December 2015 Update
The recent Thanksgiving holiday is one of my favorites. It hasn't been overly commercialized and is still all about friends, family, and gratitude.
I returned from Africa a few weeks ago, once again grateful to live in one of the best places in the world - the Salish Sea. I too am grateful for all of the important work that SeaDoc does to design a healthy Salish Sea - for people and for wildlife. Of course that wouldn't be possible without people like you who financially support our work. Thank you!
Over the next few weeks you will receive a letter or email from us, asking you to make a donation to support our work. I hope you will act on it. Your donation makes a difference in the work we do and ultimately in the health of the Salish Sea.
Joe Gaydos
Chief Scientist and Regional Director
Does SeaDoc science really make a difference?
Forage fish video
Our goal is to ensure that SeaDoc science makes a difference, but does it? And if so, how? Check out this sweet new video on forage fish (above) by Friends of Skagit Beaches and the Department of Ecology.
We're pleased Joe Gaydos gets a cameo talking about how important forage fish are, but we really want you to check out what Senator Rolfes has to say. She sponsored forage fish legislation in 2015 that funded two important studies to help the Department of Fish and Wildlife implement their forage fish management plan from the1990s, which was conceptually way ahead of its time but never adequately funded.
In the video, Senator Rolfes says she was inspired to take action by an op-ed in the Seattle Times that directly linked the decline in marine birds to the decline in forage fish.
This op-ed drew heavily on another article, this one by Craig Welch, that focused on SeaDoc's groundbreaking marine bird population study, in which SeaDoc's Dr. Ignacio Vilchis and collaborators were able to show that diving birds that depend on forage fish were many times more likely to be in decline than other bird species.
While the course of events varies from case to case, the take home message here is that focused, well-targeted science, like that which SeaDoc promotes, does make a difference. It's also important to remember is that Dr. Vilchis' large and complex 2-year science project and publication was funded by a legacy bequest from a SeaDoc supporter, Stephanie Wagner.
So don't forget, SeaDoc science does make a difference and real credit for change belongs to the generous donors like you who make it possible.

Watch the video
Study shows recreational surf smelt harvest can be accurately measured
smelt
Knowing how many fish are being harvested is like knowing how much you're withdrawing from your bank account. Surf smelt is an important forage fish species that is harvested both commercially and recreationally, but until a recent SeaDoc-funded study it hasn't been easy for Washington State to know how much smelt is being harvested by recreational fishers.
No license is required to harvest surf smelt recreationally. People fish for them at public and private beaches all over the shoreline of the Salish Sea. Variation in smelt spawning time throughout the area means that the fishing season varies substantially across the region. Without adequate funding and staffing to assess the entire Sound, for decades the State estimated that the recreational catch approximately equaled the well-recorded commercial catch.
Fortunately SeaDoc was able to fund Dr. Dayv Lowry and colleagues at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to apply a new study design to estimate harvest along the northwestern shore of Camano Island. According to their work, recently published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, recreational harvest on a Sound-wide basis has the potential to be substantially higher than originally assumed. Building upon this study, the Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to assess smelt harvest at several sites in 2016, bring a Sound-wide estimate of harvest one step closer to reality.
Check out the study to learn more about how challenging it can be to estimate recreational harvest when people don't need fishing licenses to harvest a species and fishing effort is spread broadly over time and a large geographical area.
Read more
Give the gift of the Salish Sea
We've been hearing over and over from people who are giving our book, The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, to their friends and family as a holiday gift.
If you're looking for gift ideas for people who love the ocean, the Pacific Northwest, or the Salish Sea, this book will inspire them know, connect, and protect the Salish Sea.
It's available at independent bookstores throughout the region, and of course online. If you need to special order it, the ISBN is 978-1570619854.
Book details
Reminder: Science Prize nominations due December 18
Every two years, SeaDoc gives out the prestigious Salish Sea Science Prize to a scientist or group of scientists whose work has profoundly improved management or policy related to the health of marine wildlife and the Salish Sea.
We invite you to nominate a scientist or group. Please be sure your nomination is submitted by December 18. See our website for more details about the prize and the nomination procedure.
How to nominate
Why I give: Andrea Watson's story
galatea creek, alberta
Recently we heard from one of our Canadian supporters on why she makes a monthly donation to the SeaDoc Society.
Andrea lives in Alberta, just on the other side of the Rocky Mountains, but feels a strong connection to the Salish Sea and the work we do.
"I am so fortunate that only a short drive from my home can I revel in the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. I'm able to go hiking there almost every day and when I do I take my pup and camera with me. After a long hike we both enjoy dipping our noses in the fresh and clean glacier waters. What a luxury! These waters play host to a huge variety of birds, animals and occasionally the odd human! Each visit, I count my blessings. It makes me feel good to know that I'm supporting the outstanding efforts and stewardship of the tireless staff and volunteers at SeaDoc. Even in these hard economic times I continue to donate to SeaDoc. The oceans and waters don't understand high finance but I recognize the peace and joy that nature endows on me and that is worth every penny. "
Thank you, Andrea, for your ongoing support! We're glad to have you on the team.
Join Andrea with a monthly donation
Dr. Gene Helfman on 25 things you didn't know about sharks
sharks book cover
Ever wonder what baby sharks and baby humans have in common?
Or what kind of shark Huck Finn might have seen cruising past his raft on the Mississippi River?
Or which are deadlier, champagne corks or sharks?
Find out the answers, plus get a chance to take home fossil shark teeth, when shark expert Dr. Gene Helfman reveals 25 Things You Didn't Know About Sharks at 7pm on December 8 at the Larry Norman Lodge at YMCA Camp Orkila. It's family night, so come at 6pm for a free dinner thanks to YMCA Camp Orkila. Copies of Helfman's book will be available for purchase thanks to Darvill's Bookstore.
As always, the event is free thanks to our generous sponsors.
This year's lecture series is produced by SeaDoc and YMCA Camp Orkila, sponsored by Tom & Nate Averna of Deer Harbor Charters, Barbara Brown, West Sound Marina, Dean & Audrey Stupke, Martha Wyckoff in honor of Lee Rolfe, and the WWW Foundation (Bryce and Sue Rhodes), and co-sponsored by Barbara Bentley and Glenn Prestwich.
SeaDoc in the news
A giant Pacific octopus washed ashore in Eastsound, and was spotted by local high school students. http://www.islandssounder.com/news/352987921.html
The Seattle Aquarium shared an update on Sea Star Wasting Disease, including mention of the recent SeaDoc/REEF dive study in the San Juan Islands that the Aquarium generously co-funded. http://blog.seattleaquarium.org/conservation/sea-star-wasting/
Upcoming events
Gene Helfman on sharks
Tuesday, December 8. Free dinner at 6:00, talk at 7pm
Shark expert Gene Helfman will speak on "25 Things You Didn't Know About Sharks" for our annual family night at YMCA Camp Orkila. Dinner (yes, it's free) starting at 6:00. Larry Norman Lodge, Camp Orkila. Free.
Veterinarian Martin Haulena of the Vancouver Aquarium will talk about marine mammal strandings in the Salish Sea. Location TBA. Free.
Serge Dedina: Surfing the Border
WEDNESDAY, February 24, 7pm
Ocean advocate Serge Dedina speaks on his efforts to protect coastal habitats on both sides of the US/Mexican border. Please note that this talk does not follow our usual "second Tuesday" routine! Emmanuel Parish Hall, Eastsound. Free.
Eleni Petrou of the University of Washington will speak on the relationship between Pacific herring and human communities in a talk entitled, "Chasing the Silver Sea of Fish." Emmanuel Parish Hall, Eastsound. Free.
Joe will speak on the Salish Sea and sign books at the LOTT WET Center in Olympia.
The next Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference is April 13-16 in Vancouver BC. Details are here.
Joe will speak on the Salish Sea and sign books. All are welcome. The meeting takes place at the Whatcom Museum.
Joe Gaydos talks at Kitsap Audubon
May 12, 2016, details TBA.
Joe will speak on the Salish Sea and sign books.
About SeaDoc
The SeaDoc Society uses science to find solutions to the problems facing marine ecosystems. Our work focuses on the Salish Sea, one of the most ecologically productive inland seas in the world. The Salish Sea extends from Olympia, Washington to Campbell River, BC., and is home to over 8 million people.
We are a program of the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center, a center of excellence at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Make a one-time or monthly sustaining donation
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