Experts: “Really an off year” — Pelicans starving in Pacific Northwest since 2011, killing baby birds for food — Breeding success “really poor” since 2011 — “I believe pelicans are responding to large scale changes” — “Sardine crash” persists in Pacific since decline in 2011

Published: December 22nd, 2013 at 4:02 pm ET


Laird Henckel, environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Dec. 19, 2013 (emphasis added): [P]elicans that would have normally migrated as far north as British Columbia decided to stick around the Central Coast, where an anchovy smorgasbord is taking place. […] “In 2011 and 2012, the pelicans got up there and ran out of food […] They were starving and scavenging for food” […] During this three year period, brown pelicans were reported to have been killing murre chicks for food […]

Wildlife biologist Deborah Jaques of Pacific Eco Logic in Astoria, Oregon, Dec. 19, 2013 (emphasis added): “Not as many birds flew north this year” […] she does not know what is directly causing the decline […] The large quantity of anchovies in Monterey Bay may have helped the pelicans avoid another year of starvation that has been affecting the birds for the past three years […] “Breeding success on the Channel Islands was really poor for the last three years […] For reasons unknown […] many pelicans have been overwintering in the north during the last several years instead of migrating back south around November as is expected. […] Patterns are changing, and I believe the pelicans are responding to these large scale changes.”

Sharnelle Fee, director of the Wildlife Center of the North Coast in Astoria, Oregon, Dec. 19, 2013 (emphasis added): ”This year a survey showed the lowest count since 2003 for them even coming up,” Fee said. “This was really an off year.” […] Only 7,018 birds were recorded during the survey, or half the average for the last decade […]

Josh Lindsay of the National Marine Fisheries Services, Dec. 19, 2013 (emphasis added): A recent decline in Pacific sardine fisheries this year may lead to even more problems in the future […] “We saw a pretty large drop of the biomass from last year to this year […] We see huge fluctuations and substantial variations from year to year, but the stock has been declining over the past three years. […] It’s something we’re trying to understand […] No overfishing has occurred in recent years. It’s likely to be something linked to temperature […]”

Mark Colwell, Professor in Wildlife Department at Humboldt State University, Dec. 19, 2013 (emphasis added): [I]f sardine fisheries continue to decline, it will significantly impact pelicans during their nesting season and in turn […] “If the sardine crash persists, the birds may not have enough energy necessary to breed, or they may have reproductive failure […]”

See also:  Scientists Stumped By West Coast Sardine, Starfish Die-Off

Published: December 22nd, 2013 at 4:02 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. L.A. Times: Alarming West Coast sardine crash likely radiating through ecosystem — Experts warn marine mammals and seabirds are starving, may suffer for years to come — Boats return without a single fish — Monterey Bay: Hard to resist idea that humpback whales are trying to tell us something January 5, 2014
  2. Killer whales dying along Pacific coast — “Very sick, emaciated” — Population at lowest level in decades — Steep decline began after 2011 — No babies born in past 2 years — Alarming changes in behavior observed; Social structure is ‘splintering’ (PHOTO) September 5, 2014
  3. Just In: Emergency closure of fishery along entire West Coast — Almost no babies surviving since 2011 — “Catastrophic crash… Population decimated… Crisis… Collapse so severe” — “Latest in series of alarming die-offs… mass reproductive failures… strange diseases” — Official: “A lot of weird things out there” April 16, 2015
  4. TV: “This is really kind of scary… a grim reality” for West Coast — Alarm as baby whales keep dying; Since 2011 none have survived over a year — Biologist: We see them pregnant for weeks, then no longer pregnant — NOAA: “Not what we’re used to… Incredibly poor condition… Skeleton with skin” (VIDEO) November 5, 2014
  5. Gov’t reports “big, big decline” in Alaska caribou — “Mortality very high” after Fukushima releases began — “Low survival rate” for calves also in 2011 and 2012 — Official: “Worrisome” how quickly this happened… In truth, we don’t have an answer why (AUDIO) July 23, 2014

70 comments to Experts: “Really an off year” — Pelicans starving in Pacific Northwest since 2011, killing baby birds for food — Breeding success “really poor” since 2011 — “I believe pelicans are responding to large scale changes” — “Sardine crash” persists in Pacific since decline in 2011


    Still the endless denial…

    • Lion76 Lion76

      Gee I wonder what it could be?

      Oh well, back to football and shopping!

      • They ASSUME that the pelicans did not migrate North. What if they died, just like the seals and the herring?

        If a population of rabbits takes a nose dive in terms of population, so does the predator, which is wolves.

        Why wouldn't pelicans take a nose dive in population numbers, if their prey disappeared; herring?

        They are making some bold claims here.. do they have the surveys and numbers to back up these assertions?

      • unincredulous unincredulous

        Yes, back to shopping! Overstock on deception, disinformation, misdirection, plausible deniability, and other needful things. Going out of business sale on truth, whistle blowing, and factual information.

        Superbull is coming!

    • jump-ball jump-ball

      For those of us who are D-O-done responding to repeated, ongoing official denials of bio-reality, by relying on even more useless, fatalistic and 'shocked' resignation, it is time to man/women-up and confront the emerging, spreading, deadly contamination

      • unincredulous unincredulous

        I don't think they understand life at all. They just take it for granted.

        Maybe the large people saw that all the little people would screw up the environment by idiotic acts, such as throwing batteries in the trash can.

        Maybe the large people just wanted to show us how it's done.

  • One way of motivating people to do something could be to approach it from the point of view of animal suffering.

    I have a small blog and interest on the issue of cruelty to angora rabbits in China has been quite intense for several weeks now.

    Customers' protests forced many top chains in Europe and the United States to suspend the importation of angora products from Asia.


    The truth is that many people have grown insensitive to human suffering – but they regard animals differently. Animals have no voice, no way of defending themselves against the many onslaughts perpetrated on them by humans.

    Many folks love their animal companions as much as they love their own children. Or more.

    So an organized campaign showing the devastation on animal life and the environment most likely caused by the ongoing spewing of high radiation from Fukushima could raise some public interest among people who have remained indifferent until now.

    • davidh7426 davidh7426

      You could always try Care2 – You could try starting a few petitions, it may stir things up a bit.

      When the Angora bunny petition popped up yesterday, some of them wanted to used the fur gatherers as the centre-piece on a bonfire.

      And there's a petition about a wolf hunt in Idaho, that's still blazing now.

      • To Davidh7426 – That's what I mean. Iconic animals such as the wolf, or cute ones such as the rabbit, can inspire people to mobilize.

        Not so with "fish" or irradiated west coast humans, or even with Japanese children suffering from thyroid problems, or worse.

        Perhaps the key is to zero in on a few well-loved species and highlight them to represent what Fukushima is doing to them AND – secondarily – to us and the rest of the planet.


        Nobody cared much about pre-Fukushima dumping of radioactive waste into the oceans. Or about toxic waste dumping in Africa. Or about hundreds of other similar cases everywhere. And our attitude hasn't changed much, even after three years of Fukushima ocean killing.

        But harm done to animals by humans quickly motivates an influential part of the public.

        Recent examples are the opposition to the badger cull in Britain and the deer cull in my corner of the world. We hear about it, it's on the media, and people really talk about it. And the murderers often have to back off.

        Fukushima is an irreversible tragedy, so the focus should be on exposing the ugly truth about the nuclear power industry, and on stopping more of these nightmares from being built anywhere on the planet.


        The U.S. administration not only supports the nuclear industry at home, but they are hard at work trying to facilitate Iran's building nuclear reactors AND getting enriched uranium for bombs too!

        • davidh7426 davidh7426

          I'd go with the Orca & the big boys on the block, the whales.

          Everybody loves Orca's and whales, especially after "Free Willy".

          They may be at the top of the food chain, but stressing that endangering their food supply endangers them, may well bring in a few votes.

        • davidh7426 davidh7426

          Tracy :: If you do do any petitions, make sure their tweetable and I'll tweet the hell out of them.

          • +1000 good idea on the critters..

            Seems like more people are passionate about critters than about their own fellow human beings…

            It almost seems like humans can die out and no one would care..

            But if someone radiates a wabbit, watch out!

        • unincredulous unincredulous

          We need a new Riddick movie. One where Riddick comes to earth and finds the destruction of the environment not to his liking.

          His knack for sneaking into the enemy camp and making fools of them would shine. He could go back to all the strange worlds he visited and tell them all about Earth, Fukushima, Hanford, etc. Even the Necromongers would be disgusted. Armed with only a teacup, he could have all the Enenews commenters back to sipping tea and enjoying an afternoon barbeque. The message board would read something like, " Wow, I sure enjoyed eating those Pacific Salmon and hushpuppies." "Yeah, man." "Sure is quiet around now that we are all living off the grid." "Grid, what's a grid? Haaaaa haaaa haa." "I sure like having Riddick over to bang my sister. " " No, man, he's banging MY sister tonight, buddy~"

          • unincredulous unincredulous

            "Yeah, the guys at Fukushima sure screwed up when they killed them rabbits. Riddik just loves rabbits."

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Nuclear submarines are driving around in the ocean all the time. Are they bringing radiation back with them into Puget Sound. The Reagan picked up all that radiation in Japan, and ports refused them entry. What about the subs? What about the ships?

    • tbg

      The Reagan docked in Bremerton after the japan mission. Then they hauled the radioactive waste by train (I think I read it was even at night) thru populated areas to Hanford. So Im assuming yes, any ship in the pacific is going to be contaminated to varying degrees. And what about jet planes? But how would we know unless they tell us?

    • good thought.. it probably depends on where they were cruising, or where they ARE cruising now..

      Metal attracts radioactive ions and absorbs them.

      The neutrons from the radiation also changes the metal structure, making it impossible to wash off.

      It would be interesting to take a survey of all the ships cruising the Pacific and take some Geiger Counter readings of pieces and parts of the hull, underwater, the water purification system, etc.

  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    Human starvation is next and will become rampant before this meganightmare reality show ends. Way to go GE. You just killed yourself. You will have no one left to accept your inheritance. What good is all that money going to do for you when there is nothing left to spend it on? Does it make for good paper money stew? Can you feed the starving mammals and aquatic species of the once great pacific ocean with it? Thought so. And to think, less than 10 percent of the Oceans inhabitants have been identified by us. We have murdered many species we haven't even met yet. We do not deserve this earth. Damn dirty humans…….

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    List of oddities occurring in animals is growing.

    And all in the path of radiation from the latest nuclear disaster.

    • Bones Bones

      I feel it will be an exponential destruction of entire species. One species feeds off another and if the prey dies off so do the predators, but not before trying to eat anything else they could survive on. That will exponentially increase bio-accumulation, diminished speciation due to mass die-offs, disease, and the young won't even be born or if they are they have a short weak life or are sterile or have some crippling disease. SICK SICK SICK. How anyone could take life so trivially is utterly incomprehensible in my mind. You must have to truly be a psycho/sociopath to be in any position of power. What a sad society where the ones who do the best work and improve society the most so we can all thrive in our own ways; Those people are killed off, money stolen, lives destroyed, or whatever the sociopaths with power feel like. All these "symptoms" of the Pacific exactly mirror Chernobyl's wildlife's response as well as Japan's.

      • unincredulous unincredulous

        My mom's impression of Chernobyl is that the place is beautiful and green, and the fish are growing twice or thrice as big as they used to.

        Mainstream media? What's she been watching?

        She found it hard to reconcile what I was saying with what she has been told.

        I guess the disinformation program working on some. Especially the elderly? I don't know, I am suffering from cognitive dissonance disorder myself.

        Next people will be equating nuclear bombs with the 'genesis effect' as seen in the Star Trek movies… without the destruction of pre-existing life, of course. Maybe the starfish were just melting to make way for bigger and better. I hope the chocolate bars start melting away soon.

        • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

          What's good for a plant to eat may not be good for us to eat, just look at the melamine scandal that came out of China. Melamine had a 6 nitrogen structure so it looked very hot and made the product it was placed in worth more money. Killed lots of pets and most certainly hit the human supply chain too. Renal failure does not sound like fun to me but plants probably love the stuff.

          • unincredulous unincredulous

            Man, that is just a horrible, horrible example of disregard for human life.

            How sick. I think people have been adding melamine to the truth lately, to make it look thicker.

  • Bones Bones

    The Great Dead Pacific? Chernobyl Ocean? Glowing Ocean? Seems like Futurama knew how weak this species is intellectually and socially.

  • OldFool

    With the very high probability of a full scale war between China and Japan in 2014, all the navies have probably been busy sonar mapping the entire Pacific Ocean to get ready for the war, which should quickly escalate into WWIII. This noise may or may not be what is chasing the marine mammals to the West Coast, and causing food chain shortages. I doubt that any animal has the capability of detecting low level radiation directly, although the marine animals may be able to detect changes in the osmolarity of the seawater from extra dissolved radionuclides and the several cubic miles of Japanese soil, debris, and chemicals washed into the Pacific from the 2011 tsunami.

    • Bones Bones

      Well, no living being can detect radiation unless it's at deadly levels. Radiation exposure and internal emitters can cause thousands of health complications. One is even mental health issues, like how mercury affects mood, thoughts, and intelligence. (Mad as a hatter.) Then take into account the food chain and how if a specie's meal is all dead, they will go after whatever they can till they starve or try and flee to find food. Also, bio-concentration the further up the food chain you go. Also, immune system deficiencies (RAIDS) lead to susceptibility to common pathogens which used to pose no threat to the healthy creatures existence can now decimate them completely. These are just some of the effects happening right now.

      • Bones Bones

        War should be the last thing on the minds of any country's leadership, but especially Japan and China. Japan has nothing to offer the world anymore except death by isotope. So, what would China want besides jingoistic and reasons of theft, etc.? What both governments should be focused on is figuring out how to stop further releases. A child would lead these countries better and I am NOT joking.

    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      Not so sure about that one, since what we feel when exposed to radiation contamination are vibrations of energy and it is well known I believe that fish swim in schools/tandem with perfection from sensing the vibrations they feel around them…

      • davidh7426 davidh7426

        I agree Obiwan, just because we can't detect radiation without technology. Doesn't mean that other forms of life are incapable of doing so.

  • yogda yogda

    These so-called experts all know how bad this is. It's a matter of national security. Using the media to quell panic with all this confusion and outright propaganda should be expected.

    • unincredulous unincredulous

      Using the media to quell panic with all this confusion and outright propaganda" is what got us into this mess. Well, except for making the nuclear materials in the first place. Lie to us to fix lying to us… real one trick pony there.

  • isogoodhumans

    I am totally against nuke power, 1000%, but I think we have to be careful of whitewashing everything that is happening and blaming Fukushima. We might lose credibility.

    From what I have read, the BC Canada sardine fishery collapsed before-due to overfishing, and then came back.

    It will be difficult to separate overdishing and other causes from Fukushima, but they will be there.

    • When you kill 98 percent of all living microbes in the ocean, as shown by one study where they all ended up on the ocean bottom, that affects the next step up the food chain; the herring.

      Those that did not die, got radiation accumulation, which got passed up the food chain. Each step multiplying 10 to 10,000 times.

      When the herring get eaten by seals, they have accumulated even more..

      The couple of tests done on sick seals near San Diego showed up radioactive.

      Why would it be so hard to put these pieces together?

      Any biologist or team of biologists could do this if they cared to.

    • We Not They Finally

      That's just fine, isogoodhumans. When you figure out the meaning of "proportionality," let us know.

    • 16Penny 16Penny

      "No overfishing has occurred in recent years." straight from the article.

      What else you got? Are you going with temperature related too? This is not white washing. At this point it would be foolish to not consider Fuku radiation as the common "link".

  • tbg

    LOL @ "lose credibility"

  • Who is lying intentionally here? The kind and caring people of Enenews, or the nuclear industry?

    We will take assertions and commentary by untrained volunteer ordinary citizens here over the 'expert' peer reviewed scientists at the most holy institutions across the globe.. bar none.. Experience shows that comments here are about 99% accurate and TRUE.

    Those statements and official estimates made by nuclear industry 'experts' and scientists paid to to the work, turned out to be 99% wrong, or outright lies.

    Keep on doing what you do, all you kind, loving, caring Enenewser's…

    Fight for the truth and call them as you see them.. This is an island and sanctuary of truth. It has an outpost of light on it, which keeps on shining despite an OCEAN of darkness, lies, deception and coverups.

    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      Yes, the light of truth must never be extinguished! 🙂

    • tsfw tsfw

      Yes I wouldn't still coming here 2 years later if I didn't see warning after warning come true. I wish you were all full of shit, but sadly you aren't.

      • So funny; wishing everyone here were full of SH(#, but then finding out they aren't.

        Well, there is always another day… maybe tomorrow everyone here will be full of SH(#, and we can all celebrate and never come back here…


  • nuckelchen nuckelchen

    here is our new webcam-forum:

  • We Not They Finally

    No one told the fish, birds, or sea mammals that the radiation was safely "duluted" before it got to them? Why didn't they get the memo? [sarc]

  • We Not They Finally

    This is just one further example of what I commonly called the Death of the food chain, which is a main barometer for the health of the whole planet. These are the darkest days that the human species will have ever known.

    • JMR

      I think that is what is going to be the demise of humans. The radiation and cancer will only add to the calamity, but I really think it's going to come down to food, food riots, social unrest and ultimately economic collapse along with hoarding, etc. and martial law and rationing. The next generation's mutations, sterility and other health problems will pretty much seal the deal for homo sapiens.

  • isogoodhumans

    Allegedly one downfall of the Occupy Wall Street movement was lack of a coherent message. But some people are so emotional here they can't have a reasoned discussion with one of their own about formulating a coherent message. Its like admitting that there are other factors causing die offs is equivalent to being a troll. Well, there were mass die-offs before Fukushima. I don't exactly see what the reply to that question would be. The reply is more like 'bully the person into yielding'. That then leads to the CNN remarks about enenews doing harm. And maybe they're right.

    Some thinner skinned posters would just not bother coming back after the replies I received. So tell me, exactly how does that help the cause?

    Are we blaming all mass animal die offs on Fukushima? Even the ones before Fukushima?? Just checking.

    Because I am against GMO also. As well as EMF, Navy use of sonar, discharging chemicals to the ocean.

    If you corner the market on mass die offs, there isn't much left to work with 😉

    Personally, I would feel more comfortable with assigning a high probability of a large percentage of mass die offs to Fukushima. Leaves a bit of wriggle room. Just sayin'

  • I hear what you're saying isogoodhumans.

    Obviously there have been mass die offs in the past for many reasons.

    IMO – Fukushima's continuous onslaught of radioactive contamination cannot be compared to over fishing, red algae plumes or even other kinds of toxic pollution.

    The difference now is that the added accumulative fallout effects of Fukushima will be like snowballs rolling downhill. The avalanche of suffering on all life and ecosystems will gather momentum with time.

    I would go far as to say or predict that Fukushima will 'corner the market' on mass die offs and extinctions. Whether that's proven via vigorous accurate testing or through speculative observations the end result will be the same. 😉

    • 16Penny 16Penny


      What we used to see as ecological disasters have been foreshadowed by the killing power of the Fukushima meltdowns. You can split hairs all day about what percentage of each die off is due to the radiation or the diseases which the radiated animals succumb to or the lack of food because it was killed by radiation, or the compounding / synergistic effect radiation has with other carcinogens and poisonous chemicals. At the end of the day the radiation takes the cake. How is this for a unified message, ban nuclear technology. Then we can say for sure it isn't the problem. With nuclear off the list of mass die- off cohorts there will be plenty of room for your other demons. All the wiggle room you want isogoodhumans.

  • Sol Man

    The night is always darkest
    just before everything gets sucked
    into a black hole.

    • unincredulous unincredulous

      Was that written on the bathroom wall in the Starship Enterprise? Man, I just knew they had to have bathrooms there.

    • Discordian


      After 4 hours at a clinic for high blood pressure CDL bullshit compliance, that's just what I needed to hear. Thank you, Sol Man. Maybe it's the Scorpio in me, but that's the funniest thing I've heard all year.

  • starz starz

    Focus on Ocean’s Health as Dolphin Deaths Soar

    MIAMI — Like a macabre marine mystery, the carcasses — many badly deteriorated and tossing about in the surf — first turned up along the coast of New Jersey in June. Soon, droves of them washed up in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and most recently Florida, their winter home.

    So far this year, nearly 1,000 bottlenose dolphins — eight times the historical average — have washed up dead along the Eastern Seaboard from New York to Florida, a vast majority of them victims of morbillivirus. Many more are expected to die from the disease in the coming months.

    The high death toll from the resurgence of the virus, which killed 700 dolphins in an outbreak 25 years ago, has alarmed marine scientists, who say it remains unclear why the dolphins have succumbed…
    NY Times,December 22.2013

  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    1..2.. Buckle my shoe
    3..4.. Tepco is a whore
    5..6.. Pick up fuel rod sticks
    7..8.. IT"S 2 FUCKING LATE!

    Merry Christmas my enenews compadres

  • Tung Jen Tung Jen

    It seems to me that the biggest criminal as to our impending doom is this insane concept of economic growth. As long as we buy into this paradigm we are selling out the planet. Degrowth ….. seems to be a growing movement;

  • ftlt

    Bird population collapse is known outcome of radiation release into the atmosphere…

  • isogoodhumans

    I think if I read "scientists are baffled" one more time I am going to lose it.

    Baffled by what exactly? The apparent inability of animals to survive in an increasingly toxic environment.

    Believing that animals could remain healthy in a toxic world is a delusion. These scientists suffer from delusional disorder.

    Instead, these 'news' stories should read "psychiatrists are baffled by the large number of scientists suffering from Delusion Disorder.

    From wiki:

    Non-bizarre delusions are fixed false beliefs that involve situations that could potentially occur in real life; examples include being followed or poisoned. Apart from their delusions, people with delusional disorder may continue to socialize and function in a normal manner and their behaviour does not generally seem odd or bizarre. However, the preoccupation with delusional ideas can be disruptive to their overall lives.

    An example of a fixed false belief: believing animals could survive in a toxic world, and being 'baffled' when they dont.

    • +1

      "Instead, these 'news' stories should read "psychiatrists are baffled by the large number of scientists suffering from Delusion Disorder."
      – isogoodhumans


    • JMR

      I would like to say that they also seem baffled by declining human health. Not only are Japanese scientists not ready to admit that the spike in thyroid cancer in children in Japan has anything to do with the ongoing radiation flowing out of Fukushima, but there's a similar cognitive impairment going on with modern medicine.

      Generation X was the first generation in the history of humankind to be fully exposed to an array of petrochemicals, plastics, radiation, pesticides, food additives, etc. from the womb to death. Is it any wonder that the Millenials, the children of Gen X have the highest rates of birth defects, autism, obesity, diabetes, cancer, etc. of any generation before? What will the children of the Millenials be like? Now we have GMOs and Fukushima to add to the mix. How much sicker will each generation be than the previous until the mutations and sterility make it impossible for our species to reproduce?

      But no one can ever say, "Hey maybe it's because we keep incrementally poisoning ourselves that our health is always declining." I'm sure doctors are as "baffled" about declining human health as marine scientists are about declining sea creature health.

      Maybe, just maybe it's because every living thing on the planet is living in a completely toxic environment. Just maybe.

  • jec jec

    What no one has whispered..the radiaton and emissions have increased climate change. Just watch the UK tomorrow..and then on Dec. 27th. A storm of the centry, 1987, had a pressure of 953..these are going to be 041 and then 937. Each lower milibar reading is higher and higher wind speeds. Merry Christmas Northern Europe, thanks to Fukushima!!!

  • name999 name999

    "Really an off year"…sounds like an unusually low golf score, or wine that has gone bad. But to refer to massive deaths in our oceans, vast piles of dead bodies washing up on the shores of our coastlines as just an off year…makes it sound so trivial. I guess the honest scientists got washed up first.

    Baffled by the baffled scientists.

    Thank you all for this honest conversation and the real science for those of us who want the truth. Felicitations to everyone here! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, you have made a big difference for me..always grateful…