‘Troubling Mystery’: Complete collapse of sardine population on West Coast of Canada around Vancouver — Official: It’s ‘unexpected’ — Expert: Humpback whales rarely seen, they’re telling us something changed… nobody knows what’s going on

Published: October 15th, 2013 at 1:18 pm ET
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The Oregononian, Oct. 15, 2013: [...] a fascinating, troubling mystery: the disappearance of the sardine in waters around British Columbia. The Vancouver Sun fills in the details on the collapsed $32-million commercial fishery this year on the B.C. coast. The consequences of the loss of the tiny fish [...] could be dire.

Vancouver Sun, October 15, 2013 (h/t Charlie3, NoNukes): Sardine fishery [...] has inexplicably and completely collapsed this year on the B.C. coast. [...] failing to catch a single fish. And the commercial disappearance [...] is having repercussions all the way up the food chain [...] Peter Schultze, a senior guide and driver with Ocean Outfitters, said humpbacks are normally found seven to 10 kilometres or closer to shore, but this year were about 18 to 32 kilometres out [...] if they were observed at all. “There were a lot of days where people got skunked.” [...] scientists today attribute the overriding cause to changes in ocean conditions that proved unfavourable to sardines. [...] “This year was unexpected,” said Lisa Mijacika, a resource manager with Fisheries and Oceans Canada [...] Scientists from Canada, the U.S., and Mexico will meet in December to try to find answers to the sardine’s movements. [...]

Jim Darling, whale biologist with the Pacific Wildlife Foundation interviewed by The Sun: Humpbacks typically number in the hundreds near the west coast of Vancouver Island in summer [...] They were observed only sporadically this year [...] “Humpbacks are telling us that something has changed” [...] “I don’t think anyone really has a bead on what’s going on” [...] “[The sardines are] driving the whole system and supporting virtually everything” [...] “There are some important questions to be asked about the sardine fishery.”

From Yesterday: NPR: Starfish epidemic "moving fast" -- Turning into 'goo' in Washington, not just Canada -- "Virus, bacteria or something else entirely"? "Will it spread to other sea life and other parts of West Coast?" (AUDIO)

Published: October 15th, 2013 at 1:18 pm ET
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