The Olympian: Alarm sounds for young coho

The Olympian covers the results of the Squaxin’s Tribes efforts to track young coho as they migrate out of deep southern Puget Sound:

Juvenile coho salmon are disappearing at an alarming rate before they can migrate out of South Sound, according to a three-year study by the Squaxin Island tribe.

“If we’re seeing this many coho die so soon, Puget Sound is definitely not working the way it should,” tribal natural resources director Andy Whitener said. “This data show the urgent need to find out why these fish are dying and how Puget Sound is ailing.”

The study also showed the young fish move around in South Sound and don’t just swim out to sea, said Jeff Dickison, tribal assistant natural resources director. Knowing where fish go could help shape estuary and nearshore habitat restoration projects, he said.

Useful follow-up research would include doing stomach content analysis of potential predators in the late spring migration period, including dogfish and harbor seals, Dickison said.