The Herald writes about Tulalip’s concern about ocean survival rates and degrading salmon habitat:
The ocean survival rates for both hatchery and wild salmon in the Puget Sound region have taken a nosedive the past few years, according to the tribes.
Last year was the worst return rate ever for Snohomish River basin Chinook salmon, both hatchery and wild, said Mike Crewson, fisheries enhancement biologist for the tribes. The four worst seasons ever have come in the past seven years, he said.
Fish in other parts of the inland waters in Washington, British Columbia and the Columbia River aren’t doing much better, tribal officials said.
“We’re losing ground,” said Ray Fryberg, the Tulalips’ director of natural and cultural resources. “The task is overwhelming.”
Several different runs of salmon in Western Washington, most prominently Puget Sound Chinook, have been listed in recent years as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. While they appeared to be bouncing back around 2002 and 2003, return rates started tanking around 2005 for both hatchery and wild salmon, Crewson said.
Tribal officials trace the problem to a combination of factors. Pollution, climate change, loss of habitat and increased consumption of salmon by seals and sea lions are all playing a part, they say.