shearwaters birds

Millions of small sea birds died since 2015 November 2019, thousands of short-tailed shearwaters birds migrating from Alaska were washing up dead on Sydney's iconic beaches
Extremely low cod numbers have lead feds to close the Gulf of Alaska fishery for the first time ever. In an unprecedented response to historically low numbers of Pacific cod, the federal cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska is closing for the 2020 season. It's a decision that came as little surprise, but it's the first time the fishery was closed due to concerns of low stock. "We're on the knife's edge of this over-fished status," North Pacific Fisheries Management Council member Nicole Kimball said during talks in Anchorage Friday afternoon. It's not over-fishing to blame for the die-off, but rather, climate change. Warming ocean temperatures linked to climate change are wreaking havoc on a number of Alaska's fisheries, worrying biologists, locals and fishermen with low returns that jeopardize fishing livelihoods. A stock assessment this fall put Gulf cod populations at a historic low, with "next to no" new eggs, according to NOAA research biologist Steve Barbeaux, who authored the report.

Up until the emergence of a marine heatwave known as "the blob" in 2014, Gulf cod was doing well. But the heatwave caused ocean temperatures to rise 4-5 degrees. Young cod started dying off, scientists said. "A lot of the impact on the population was due to that first heatwave that we haven't recovered from," Barbeaux said during an interview last month. Following the first heatwave, cod numbers crashed by more than half, from 113,830 metric tons in 2014 to 46,080 (a loss of almost 68,000) metric tons in 2017. The decline was steady from there. AK

Last month The Big Wobble reported more misery for Alaskan pink salmon fisheries. Prince William Sound Science Center field season was marked by a low flow and high pre-spawn mortality. This year, virtually no rain led to extremely low flows and field crews observed unprecedented pre-spawning die-offs and unusually late migration into the streams. According to the Prince William Sound Science Center, the fish finally started, what was for many, an ill-fated journey into the streams after some rain in early September. The rain stopped and the rivers dried up again. Soon thousands of fish were restricted to tide pools without enough water to return to the bays. They all suffocated. "During the first 10 days of September, our dead fish count in one of our streams rose from virtually none to nearly 30,000 dead pink salmon, all dying prior to spawning". "Our field crews estimated 10,000 died over a single night. We have never documented anything like that in the past."

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