A mass die off of fish and invertebrates has been reported in the Sea of Okhotsk, west of Kamchatka. Dozens of surfers reported symptoms including including poor eyesight, fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, skin rashes and head and throat aches.
This past weekend a group of hunters on all-terrain vehicles found four dead bowhead whales lying on a beach about 60 kilometres north of the Nunavut community of Kugaaruk. Photos of the bowhead whales taken by Rene Kukkuvak, appear to have a torn tongues and rake-like gouges.
This year the Eagle station's fall chum estimate is 23,828 fish. This is far below the escapement goal of 70,000 to 104,000 fish.
Khalaktyrsky Beach near Petropavlovsk is littered with hundreds of dead sea animals, from deep-sea Giant Pacific octopuses, to seals, sea urchins, stars, crabs and fish. Surfers were the first to raise alarm after problems with eyesight, fevers and throat aches.
"In a summer of continuous rainfall I would presume glorious growth and tons of picking...but this did not happen. The blueberries never took off, neither did the soap berries known to us as bear berries."
The Yukon First Nations Education Directorate gave away 30,000 pounds of free fish as part of its nutritional program in Whitehorse this week. People were particularly happy to receive the donation because salmon are well below the historical average this year.
A lack of chum salmon is causing pain in riverside communities of Yukon and Alaska, as mushers are left without a traditional source of food.
So far, the department has counted just under 37,000 fish at the Chilkat weir, well below the 10-year average of 80,000 fish. Zeiser said at this point in the season, it’s doubtful the run will hit the escapement range of 70,000 to 150,000 fish.
About 189,000 fall chum had entered the Yukon River as of Sept. 7. At least 300,000 fish must enter the river before either Alaska or Yukon fishers can begin harvesting.
After learning about catches of pink salmon near Salluit, Quebec wildlife officials are urging any fishers who net the newcomers to report their catch. Two pink salmon were netted in Nunavik during the summer of 2019 in the Ungava Bay region, one near Kangirsuk.
The Government of Nunavut is restricting harvest due to what it calls “a recent steep decline in the population” of the herd. That decline has led to a “conservation concern” about the western Nunavut herd’s numbers.