Salmon starving amid global warming in Washington and Oregon
The size of starving coho salmon and the numbers of the fish are shrinking so dramatically that officials along the US Pacific Coast are considering shutting down commercial and recreational salmon fishing in Washington and northern Oregon this year.
“We’re looking at a pretty bad situation for coho and we need to do what we can to preserve them,” said Kyle Adicks, salmon policy analyst for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The ban would be the first one since 1994. Salmon fishing has been significantly curtailed since 2008. California, too, faces severe restrictions on commerical chinook salmon fishing this year.
The 2015 salmon season was one of the lowest harvests on record due to drought and the drying up of rivers and streams where the fish spawn, and what’s known among scientists as “The Blob” — a mass of warm coastal ocean water from Mexico to Alaska caused by global warming that has driven typical food for the salmon far deeper into the ocean.
As bad as last year was, 2016 looks even bleaker. Approximately 380,000 Columbia River hatchery coho are expected to return to the Washington coast this year, which is only half of last year’s forecast, reports the Associated Press.
Some 300,000 chinook salmon from California’s Sacramento River system made it back to the ocean after spawning, which is also about half of last year’s population.
The incredible shrinking salmon in global warming: The top coho salmon is a normal size, the two below are significantly undernourished.
Huge discovery: Butterfly could change opinions on Global Warming
Scientists in Alaska have made a remarkable find: a new species of butterfly that is the first discovery of its kind in 28 years, and it could be indicative of the future with climate change and global warming.
The species is a hybrid of two ancient species that has adapted for life in Alaska’s interior, according to a University of Florida statement.
It’s called the Tanana arctic (Oeneis tanana), and it is believed to evolved from the offspring of two butterflies: O. chryxus and O. bore shortly before the last ice age.
Chryxus moved south to the Rockies due to the ice age, whereas the Tanana arctic and O. bore white-veined arctic stayed in Alaska. The Tanana arctic today appears to live in the Tanana-Yukon River Basin, seeking shelter in the spruce and aspen forests.
The Tanana arctic looks similar to other species, so scientists hadn’t noticed it until now. The butterfly is larger and somewhat darker, and has white freckles.
Why is the butterfly useful to climate scientists? Because butterflies in particular are very sensitive to changes in the climate. This butterfly has been living in the Tanana River valley for a long time, so scientists will be watching it closely: if it leaves permanently, that will be a sign that there are big changes coming.