Harmful Algal Blooms Kill Farmed Salmon near Tofino

Harmful Algal Blooms Kill Farmed Salmon near Tofino

SOURCE: The Tyee DATE: November 20, 2019 SNIP: Harmful algal blooms have killed farmed Atlantic salmon caged in ocean feedlots north of Tofino, B.C., and a local environmental group documenting the aftermath estimates that thousands of fish were affected. Cermaq, a Japanese firm headquartered in Norway, first reported the die-off on its B.C. farms on Nov. 15. “Three of our farms — Binns Island, Bawden Point and Ross Pass — all located within our Tofino operating area, are experiencing harmful algae blooms which are affecting our fish,” reported David Kiemele, managing director for Cermaq Canada. Kiemele identified the algal species as Chaetoceros concavicornis and C. convolutes. Clayoquot Action, a local environmental group, also confirmed the species with its own testing. Even in low concentrations, these species can damage fish gill tissue, depress immune systems and provoke infections in various kinds of ocean life. The Tyee asked Cermaq on Tuesday to confirm the number of fish killed by the bloom but Cermaq said it won’t release the numbers for “commercial reasons.” Bonny Glambeck, campaign director of Clayoquot Action, said that members of her organization recently spotted divers at work and biowaste containers being loaded with dead fish at Cermaq’s Binns Island salmon farm near Ahousat. A similar clean-up operation was observed at the adjacent Bawden Bay farm. “They are still netting out dead fish at a tremendous rate and putting them into mort bins. The die-off is causing a tremendous amount of pollution in the ocean,” said Glambeck. As the dead fish decompose, their scales and body parts float around the ocean. Water around the farms had turned from blue...
Amazon deforestation ‘at highest level in a decade’

Amazon deforestation ‘at highest level in a decade’

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: November 18, 2019 SNIP: Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has hit the highest annual level in a decade, according to new government data which highlights the impact the president, Jair Bolsonaro, has made on the world’s biggest rainforest. The new numbers, showing almost 10,000 sq kms were lost in the year to August, were released as emboldened farm owners scuffled with forest defenders in Altamira, the Amazonian city at the heart of the recent devastation. The assault on the planet’s biggest terrestrial carbon sink by land-grabbers, agribusiness, miners and loggers is accelerating. In the year until 30 July 2019, 9,762 sq kms were lost, an increase of 29.5% over the previous 12 months, the Brazilian space agency INPE said. The clearance rate – equivalent to about two football fields a minute – is the fastest since 2008, pushing Brazil far off course from reaching its Paris agreement goals to cut carbon emissions. The annual numbers are compiled with information from the Prodes satellite system, which is considered the most conservative measurement of deforestation. Although less steep than the rise suggested by monthly alerts from the Deter system, it confirms an upward trend that Bolsonaro and his ministers said was a “lie”, which the former head of the space agency was fired for repeating. Environmental groups blamed the government for “every inch of the increase because it weakened environmental protections, supported loggers and encouraged...
The Destructive Practice That Washington Allows Virtually Unregulated

The Destructive Practice That Washington Allows Virtually Unregulated

SOURCE: Sierra Club DATE: November 14, 2019 SNIP: There’s no doubt Washingtonians care deeply about protecting salmon. And yet, Washington State still allows a destructive recreational gold mining practice called suction dredge mining to go virtually unregulated. Suction dredge mining is a form of recreational mining that uses gas-powered dredges to vacuum up rocks, gravel, and sediment from the bottom of creeks and rivers to search for gold. Scientific studies have shown this practice degrades water quality and destroys habitat for salmon and steelhead. This harmful activity occurs all over Washington State, including areas designed as critical habitat for endangered Chinook salmon, which are the primary food source for our endangered Southern Resident orca. Places like The Yakima Basin, Upper Columbia, Spokane River are all being damaged by suction dredge mining–so too are Puget Sound rivers like the Skykomish, Skagit, and Nooksack. It’s past time to end this destructive practice in critical habitat, we must push to regulate it throughout the state. Washington is the only western state that still allows suction dredge mining without effective regulatory oversight. Consequently, Washington State has become a target for out-of-state miners, creating much greater pressure on our streams and a dangerous situation for our water quality and native fish. The Department of Fish and Wildlife prohibits fishing in some critical habitat areas (which we support) and then ridiculously allows suction dredge mining to occur in these same waters. It’s clear that we need a comprehensive regulatory plan that doesn’t undermine current recovery...
Why did the turtles cross the highway? They didn’t, but they still might be impacted

Why did the turtles cross the highway? They didn’t, but they still might be impacted

SOURCE: Science Daily DATE: November 6, 2019 SNIP: Roads define the very fabric of our civilization, and very few places in North America remain road-less. As an integral part of the landscape, roads and their vehicle traffic also have unintended consequences for wildlife: many animals die as a result of vehicle strikes, and some strikes pose a risk to human lives. Think about the consequences of hitting a moose, bear or deer on the highway at 70 mph. These types of events capture a lot of attention, and management agencies work hard to minimize the chance of wildlife-vehicle strikes through mitigation structures such as wildlife fences and overpasses. However, the effects of roads are not limited to animals dying on roads. Roads may affect the way animals use their habitat. They may bisect important connections between habitats and populations, or they may deter animals altogether and increase their stress levels because of traffic noise, light or vibration. These types of effects are what former Ohio University Biological Sciences graduate student Marcel Weigand in Dr. Viorel Popescu’s Conservation Ecology Lab sought to investigate and have recently been published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research. With a passion for reptiles, Weigand asked how new high-traffic roads affect the ecology, behavior and physiology of Eastern Box Turtles, a species of concern in Ohio, threatened by road mortality. Weigand found the perfect study setting, the new Nelsonville Bypass (U.S. 33), cutting through Wayne National Forest, and opened to vehicle traffic in 2013. Several other wildlife studies have been under way in the same location, investigating the success of mitigation structures to reduce...
‘Alarming’ loss of insects and spiders recorded

‘Alarming’ loss of insects and spiders recorded

SOURCE: BBC DATE: October 30, 2019 SNIP: Insects and spiders are declining in forests and grasslands across Germany, according to new research. Scientists have described the findings as “alarming”, saying the losses are driven by intensive agriculture. They are calling for a “paradigm shift” in land-use policy to preserve habitat for the likes of butterflies, bugs and flying insects. Recent studies have reported widespread declines in insect populations around the world. The latest analysis, published in the journal, Nature, confirms that some insect species are being pushed down the path to extinction. It is becoming clearer and clearer that the drivers of insect decline are related to farming practices, said Dr Sebastian Seibold of the Technical University of Munich in Freising, Germany. “Our study confirms that insect decline is real – it might be even more widespread then previously thought considering, for example, that also forests are experiencing declines in insect populations,” he told BBC News. “I think it’s alarming to see that such a decline happens not only in intensively-managed areas but also in protected areas – so the sites that we think are safeguarding our biodiversity are not really working anymore.” The general insect decline is linked to intensive agriculture, pesticides and climate change. The loss of insects has far-reaching consequences for entire ecosystems. Insects provide a food source for many birds, amphibians, bats and reptiles, while plants rely on insects for...