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King salmon at Bristol Bay in Alaska, 2013. These are the salmon that orcas eat, the type that Puget Sound killer whales rely on almost exclusively. Their dwindling numbers have hurt this particular orca population.
Flickr Photo/Chris Ford (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/f7X1ez

A Seattle restaurateur has stopped offering chinook salmon at her restaurants. Renee Erickson, chef and owner of a group of restaurants, including The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard, said she made the decision after learning about the plight of J50, the young, ailing orca whale.

A transient whale is shown on Friday, August 10, 2018, as crews attempt to locate the JPod. (Image taken under the authority of NMFS MMPA/ESA Permit No. 18786-03)
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington fisheries science professor Ray Hilborn about whether boycotting chinook salmon will help the recovery of southern resident killer whales.

The fishing dock on the Lummi reservation. The Lummi refer to the salmon as their relatives.
Grant Hindsley for KUOW

Helping our relatives. That’s what Darrell Hillaire calls the project to offer salmon to the young whale known as J50.


Southern Resident killer whale J50 and her mother, J16, off the west coast of Vancouver Island near Port Renfrew, B.C., on August 7.
Brian Gisborne, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

J50 is alive.

The emaciated, 3 1/2-year-old orca had seemingly gone missing over the weekend, leading some biologists to worry that she may have died.

Plans were underway to feed the young whale with live salmon – possibly laced with medicine – or to inject her with antibiotics, in the hopes of saving the youngest orca in this endangered group.

Michael Milstein, a spokesman for NOAA, confirmed that the young orca was found west of Vancouver at the Port Renfrew near the west entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Today, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee passed a bill co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell that authorizes permits to shoot up to 900 sea lions a year that are feeding on endangered salmon and steelhead runs.

In a clash of protected species, Pacific Northwest members of Congress are coming down in favor of salmon. The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday morning to make it easier to kill sea lions who feast on Columbia and Willamette River salmon and steelhead.

Seattle derives much of its energy from the Diablo Dam in Skagit County.
Flickr Photo/https://flic.kr/p/26B45rk

Electric bills are going up in Seattle.

The Seattle City Council has approved a plan that will drive up rates for Seattle City Light customers an average of 4.5 percent a year for the next six years, starting with a 5.8 percent jump in 2019.

A fish-friendly culvert in Washington state.
Flickr Photo/Washington DNR (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/cCuMVy

A tie in the U.S. Supreme Court may cost Washington state $2 billion.

The court split 4-4 Monday in a long-running court battle between tribes and the state over salmon-blocking road culverts.


Fred Dillon, second from left, and his son, Codi Dillon, right, return the remains of a chinook salmon to the Puyallup River after a first salmon ceremony on Tuesday in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The Puyallup Tribe welcomed the first salmon of the year back to the Puyallup River in Tacoma on Tuesday.

Strangely, perhaps, that chinook's epic journey from mid-Pacific Ocean to a Puyallup fishing net begins with a sloshing tanker truck.

Kokanee spawning in Ebright Creek near Lake Sammamish
Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Roger Tabor

A little red fish that calls Lake Sammamish home is swimming desperately close to extinction. Officials are embarking on emergency measures to keep the fish known as kokanee from disappearing from the lake, and King County, forever.


In a big grass pasture in the shadow of Mount Rainier in Washington state, hundreds of chickens crowd around a little house where they can get water and shelter from the bald eagles circling overhead. This is the original location of Wilcox Family Farms, an egg farm that also has locations in Oregon and Montana.

A fish-friendly culvert in Washington state.
Flickr Photo/Washington DNR (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/cCuMVy

Kim Malcolm talks with University of Washington law professor Robert Anderson about a U.S. Supreme Court case involving Native American fishing rights in Washington state. At issue is whether Washington state should pay to fix culverts, which block the passage of salmon.

A wild Pacific salmon, left, next to an escaped farm-raised Atlantic salmon, right, on Aug. 22 at Home Port Seafoods in Bellingham.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kim Malcolm talks with Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes about a new study that looks at the impact of drugs picked up by juvenile Chinook salmon in Puget Sound.

If all goes according to plan, there could soon be salmon above the Grand Coulee Dam again. That’s according to Cody Desautel, director of Natural Resources for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville. 

Southern Oregon Salmon Fishery May Open Again

Mar 9, 2018

Salmon forecasts are now out, and the organization that sets catch limits for the Pacific Northwest will soon decide what kind of commercial and recreational fishing season is ahead.

Salmon forecasts for the north region are low, but farther south, things are looking somewhat more positive.

Pacific Northwest salmon runs have been hurting the past few year. So much so that the ocean fishery off of Southern Oregon and Northern California was closed in 2017.

The Washington Legislature approved a phase out of Atlantic salmon farming in state waters on Friday and sent the measure to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it.

Every year, wildlife officials keep track of how many salmon return to their spawning grounds. This year, they expect low returns of salmon in Washington state—and that could change the fishing outlook.



Wikimedia

While the orcas of Puget Sound are sliding toward extinction, orcas farther north have been expanding their numbers. Their burgeoning hunger for big fish may be causing the killer whales’ main prey, chinook salmon, to shrink up and down the West Coast.

Far more farmed salmon escaped from a collapsed net pen in Puget Sound than was first reported, according to a just-finished state investigation that lays much of the blame on the fish farm's operator.

On Tuesday, three Washington state agencies released their investigation into what happened when the Cooke Aquaculture salmon farm collapsed last August on Cypress Island north of Anacortes. The departments of Ecology, Natural Resources, and Fish and Wildlife conducted the investigation.

Mussels cling to netting of a collapsed Atlantic salmon farm off Cypress Island on Aug. 24, 2017.
April Bencze

Washington state officials are looking at some new suspects in the collapse of an Atlantic salmon farm: sea creatures clogging the floating structure’s nets.


A federal judge has approved a plan to spill more water through dams in the Columbia River Basin this spring.

It's part of an ongoing lawsuit over how to manage dams to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.

Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon ordered dam managers to develop a plan to spill more water on the Columbia and Snake rivers to help fish.

Google Maps

More trouble for the Canadian company that let 160,000 of its Atlantic salmon escape into Puget Sound this summer: Washington state officials announced Sunday that they had terminated Cooke Aquaculture's lease for its fish farm in Port Angeles after finding “serious safety problems” there.

In an emailed response, Cooke vice president Joel Richardson said the multinational company will use “all means at our disposal to protect our ability to continue to operate at this farm site.”

This is the final part in a series on the future of fish farming in the Pacific Northwest. Read part 1 here.

Inside a chilly warehouse on the north end of Vancouver Island, eight giant tanks are lit with swimming pool lights. These are fish tanks — some of the biggest fish tanks around. Every so often the glistening back of a fish surfaces.

This is the first part in a series on the future of fish farming in the Pacific Northwest. Read the second part here.

The Hope Island Fish Farm floats in the middle of Puget Sound, about a 15-minute boat ride from Whidbey Island’s Deception Pass. Narrow metal walkways surround giant nets anchored to the bottom of the sound. Those nets hold thousands of Atlantic salmon--though it’s difficult to see them till they jump.

WDFW

Call it Puget Sound piracy.

Thieves boarded a floating salmon farm a few saltwater miles from Anacortes on a Saturday night in September. In their wake, they left a trail of blood.


People who catch fish for sport or for a living often eagerly await the day when fishing season opens. But a new study from the University of Washington argues the timing of fishing seasons needs to be reevaluated, especially in light of climate change.

It’s been a long haul, but West Coast seal and sea lion populations have recovered over the past 40 years. All those extra predators may be eating more chinook salmon than people are catching, according to a new study.

Increasing numbers of marine predators could be bad news for chinook salmon — and for critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

Carbon emissions are making the oceans more acidic. That’s long been known to harm shellfish, but new research shows more acidic water could take a toll on salmon, as well.

Nathan Cultee dumps 16 farm-raised Atlantic salmon into a container on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, at Home Port Seafood in Bellingham.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks to Lynda Mapes, environment reporter for The Seattle Times, about where all of the nearly 100,000 escaped Atlantic salmon went and what lawmakers in Olympia plan to do about it. 

Washington Dept. of Natural Resources

Officials with the company that spilled nearly 160,000 Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound in August say there has been no evidence the spill has done damage to the sound.

State officials agreed with that assessment at a legislative hearing in Olympia.

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