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.”
One pod showed up in January and was videotaped fatally attacking two resident bottle-nosed dolphins. They may have also killed a gray whale calf, although a body was never found. Predatory orcas have breached a gray whale safe space in Baja California. Could this spell disaster for a species already struggling for survival?
A backyard chicken flock in Wake County has tested positive for High Path Avian Influenza (HPAI). The positive sample was identified by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Raleigh.
A third deer in North Carolina has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Officials with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reported the deer was hunter-harvested in Surry County this archery season approximately 10 miles from the two previous positive detections in Yadkin County.
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.
Die-offs of krill are in some cases associated with hypoxia (low oxygen) excess sediment suspended in the water column and changes in water temperature. There were recent reports of high levels of Alexandrium in water samples in the areas, and Norton Sound Health Corporation is performing some testing of krill samples (see below). There was also an unprecedented storm event only a week ago, unusual for the storm surge and early season.
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.
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.
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.
If upwelling starts a month earlier than usual, the amount of oxygen, already low, has to last until the fall when storms promote mixing which adds oxygen back into the system. As of late September this year, upwelling is still occurring and low levels of oxygen are still persisting.
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.