Tuesday, April 17, 2012

LLTK Salish Sea Marine Survival Research Initiative

Figure from Long Live the Kings website

Over the last few decades populations of wild salmon and steelhead in the Puget Sound have experienced sharp declines in abundance and despite efforts to reduce harvest and improve freshwater habitat, they have remained depressed. There is now a strong scientific consensus that while factors such as over-harvest and freshwater habitat degradation have contributed to these declines, poor marine survival is driving the recent downturns which have resulted in ESA listings for Chinook and steelhead in the Puget Sound.

Despite the widespread acknowledgment among the scientific community that marine survival is driving short term declines in salmon populations and hindering recovery of ESA listed stocks, research to date has given us only limited understanding of the factors which contribute to survival at sea. So while we know from hatchery returns and a small number of long term monitoring programs for wild fish that marine survival has declined we know very little about how factors such as climate change, natural variability in marine productivity, predator populations, competition with hatchery fish, and disease may be contributing to poor marine survival. Having identified the pressing need for this research, Long Live the Kings a non-profit working in the Puget Sound area since 1986 is seeking to fund and facilitate research that brings together US and Canadian experts to address this critical gap in our knowledge. There is lots more information on their website about the initiative:

http://www.lltk.org/rebuilding-populations/salish-sea-marine-survival/overview

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