Salish sea seals eat 86% of smolts

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by albernifisher, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. albernifisher

    albernifisher Well-Known Member

  2. Dogbreath

    Dogbreath Well-Known Member

    The only Good Seal is a Dead Seal.
    capt hook and ILHG like this.
  3. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Well-Known Member

    I' down for a good clubbing
    ILHG likes this.
  4. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Tugcapitan, Reeltime and SteelyDan like this.
  5. Birdsnest

    Birdsnest Well-Known Member

    No politician in this day and age dare touch this issue.
    Im not sure how to change that but one thing for certain there is confusion in the public about how nature works. Nature is brutal. Nature when left to its own mechanisms it doesn't often demonstrate balance. The idea that nature does it best is vague and without context but it is amazing there is no doubt all the while being ruthless, cruel and unfair. Separating humans from nature is a bad idea.
    IMO the solution to this issue is part of a MUCH bigger picture our culture faces today. My mother always used to say to me "if you fail to chose you chose to fail" and this is exactly how this issue is going to go with our current way of thinking(or not thinking for that mater)in our culture.
    The recent ban on the grizzly bear hunt is just another giant step away from any chance of a seal cull. One would never think that the grizzly bears hunt would be connected this way to saving salmon but it absolutely is. We have to make tough choices and we are failing to do this.
    Disclaimer- I could care less about hunting grizzly bears myself but I see the losses that follow such decisions.

    I have no intention of starting up a grizzly bear debate I just want to urge people to really look at the whole picture when putting in your 2 cents because your 2 cents matters.

    There is a more intense portion of my post I chose to leave out but may introduce it in the new year.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
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  6. GLG

    GLG Well-Known Member

    So that everyone is clear on this 86% number, here is the quote from page 4 of the report.

    "The percentage of the total coastwide smolt production consumed by harbor seals increased from 1.5% (3.5 million consumed out of 236.8 million estimated total production) in 1975 to 6.5% (27.4 million consumed out of 423.4 million estimated total production) in 2015. Harbor seals in the Salish Sea (i.e. Puget Sound, Strait of Georgia, and Strait of San Juan de Fuca) accounted for 86.4% of the total coast wide smolt consumption in 2015, due to large increases in the harbor seal abundance in this region between 1975 and 2015 (8,600 to 77,800), as well as a large diet fraction of Chinook salmon smolts relative to other regions (see supplemental material)."

    See what the 86% means.... It doesn't mean that harbour seals are eating 86% of the Salish Sea smolts.
    tincan, Tugcapitan, nicnat and 4 others like this.
  7. california

    california Well-Known Member

    If one is to read the report, and actually look at the numbers, the number of smolts NOT eaten by pinnipeds coast wide (CA-AK) was 233.3 Million in 1975. In 2015 it was 396 Million. The numbers for the Salish sea are a bit more difficult to make out since they are on a graph that doesn't have the numbers broken out, but roughly it looks like smolt production of about 40 million in 1975 divided evenly between hatchery and wild, and in 2015 production of about 80 million 75% of which is hatchery. So the number of Salish sea smolts NOT eaten by seals (using the 86% figure) would be about 37 million in 1975, and about 57 million now. So despite seals in the salish sea now eating an estimated 23.5 Million smolts per year, there are still 20 million more chinook smolts being produced now (that are not being eaten) than in 1975. It looks like we can scapegoat the seals, but the issues for Chinook in the Salish sea are much deeper than simply seal predation.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
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  8. Birdsnest

    Birdsnest Well-Known Member

    Are the two posters above willing to make a choice about a cull?
    wildmanyeah and fishin solo like this.
  9. wildthing

    wildthing Well-Known Member

    seals = 1975 ( 8000+) 2015 ( 80,000) X 10 fold increase
    smolts =1975 ( 240 mil ) 2015 ( 420 mil) only a x2
    and what about birds take on this ....they eat small smolts as well
    fishin solo likes this.
  10. wildmanyeah

    wildmanyeah Well-Known Member

    Seal eat chinook, SRKW need to eat chinook.

    1. Seals get culled or
    2. Sports fishermen get culled

    You pick
    chromatose007 likes this.
  11. GLG

    GLG Well-Known Member

    I'll judge what to do when I'm informed by what the science says. I'm not willing to do the dirty work, swaying public opinion, based on the unofficial spokesman of the fish farm industry.
    terrin likes this.
  12. Birdsnest

    Birdsnest Well-Known Member

    lol. I didn't think you would make a choice. There are a few studies showing issues with seals with solidly quantified results that directly reflect losses due to pinnipeds and you are waffling on making a choice all the while on other threads where the science lacks quantified results you demand a response.
    I expect nothing less particularly the slight of hand ad hominem comment at the end. Thanks for that additional example of a lack of ability to address an issue in a discussion format.
    Sentinel likes this.
  13. california

    california Well-Known Member

    How many do you want killed. Atlantic sealers take about 1% of the Harp seal population per year. That equates to about 800 harbour seals. It wont be a cull either, it will be a hunt, as no matter how many are killed the population will bounce back quickly as the hatcheries are still putting 60 million smolts into the SS, the food supply is still there. It will need to be repeated regularly. The chances of any political party opening another front on seal kills are almost zero. We don't have remote ice flows to kill the young seals and haul the carcasses away e. They would have to be shot on haulouts, or in the water once they learn to get in the water when boats approach. There will be some dead animals washing up on shore and inevitably a few wounded animals rescued on the news. The kills will often take place near populated areas, within easy reach of any protestor with a small vessel to document the kills. PR nightmare

    If this study is to be believed, then the results of a kill are far from certain. Chinook stocks have decreased despite a net increase of 20 million smolts since 1975 even after seal predation. We are seeing warming of the SS, we have altered habitats, replaced the entire freshwater portion of the reproductive cycle with a man made one for 75% of the smolts, seriously overfished in commercial/sport fisheries during the 70s 80s 90s, overfished herring in damaging roe fisheries, introduced a new intensively farmed species whose effect is under debate, have seen acidification of rivers, fishmyster spends quite a bit of time documenting invertebrate declines, and undoubtably there are other factors we don't even know about. WCVI chinook stocks are in no better shape, despite hatchery operations in the 1980s, and low levels of seal predation. The point is, what a headline seems to point to a direct correlation of seal predation and salmon declines, is a much murkier picture when you look at causation. Certainly too murky of a picture to justify a bloody kill that will be unpopular domestically and will produce scorn internationally for a tourist destination that brands itself Super Natural.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
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  14. california

    california Well-Known Member

    That's pretty naive. If any government were to go to the last resort lengths of instituting a seal hunt, they would have to also impose severe restrictions on fishing activity to help justify it. From a political perspective how could they justify shooting seals and let a relatively small number of sport fisherman continue to catch Chinook at present levels, fish all winter in a fishery where 80%+ of the catch is juveniles that have to be shaken off. Watch what you wish for, if you think those decisions would be made in isolation I think you could be very disappointed.
    terrin likes this.
  15. GLG

    GLG Well-Known Member

    If you think this issue is new for 2017 you are mistaken. We have known about this for years and there are some of us on this forum, through the proper channels, that have done something about it. Do we need to do more? Perhaps but I'm going to wait and see what is recommended. I'm not going to break out the pitchforks and torches that the friends of fish farms seem to be drumming for at the moment.
    terrin likes this.
  16. california

    california Well-Known Member

    Where do you get I'm advocating for any such thing. I don't want to see it get to the point where such actions are taken, ( draconian fishing restrictions or a messy seal hunt) I'd much prefer to have stocks stabilize and increase . All I'm doing is pointing out a political reality that just having a west coast seal hunt is a bit of a nuclear option, in the unlikely event it were to happen would almost certainly come with other restrictions on other users too. Pointing out a reality to think about is not advocacy.
    Tugcapitan and wildmanyeah like this.
  17. Redfisher

    Redfisher Active Member

    Is it not possible for a thread to have debate without multiple trolled posts? Take a few minutes and reread your draft before you post. If it reads aloud like an attack rather than an opinion......fix it.
    Tugcapitan, mbowers and Rain City like this.
  18. cohochinook

    cohochinook Well-Known Member

    It would always drive me crazy when DFO would have the Vancouver Aquarium release seals that they nursed back to health at Porteau Cove. Right next to the net pen site for the Chinooks that Tenderfoot Hatchery was raising. The seals would eat the smolts and adults that they were returning.
  19. fishin solo

    fishin solo Well-Known Member

    Dropping them right in the middle of the buffet table......
    myknoo and albernifisher like this.
  20. Derby

    Derby Well-Known Member

    Perhaps there is also a correlation of a downward trend of steelhead returns to a increasing seal population? this point we are now seeing un used steelhead habitat with in rivers system because there is not enough steelhead returning to seed the system.....
    wildmanyeah and Tugcapitan like this.

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