The Seattle Times reported on the fall 2015 Coho salmon run on the Skagit River. The news is not good.
The Skagit 2015 run was 12 percent of the average return for the last decade. Beyond that, those that made it to spawning weighed only three to four pounds – half of the normal range of six to eight pounds.
Fisheries scientists put the blame on what they call “the blob” – an area of warmer water (up to 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer) that has been in place off the Pacific coast since 2013. This blob has been responsible for the winter weather patterns seen over the last couple of years.
There is a strong debate as to whether the blob is a result of climate change, but whatever the causes last year’s Skagit run suggests a similar pattern for Coho runs this year – there is no indication the blob has dispersed.
Pink salmon venture farther out into the Pacific and are not impacted by the blob -as evidenced by last year’s Pink Salmon run. But if the blob is a result of climate change, then sooner or later the Pink Salmon will be impacted.
I fear we are seeing the beginnings of a new normal – and a future that will become increasingly grim.
Read article here.