In early October Vancouver Island reached a drought Level 4 which impacted wildlife across the coast. After a mass salmon die off in Bella Bella, concern grew regarding drought and a delayed salmon spawning season. Currently east Vancouver Island is at a drought level of 3, which means adverse impacts are possible, while west Vancouver Island is at a drought level of 2 with less likely impacts. Dave Rolson, Tseshaht First Nation’s fisheries manager, said, “Timing is everything, really, when it comes to fish and when it comes to environmental conditions.”
The Bering Sea’s cold pool, a critical part of the seafloor ecosystem, had shrunk to a worrying degree in recent years, but it is continuing to slowly return, according to the latest results of NOAA’s bottom trawl survey. Saffron cod, also called tomcod, seems to be bouncing back after a few bad years, and Arctic cod and blue king crab numbers were also better.
Record-setting drought conditions have left many of B.C’s streams and waterways too low for salmon to swim up to spawn. Heiltsuk First Nation leaders say hundreds of fish were found rotting in a creek in Bella Bella, B.C., usually teeming by fall with migrating pink and chum salmon.
Ali Ralson was riding her 4 Wheeler towards Cape Blossom and came upon a beach full of fish. It appears that most of the fish are stickleback although there may be other species involved too. This would suggest an environmental issue that would impact multiple fish species rather than a pathogen. One potential cause could be harmful algal toxins.
In a recent report from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST), 16 salmon caught in the Mjólká river in the Westfjords were confirmed to originate from farms. Signs indicate that the salmon originate from open sea farms by Haganes, where a hole in the pen caused part of the stock to escape in August.
Scientists from B.C.’s provincial government are investigating a spike in dead sturgeons after 11 adult fish were found dead on the Nechako River over the past week.
The tomcod harvests in the Kongiganak, Cavuuneq and Ilkivik Rivers have been a failure. Also in other areas, based on observations from Chevak and Chefornak. Both the surface and bottom trawl results show a clear decline in tomcod biomass in the North Bering Sea.
The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) has found evidence of infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) in an open-net salmon farm in Reyðarfjörður fjord, East Iceland. ISA is a highly infectious viral disease that has no treatment and causes high mortality in farmed Atlantic salmon.
Not a single catch was reported in the village of Chefornak. Meanwhile in Kivalina, dozens and dozens of tomcods are pictured and posted on "The Alaska Life" Facebook page.
There is usually an abundance of this fish in the fall and early winter season. This is a usual harvest for most YK Delta coastal villages. Note: According to NOAA Bering Sea Bottom Trawl data, there has been an 88% decline reported in the biomass of saffron cod from 2020 to 2021 in the N. Bering Sea.
Vetle Berntsen and the others on the trawler understood little when the black fish ended up on board. No wonder – the fish actually live in deep water around the equator. It turned out to be Diretmichthys parini, also known as ducat fish, one of three documented in Norway.
Karen Dunmall, a biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said pink salmon normally prefer warmer waters than the Arctic has been able to provide. But with the Arctic warming at up to three times the rate of the rest of the world, its waters are becoming more approachable for newcomers like this species.
In 2009, the numbers dropped down to just 500 pairs of Chinook returning. Yet, as of Tuesday, more than 8,000 Chinook had returned to their Cowichan River spawning grounds. The improvement is the result of years of conservation efforts by Cowichan Tribes, who have worked to restore the river to its course before logging operations changed the river.
"This year we had a lot more rain than other years, we used to be able to get on our ATVs and travel 10-12 miles upriver. I haven't seen or heard of anyone using ATVs to travel upriver this year. I think the breakthrough channel has a lot to do with us not being able to travel on ATVs. I see a lot of my favorite ATV fishing spots washed away from the highwater."
The commercial Silver harvest in the Norton Sound yielded the lowest numbers since 2002.This trend follows suit from last year as well, which yielded far less than projected. The run was “very poor,” Menard said. The preliminary catch was 7,100 Silvers. That’s less than half caught in the commercial fishery last year.