AP, Jul 27, 2015: More than a quarter million sockeye salmon returning from the ocean to spawn are either dead or dying in the Columbia… wiping out at least half of this year’s returning population… [NOAA’s Ritchie Graves] says up to 80 percent of the population could ultimately perish.
Eureka Times Standard, Jul 29, 2015: With recent fish counting surveys on two Klamath River tributaries showing alarmingly low numbers… fisheries experts are growing increasingly concerned… The South Fork Trinity River is also showing a low presence of wild Chinook salmon adults… Fisheries experts are not certain why the tributaries have such a low salmon population
Washington Post, Jul 30, 2015: … Native American tribes are becoming increasingly worried [wild salmon] might disappear… the current threat isworse than anything they have seen… “We’re very worried,” said Kathryn Brigham, chair of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission… An estimated quarter-million salmon, more than half of the spring spawning run up the Columbia River, perished, likelykilled by a disease that thrives in warm water and causes gill rot… Adults stay in the Pacific Ocean from three to seven years… Some populations “could go extinct,” [Greg McMillan with Oregon’s Deschutes River Alliance] said.
KOIN transcript, Jul 27, 2015: Half of the sockeye salmon in the Columbia River are dying… Biologists are calling this die-off unprecedented… (Nick Blevins, fisherman:) “The fish are not looking in good condition… Some of them will have lesions… The sockeye already have gilldiseases“… It could be the end for these endangered species. (Blevins:) “For something that’s been here longer than us that’s going to go to extinction, we’re not too far behind then.”
Spokesman Review, Jul 24, 2015: “Never in my entire (29-year) career have I seen anything like this,” [Jeff Korth, fisheries manager] said. “A minimum of 300,000 adult salmon have died… We’re seeing big gaping sores… 15,000 sockeye tried to go up the Okanogan last week… They all died… My goal was to retire before ocean conditions go to hell again.”
Seattle Times, Jul 27, 2015: … the Columbia [has turned] into a kill zone where salmon immune systems are weakened and fish die of infections… Some [are] suffering from abacterial disease. Others have backs covered with a mottled white fungus. All are expected to die… Mary Peters, a microbiologist who works for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [said] “It’s crazy.”… Salmon also face challenges in the ocean… “My guess is that this is going to be one of the poorest years for salmon (ocean) survival” said Bill Peterson, a [NOAA] scientist… “Things do not look good”… Diseased fish with red marks that are signs of a bacterial infection have been found… Some of them actually have red splotches all over…
Daily Record, Jul 31, 2015: [Toby Kock, Columbia River Research Laboratory biologist is] seeing a great many fish suffering from columnaris bacterial infections which shows up as frayed or ragged fins, ulcerations and fungus-like white patches on skin and gill filaments.
Spokesman Review, Jul 17, 2015: “Catastrophic“ is a word that’s being used as scientists begin to unravel the mystery… [They’re] finding dead fish, both shad and sockeye… the words scientists use to describe what’s going on are freakier than the photos:
- WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife: “Very bad news… carnage is ugly… conversion rates… 2-5%”
- Scientist from B.C., Canada: “Catastrophic losses… have begun to occur… It may be advisable for DFO communications to identify “talking points”… very soon to get out in front of events… [in] more than 40 years and cannot remember anything comparable to what were currently seeing unfold on the coast!“