Pesticides in Streams Harm Coho

One of the talks at the recent Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference showed how common household pesticides that are considered safe individually are lethal to juvenile coho when they are combined. The author found that the mixing of chemicals was either additive or synergistic meaning that the pesticides reacted with each other to become far more potent then if they were acting alone. Several mixtures that they looked at were found to be 100% lethal to coho.

Since 1996 the Environmental Protection Agency has mandated that chemical mixture testing be done for human health risks. However, in the aquatic environment the testing for chemicals is done only in isolation even though sampling of streams has shown that over 90% of the time multiple pesticides are found mixed together. Other studies have shown that coho essentially disappear from streams when the percent of impervious surface in the watershed reaches 10-15 percent. If legal and common household pesticides are part of this problem then recovering or protecting streams will be a much bigger challenge than previously thought.

Squaxin Net Pens – Coho Transfer Photos

Juvienle Coho in the Squaxin Net Pens

Thousands of Juvenile Coho in the Squaxin Net Pens

Above is just a snap shot of the 1.5 million coho that will be released in June 2009.  On average only 3 % of these released coho will return as adults in Fall of 2010.  That is approximately 45,000 adult coho available for harvest by Sport and Commercial fisheries in South Puget Sound.

Pictures of Coho Transfer to Net Pens on Flickr

Short Video of Coho Transfer on You Tube

Squaxin Tribe begins Transfer of Juvenile Coho to Net Pens

The Kisutch transfering coho to the Net Pens.

The Kisutch transferring coho to the Net Pens.

This week the Squaxin Island Tribe Natural Resources (SINR) and Washington State Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) started hauling the first batch of juvenile coho to the South Sound Net Pens (SSNP) located in Peale Passage.   SSNP is a co-managed facility by the SINR and WDFW that has released an average of 1.5 million coho smolt yearly to benefit  Sport and commercial fisheries through out the Puget Sound.

Offloading coho into a Net Pen

Offloading coho into a Net Pen

SINR staff will be monitoring and feeding these juvenile for the next four months;releasing them in June.   These coho are at around 31 fish per pound when they arrive and will be released at about 15 fish to the pound.   After release these coho will make the journey to the ocean feed for a year and return to the deep South Puget Sound as adult coho in the Fall of 2010.

Coho in the Net Pens

Coho in the Net Pens. Photo courtesy of Rana Brown-Shellfish

The fish arriving this week are reared at Skookumchuck Hatchery. Early next week we will be transferring fish from Wallace.     Stay tuned for more photos!

Tribal Fishery Feeds the State of Missouri

Early this October natural resources staff tagged 600 adult coho in Budd, Case and Hammersley Inlets with spaghetti tags. This easily visible tag is inserted just below the dorsal fin. Each tag contains a unique identification number and a phone number to the natural resources department.

Tag being inserted into an adult salmon.

These fish were captured by natural resources staff in the lower ends of the inlets in areas that are generally closed to Tribal fisheries during the coho managment season. The purpose of this study is to track when these fish move out of the inlets and where they ultimately end up.

More information on mangament for coho can be found at:

Fishing regulations and maps

Several weeks after tagging the Department began recieving calls from several grocery stores in St. Louis Missouri reporting Squaxin tags on salmon they were about to fillet. This was followed by a phone call from a fish processing plant in Missouri that had found numerous Squaxin tags in shipments of fish they were buying. According to the processing plant manager fish bought from South Puget Sound feed three quarters of the state of Missouri.

Squaxin Coho Fishery is Underway

Wednesday, September 10th marked the begining of the Squaxin coho fishery.   Coho were reported to be jumping all around Peale Passage Wednesday morning.    Individual catches ranged from 100lbs to 1500lbs on opening day.   Price for coho is ranging from $1.50 to $1.80 a pound with signs that it will increase as the season starts to pick up.

Smolt Traps

Over the next couple of weeks the Finfish program will be installing smolt traps throughout six South Sound streams. This will be the NR Departments 10th year of smolt trapping studies. Please come and join us in the fun of installing smolt traps. We could use any help that we can get to install as quickly as possible. I can guarantee that you will have a great time working hard outdoors with your fellow cohorts…and maybe some nice weather too. Please contact Doyle Foster at 360-432-3859 or cell 360-239-4893 for specific details of when and where we will be during the week.

When: Monday April 7th-Friday April 11th and Monday April 14th- Friday April 18th.

Where: Cranberry, Johns, Goldsborough, Sherwood, Mill and Skookum Creeks

What to bring: Chest waders (or hip boots), Rain Gear, warm clothes, gloves, hat and Lunch.

Thanks and hope to see you all out in the stream with us!!!!

JoeFish and Doyle