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Old 03-25-2019, 08:11 PM   #1
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Hey Orca Task Force, KISS MY GRITS!

In my power bill every month from my PUD (Public Utility District) is a sort of newsletter with what they feel is newsworthy. This month's issue could be listed under Fake News or Misguided News.

There's an article about the Update on the Orca Task Force that is trying hard to create law in the Puget Sound area.

In the article I found this:
"While Salmon is important to long term orca recovery, to help orcas in the immediate term we should focus on the more logical and much quicker solutions including FURTHER RESTRICTIONS ON BOAT TRAFFIC AND NOISE IN PUGET SOUND.."

What's up with that? Do they figure they'll never get to tear down the Snake River Dams, maybe they'll get to put further restrictions on future boating use.

That got my dander up so I did some research on the Orca Task Force. I found this website:
https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-med...ed-investments

and in reading through some of the material I found this language:
"
House Bill 1580 and Senate Bill 5577 would protect Southern Resident orcas from vessel noise and disturbance. The bills would require vessels to stay at least 400 yards away from Southern Resident orcas and report vessels they witness in violation of the limit. It would also require vessels to travel under seven knots within one-half nautical mile of the whales. The legislation would create no-go and go-slow zones around the whales to protect them. Rep. Brian Blake and Sen. Rolfes are the primary sponsors of these bills.

“We know noise levels interfere and can even impede an orca’s ability to communicate and find food, so giving orcas space and quieting the waters is necessary. We can take steps to ensure that boats cause the least disturbance, while still maintaining whale-watching and commercial maritime activity," Blake said. "The thing is, we don’t have a choice here. We either push forth a collaborative effort to protect the whales or there won’t be any whales to watch.”

Your thoughts?
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:24 PM   #2
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OH, I almost forgot....for those of you who do not live in the PNW, much of the strength of this legislation comes from our illustrious governor Jay Inslee. Now you may still think this doesn't affect any of you until I remind you that Inslee, the ultimate liberal, tree hugging warrior is one of the several dozen people vying to become the next presidential candidate..


I'd love to see him leave our state, but not at the expense of the country if he got elected president.
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:28 PM   #3
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Frankly I'm quite surprised 2 Washington state politicians would propose such a bill. Actually it doesn't surprise me at all.

Feel your frustration.

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Old 03-25-2019, 08:29 PM   #4
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What's the problem with slowing down to 7 knots when you see Killer Whales?

The resident whales eat salmon and vocalize a lot. Each pod can be identified by its "language". They also echo-locate their food, which you can appreciate in murky waters.

The transient Killer Whales travel in silence because they eat marine mammals and don't want the seals to know they are nearby.

Seems a small price to pay for such an amazing species, and you'll save money on your next fill up
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:34 PM   #5
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Greetings,
Mr. GFC. I read a report many years ago and I don't know if it's still relevant but evidently the greatest impact of "noise" on whales is military sonar and communications. I expect the saturation levels have increased due to advanced electronics, technology and potential and/or perceived military "threats" off the west coast.
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:41 PM   #6
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A killer Whale trying to echo-locate salmon with lots of noisy boats zipping past would be like you trying to use your fish finder/depth sounder with a nasty layer of mussels on the transducer.
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:44 PM   #7
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It is a noble gesture to enlarge nogo/slow zones so the whales can starve in peace. /sarc

I'd like to see data that boats are actually causing their decline and not the collapse of their food chain. Orcas need salmon, salmon need herring. We are overfishing both. We even collect herring eggs.... You can't keep the apex predator around if you eliminate their prey species.
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsholz View Post
It is a noble gesture to enlarge nogo/slow zones so the whales can starve in peace.

I'd like to see data that boats are actually causing their decline and not the collapse of their food chain. Orcas need salmon, salmon need herring. We are overfishing both. We even collect herring eggs.... You can't keep the apex predator around if you eliminate their prey species.
Good point, but every little bit helps.
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Old 03-25-2019, 08:51 PM   #9
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Did you know...that Humans, Killer Whales, and Pilot Whales are the only mammal species where females go through menopause?

Turns out, after grinding through all the Killer Whale sighting data, that during times of little food its the older females which lead the pods. Theory is, it's their knowledge which is more valuable to the group than shortening their lives to produce more offspring. They also share more often with younger members of the pod.

Makes me ponder on the importance of the 'gathering' skills of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Ever wonder why your wife can recall what store she bought something in a decade ago and how much she paid for it? Latent survival skills!!!

*edit* Apparently it's recently been found that Narwhals and Belugas also go through menopause. We're the only land mammal that does.
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Old 03-25-2019, 09:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurrayM View Post
A killer Whale trying to echo-locate salmon with lots of noisy boats zipping past would be like you trying to use your fish finder/depth sounder with a nasty layer of mussels on the transducer.



surely you haven't been in the southern Salish sea for awhile, The very protected sea lions and seals have pretty much decimated what existing fish were left after the Bolt Decision allowed gill nets to stretch shore to shore on most rivers... I personally believe the transient Orca population should teach the resident Orcas to hunt sea lions and the states politicians at least there would be plenty protein.
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Old 03-25-2019, 09:47 PM   #11
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surely you haven't been in the southern Salish sea for awhile, The very protected sea lions and seals have pretty much decimated what existing fish were left after the Bolt Decision allowed gill nets to stretch shore to shore on most rivers... I personally believe the transient Orca population should teach the resident Orcas to hunt sea lions and the states politicians at least there would be plenty protein.
I hear this one so often...

There were gazillions of salmon and sea lions and seals when Europeans first found this coast. We're the problem.
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Old 03-25-2019, 09:51 PM   #12
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After seeing the hordes of boats, both private and whale watching boats, following these whales around the San Juan's, I'm glad their going to do something about it. Once they find a pod they follow them all day long. The same thing is going on in BC. Totally out of control.
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Old 03-25-2019, 09:58 PM   #13
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The whale watching excursion boats are a big part of the problem, if the problem is noise and getting to close. The very best way to spot a killer whale in the PNW is to look for a horde of orange high speed ribs with a bunch of tourists packed in like sardines.

If we trained the killer whales to eat tourists on orange ribs, they'd have more than enough to eat.
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:55 PM   #14
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Mike, what could possibly go wrong with this? "report vessels they witness in violation of the limit" No room for error or biased reporting there!

I guess "they" being water melons like Inslee, would be wearing green shirts (lined in red) instead of brown correct?


I'll lay a bet right now that they will exempt the thousands of super tankers from this restriction....just like they did with the copper based bottom paint.
Time will tell.
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Old 03-25-2019, 11:06 PM   #15
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We have rules about staying 100M from any whale, perhaps more if there is a calf too. Of course whales have been known to approach people closer than that.
The east coast of Oz has an annual whale procession, north and later south,to/from the Antarctic. Not Orcas, they are full size versions, we don`t get many orcas,though we once had some who would drive larger whales to their death at the hands of whalers,many years ago, in exchange for "trimmings", tongues, etc.
The little whale watching we saw in Alaska was usually at a respectful distance off.
I think man is the big consumer of wild fish stocks. Overfishing is rife,the seas are getting vacuumed of fish to satisfy demand.
Good luck to the seals, sealions, and Orcas.
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Old 03-25-2019, 11:27 PM   #16
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Haven't there been Federal rules about staying clear of the Orcas (400 yards, engines in idle, etc.) for several years know anyway. What's really different?

Only thing might be that these would be state laws now instead of federal laws which should require state officials to enforce them.

In the not too distant future rising temperatures are probably going to drive the salmon north and if they survive that long, the Orcas will follow them. Humans will be right behind though.

Only place where Orca watching should be allowed is from the beach. When the Orcas go by Lime Kiln Park it is even better than being on a boat.
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Old 03-26-2019, 12:25 AM   #17
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Oh boy.. where to start.


First of all the southern resident pod is starving due to lack of salmon.. period.


Second our dumb as dirt Governor is doing this for purely political reasons. He just proposed a budget of 1.3 billion so " save" the orcas.. all 73 of them, the same budget allocates $ 30 million to fight the opioid epidemic in which our state has over 600 annual deaths...


The only solution is to stop ALL salmon fishing to allow for the stock to return, this includes the tribes.. who dont give a crap about salmon conservation or the Orcas.



As far a boats go we have watched the orcas turn and swim over to us on many occasions to just check us out.. we even had one that I swear was showing off her new calf to us!.


The whale industry in Washington does a pretty good job of policing itself.. they have a vested interest in keeping the whales healthy , it has a direct effect on their livelihood. The inflatables mentioned above are Canadian boats.. not US boats.


And Finally, Orca Conservancy Chief Scientist David Bain said that the ban on commercial whale watching may actually hurt the southern resident pod as the whale watch operators are really the best eyes on the water and tend to keep private boats from getting too close to the pods.


I love the orca's as much as anyone and would like to see them thrive.. but the actions of the Gov. are purely political to get him in the public eye while he makes a run for the White House.

The reality is people only care about what they can see, before Free Willy and the rise of whale watch boats the Orcas were out of site of the public and very few cared about them. Accessibility through whale watching has given the public access.


And yes I do have loose ties with the whale watch industry, I have personally witnessed how careful and respectful they mostly are of the Orcas.


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Old 03-26-2019, 12:27 AM   #18
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In California the BCDC and other bay protection agencies are trying to close down the marinas and boatyards by levying fines and filing lawsuits. My marina has been fined as much as $500,000.00 and is now in litigation and the boatyard that I use in Sausalito is in litigation for pollution. The Marina is new and well maintained. One of the nicest in the SF Bay Area. The boatyard spent over $250,000.00 in systems to catch and store drain water from washing the boats. That was done on their own years before this lawsuit. The yard is all concrete and is surrounded by concrete retaining walls with storage tanks and what looks like onsite water treatment systems. AND BOTH ARE BEING SUED by bay area protection agencies!! They should be congratulated and written up as a shining example of being good stewards of the bay. Boating on the West Coast is in jeopardy! Watching over our environmental resources is great but when they try to make it impossible for us to interact with our environment that's going too far! Government agencies with too much power and not enough oversight is a dangerous thing. Yeah we're a bunch of rich people with yachts so who's going to listen. Crystal Springs Reservoir is a beautiful lake in the foothills at the edge of the redwoods. The local residents cannot get within miles of it. That's a perfect example of what I'm afraid of. Other areas allow the residents to boat and fish in their reservoirs.

i don't want to bash environmentalists. They have done a wonderful job of creating hiking trails all through the mountains and around the bay. There could have been a lot more building in the mountains and around the bay. They have protected the beauty of the area.

We just need to be careful and thoughtful of our approach to protecting our natural resources.
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Old 03-26-2019, 04:31 AM   #19
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It sounds like a solution to a non problem. Too often die hard liberals and goodie two shoes people come up with some plan to save whatever, with no reason or stats.

Would like to see some stats and real reasons, and a solution (if even needed) that will really help.

Just like the alligators and manatees in florida.... we have WAY more than we need now and they are becoming a pest. Both are finally off the endangered list.

How about the endangered boater?
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Old 03-26-2019, 05:54 AM   #20
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Guess they have never seen dolphins in Florida feeding and frolicking in amongst hundreds of boats.


Scientists sometimes can't see the forest for the trees.


But like every thread where man threatens mother Earth.. For the most part, more people equal more problems
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