AP: Marine birds disappearing in Pacific Northwest — Significant ecological shift, crashes in many species — “Something’s happening on a big level, but what is it” — Herring problem may be far worse than revealed… result of contamination? Mexico suddenly bans bluefin tuna fishing, US may be next

Monday, July 28, 2014
By Paul Martin

July 28th, 2014

Seattle Times (AP), Craig Welch, July 24, 2014: Once-common marine birds disappearing from our coast […] a significant ecological shift in our region — a major decline in once-abundant marine birds. […] the number of everyday marine birds here has plummeted dramatically in recent decades. […] several new studies now also link many dwindling marine bird populations to what they eat — especially herring, anchovies, sand lance […] Some forage-fish species, such as herring, are a fraction of what they once were. […] There’s certainly no shortage of crashes […] “It’s one thing to have a rare species decline,” said Joe Gaydos, with the SeaDoc Society. “[…] We’re talking about big, common species, and a lot of them.” […] it wasn’t clear whether this was a local or continental- scale problem, said Scott Wilson, a biologist with Environment Canada. It’s both: Up and down the West Coast, the winter breeding population [of Western grebes] is half what it was in 1975. […] since 1970 [Puget Sound’s biggest] herring stock has crashed, with more than 90 percent of the population all but gone. […] some scientists believe the herring problem itself may be far worse than others acknowledge. […] Wayne Landis, at Western Washington University […] found that while Puget Sound herring used to live eight to 10 years, they now survive only to age 3 or 4. […] “They don’t get old anymore,” he said. That could be the result of disease or toxic contamination or other changes […] Usually after a bust, herring eventually recolonize, Landis said. The question now: Is this bust different […] “Something’s happening on a big level,” [Gaydos] said. “But what is it?”

See also: Professor: 1% of usual number of baby Calif. pelicans; Near complete failure to breed; 20 newborns in area where 10,000 expected — Expert: Flabbergasted by what’s happening in Malibu, “I’ve never seen anything like that”
And: Gov’t Investigator: Acute hemorrhaging found in dead owls along west coast — “In very poor condition… badly emaciated” when arriving in Pacific NW from Arctic

KCET, July 23, 2014: Feds to Consider Ban on Bluefin Tuna Fishing — [NOAA] is opening a formal rulemaking process to determine whether it should add Pacific bluefin tuna to its list of fish species that must be released immediately if caught. […] Pacific bluefin spawn in the western Pacific off the coast of Japan […] Mexico closed its Pacific bluefin fishery for 2014 […]

San Diego Union Tribune, July 16, 2014: Mexico’s sudden and unforeseen banning of bluefin tuna fishing […] shut down bluefin tuna fishing at the height of the summer season […]

San Diego Union Tribune, July 14, 2014: [S]tatement from the Mexican government: […] the capture of Blue Fin Tuna in Mexican waters is forbidden for the remainder of the 2014 calendar year. Any incidental catches are to be released. This measure will be strictly enforced […]

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