest there this year, in terms of harvesting.
“More fishing pressure,” she added, “combined with more whales hanging out in the area are contributing to a spike in entanglements.”
What do we learn from stranded marine mammals – and from tracking them after they are rehabilitated and released? In short, a lot!
Over the past few months, SeaDoc partnered with multiple other organizations to help a young Steller sea lion pup that stranded off the coast of Washington State. The effort has required complicated decisions about how to best provide care and release the animal back into the wild.
Steller sea lion pups nurse for about a year and have been known to stay with their mothers for up to three years. This pup stranded at about 4 months old.
It was initially recovered in October of 2014 by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Marine Mammal Investigations unit and was then transferred to PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood, WA for stabilization, treatment, and care.
The pup was nicknamed “Henderson” after the Ocean Shores police officer that responded to the pup on the beach.
Due to the long length of rehabilitation needed for this animal to reach weaning age and the need to provide conspecifics during rehabilitation, the animal was moved from PAWS to The Marine Mammal Center (TMMC) in Sausalito, CA.
In partnership with the United States Coast Guard the pup was flown from Seattle, WA on a C-130 training flight to Sacramento, CA on November 13, 2014. The Marine Mammal Center staff called him “Leo” (as the name “Henderson” was already in use by another patient) as they continued his care and rehabilitation.
The Marine Mammal Center outfitted Leo with a satellite tag and in mid-April WDFW staff released Leo Henderson on the outer coast of Washington State. SeaDoc is funding the satellite time to track him post-release. The goal is to monitor his activity and learn about how rehabilitated pups survive along the outer coast of Washington. The tracking is a joint project of NOAA, WDFW, PAWS, TMMC, SeaDoc, and SeaTurtle.org. Check out his travels to date.
You can sign up for free daily email updates on his location from SeaTurtle.org – it’s pretty fun to watch his movements.
Regarding the map (per the seaturtle.org website):
- The presentation of data here does not constitute publication. All data remain copyright of the project partners. Maps or data on this website may not be used or referenced without the explicit written consent of the data owners.
- For more information please visit the project website.
- This map connects positions generated by the ARGOS system designated as location class (lc) ‘4’, ‘3’, ‘2’, ‘1’. Locations that have been “filtered” are displayed as small red dots.
- This maps also shows locations of class ‘0’, ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘Z’, ‘X’ as small black dots which are not connected by a route line.
- Bathymetry layers are derived from the GEBCO One Minute Grid.
- Sea surface temperature and chlorophyll are derived from NASA’s Ocean Color data.
- Ocean currents and sea surface heights are derived from AVISO’s Ssalto/Duacs Gridded Absolute Dynamic Topography & absolute geostrophic velocities data.
You’re awesome! Thanks for jumping in to the biggest one-day giving event in the Pacific Northwest and making a BIG impact on the health of the Salish Sea!
On Tuesday, May 5 (and not before!) make a secure donation to the SeaDoc Society with this link:
Your donation will be stretched by the partial challenge match from The Seattle Foundation. Plus every donation has a chance to be one of 5 Golden Tickets, which earns you a cool gift card and automatically earns SeaDoc an extra $1000, donated by the Seattle Foundation.
In April 2015 a dead male orca stranded near Fort Bragg, California. In an article about the stranding, the Lost Coast Outpost referred to the rarity of finding dead orcas. “A 2013 study analyzing North Pacific killer-whale strandings back to 1925 noted that, “while orcas are some of the most widely distributed whales on Earth, very few dead ones are ever found.”
That 2013 study is our Spatial and temporal analysis of killer whale (Orcinus orca) strandings in the North Pacific Ocean and the benefits of a coordinated stranding response protocol, published in Marine Mammal Science.
Here’s the article: http://lostcoastoutpost.com/2015/apr/18/dead-killer-whale-mackerricher/
The orca was found with derelict crab gear wrapped around its tail.
In this issue: Can diseases really impede Salish Sea recovery? Multiple impacts of energy transportation projects. SeaDoc recognized in new children’s book on ocean health. UC Davis Vet School is #1. Novel program to remove derelict crab pots featured in film.
People talk about a new coal terminal. Others about a new pipeline. Some worry about increased shipment of crude oil by rail. But what’s the cumulative impact of all the energy projects being proposed for the Salish Sea?
That’s the question that was addressed at a recent meeting of the Coast Salish Gathering, where SeaDoc scientist Joe Gaydos and Swinomish Tribal biologist Jamie Donatuto discussed a study they undertook last year.
Between coal terminals, oil pipeline terminals, liquefied natural gas terminals, and the increased shipment of coal and Bakken shale oil by train, there are at least 6 major energy transportation projects proposed, some in Canada and others in the United States.
Last summer, the Coast Salish Tribes asked SeaDoc investigate this issue. Joe, Jamie and SeaDoc summer intern Sofie Thixton evaluated how these energy projects will impact Coast Salish Tribes and First Nations. Impacts from each of the proposed or on-going projects included oil spills from vessels, increased underwater noise, vessel strikes to animals, shoreline development, pipeline spills, etc. For each of these potential impacts, they evaluated the potential effect on a multitude of species that are important to the Coast Salish.
This work was unique because it looks at all projects simultaneously, whereas most projects evaluating impact only look at one project at a time. The Coast Salish have always seen the Salish Sea as a single ecosystem and this study does too.
Image by SeaDoc.
This short film features a surfer, a commercial crab fisherman, and a sustainable seafood restaurant owner. The commercial crabbing section features work by SeaDoc’s Kirsten Gilardi and Jen Renzullo to set up a sustainable commercial crab pot recovery program off the coast of Northern California.
Seattle Magazine recommended SeaDoc’s book, The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, in a spread in its March issue.
The new book The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest (Sasquatch Books, $24.95) looks at these local waters through a scientific lens, illustrating the region’s unique geology (thanks to glaciers, plate tectonics and volcanoes) and vibrant marine ecology. Written by biologist Audrey DeLella Benedict with Joseph K. Gaydos, chief scientist for the SeaDoc Society (an Orcas Island–based conservation group focused on the Salish Sea), the book pairs bright, bold, photographs with fascinating facts about local sea creatures. (Did you know that the Salish Sea is home to the world’s largest species of barnacle, octopus and burrowing clam?)
In this issue: SeaDoc helps complete the necropsy of J32 and finds parasites in her ears, National Geographic features SeaDoc’s work on birds and forage fish, board member Dr. Deborah Brosnan honored, SeaDoc-funded scientist Dr. Rob Williams gets Pew fellowship, staff news, oil spill workshop, and many upcoming events.