How do we judge the health of our marine environment?
Fish and wildlife populations are the ultimate indicators for the health of the entire Puget Sound Georgia Basin marine ecosystem. The recent biennial SeaDoc Society Species of Concern report shows that the number of species listed as threatened or endangered is increasing and unless efforts are stepped up, the “silent slow motion crisis” will continue to out pace the ability to stabilize and restore populations.
Within the Puget Sound Georgia Basin waters, declining populations of fish and wildlife are listed by four agencies: the State of Washington, the Province of British Columbia, the US Federal Government, and the Canadian Federal Government. Several years ago, the SeaDoc Society began tracking the number of listed species, collectively known as species of concern. The current biennial review shows that we now have 63 species of invertebrates, fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals in the region that are declining significantly enough to warrant their listing by one or more agency. Two years ago there were 60.
The good news is that other organizations like the Puget Sound Action Team and the regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency are adopting our list of species of concern as an ecosystem indicator and using it as a tool in their efforts to protect our unique marine ecosystem.
Even better news is that over the last few years we've funded over $1 million in research needed to understand why many of these species are in decline and what can be done to reverse those declines.
More information is needed: our ongoing Sound and Straits Campaign will help drive more science and more collaboration so that conservation and restoration efforts can out pace new listings. The current SeaDoc Society Species of Concern report will be presented to the public at the upcoming Puget Sound Georgia Basin Conference.
To see listed species of concern for our marine ecosystem please visit our website at www.seadocsociety.org.
None of this valuable work would be possible without private investment by people who care about the future of fish and wildlife populations in the region.
Thank you again for your support.
Sincerely, Kirsten Gilardi & Joe Gaydos