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Marine Mammals in Burrows Pass and the Salish Sea Steven Gnam.

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Presentation on theme: "Marine Mammals in Burrows Pass and the Salish Sea Steven Gnam."— Presentation transcript:

1 Marine Mammals in Burrows Pass and the Salish Sea Steven Gnam

2 References for Marine Mammals A Guide to Marine Mammals of Greater Puget Sound Paperback – May, 1988 by Richard Osborne (Author), John CalambokidisRichard OsborneJohn Calambokidis Marine Mammals of British Columbia Paperback – September 15, 2014 by John KB FordJohn KB Ford NOAA Stock Assessments

3 The following are the most commonly seen in Burrows Pass Harbor Porpoise Harbor Seal River Otter Other species seen in Burrows Pass – rarely Hybrid – Harbor/Dall’s California Sea Lion Humpback Whale and Calf Anything might show up – be prepared!

4 Harbor porpoise Small: 5ft, 150lbs Single or groups of 2 to 3 Large groups are observed occasionally Usually do not come far out of water A guide to marine mammals of greater Puget Sound Social Behavior

5 Harbor Porpoise and Dall’s Porpoise can Hybridize Hybrids identified have been male harbor and female Dall’s. Their offspring are fertile. Many are seen in Puget Sound. Watch for large patches of white on body These might be seen in the pass And Hybrids do bow ride - Credit Andrew Lee Stranding Network

6 Harbor Seal 5-6 ft; up to 300lbs Gray to brown, white belly, spots No outer ear flaps Rounded head usually what is seen Float at surface for extended periods of time This one likes to float on his back -Credit Bryan Hanson Who is watching who?

7 River Otter 4ft; 20-28lbs Tail long and pointed Swims belly down May come out on land Sea Otter twice as large Floats on back Stays in water SEA OTTER Burrows Pass River Otters

8 Cetaceans Baleen Whales Gray Minke Humpback Dolphin Pacific White-sided Resident Orca Transient Orca Rissos - rare Porpoises Harbor Dall’s Photo:

9 Pinnipeds and Mustelids Pinnipeds Harbor Seal - common California Seal Lion- occasional Stellar Sea Lion – less common Elephant Seal – less common Mustelidae – weasels River Otter - common Sea Otter – just returning – seen at San Juan Island

10 Puget Sound Chapter of the ACS

11 American Cetacean Society - Size Comparison Gray Whale Minke Orca Humpback

12 Dall’s porpoise – same size as harbor porpoise Most important to note if it is seen in Burrows Pass – none seen to date Black and white (similar to Orca) Average 6 feet, 270 pounds Group size 10-20 Characteristic rooster tail splash/spray A guide to marine mammals of greater Puget Sound Rooster tail splash

13 Pacific White-sided Dolphin 7-8 ft, 300 pounds VERY energetic, playful Larger groups, 90-100 common A guide to marine mammals of greater Puget Sound These might show up in Burrows Pass

14 Baleen Whales Gray Whale Humpback Minke Photos ACS Online Marine Mammal

15 Dolphin Pacific White-sided Dolphin Appearance: Robust body, short beak Weight: 150 kg Length: 2 meters Life span: 40 years Diet: squid, capelin, sardines, and herring Behavior: active, bow ride, 20 to 100, up to 1000 Orca - Resident and Transient Appearance: Black with white patterns Weight: 11 tons Length: 10 m Life span: 50-60 up to 100 years Behavior: highly social animals, matriarchal societies

16 Pacific White-sided Dolphin Historically hundreds of thousands off coast Population relatively stable PWD – in last 3 years occasional groups of hundreds to a thousand have come into Strait Juan de Fuca and Strait of Georgia Suggested this is due to forage fish in Salish Sea – herring, capelin, salmon Suggested this is due to ocean conditions Killed by orca and net fishing Harvested by Japanese in drive fishing Note many whales eat similar forage fish and are killed by net fishing

17 Resident and Transient Orca Differences between transients and residents: Dorsal fins Transient male orcas tend to have dorsal fins that come to a sharp point at the top, where resident males have a more rounded tip to their dorsal fin. Transient females have a sharply curved dorsal fin, with a pointy tip, whereas the resident females have a softer curving dorsal fin, with a rounded tip. Saddle patch, which is the greyish-white mark behind the dorsal fin on every orcaʼs back. Transient orca have solid white or grey saddlepatches, which we call closed. Residents can have either a closed saddlepatch or an open saddlepatch, which is when there is a black shape running through the greyish-white area. Transient Resident

18 Orca Movement and Distribution Transients Feed on marine mammals seen more often in Salish Sea– thought to be feeding on increased populations of seals and porpoises SRKW Resident (part of year) Feed on Chinook Salmon - Reported to have entered and left Salish Sea when no Chinook were present. These have been seen in Rosario Strait and at Deception Pass. None have been seen in Burrows Pass.

19 SRKW - Orca Population stressed Population stressed in 1970s – many captured and killed Listed as Endangered Slow to recover - population between 70 and 80 Affected by pollution, noise, loss of food supply/salmon, loss of habitat, killed Not full time resident – gets food, etc. outside Salish Sea – and depends on Chinook for major part of food NOAA

20 Malnourished Orca from Drone photography Vancouver Aquarium and NOAA-San Diego joint effort Two orca that were identified photographically as malnourished died within the year

21 California Sea Lion mostly in California - population increasing may be moving north. Outside of the breeding season, males migrate to the northern ends of the species range to feed, while females forage near the breeding rookeries. [4 Males develop a sagittal crest with pronounced forehead. May have patch of tan hair on crest with rest of pelt dark [4 Photo: Marine Mammal Consortium - UBC

22 California Sea Lion - as an observer, this is what you will likely see – a silhouette above water Photo: Connie WalaserPhoto Steven Gnam

23 Stellar Sea Lion- Much less common Sea lion stellar – Males develop thick neck and mane. Northern population declining – may be due to food supply

24 Elephant Seal March 20, 2015 - WDFW "Exciting news. We had another elephant seal pup born earlier this year on Protection Island. Pups now born on Whidbey, Protection, Smith, Dungeness and Race Rocks. 10-15 per year" Dave Davenport

25 Baleen Whales Gray Whale Humpback Minke Photos ACS Online Marine Mammal

26 Gray Whale Cascadia Research Collective and others are identifying and cataloging the whales that stay in the area Credits: ACS – Uko Gorter, left- Christopher Swann from, 2014. right - Alejandro Zepeda/EPA Weight:40 tons Length:15 meters long Appearance: mottled gray body, with small eyes; they have a "dorsal hump" (not a dorsal fin) and a series of 8-14 small bumps, known as "knuckles" Lifespan:unknown, but may be as long as 80 years; sexually mature at around 8 years old Diet:bottom feeders, they eat "benthic" amphipods 3000 pounds per day"benthic" Behavior:traveling alone or in small, unstable groups /

27 Gray Whale

28 Gray Whale Population Fluctuation NOAA Stock Assessments

29 Gray Whales get the Ghost Shrimp Gray Whales – population recovering from whaling to appx. 20,000. 300 now called Puget Sound seasonal residents and feed on ghost shrimp and tube worms around Whidbey Apr 28, 2014 at 9:21AM Langley city leaders got their wish this week when the Washington State Department of Natural Resources announced an end to ghost shrimp harvesting in Saratoga Passage.

30 Humpback feed on krill and small fishes NOAA StatusReport Weight:33 tons Length:18 meters with females larger than males; Appearance: primarily dark grey, with some areas of white Lifespan:about 50 years Diet:tiny crustaceans (mostly krill), plankton, and small fish Behavior:breaching (jumping out of the water), or slapping the surface

31 Humpbac k Video

32 Minke Fin Whale Sei Whale Weight:10 tons Length:10 meters Appearance: small, dark (black/gray), sleek body with white underside Lifespan:up to 50 years; sexually mature at around 3-8 years of age Diet:krill, plankton, anchovies, herring, salmon, sand lance Behavior:often active at the surface, they are commonly seen "breaching" and "spy hopping"; they create sounds including "clicks" and "boings""breaching""spy hopping"boings Whale Museum identified many of these whales from dorsal fin photographs.

33 Baleen Whales – Strainers Minke – Fin - Sei These three have similar appearance – but differ in size Minke – 8 to 8.5 m common in Salish Sea and between Queen Charlottes and mainland. Not hunted till larger whales were depleted Sei – 8 to 19 m seen offshore in eastern Pacific. Hunted after larger whaled depleted Fin – 9 to 25 m seen off shore and between Queen Charlottes and mainland. Seriously depleted from hunting Humpback, minke, fin - anecdotally seen more often

34 Baleen Whales - Numbers Past 1980s present Gray100,00020020,000 Humpback 100,00030020,000 Minke2007 – 957, 2008 – none averaged to 478 All of above have some migration, are baleen, were hunted, tangled in nets, subject to ship strikes, affected by noise and pollution and by loss of forage fish

35 Changes in Presence Gray Whales 1985 occasional 2014 regular group spend much of year in Salish Sea Humpback 1985 rare 2014 regularly several at a time Minke Regularly seen in Salish Sea through 1900s to present. 1985 – 28 identified by Whale Museum 2014 9 individuals were seen in Johnstone Strait

36 Baleen Whales - Distribution and Migration North Pacific sub-populations: Eastern, western and central - Migration Bering Sea to Mexico, Alaska Gulf to Hawaii Why are we seeing more – Population is recovering Forage Fish present in Salish Sea Why we might see less – Climate change Disaster like oil spill Ocean acidity

37 Changes for Other Cetaceans Gray Whales – population recovering from whaling to appx. 20,000. 300 now called Puget Sound seasonal residents and feed on ghost shrimp and tube worms around Whidbey Transients – seen more often – thought to be feeding on increased populations of seals and porpoises PWD – in last 3 years occasional groups of hundreds to a thousand come into Strait of Georgia - reason unknown Dall’s – seen much less often in last 5 years – anecdotally said to complement harbor porpoise presence – breed in Alaskan waters Humpback, minke, fin - anecdotally seen more often CA Sea lion –mostly in CA - population increasing may be moving north Sea lion stellar – Northern population declining – may be due to food supply

38 Porpoises Harbor Dall’s Weight:60 kg Length:1.7 meters Appearance: dark gray with white underside Lifespan:about 24 years Diet:herring, capelin, and cephalopods Behavior:non-social animals usually seen in groups of 2 to 5 animals; Weight:200 kg Length:2.3 meters Appearance: Black with white areas Lifespan:about 15-20 years Diet:anchovies, herring, hake, smelts, squid, octopus, and occasionally crabs and shrimp Behavior:usually found in groups averaging between 2-20 individuals Porpoises have spade shaped teeth Dolphin have small conical teeth

39 Porpoises – Harbor and Dall’s Past 1985 Present Harbor Porpoise – thousands reported- none 10,000 Dall’s Porpoise thousandscommonrare in SS many off shore? It is remarked that if Dall’s porpoise are commonly sighted, harbor porpoise will be rare and conversely..

40 Dolphin Resident Orca eat fish Transient Orca eat marine mammals Images – American Cetacean Society

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