Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Protecting Orca: The orca-salmon connection

Protecting Orca: The orca-salmon connection

orca whales spend a considerable amount of time
time feeding in and around the Salish Sea While they’re here one of the key
prey items, the things that they like to eat most are chinook salmon. And so what
we’re doing to safeguard the health of juvenile chinook salmon is ensuring that
those little baby salmon grow up to make food for orca whales. So there are three
main threats that have been identified to the Orca population one is
availability of prey, two is vessel noise, and three is toxic contaminants. So the
objectives of this study are really to locate where the sources are coming into
the river that are potentially impacting the juvenile Chinook. We have identified
at least four systems where we know the fish have contaminant concentrations
that are high enough to impact their health and those include the Snohomish
River system which runs through the city of Everett, the Green-Duwamish awhich
runs through Seattle, the Puyallup and Commencement Bay, City of Tacoma area and
also of Lake Washington. So our work at Ecology will really focus upriver and so
we’ll be looking for the sources of these toxics and we’ll also be studying
how the juvenile Chinook are incorporating the toxics
that are potentially impacting their migratory success. So the idea with the
water sampler is that it emulates fish tissue so it’s a more or less a piece of
plastic that has oil inside it actually sunflower oil
and this piece of plastic stays in the water for about a month and during that
month that takes up these contaminants from the water. The orca whales don’t
have the choice of avoiding certain areas so they’re there feeding at the top of
the food web and so they’re accumulating a lot of things that have entered Puget
Sound. Our juvenile salmon can get exposed a little bit on the way out but
the whales if they come in at all they’re getting exposed to everything
that goes into Puget Sound and so we as citizens have to be very cognizant of
what we’re putting in the sound we have an expression what gets in the sound it
stays in the Sound and so people if it goes into the Sound it’s more like it’s
likely to end up in an orca whale

1 comment on “Protecting Orca: The orca-salmon connection

  1. God created all animals on earth. We do not have the right to abuse them, neglect them or kill them. Our responsibility is to care for them, love them, respect them, protect them, save them and pray for them. They are not to be used for our entertainment, experiment or food.

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