marine mammals

Can Genome Sequencing Help Northwest Orcas Recover?

20 hours ago
NOAA

This summer, an orca known as J-35 made national headlines while carrying the body of her dead calf for 17 days in the waters of the Salish Sea.

Her loss gripped the nation and was also a huge blow for the Southern Resident killer whale population. That’s because over the past 30 years the population of these Pacific Northwest orcas has declined 25 percent.


change.org

Ocean fishing with large nets always catches creatures besides the intended fish; "bycatch," it's called in the business. 

But some large nets are known for scooping up and killing marine mammals as well as fish.  Driftnets were banned in Washington and Oregon years ago. 

Now California legislators have passed a law to ban driftnet fishing a few years down the road. 

Turtle Island Restoration Network and allied groups are thrilled with the passage. 

Oregon Fish & Wildlife

Many people and organizations are working hard to bring back Pacific salmon.  Fishing and habitat loss depressed salmon populations; some are on the endangered species list. 

But some of the impacts do not come from people.  Marine mammals are voracious eaters of salmon, and the mammals have been protected by law for nearly 50 years. 

Recent research shows that while human harvest of chinook salmon dropped, killer whales and harbor seals ate more of the fish. 

The Residents Of Antarctica

Nov 14, 2016
Marine Mammal Institute

You only need to stand by the ocean for a few minutes to see evidence of marine mammals in the water. 

There are LOTS of them, and the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University is set up to study them in depth. 

But MMI ranges farther afield than the Northern Pacific.  Associate Professor Ari Friedlaender and other institute fellows have traveled as far as Antarctica to study whales and other mammals. 

Public Domain

Sea creatures and their habitat already enjoy protection in federal marine sanctuaries off the California coast. 

Now those sanctuaries may expand, and people interested in the process can comment... for a few more days ('til June 30th... here).

The proposal would expand both the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. 

Marine Mammals Sick And Stranded

May 20, 2014
Public Domain

Sick and stranded seals and sea lions are found from time to time along the West Coast. 

But usually not as many as are turning up this year. 

The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito reports 446 of the animals brought into the center this year. 

That's already a record, and the year is not even half over.