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Beluga stocks show no big increase

Posted: January 5, 2013 - 8:29pm  |  Updated: January 5, 2013 - 9:22pm

ANCHORAGE — The beluga whales that swim in Cook Inlet off Alaska’s largest city are continuing to struggle and appear headed for extinction if nothing changes, a government official said Friday.

A survey done in June found the whales “are not recovering,” said Julie Speegle, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “We don’t know why.”

Cook Inlet belugas, considered genetically distinct, have been struggling and in decline for years. The white whales in waters off Anchorage have been listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act since 2008, when the count was higher than the most recent population estimates.

The survey estimated the number of belugas in Cook Inlet at 312. The previous year’s estimate was 284 whales. The increase is not enough to be scientifically significant, NOAA officials said. The aerial survey is conducted from a small plane with bubble windows, behind which scientists count the whales and make video recordings to come up with yearly estimates.

NOAA says estimates have been as low as 278 whales and as high as 366 in the past decade. The annual survey has been done since the early 1990s.

Speegle said NOAA is developing a recovery plan, which is expected to be completed by late spring. Recovery plan team members include scientists, citizens groups, Alaska Natives, and conservation and oil and gas development groups. The recovery plan will set out management actions with the goal being the survival of Cook Inlet’s belugas, Speegle said.

The Cook Inlet population has declined steadily since the 1980s from a high of about 1,300. The loss was accelerated between 1994 and 1998, when Alaska Natives harvested nearly half of the remaining 650 whales. Belugas have not bounced back despite a hunting ban.

Scientists said there was one new and interesting finding from last summer’s survey. A group of belugas was observed in a location where they had not been spotted in more than a decade. A group of 12 to 21 whales was first observed swimming north into upper Cook Inlet. They then moved into Trading Bay, where they remained.

“Beluga whales have not been observed in this area during our surveys since 2001,” said Kim Shelden, chief scientist of the survey.

The state of Alaska fought the endangered species listing, saying it would hurt economic development at the Port of Anchorage, as well as oil and natural gas development in nearby waters. A federal judge last year affirmed the listing.

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kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/06/13 - 04:54 am
2
1
Beluga whales of Cook Inlet killed by commercial gillnets

The Beluga whales of Cook Inlet are being killed by commercial gillnetting during July and Aug.. This is happening as calf Beluga whales fail to be able to reach the surface when entangled within these nets. NOAA could prove this by aging our current adults and discovering that there are few young Beluga's. You will never see this study because that kind of a finding could shut down commercial fishing in Cook Inlet and commercial fishermen would rather die than change the way they fish.

borninak
657
Points
borninak 01/06/13 - 07:37 pm
0
1
No Whales Being Killed By Gillnets - Sorry

There is not one bit of evidence to support the outrageous and baseless claim made by Kenai123. The Clarion article clearly outlines the facts including there IS studies done by NOAA and they have a revovery plan team that includes scientists, citizen groups, Alaska Natives, and conservation and oil & gas development groups. The article goes on to say, "The Cook Inlet population has declined steadily since the 1980's from a high of about 1,300. The loss was accelerated between 1994 and 1998, when Alaska Natives harvested nearly half of the remaining 650 whales. Beluga's have not bounced back despite a hunting ban."

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/06/13 - 09:12 pm
1
1
Looking for "one bit of

Looking for "one bit of evidence" showing that gillnets KILL Beluga Whales?
As usual we must do the research for lazy commercial fishermen making "$$ cash" by lobbing over 7 million liner feet of gillnets into Cook Inlet each year. The below link takes you to where GILLNETS killed a baby Beluga Whale while fishing for salmon.

http://redoubtreporter.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/beluga-dead-at-river-mou...

Specifically how many cases of "Not One Bit of Evidence" do you require until you finally admit that GILLNETS kill many, many whales? I don't care who is running the nets, a commercial fisherman, a subsistence fisherman, an Indian or even the State of Alaska.
GILLNETS are a hazard to all marine life but especially whales because they must constantly reach the surface to breath and GILLNETS have a nasty habit of preventing a calf whale from making it to the surface.
-----------------------------------------------------
If that's not enough of "one bit of evidence" that GILLNETS KILL WHALES then you can try the below link to another. Fin whale caught in gill net killed by fishermen in Pakistan
http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/pakistan-fin.html#cr
-------------------------------------------------
If that is not good enough "one bit of evidence" showing that GILLNETS KILL WHALES then you can try the below link to another.
http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/cetaceans/threats/byc...
------------------------------------------------
It took me ten minutes to look up the above web links. One must then ask why anyone would ask for "one bit of evidence" when there is obviously many bits of evidence out there.

Over 300,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises are killed each year as a result of by-catch. (Based on research in 2003)
http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/cetaceans/threats/byc...
http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/cetaceans/

----------------------------------------------
At the 2003 meeting of the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee, scientists from the U.S. and the U.K. estimated global cetacean bycatch (the entanglement of cetaceans in fishing gear) at more than 300,000 mortalities annually. Although it has sometimes been difficult to draw attention to the magnitude of the problem, as an issue of population management and conservation, there is no intrinsic difference between bycatch and whaling. Both remove animals permanently from the wild population, and both require international action. For some populations that were the subject of whaling in the past, bycatch has simply replaced whaling as a mortality factor.

http://awsassets.panda.org/downloads/bycatchjuly12lowres2004.pdf
-----------------------------------------------
Now on 15 minutes of web searching, would you like to pay me to continue doing your homework? $20 per hour glad to help.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/06/13 - 09:09 pm
0
0
,

,

Sam Von Pufendorf
1088
Points
Sam Von Pufendorf 01/07/13 - 09:20 am
0
0
Beluga;s

Kenai123, while your research is commendable, it is not by any means specific nor conclusive in regards to the beluga population in Cook Inlet, other than the one instance of a beluga being caught in an educational net.
I fished for many years in both Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet (I don't any longer and haven't for may years) and I have never heard of an instance where a beluga or any other kind of whale being caught in a gill net. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, I'm merely stating that in 17 years of commercial fishing I have not heard nor witnessed such an entrapment.
In short, one instance specific to Cook Inlet does not mean that gill nets are the reason for the decline of the beluga. How about the sewage that runs into the inlet? Or the other many discharges from various sources? Roadway run off? Platforms? Unless you have more data that is specific to the beluga, I'm afraid you have nothing conclusive.
The below articles list discharges into Cook Inlet and human development as the most likely cause of decline.

http://www.ktoo.org/2012/09/07/scientists-search-for-reason-of-cook-inle...

http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/habitat/esa/alaska03.asp

I will agree that gillnets and commercial gear are responsible for whale deaths, but not in this instance and more than likely not in respect to the Cook Inlet beluga. I would wager that human development and pollutants such as fertilizer run off, "treated" waste, roadway run off and even outboard discharges from two stroke engines, as well as a number of other human sources.

borninak
657
Points
borninak 01/06/13 - 10:21 pm
0
0
Whale caught in Pakistan, dolphin caught in Eastern Pacific

A fin whale caught in Pakistan, a dolphin caught in the Eastern Tropical Pacific by Tuna seiners, and a Beluga caught in an Educational Fishery by the Kneitze Indian Tribe in May when they traditionally show at the mouth of the Kenai River. That is your evidence? Had you actually read this reference you would have seen that Barbara Mahoney of the National Marine Fisheries Service states “This is the first known mortality in our records for the last 25 years associated with fishing nets.” And it was an educational fishery in May, not a commercial gillnet. Your own reference kills your arguement. Here is the link again, actually read it this time.

http://redoubtreporter.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/beluga-dead-at-river-mou...

Not one link to a dead beluga whale killed in Cook Inlet by commercial fisherman? Send me a link by the Alaska Deparment of Fish & Game or the National Marine Fisheries Service that supports your claim. Your "research" isn't worth a nickel and I wouldn't pay you a penney to work for me because you just keep embarrasing yourself, as usual.

robert white
378
Points
robert white 01/07/13 - 10:42 am
1
0
cook inlet commercial fisherman

The writings on the wall. I'm getting out.. best of luck

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/07/13 - 04:05 pm
1
1
borninak, Sam Von Pufendorf

borninak, Sam Von Pufendorf

" I have never heard of an instance where a beluga or any other kind of whale being caught in a gill net. I'm not saying it hasn't happened, I'm merely stating that in 17 years of commercial fishing I have not heard nor witnessed such an entrapment."

I have never heard of an instance where Cook Inlets east side set nets or any other gillnets in Cook Inlet were shut-down because of low king salmon returns. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, I'm merely stating that in 33 years of angling I have not heard of it happening nor witnessed it happen.

The point is that for some strange reason nobody could see that the ESSN's were about to be shut-down prior to 2012 and now nobody can see those same nets being shut-down
because of the whales they are killing... I told the ESSN's the day of reckoning was approaching for 33 years and they wagered, debated and laughed themselves to death.
They aren't laughing anymore. You think you can throw 7,000,000 liner feet of gillnets into Cook Inlet each year and get away with it in the future? Have fun while you can.
In the near future the ESSN's will look back and see the king problem as being nothing compared to the whale problem. But what do I know, let's just wait and see.

Sam Von Pufendorf
1088
Points
Sam Von Pufendorf 01/07/13 - 10:47 pm
0
0
Just one instance

kenai123, please give me one instance where a gill net has entrapped a beluga whale and resulted in its death other than the educational net. Were the nine beached beluga's on Turnagain Arm six or seven years ago the result of gill nets? It seems to me the population decline ties as closely with Anchorages population expansion as it does anything else.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/08/13 - 01:25 am
1
1
Sam Von Pufendorf here your instance.

It was a beautiful day in July as I was flying across Cook Inlet. I was flying a couple guys across the Inlet to fish for red salmon. We were flying at about 100 feet off the water with a PA 12 on floats. I was watching another aircraft fly north on the other side of the inlet when the guy in the right seat said, "What's that?" I didn't respond at first so he again said, "What's that?".
"What do ya see?" I asked.
"That over there in the water," he added as he pointed off to the right and up ahead..
It was something white in the middle of a pile of floating junk, which was part of a giant 400 yard wide whirlpool of trash.
As we went by we were just far enough away to not be able to make it out, just that it was long and white. We flew by
and I then cranked it around to go back and take a look. It was an adult Beluga Whale floating dead in the trash. The only injury we could see was that it appeared to have only it lower jaw torn off.

Now comes the best part; I can only imagine a Beluga having its jaw ripped off because it caught that jaw within a set gillnet.
Set gill-netters imagine all kinds of other causes like, attacked by fairies, attacked by an oil platform leg, fighting with other Beluga's, attacked by underwater frogmen, attacked by sewage, attacked by roadway run off....

Personal I believe any person with a truthful and open mind can only conclude that many things could have injured that
whale but the most probable thing is a set gillnet. My point is that we have many ways to commercially catch red salmon
but some are environmentally friendly and some are environmental disasters. Coal mining is the same, many ways to mine coal but strip mining is an environmental disaster. Set gill-netting is an environmental disaster and needs to be stopped just like strip mining. Gill-netters just don't understand any of that because they are the strip miners of the ocean and they do not mind pounding the environment into the ground just as long as it fills up their bank account. Floral carbons went by by because of the ozone layer destruction, fish traps went by by because they were environmental disasters. Do you really believe set gill-nets will survive into the future as they are admittedly killing all kinds of non-targeted marine wildlife? If you do, you are dreaming the dream and do not wish to be awaken. I know what you are thinking right now, my personal eyewitness account of a dead Beluga is somehow not good enough, how could it be enough. I could show you a 100 pics. of dead Beluga's or relay 100 eyewitness accounts and the dreamer would only want another hundred because he wishes to dream on.

potomac
191
Points
potomac 01/08/13 - 08:30 am
1
0
same old same old

sorry to pop somebodies bubble but I found a hidden calf 6 or 7 years ago, called it in , showed the officer where it was hidden, he took photos of the obvious NET marks and loaded it up for the final inspection from the marine folks. We talked a bit and there has been a lot more than ONE, poor guy probably lost his job bringing this one in from a commercial set net sight south of Kasilof. I wonder how many are mistakenly shot when in a net a calf looks like a seal, another critter that takes a hit from some of the slob Commercial folks out there. Police your group or lose your profession, it only takes a few to hurt the whole, the same folks here denying , what do they have to gain/hide??

Sam Von Pufendorf
1088
Points
Sam Von Pufendorf 01/08/13 - 09:20 am
0
0
The "instance"

Since you are obviously a civic and environmental minded citizen, I am sure reported the sighting to ADF&G who in turn would report it to Federal authorities just as potomac had done.
Then there could have been a necropsy performed to determine the cause of death.
"...many things could have injured that whale..." Here, you are correct. There are many possibilities as to what may have injured the whale. But none have been proven. The missing jaw is anything but conclusive. The jaw of a beluga is the narrowest of hinged joints and could have been taken of by any number of scavengers. Since there was no necropsy to directly identify a cause of death, your instance is mute. One can suppose "the most probable thing (that killed the beluga) is a set gillnet." However, it is not conclusive as you yourself so state.

From Defenders of Wildlife:

"While we still do not know for sure what is affecting the Cook Inlet beluga population, Defenders continues to work with scientists to study the effects of sewage and polluted run-off that pours directly into the beluga’s home. There are also development projects being planned that propose to fill in over 135 acres of beluga whale habitat. The region’s oil industry is also expanding so we need to remain vigilant to safeguard this fragile population from the potential impacts of toxic waste, spills and seismic blasting."

From the redlist

" Nonetheless, the fact remains that Cook Inlet is no longer a remote, pristine area. Over 350,000 people live in the municipality of Anchorage and the two adjacent boroughs, and there are two large military bases in the area (NMFS 2003). The analysis by NMFS concluded that: 'A significant part of the habitat for this species has been modified by municipal, industrial, and recreational activities in Upper Cook Inlet' (NMFS 2003, p. 88). A number of other significant habitat modifications are likely to occur in the near future. "

In fairness, this site also states:
"Other factors that could have an adverse effect on Cook Inlet belugas include fishery interactions, contaminants and noise associated with oil and gas exploration and production, vessel traffic, and municipal activities such as waste management and urban runoff (Moore et al. 2000, NMFS 2003). In the course of a review of subsistence harvest management, NMFS concluded that the available evidence could not persuasively attribute much past influence to these non-harvest factors and further asserted that they were unlikely to affect the Cook Inlet Beluga subpopulation in the foreseeable future (NMFS 2003)."

Sources:
http://www.defenders.org/cook-inlet-beluga-whale/cook-inlet-beluga-whale...

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/61442/0

Sam Von Pufendorf
1088
Points
Sam Von Pufendorf 01/08/13 - 12:49 pm
0
0
Which is tied more closely to the decline?

The gill net fishery has been in place since the 60's and in a limited entry system since the late 70's. Drift and set net fishing time has been reduced considerably from the early 80's to present.
Industrial buildup had been on the rise since the 60's.
The population of Anchorage and South Central as a whole had its greatest rate of growth in the late 70's through the 80's.
To pin point the demise of the beluga on the gill net fishery in my opinion carries the least weight of all of these factors.
The increase in human population, which has a huge impact on environment should give an increased level of concern in regards to beluga populations.
I have not denied the possibility of beluga deaths caused by gill nets. But to use your words ..."Personal(ly) I believe any person with a truthful and open mind" could conclude that human changes to the environmental would have a greater impact on beluga populations than gill nets.
This also seems to be the conclusion of many environmental groups with only a sidebar possibility of mortality rates as attributed to the gill net industry in Cook Inlet.
Thanks Kenai123, for the logical and thoughtful exchange of ideas and opinions. It's much appreciated.

Watchman on the Wall
2893
Points
Watchman on the Wall 01/08/13 - 01:00 pm
0
0
Could it be something else?

Please allow me to inject this possible cause for the disapearance of WHALES OR DALPHINS GLOBALLY.
Could it by chance possibly be the nonstop testing of sonic sound waves, as in HAARP, into the ocean by Governments which causes almost nonstop beachings of ALL WHALES AND DOLPHINS on beaches world wide?
Just this past week i went to Anchorage on Thursday and Monday, yesterday and when coming into Anchortown each day one could see clear rays of light seperation in the clouds over Wasilla in the form of an arch. These sightings along with the storms circling thru our area could very well be the actions of HAARP, could they not??
My question is since we know that HAARP is being conducted both on land and in the sea for control of weather & earthquakes as well as volcanic activity from the supersonic sound waves produced and how they affect navigational tools, instruments of manmade things, why would these also not Affect the navigational abilities of Whales and Dolphins in the sea?
It's not the commercial fishing nets which are killing off massive numbers of whales and dolphins. Yes a few are killed in these nets, but, not to the number and point of thousands each year.
Just wondering as we go further into the pit each passing day as world news reveals of the killing off of all GOD CREATED THINGS, MAN, ANIMAL OR PLANT, replacing them with Genetic alternates created by man, even to the point of controling weather. You'll say that only God can control weather possibly, to that i'll say NOT SO. Check out the book of Job where satan came before God and asked permission to test Job concerning his loyalty to God. Satan was allowed to destroy everything Job had as well as inflict major sickness along with eathquakes, tornadoes, floods & hail, along with invading evil people.
What has been, is what shall be and satan has given gifts of distruction to men and helps them destroy what God created and said was Good.
Enough said, other than it's not the commercial nets thats dragging everything around the world to the point of distinction.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/09/13 - 12:57 am
1
1
WHERE ARE OUR COOK INLET BELUGA WHALES GOING?

What do you think would happen to you if everytime you went to the grocery store to get food, you couldn't find much of anything because a giant food monster came through there the day before and wiped the place out? What if each time you went to get groceries, all you found were scraps which this giant food monster somehow over looked as it went about industrially emptying the isle of food? How long would it take you to not shop at that store anymore? How long would it take for you to have a food emergency? How many of your family might die from starvation eventually because at some point during the year you did not have enough food to survive? What would you do if someone took all of your food?
This kind of illustration may seem like something out of a fictional novel but it is really happening to much of our ocean marine life as they attempt to survive along side industrialized food monsters which are in fact industrialized commercial fishing. Giant gillnets and trawler sacks are currently being set, drifted and dragged through the waters of our oceans and either killing and selling or killing and dumping huge quantities of marine life. This removed marine life is being sold all over the world at unprecedented levels. Millions of tons of salmon are being marketed all over our planet.

Beluga Whales mainly consume salmon to survive and that poses a special problem with regard to how they acquire their correct body weight. They catch and consume large quantities of salmon to generate this body weight. The problem is that they must catch and consume most of this body fat during July when most of our salmon move up Cook Inlet. Cook Inlets commercial fishery spreads about 7,000,000 liner feet of gillnets out in front of the salmon attempting to move up Cook Inlet in July. These commercial gillnets manage to catch and kill about 85% - 90% of those salmon each year.

Your average Beluga needs about 50 pounds of salmon per day to hope to generate enough body weight fat to allow it to survive until the next year. These Beluga's consume these salmon basically in July because not much is moving up Cook Inlet the rest of the year.
A Beluga needs about 20 kilograms of prey per day. 20 kilograms X 2.2 conversion factor = 44 pounds of prey sockeye salmon per day. This means that the average Beluga Whale needs about 4 -5 sockeye salmon per day or 50 pounds.
http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/reference/foodandwater.html#table6

Beluga Whales weigh about 2,000 - 3,000 pounds and they need about 50 pounds of salmon per day to build enough fat during the summer in order to survive the entire year.
At 50 pounds of salmon per day, times 31 days in July, equals 1,550 pounds of salmon or 155 salmon annually necessary for minimum fat reserves and a Beluga surviving the year.
(50 pounds per day X 31 days in July = 1,550 pounds of salmon) (1,550 pounds of sockeye salmon / 10 lb. salmon = 155 sockeye salmon annually)

With an average Beluga population at say 312 Beluga's you would need a minimum of 48,360 salmon annually to allow them to survive until next year. (155 salmon per Beluga X 312 Beluga's = 48,360 salmon) This all means that each Beluga needs a minimum of about 155 salmon or 1,550 pounds of salmon each year just to survive. Each Beluga basically needs to consume its own body weight in salmon in July or it will not make it through the winter. So how many salmon does Cook Inlet get each year?

Cook Inlet usually gets a run of about 4 - 6 million sockeye salmon each year and its commercial fishing industry catches, kills and sells on fish markets about 85% of that run each year. A commercial catch of about 5 million sockeye's, out of 6 million available, leaves an 85% commercial catch rate. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/fishing/PDFs/commercial/2011_uci_socke...

So what else could we do with those 6,000,000 sockeye salmon? Well 6,000,000 salmon could feed about 38,709 Beluga Whales. (6,000,000 sockeye's / 155 Beluga sockeye salmon annual requirement = 38,709 Beluga Whales fed)

5,000,000 sockeye's would feed 32,258 Beluga Whales,
4,000,000 sockeye's would feed 25,806 Beluga Whales,
3,000,000 sockeye's would feed 19,354 Beluga Whales,
2,000,000 sockeye's would feed 12,903 Beluga Whales,
1,000,000 sockeye's would feed 6,451 Beluga Whales.
500,000 sockeye's would feed 3,225 Beluga Whales,
250,000 sockeyes would feed 1,612 Beluga Whales,
125,000 sockeye's would feed 806 Beluga Whales,
62,500 sockeye's would feed 403 Beluga Whales,
48,360 sockeye's would feed 312 Beluga Whales,
31,250 sockeye's would feed 201 Beluga Whales.
(155 sockeyes per year X 403 whales = 62,500 sockeyes) (155 sockeyes per year X 312 whales = 48,360 sockeyes)
These calculations then appear to say that we are probably feeding our current 312 Cook Inlet Beluga's about 48,360 sockeye salmon annually or 0.8% of the total run.

So why are we catching, killing, selling and shipping out most of our sockeye salmon when we could be using them to help feed a dwindling Beluga population? The Alaska Board of Fish and the State of Alaska needs to get serious about discovering what is causing our Beluga Whale population to dwindle. We have no idea how many of our Beluga's are staving to death during the winter as their fat reserves reduce down to nothing.
There is a lot of evidence out there that we are starving our whales to death and they don't always roll up on a beach after they die. There was a story on the news today about observers visually verifying shoulder blades protruding out from many of our whales.
This is something which should not be happening but it is. We should specially allocate at least a part of this 85% commercial harvest to help feed and increase our Cook Inlets Beluga Whale population. What would be wrong with making a specific Beluga allocation of sockeye salmon? Right now our Beluga Whales take what ever is left-over after the isles are industrially emptied by the commercial fishing fleet. Is that all our Beluga's are worth, 0.8% of the sockeye run or just the left-overs?

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/reference/foodandwater.html#table6
http://www.aqua-calc.com/calculate/food-calories
http://www.manuelsweb.com/kg_lbs.htm
http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/fishing/PDFs/commercial/2011_uci_socke...
http://seagrant.uaf.edu/marine-ed/mm/fieldguide/beluga.html

Sam Von Pufendorf
1088
Points
Sam Von Pufendorf 01/09/13 - 12:24 am
0
0
I think it may be the sh*ts

Kenai123,
You've had a change of heart? Now, the gill netters aren't catching the beluga's in their nets, but they're starving them to death. It sounds to me like you want to blame one user group for the decimated beluga population regardless of the way they may conduct their fisherie. To get a true barometer on what is happening to the population, one must take all views in order to form a logical conclusion .
Feeding or lack there of can be attributed to evironment and habitat changes as well.
We could lock down the sport and personal use fisheries as well to preserve that 400,000 pounds of fish they need it to survive. Or we could look at their other sources of food, candle fish hooligan, grayling and dolly vardon, and see how those stocks are surviving,
I will look into your claims and even bring you stats that don't support my stand. I challenge you to look at my hypothosids concerning habitat and environment and see what possible effect that has on belugas.
What you folks in Anchorage do with your sewage would be illegal anywhere else in the United States. But the Environmental Protection Agency has granted you years of waivers based on a 301(h) permit exempting Anchorage of pertinent provisions of the Clean Water Act. The basis of the exemption is that Upper Cook Inlet is already turbid from glacial silt and a little suspended fecal matter churned up by the tides won't make much difference.

But it's not just a little. The Asplund facility pumps 32 million gallons of sewage into Cook Inlet every day. Imagine over half a million 55-gallon drums of watery fecal matter lined up on the Park Strip then unceremoniously dumped into Cook Inlet after the floaters and oils are skimmed off. The next day the barrels are filled again, and again they are dumped into the beluga whale critical habitat area. And the next, and the next ... over 11 billion gallons a year, year after year.

I wonder how much of an impact that has on belga feedig fabits?

Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2009/12/11/1051893/sewage-treatment-threatens-belugas...

TheKenaiKid
126
Points
TheKenaiKid 01/09/13 - 02:58 am
0
0
Bias

How come a one-year increase of roughly 10 percent is framed in this story as being insignificant? If the numbers had dropped by a similar amount, I guarantee the AP would not describe that as insignificant. Instead, the headline would scream:

Dramatic Beluga decline intensifies
10 percent drop seen in just one year

But of course the media isn't biased. They simply portray the cold, hard facts and would never attempt to sway the reader toward their personal point of view through tricky word choice and manipulative headlines. Nah. They're too ethical for that.

Belugas are definitely in trouble, there's no doubting it. Frankly, I don't care. But I'd sure love to read one single article in which the author and/or editor's personal bias isn't plain for the whole world to see. I'd pick on the Clarion here and not the AP, but that would be too easy — almost like shooting whales in an inlet.

Journalists are supposed to uncover the truth...not create it.

Sam Von Pufendorf
1088
Points
Sam Von Pufendorf 01/09/13 - 04:48 am
0
0
The real reason!

Kenai123, your last post hit me. You are right! I have seen the light! The problem is TO MANY MOUTHS TO FEED! With the population of the earth doubling every 50 years, so does it's demand to be fed. The more we get fed, the more we pollute. The more we pollute, the more of a strain we place on our food source.
It's a competition for food and a place to dump our waste.
The long saught answer to the decline of the beluga... US! ALL OF US! We all have a hand in this.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/09/13 - 07:58 pm
0
0
Sam Von Pufendorf

Sam Von Pufendorf, I have never claimed that any of our "Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea or Cook Inlet" fisheries / marine mammal problems, are happening because of a single factor. I have pretty much always assumed that we have anywhere between 3 - 6 major commercial factors which are working together to destroy our ocean marine environments.
With trawlers in the Gulf, it's them by-catching and dumping salmon prey, increasing hunting time for salmon thus becoming prey themselves and then finally out-right by-catch
dumping the salmon itself. With gillnets in Cook Inlet, it's wiping out all the possible food for the Beluga's and also out-right by-catch dumping the ones which aren't strong enough
to bust through net after net and still make it to the surface to breath. Both the trawlers and gillnets are working to remove the total ocean biomass fertilizer which results from lots of salmon spawning and dying in the freshwater. I don't look at the sewage issue like you, I believe it is a problem which needs to be stopped but it is very low on the list of major items which are directly impacting our oceans today. It will eventually have that impact but it will take a few more years to happen. If you want you can also add the Asplund facility sewage into Cook Inlet's problems as being part of the big 3 - 6 commercial items which is being delivered by commercial industrialization to destroy our oceans.

All of these factors are bad but when piled together they become more powerful than they are individually . They are the factors which eventually hammered all the great fisheries
of the lower 48 to death. You would think that because we know all this now, that we would stop it now but we don't, we just keep on going. Like the national debt. we just keep on going. The problem here is humans making money by somehow using our oceans industrially. People just cannot stand making enough to survive, they have to make more than their neighbor and that is a circle.

Obfuscate
235
Points
Obfuscate 01/10/13 - 09:48 am
0
0
Interesting comment

Kenai123 - Interesting comment: "People just cannot stand making enough to survive, they have to make more than their neighbor and that is a circle."

Is this supposed to be a jab directed at the Cook Inlet commercial fisherman in the same manner that all your energies in this discussion have been? Can we also assume that you make just enough money to survive; that you have no desire to better yourself and your famlies lives?

Very curious to hear your personal livelyhood details whilst you are still on the soapbox. Thanks!

Watchman on the Wall
2893
Points
Watchman on the Wall 01/10/13 - 01:28 pm
0
0
About knowing and change

I agree with you kenai123. It is amazing that as people obtain more Revelation of whats happening in regard to all most everything concerning the Past, Present and Future, we fail to learn from that knowledge or understanding and continue on the very same course towards total distruction.
I find this amazing not only concerning whales & dolphins, but, also of mankind. Inspite of all the Revelations pointing us into the future for all species found in the never proven wrong word of God ment to show and prepare all of us for whats coming to aid us in escaping death, we just don't seem to get it or really care inspite of the massive amount of knowledge provided to help us all.
Amazing the knowledge or Revelation of such things and how knowledge has exploded over the last 100 yrs and doubles on this computer at a rate of who knows now, compared to every 8 months time last year to double.
We are getting smarter, while at the very same time we are also getting stupider. We care more now about animals, which we should care for, while at the very same time we could care less about fellow mankind allowing the continual killings of people at all stages of life. Now thats whats amazing and discouraging at the same time to me this have it your way life style with no regard to anyone else, only self.
NO ONE REALLY CARES ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE, or at least very few do care or try to correct the course we are all on for massive kill off of all creation, animal, plant or human.
In closing did you see where there was 12 killer whales trapped in any area in canada by ice and were about to drown unless they got some help from mankind by breaking the ice? No nets or commercial fishers in this case.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/16/13 - 11:14 pm
1
0
Obfuscate, the love of money.

My point is that it is our human nature to have more, do more, be more than our neighbor. It's a phenomena which plagues humans worldwide but just the fact that you make more money or have more things doesn't automatically mean you are stomping the planet into the ground while you're doing it. Some careers actually help our environment while others help destroy it. My point is that if your job functions to elevate you into wealth, while lowering our oceans into poverty, you are a part of the problem. Unfortunately we have people with jobs which are flat-out destroying our oceans but because these oceans are massive and take many years to completely destroy, they fail to see it.

It is the death from a thousand paper cuts. A commercial fisherman may only produce a single cut but then they add "technology & greed" and suddenly a single fisherman can be responsible for all one thousand cuts. It is fine for someone to go out and make a ton of money, way more than they need but more often than not the acquisition of that cash produces a negative reaction against the planet. Greed seems to produce its own little "natural" blind-spot to environmental destruction. The love of money "tlom" greed may be bad but when combined with technology it becomes deadly to the natural world. You can earn a million dollars, that in and of itself isn't what is going to fry the planet. You have to connect the generation of that money to a natural resource with technology and tlom and there goes the planet. It's not commercial fishing alone, it's commercial fishing connected to technology & tlom. It's not commercial timber alone, it's that connected to technology and tlom. Commercial fishing with a guy catching a fish with a hand line or rod & reel and then selling it, isn't going to wreak the planet but when that guy jumps into a million dollar boat with a million dollar line or rod & reel, it becomes a problem.

Commercial fishing has become a GIANT PROBLEM for our oceans because it is now all about that million dollar boat and net. Our technology uprising has produced an ability to completely destroy our oceans. We should be able to see this but tlom produces it own "natural blind-spot" and the guy doing the destroying cannot see that destruction. This is why we need to remove all persons with conflict of interests from our public fisheries boards.

Our North Pacific Fisheries Management Council is the controlling force which regulates this ocean destruction factor and it is TOTALLY saturated with members with conflicts of commercial fisheries interests. We have a huge problem developing within our oceans as commercial fishing interests blast holes within our oceans self sustaining nature. Non-commercial fishing interests can see these holes but commercial interests cannot. You want to fix this monster developing problem? The first step is to remove conflict of interest person from our fisheries boards. If you can get pass that first step the problem will begin to heal itself naturally but removing those conflicted board members is like stopping a tornado after it's already going full speed. The problem is not just technology, not even just the money, it's combining these factors together into a fisheries board member who is infected with tlom. The combination results in a lethal environmental cocktail within a fisheries board member.
Our Alaska Board of Fisheries has this lethal member mixture, so does our NPFMC. This is a very large part of the reason our Beluga Whales are allowed less than 1% of our salmon
in Cook Inlet. This is also why our sea lions and king salmon are not attaining fat reserves large enough to survive the Pacific. It's all about natural resources, technology, that blind-spot and the love of money.

Roger104
137
Points
Roger104 01/19/13 - 10:15 am
0
0
From my airplane, I solved the world's problems....

AHHHHHH!!!! STOP WITH THE LIES!

123, from your airplane you spotted what appeared to be a dead whale, and this led you to conclude that set gillnets were responsible for the decline in beluga stocks. No doubt you were very, very high when you came to this conclusion.

Then you did some quick math on the napkin of your 14th cocktail, and determined that not only were set gillnets killing all the kings and ripping off the jaws of all the Belugas, they were starving the whales as well becuase for one month out of the year, gillnets catch salmon. What about the other 11 months?

I remember seeing the Belugas venture up the Kenai quite often in pursuit of salmon when I was younger. I haven't seen that lately. I wonder if the 15,000 people at the mouth of the river may deter these animals from entering? Who knows. Definately not me, I'm no biologist. I am, however, perfectly sane. Not true for everyone...

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