Monday, March 22, 2010

Save Whales or Salmon?

Considering that killer whales eat about 300 pounds of fish a day and their favorite is salmon, and there are about 90 of them, one can see the dilemma environmentalists face, as reported by the Fresno Bee.

The obvious answer is to increase the salmon population through hatcheries, which is aleady being done as we posted before, but the process could be greatly enhanced.

An excerpt.

"It is fascinating the whales specialize in a particular species, and the species they focus on is one of the rarer ones and in some case protected," said Michael Ford, the director of the conservation biology division at the National Marine Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. "Recovery of the whales could be dependent on the recovery of salmon. It is all related."

“Ford was among a group of U.S. and Canadian scientists who published the results of their study in the recent edition of the journal Endangered Species Research.

“The problem of killer whales nibbling on declining salmon runs isn't just an international one. Federal scientists say that Puget Sound killer whales may also be taking their toll on endangered salmon from California.

“Though their numbers fluctuate, about 90 killer whales make up the southern resident population that swims the inland waters of Washington state and British Columbia from south Puget Sound to the Strait of Georgia. From late spring to early fall, the whales stay in the inland waters. During the winter they're known to roam the Pacific Ocean from northern California to Vancouver Island.

“The whales weigh between 6,000 and 12,000 pounds and can eat up to 300 pounds of fish a day.

“From 2004 to 2008, scientists from both countries followed the orcas in small boats near the San Juan Islands in Washington state and the western Strait of Juan de Fuca in British Columbia.”