If you haven’t seen the movie “Perfect Storm”, I recommend you rent it, stream it, etc. It’s a good flick about some commercial fisherman on the eastern seaboard that get caught out at sea when two major storm systems collide. But this isn’t about the movie. The storm I’m talking about is coming our way in the form of the current drought and the forming of an El Nino in the Pacific.
This link to NOAA Fisheries site has some great information about El Nino conditions that I won’t detail here. Let’s just suffice to say that it’s bad news for Pacific Salmon and Steelhead. El Ninos occur pretty regularly. Warmer water than normal moves up the coasts of South, Central and North America and impact all inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean – from the bottom of the food chain to the top. The El Nino forming now is expected to be very strong – one of the warmest in the past 50 years. For Salmon and Steelhead, it means less forage fish (food) and a condensed environment. Generally salmon and steelhead experience reduced growth and increase mortality during an El Nino.
This is the rotten cherry on top of a crappy ice cream sundae.
We burned a few gallons of gas and left some rubber on the road to go see The Breach last night in Portland. An awesome film! A fellow movie goer remarked during the Q&A session afterwards – ” I’m overwhelmed, how do I, as an individual, do anything to help?”
Lori and I had a great discussion on the way home about how we can justify taking a stand on the issues when we as a family are a major contributor to so many of the problems. We added to the population explosion by having 8 kids between us. We live in a home made of 95% wood, we heat our home with firewood and electricity. A home which is protected from flood by two dams just upstream. We have a septic tank and drain field within 50 feet of the river and we aren’t all that careful about the chemicals we use within our home. Part of our household income is derived from my fishing guide service. The bulk of my working career has been in the telecommunications industry – a huge consumer of copper. Yup, we’re consumers of the “4 Hs” that are slowly driving nails into the coffin for wild fish species – Hydro, Habitat, Harvest and Hatchery.
Being called a “tree hugger” makes a guy stop and think. At least it made me stop and think. It was said in jest and I got a laugh out of it for sure. I know where it came from too. Lately, I’ve been a little more vocal about something I care about – Wild fish species of the Pacific Northwest.