Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

CDFW: Remember North Coast Chinook Fishing Closures

Klamath River photo by Guy Smith/CDFW

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

CDFW reminds anglers that fall Chinook salmon fishing on the Klamath and Trinity rivers is prohibited beginning Aug. 15, 2017 on the Klamath River and Sept. 1, 2017 on the Trinity River. Angling for steelhead remains open on both rivers for the entire year.

Due to historically low stock projections of fall Chinook in the Klamath Basin for 2017, a full fishing closure was adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission earlier this year.

The fall Chinook fishing season is defined as Aug. 15 through Dec. 31 on the Klamath River and Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 on the Trinity River. All Chinook incidentally caught during these respective dates must be immediately returned to the river.

Fishing for steelhead trout remains open in designated areas. The daily bag limit is two hatchery steelhead and the possession limit is four hatchery steelhead. Hatchery steelhead can be identified by a healed adipose fin clip (the adipose fin is absent). All wild steelhead (with an intact adipose fin) caught must be immediately returned to the water. Please consult the 2017-2018 supplemental sport fishing regulations for further information on open areas and gear restrictions that may apply.

The low projected stock abundance of Klamath Basin fall Chinook this year is thought to have been caused by several environmental factors, including severe drought and poor ocean conditions. Klamath Basin fall Chinook are managed for conservation thresholds and long-term sustainability, and the closures this year are designed to maximize spawning escapement to rebuild future population abundance.

The Klamath fall Chinook stock will be re-evaluated in the winter and spring of 2018, at which time a new forecast and potential harvest quotas will be developed for 2018 in-river and ocean fisheries.   Klamath Basin fall Chinook regulations are typically adopted by the California Fish and Game Commission in April of each year.

 

 

 

UC Davis Study Could Help Spring Salmon Runs

Photo by Harry Morse/CDFW

 

A UC Davis study has explored the theories of spring Chinook salmoon run trends and could help in restoring dwindling numbers of springer salmon making their way back in from the Pacific.

The Sacramento Bee has more on the study’s potential impact and provides some insight as to why some kings and steelhead spawn earlier and the impact such research can have from a conservation standpoint:

This study provides new evidence that “springers” and other salmon that migrate upstream from the ocean to spawn early in the year are genetically different than later migrating populations.

This evidence could be used in the fight to protect groups of steelhead and Chinook salmon in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. An earlier petition by conservation groups to list them under the Endangered Species Act in 2011 failed because it wasn’t clear that the groups were distinct.

Across the Western states, several salmon populations are listed under the Endangered Species Act, including Central Valley spring-run Chinook in the Sacramento River and tributaries upstream.

 For the steelhead and Chinook species of Pacific salmon, some populations migrate earlier in the season. This group of “premature migrators” leave the ocean to travel upstream before their sexual organs mature and while the snowmelt-fed flows are receding. They migrate further upstream than their counterparts and wait in cool freshwater pools until they reach sexual maturity and spawn around the same time as the late runners that migrate as sexually mature adults. 

These premature migrators, spring-run Chinook and summer steelhead, are special. For one, they’re fattier, and are valued for their taste. But these populations have also suffered drastic declines across their range and haven’t fared as well as the later migrators.

 The work, published in the journal Science Advances by Michael Miller at UC Davis and collaborators at other institutions, examined the genetics of these salmon populations and may have wide-reaching implications for conservation decisions on imperiled groups of many species.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Damn! California Dam Projects Considered

Folsom Dam photo by California Department of Water Resources.

Dams are rarely welcomed by anglers, conservationists and the like, but in a state like California, where water is always at a premium, the thought of creating new dams and potential sources for H2O will be a hot-button topic. Thus, a potential $2.7 billion project to construct nine new dams is being discussed.

Here’s Paul Rogers of the San Jose Mercury News with more, including some of the possible sites:

The list of applicants includes many ideas that have been around for years. Among them:

  • Sites Reservoir: A proposed $5 billion reservoir in Colusa County, roughly 100 miles north of Napa, the reservoir would be built “off stream” in a valley and would divert water from the Sacramento River, holding 1.8 million acre feet. That’s enough water for the needs of 9 million people a year. It would rank Sites as the seventh largest reservoir in the state, roughly the size of San Luis between Gilroy and Los Banos.
  • Los Vaqueros: The Contra Costa Water District is proposing to raise the earthen dam at Los Vaqueros reservoir by 55 feet, increasing the reservoir’s storage capacity from 160,000 acre feet to 275,000-acre feet, enough water to meet the annual needs of 1.4 million people. The $914 million project has a dozen Bay Area partners that would put up some of the money and receive some of the water as drought insurance. Among them are the Santa Clara Valley Water District, East Bay Municipal Utility District and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The project was endorsed Monday by a coalition of six prominent environmental groups — including the Nature Conservancy, Audubon Society and Planning and Conservation League — because some of the water would go to Central Valley wetland refuges for ducks, geese and other wildlife, in addition to people and farms.
  • Pacheco Pass: The Santa Clara Valley Water District is hoping to build a new reservoir in southern Santa Clara County near Pacheco Pass, along with a dam up to 300 feet high. The reservoir, which would cost roughly $900 million, would hold 130,000 acre-feet of water — enough to meet the water needs of 650,000 people for a year. The project would replace an existing small reservoir of 6,000 acre-feet that is used to recharge farmers’ groundwater.
  • Temperance Flat: The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has proposed building a 665-foot-high dam on the San Joaquin River in the Sierra foothills in Fresno County. The $3 billion project, which would construct the second-tallest dam in California, behind Oroville Dam, would create a reservoir of 1.3 million acre-feet, enough water for 6.5 million people a year.
  • Semitropic: The groundwater district near Bakersfield, which stores water for agencies from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, has proposed an expansion.
  • Kern Fan: The Irvine Ranch Water District in Irvine, which serves 380,000 residents of Orange County, is proposing to build a $171 million groundwater storage project at the south end of the Kern River.
  • San Diego: The city of San Diego, which wants to produce one-third of its water by 2035 from recycled wastewater, is planning a $1.2 billion project to purify it and deliver it to Miramar Reservoir.
  • Centennial Reservoir: The Nevada Irrigation District in Grass Valley is proposing building a 275-foot-tall dam and 110,000 acre-foot reservoir on the Bear River near Colfax in Placer County.   

Because politics are involved and politics can get rather ugly – and don’t we all understand that now -these won’t be easy projects to get building.

More from Rogers: 

Environmentalists generally prefer underground storage to building new dams, noting that it is cheaper, does not have evaporation, and doesn’t kill fish and wildlife. They argue that the new dams proposed for rivers, in particular, are problematic and not likely to yield much water because the state already has 1,200 dams and most of the best sites were taken decades ago.

“Many of these projects never penciled out when the beneficiaries had to pay the total costs,” said Jonas Minton, water policy adviser with the Planning and Conservation League in Sacramento. “Now in many cases they are asking the public to subsidize additional water for them.”

Proposition 1 was endorsed by the state Republican and Democratic parties, along with Gov. Jerry Brown, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley Leadership Group and major unions and water districts. It was opposed by some environmental groups and commercial fishing organizations worried about the impact of new dams on fisheries.

Voters approved it 67-33 percent.

 

 

Some fish and wildlife advocates would prefer more dam removal rather than adding more dams.

 

IGFA To Host Newport Beach “Angling Celebration”

The following press release is courtesy of the International Game Fish Association:

Newport Beach, CA – The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) will host “A Celebration of California Angling,” on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at Marina Park in Newport Beach, California. The inaugural fundraising event will celebrate the history of angling in California and will feature a hosted beer and wine bar, silent auction, raffle, door prizes and dinner catered by the Newport Rib Company. Each guest will also receive an amazing swag bag, filled with high-quality items from IGFA supporters.

“California has a long and rich history of angling,” said IGFA Trustee Michael Farrior. “We are excited to present the story of angling in our great state and share the conservation work and education programs currently underway. We are looking for partners to help us grow these interests and help plan for the future,” he continued.
The Co-Chairs of the event are Michael and Susan Farrior and Bob and Sally Kurz. “California anglers have a long and close relationship with the IGFA and the international angling community,” said IGFA Trustee Bob Kurz. “We invite the fishing community to come out and learn more about the exciting contributions to game fish conservation and education that we have made in our state and beyond,” continued Kurz.
“This event has been years in the making and Mike and Bob, along with fellow California IGFA Trustees Bill Shedd and Chase Offield, are planning what is sure to be a great evening of fun and comradery” said IGFA Development Director Eric Combast.
Space is limited and individual tickets are $75 each and table sponsorships begin at $1,000.  For more information, visit the event website at www.bidpal.net/igfaca, or contact IGFA Development Director, Eric Combast, by phone at 954-927-2628 or email: ecombast@igfa.org.

A Tag, Then Hope For A Pronghorn

 

The following appears in the August issue of California Sportsman: 

By Nancy Rodriguez

Pronghorn Antelope Drawing Notice – Alternate.”

Those were the words at the top of the letter that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife sent me. “Alternate?” I didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry. After 15 years of applying for a pronghorn tag in my home state, I still felt miles away from drawing the tag. Who in their right mind would give up a premium tag? My husband Joe reassured me that situations come up in people’s lives, and not everyone is able to go.

With my fingers crossed, I hoped luck would swing my way and my dream of hunting pronghorn in my home state would finally come true. And indeed it came to fruition a few weeks later when CDFW called and let me know someone had passed on a tag, so it was mine if I wanted it. Dreams do come true!

AS MY HUNT DREW near, instead of being filled with excitement, I was racked by concern instead. Day after day I looked out the window, and instead of seeing beautiful blue sky, I was staring at a smoky haze brought on by dozens of wildfires burning around the state. 

I stayed updated on one fire in particular; it was burning in the area I had scouted a short time before. Heartache started to set in as online wildfire maps showed the blaze slowly burning up my hunt area. 

But as the opening date loomed, I could finally breathe a sigh of relief; I watched the fire diminish and containment grow. Just days before my hunt the fire was out, so I checked the fire perimeter one last time before we hit the road. Final result: The fire had burned within yards of my selected areas. 

We had scouted three shooter bucks in three different areas over the summer, and the fire map confirmed that the fire had burned to the edge of all three spots. What were the chances of that? All we could do was try to find animals and hope that they were not too scattered from the fire, as well as helicopters, crews and heavy equipment that had worked so hard to contain the blaze.

The day before the opener, Joe and I, along with our good friend Jon and his 9-year-old daughter Ava, made the five-hour drive up to my unit. We were very excited, especially as this would be what Ava considered to be her first pronghorn hunt. 

Once we arrived we went to the first place on our list and found that the area hadn’t burned, but close. There was plenty of evidence that heavy machinery had been traveling the dirt roads. We had spotted a great buck in this area while scouting here, so I hoped he was still around. 

Joe and I took off out across the hills to see what we could find, while Jon and Ava stayed back to glass the finger ridges below camp. Between all of us, not one pronghorn was spotted. Even so, we decided to stay there and try our luck at first light.

OPENING MORNING STARTED OFF slow. Ava’s eagle eyes eventually spotted a decent buck that I wanted to take a closer look at. We were over 500 yards away, but as we started to sneak out across the sage and juniper tree-covered ridge, he took off like a rocket and didn’t stop. He continued running for miles over two ridgelines before he put on the brakes. Joe and I tried to circle him, but he vanished. Talk about skittish! I knew with it being second pronghorn season, this guy might have been chased before. 

We continued to hunt the juniper-covered hills the rest of the afternoon and found nothing, so the four of us decided to head over to a different area that we had scouted. 

A large playa held a small amount of water, as the drought had turned the small lake that was once there into a pond. During our scouting trip, we had spotted an extremely tall, thin-horned buck here. His horns curved forward, reminding us of the antennas on a bug, so we nicknamed him “Antennae.” We spotted Antennae in the middle of the lakebed with about 10 does. We used the spotting scope to check him out and realized that with the rut kicking in, his horn tips and prongs had been broken off. Bummer! The rest of the day was spent glassing in search of any decent buck. We got within shooting distance of numerous small bucks, but no shooters. That night we made plans to hike into the next spot on our list, a remote lakebed.

We started our hike at first light and, with a chill in the air, the crisp morning air felt refreshing. This area was where we had spotted the largest buck on our scouting trip and he had thick, slightly heart-shaped horns and what appeared to be 6-inch-plus prongs. This lakebed is very remote and several miles away from any road, so I felt like we had a good chance the buck wouldn’t be pressured. 

While we were closing in on our destination we heard the unmistakable sound of a quad in the distance. The sun had just started to break the horizon as we arrived at the top of the mesa that overlooked the lakebed. We set up the spotting scope and the glassing began, and I slowly scanned across the landscape in a grid pattern, spotting a group of pronghorn with a small herd buck in the trees. 

A short distance away two quads sat on the lakebed. I knew if the big antelope was around, he certainly wasn’t any longer. “How did these guys get here, since there aren’t any solid roads to travel on?” we wondered.

We had hiked for two hours to get there and we were too late. With the pressure of the quads, we figured the big buck would be gone, but we searched the surrounding areas anyway. The rest of the day only produced a tiny buck with a few does and I was feeling a bit disheartened. That night Jon and Ava wished me luck before they headed home.

The penultimate day of the hunt was spent sitting for eight hours above a waterhole with only two wild horses and three pronghorn coming in. With one day left, I mentioned to Joe that maybe we should head back to Antennae’s lakebed. As we pulled in by the lakebed that evening to set up camp, we saw a nice buck heading out of the foothills to water. Since it was the last few minutes of shooting light, I didn’t have enough time to get set up. Still, I was reinspired by seeing a “new” buck in the area. 

Our plan was to hike down to the lakebed the next morning in the dark and set up in the trees at its edge. Once there, we would ride out the day in hopes a decent buck would move into the area searching for does and I would get off a shot. 

THE LAST MORNING ARRIVED and I awoke feeling like my head had just hit the pillow. Sunrise wouldn’t wait for us, so we had to get moving. I shouldered my backpack, grabbed my rifle and looked up at millions of stars that were twinkling in the dark sky. I grew comfortable with the idea I might be going home empty-handed, but as the hike began, a smile swept across my face because I realized that “Today could be the day.”

Joe and I hiked a mile down the lakebed by the light of a crescent moon. We set up under the canopy of a large juniper tree on the edge of the lakebed. As the night gave way to morning, we started to see little antelope dots in the distance. Antennae had his small harem out in front of us and a few small bucks mingled about. Momentum seemed to shift as we glassed the far right corner of the lakebed, where we spotted a mature buck with 19 does feeding. It was my last hunting day, he was a shooter, and suddenly the hunt was on. 

They were 520 yards out, and since I prefer my shots to be within 400 yards, we needed to close the distance. The two of us crouched over in unison and began the final stalk. We sneaked from tree to tree, closing the distance and racing the sun before it cast long morning shadows and revealed our position. We crawled the final 50 yards to my preselected location and ranged the herd at 350 yards. Suddenly, my target buck took off at high speed, throwing a dirt rooster tail along the way. He was chasing a smaller buck that was trying to move in on his harem, and I used that moment to get my gun set up for the shot. 

With his mission accomplished it was time to fulfill mine. The herd buck slowly worked his way back to his harem, and I waited in ambush, with my crosshairs following his every step. Joe called the ranges as the buck moved closer and I adjusted my turrets accordingly. 

The buck meandered in and out of the herd while checking the does. I controlled my breathing and patiently waited for a clear shot. My opportunity arrived and I thought for a moment how bittersweet it was. After 15 years of waiting, hoping, and mostly dreaming I slowly squeezed the trigger. 

And just like that it was over.

As we hiked back across the lakebed weighed down with meat, wild horses ran by to wish us farewell. I may never hunt pronghorn here again, but I won’t stop California dreaming after the experience. cs

Editor’s note: Nancy Rodriguez lives in Cool (El Dorado County), with her husband Joe. She is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to fish, hunt and backpack. Nancy is on the hunt staff for Prois Hunting & Field Apparel for Women and enjoys inspiring women to get outdoors.

CDFW Still Searching For Suspect In Wildlife Officer Shooting

 

The following press release is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

A reward of up to $20,000 remains available for information leading to the arrest of Shawn Eugene Hof, Jr., suspected of attempting to shoot a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officer in August 2016. Anyone with information in this case (#201604226), particularly the whereabouts of Hof, is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539, or the CDFW CalTIP line at (888) 334-2258.

The California Wildlife Officers Foundation, California Waterfowl Association, Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Nature Conservancy, Sportfishing Alliance and private donors collaborated on the reward.

Hof 2
Shawn Eugene Hof, Jr.

On Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016, at approximately 12:40 a.m., a CDFW wildlife officer was patrolling in Carlotta, Humboldt County.  The officer saw a pickup truck with several occupants using spotlights on Redwood House Road near Highway 36.  The officer attempted an enforcement stop of the truck when the driver sped away. A pursuit ensued and a person in the rear of the truck, believed to be Hof, began shooting at the wildlife officer during the attempt to get away. The suspects crashed their vehicle into a tree before fleeing on foot into the woods, where they escaped.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and Humboldt District Attorney’s Office took lead in the initial investigation into the shooting incident. Through their investigation, they identified Hof as the suspect.   The Sheriff’s Office obtained a $500,000 Ramey Warrant for Hof’s arrest.

Shawn Eugene Hof, Jr. is 25 years old. He is 5’9”, 150 lbs., with brown hair and brown eyes.

Humboldt County Sheriff Office Tip Line 707-268-2539

Raahauges’ Charity Shoot On Aug. 26 and 27

The following press release is courtesy of Raahauge’s Pheasant, Chukar and Sporting Clays:

Please come and join us for Terry’s Memorial Shoot on Aug. 26 and 27.  It will be a two-day shoot with a raffle and taco bar on SundayOn Saturday we will have two preliminary events and all side events.  We will serve hamburgers, drink and chips.  So both days will be fun for all even if you don’t shoot registered targets. Proceeds will go to the Cancer Society in Terry’s name.

For more info:

benefit shoot Terry Raahauge20170001

 

State’s Duck Calling Contest Returns To Colusa

 

Kittle’s Outdoor Sports

The following press release is courtesy of Kittle’s Outdoor Sports in Colusa:

Colusa, Calif. – Kittle’s Outdoor will present The 2017 California State Duck Calling Championship & Outdoor Expo, taking place at The Veteran’s Memorial Park, downtown Colusa on August 26  and 27,  featuring Fred Zink, founder of Zink Calls & Avian X. Also featuring two California Professional Callers  – three-time World Champion caller from Chico, Bret Crowe,  owner of JJ Lares duck calls, and California State Speck Goose calling Champion, Ben Williams,  owner of Fish Dog Outdoors.

Returning to California for all the fun from Arkansas and Missouri are World Champion Caller and host of RNT TV, Jim Ronquest and our favorite face behind the guitar and guest star of the Outdoor Channel’s Banded Nation, Keith Allen.

Kittle’s Outdoor is proud to bring The 2017 CA State Calling Championship to Colusa for the seventh consecutive year.  New this year Kittle’s Outdoor will also host the Butte Sink Regional contest in which the Colusa Casino has donated $500 to the first place winner.  This event opens up the competition to out of State contestants also looking for a win to advance to the World Championship.

Saturday Aug. 26, the Butte Sink Regional Championship, which qualifies for the World Competition, will start the day at 10 a.m.  Registration opens at 8 a.m.

Saturday will also include two contests for youth and intermediates with no entry fee required and great prizes from Sitka Gear, AvianX and Hevi-Shot.  This year Kittle’s is flying in celebrity guest judge, Jim Ronquest of RNT calls who will be hosting a FREE duck calling workshop on Saturday at noon for beginning callers. Live music, great food and a supreme atmosphere can be found at Rocco’s on the River located at the Colusa Landing.

On Sunday Aug. 27, three contests will be held sporting cash purse payback of 100 percent of the entry fees plus $1,000 added to the sanctioned State Duck Championship, $500 added to the open speckle belly goose contest, and $500 added to the two-man duck contest.  Registration opens at 8:00 a.m

The two-day event will feature art displays, antique decoys, a bounce house, a kids activity center sponsored by CWA, and a special guest appearance by the makers of Iverson Duck Calls.  Iverson has been a favorite wooden call for decades in the Colusa area.  Over 30 waterfowl and community vendors will set up shop.  Local restaraunts will be providing breakfast and lunch menus both days in the Park. The Yuba Sutter Sea Cadets will be on hand for security and public safety.  The River Valley Lodge has rooms blocked for the two-day event (530) 458-8844.  Other lodging in Colusa can be found at the Riverside Inn and the Colusa Motel.

The “main street”, or world qualifying competition calling is different from calling while hunting in the field and “meat calling.”  The judges are listening to a calling routine that demonstrates how well the caller can blow the call as if it were a musical instrument.  The caller that makes the least mistakes or sour notes wins.  Join the fun and learn something new.

For more, check out kittlesoutdoor.com or call (530) 458-4868.

Salmon Victimized By Hungry Murres As Oceans Change

Editor’s note: Each week NOAA Fisheries emails out “FishNews,” a roundup of agency activities and research around the country. This week’s included a story from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center on what is believed to be a first.

It’s about how a bottoms-up change created a top-down impact, previously hypothesized but not seen.

A PAIR OF MURRES RETURN TO THEIR NEXT WITH FISH — PROBABLY ANCHOVIES, ACCORDING TO NOAA — TO FEED THEIR YOUNG. (POINT BLUE CONSERVATION SCIENCE, VIA NOAA)

In this case, it’s specifically about murres and young Chinook outside San Francisco Bay. When coastal upwellings failed and the birds had to change their diet from rockfish to anchovies, salmon smolts swimming near their nesting colonies found themselves on the menu too, driving down survival.

As we have all those species off Oregon and Washington, I thought it might be of interest to readers here with the following caveat from Brian Wells, lead author of the paper the story references:

“I think that a lot of this type of variability in forage and the impact on salmon is possible in [the Pacific Northwest] following poor ocean conditions. Largely, the difference in the north may be that seabirds have a bit more of a diverse diet such that the relationships may be … less obvious (i.e., may not be able to pick a single predator like we did and see the significant effect on salmon following variability in the environment).”

For more on how marine conditions are continuing to impact birds as well as salmon, see this recent article from The Astorian.

THE FOLLOWING IS A STORY BY THE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION’S SOUTHWEST FISHERIES SCIENCE CENTER

Interpreting relationships between species and their environments is crucial to inform ecosystem-based management (EBM), a priority for NOAA Fisheries. EBM recognizes the diverse interactions within an ecosystem — including human impacts — so NOAA Fisheries can consider resource tradeoffs that help protect and sustain productive ecosystems and the services they provide.

For example, in the California Current, understanding the interactions between predator seabirds, forage fish in the coastal ocean and out-migrating salmon from San Francisco Bay could improve the understanding of salmon early survival in the ocean and a measure of the possible strength of the year class return.

In the Gulf of the Farallones, new research by scientists from NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Point Blue Conservation Science, H.T. Harvey and Associates, University of California Santa Cruz, U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that the common murre, a small ocean seabird, can make a difference in the number of salmon that survive to return as adults. This is especially true when ocean conditions cause the murres to feed primarily on salmon and anchovy. The research has been published online in the Journal of Marine Systems, and will be included in the journal’s October print issue.

Large colonies of more than 500,000 common murres nest throughout the Gulf of the Farallones, offshore of San Francisco. In typical years, with nutrient-rich water welling up from the depths, the murres prey primarily on young rockfish around their offshore breeding sites.

When ocean conditions change, and the upwelling falters, young rockfish that are the typical prey for the murres become scarce. Then the murres switch, feeding instead on adult northern anchovies found closer to shore. That’s a problem for the young salmon entering the ocean at these near-shore locations, because the murres eat them too.

The finding documents one of the first examples of what biologists call “bottom-up” influences — changes at the base of the food web — causing “top-down” effects on West Coast salmon, such as an increase in predation by a species higher in the chain, in this case the common murres.

“This is the first example we’ve found involving salmon where bottom-up drivers are causing top-down impacts,” said NOAA Fisheries research biologist Brian Wells, lead author of the research. “The lack of upwelling affects salmon in a top-down way.”

The new research shows that salmon survival drops sharply in the years when ocean conditions lead the murres to prey on anchovy and salmon. Even in years when the murres are preying on anchovy, salmon comprise less than 10 percent of the diet of the murres; but the impact can be a significant factor in the survival of salmon. The research concludes that predation by the seabirds can make a difference in the number of salmon that survive to return as adults.

The salmon affected are primarily fall-run Chinook, which are the primary species supporting salmon fisheries off the California Coast. The research helps reveal the complex relationships between species and their environment, which in turn helps NOAA Fisheries anticipate and respond to changes that affect fish, birds and people.

For example, the murres preyed heavily on anchovy and salmon in 2005, which likely contributed to the collapse of the California salmon fishery in 2007 and 2008, the researchers found. Congress appropriated $170 million in disaster relief for fishermen affected by the collapse.

NOAA Fisheries managers can use the details to make better decisions about how best to protect and manage marine species.

“Understanding the dynamics behind these connections can help us anticipate impacts to salmon, which are very important both economically and environmentally,” said John Field, a research fisheries biologist at the SWFSC in Santa Cruz. “That can help fisheries managers make smart and informed decisions about how to manage these species into the future.”

Large Mako Shark Thrills Dana Point Party Boat

 

 

Check out this video, courtesy of Dana Point Whale Watching, which had this to say about this very energetic mako shark.

On Sunday July 30 anglers aboard the private sportfishing boat San Mateo out of Dana Point got a rare treat. while fishing for yellowtail and dorado on a kelp paddy several miles from the harbor they hooked up to this large 400-pound mako shark , the anglers were thrilled to watch this huge Mako Shark do somersaults and acrobatic moves all around the boat !

Capt. Bo Daniel said he was shocked at the sheer size of the shark and he was thankful when it broke off. What a fishing tale these anglers will remember for a lifetime charter master Ron Smith told the OC Register. The mako shark was believed to be at least 400 pounds. ( video courtesy angler Will Scheaffer)