Fishing boats become salmon labs in Puget Sound

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 13 at 10:45 PM

NEAR OLYMPIA, Wash. -- More than 40 scientists in U.S. and Canadian waters are catching batches of young salmon to find out why they can be so healthy in the rivers but begin to die off in Puget Sound.

Studies show some species die at a rate of 80 percent from the time they leave their native river and get through the Sound to The Pacific Ocean.

There are similar concerns all the way through the northern Strait of Georgia, which, when combined with Puget Sound, forms the Salish Sea.

The Long Live the Kings group in Seattle teamed up with The Pacific Salmon Foundation in Canada to organize the widest reaching, most comprehensive study ever of juvenile salmon.

While a Purse Seiner was cruising the waters of the South Sound catching hundreds of the fish, fishing boats throughout the region were doing the same. Teams of scientists, including some from the University of Washington, were onboard each testing the fish to see what is killing them.

The possibilities are many, including starvation, predation, toxic exposure to manmade chemicals and rising water temperatures, to mention a few.

Once the causes can be identified and prioritized, work can begin to remove the threats and restore whatever might be missing.

The project is called the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. More information can be found at the Long Live the Kings website.
 

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