‘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


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: [intlink id=”npr-starfish-epidemic-moving-fast-also-seen-turning-into-goo-in-washington-not-just-canada-virus-bacteria-or-something-else-entirely-will-it-spread-to-other-sea-life-and-othe” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

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


Related Posts

  1. Sardine population plummets along U.S. West Coast — AP: Collapse of species feared — “Canadian Pacific fishermen catch no sardines in 2013” November 4, 2013
  2. 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
  3. SF Chronicle: “Unbelievable hordes” of fish near California coast; Most birds, sea lions, dolphins, whales anywhere — Expert: ‘Off the charts’ pelican population “highly unusual… could reflect breeding failures elsewhere”; “Abnormal ocean conditions” to blame? May 1, 2014
  4. 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
  5. 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 December 22, 2013

62 comments to ‘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

  • Sickputer

    I guess we can finally say with enormous sadness the military-industrial complex has nuked the whales. The animals did not deserve such a fate, nor did we.

    RIP friends. Keiko looks down with a sad expression. So much beauty on this planet to be destroyed by a handful of Dr. Frankenstein naked apes.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    They may not know..but surely some of these scientists suspect radiation.
    Standing about with hands thrown up..in 'wonder'..is obscene.

    Test..test..that they might know!

    • Discordian

      Indeed, I would think that Fuku radiation is the only thing it could be. I don't recall ever hearing about mass marine die-offs before the Macondo explosion in 2010 and Fuku the following year.

      I'm no scientist and no uber-environmentalist; but it seems to be that blaming anything other than radiation for these massive problems in the Pacific is just denial. This is the worst (man-made) environmental disaster ever.

        • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

          I will help too and I knew about the egg but had not seen Alana before.. very nice! ๐Ÿ™‚

          Here is your "Happy Guide" to follow for helping all those ladies that come down with breast cancer in he near future. Now let's not stop Nuclear Technology, lets instead, teach everyone how to act happy about our collective "Negative Progress" results.

          Let's "all" put a happy supportive face on it, that would be your upcoming cancer/disease!

          Manipulations and controls for your mind are now presented all around you daily just like these most recent "play/behave by these rules" of the day..

          • Discordian

            I think someone called it "Word Craft." ๐Ÿ™‚

            It is quite offensive how these slogans and "movements" are substituted for actual progress. FZ said it best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHHvqncASrI

            • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

              .. ๐Ÿ™‚ Many people promote and use "Word Craft" very effectively and the true awakening for humans is to understand which "Word Craft" we should allow to alter/influence/control your/mine/our minds…it really is all about the mind/thoughts after all.

            • HoTaters HoTaters

              Discordian, I so agree, and the FZ song was always one of my favorites. He was a genius.

              "I am the slime on the video, oozin' along on your living room floor."

          • Slingerss Slingerss

            Good idea! We can all have Chemo Cocktail Parties! At least we won't have to worry about having a bad hair day or anything.

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            "Now let's not stop Nuclear Technology". Well, I am totally against this statement.

            • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

              Really? Could never guess that.. ๐Ÿ™‚

              I guess you did not read the why for the way it used the way I used it…its all a ongoing created illusion for your human brain, so that you do not change your/our ways..

              Just learn to deal with it (via the above link) as a normal way of life, as we/masters pump donation charities headlines all over the radio and TV airways for you to contribute too..

              Don't even look at "Nuclear Technology" as the real overall problem..nothing to see hear at Fuksuhima or its spewing Radiation Contamination and just move along please..and/but do what we/as suggested in the above link.

              • HoTaters HoTaters

                Obewanspeaks, apparently you aren't aware of anne's personal background in relation to all of this. Nuclear accidents in particular. While we don't all agree on everything here, please refrain from personal sounding attacks.

                I can assure you from being a long time participant here Anne certainly has good reason to want nuclear energy & weaponry done away with.

                Now do yourself a favor and peruse the archives, esp. her comments in regard to TMI if you want to know the truth.

                Sometimes you've just got to call a spade, a spade. Your comment is uncalled for, and very unkind.

                Think outside your box, and consider the "golden rule." If that applies in your world.

                • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

                  Hotaters pretty sure the happy face was not an unkind act and I think I understand anne.

                  I was just clarifying why I used that statement (she pulled out) and the way/purpose I used it for and that was all…

                  But then I will yield… ๐Ÿ™‚

      • J.

        It may be a combination of radiation and industrial pollution unleashed by the tsunami. I've seen very little written about this. A hundred years ago it would have been nothing put paper, wood, rice mats, and foodstuffs sucked out to sea. Now it is all the detritus of uber-industrial Japan Incorporated. Petroleum products, industrial chemicals, you name it. It's impossible to imagine these toxins having no effect.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Hi Discordian, there have been mass die-offs for a long time. Can remember them since at least the 1970's. But never more than one or two at a time. This appears to be unprecedented.

        Red tide used to occur over wide geographic areas (i.e., West Coast of U.S.) during certain years, and it affects lots of species. But never before so many seemingly unrelated mass die-offs.

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    Humpback whales eat plankton, and tiny fish only. Maybe the bottom of the food chain is toast.

    Any scientist have that info? I know that studies, done decades ago, showed an alarming decline. I'm sure oil spills, radiation, and chemicals dumped in the ocean can't help. I wonder how the plankton are doing, but I wonder if maybe they are being shut up. I have no reason to think they are except the general trend lately of profit over unprofitable truth.

  • jec jec

    Last month, a young 20 some ft humpback whale spent an entire afternoon trying to get an anchored sailboat to 'bubble feed' feed with it. Lots of scary interaction with whale rubbing up against all parts of the hull..biting the anchor chain..and blowing into the cockpit. He was acting very unusual,and the couple on board was wondering where his family was….USCG was NOT interested other than one one could touch or scare the whale. This was off Vancouver Island on the inside passage. The story and photos will be in an upcoming cruising magazine.

  • Socrates

    Add in colony collapse of honeybee populations….

    Too many people trying to live in too small a planet with the "modern" lifestyle. Mother Nature has been trying to tell us.

    Salmon populations declining, seals and sea lions dying, sardines, starfish, otters acting aggressively, etc.

  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    More evidence of fuku, yet the rubberneckers wallow in their bliss of denial. Its a discovery of a lifetime all right, a sad, sad one.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    The diminishing sea life points to Fukushima Daiichi.

    Spewing radiation 24/7.

    How long before everything dies?

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    Look at the pattern to it. Life just dies. People are no different than anything else on this world. Once in contact with radioactivity the clock runs much, much faster.

    Starfish wiped out in Pacific

    You have been drinking and eating it.

    PlUMEGATE Cover-Up Evidence

    Almost third more US West Coast newborns may face thyroid problems after Fukushima nuclear disaster

    Starvation endangers sea lions in Southern California

    Lake Babine sockeye fishery at risk of unprecedented closure

    Researchers find high cesium in some Pacific plankton

    Why Are Millions Of Fish Suddenly Dying In Mass Death Events All Over The Planet?

    Mass Die Off Of Starfish, Chitons, Abalone, Mussels, Sun Stars, Salmon In Pacific Ocean California To Vancouver

    Dead sea lions washing on shore in California appear to have died from radiation poisoning

  • The classic example is the "canary in the coal mine".

    "There are countless examples of environmental effects on animals that later manifested in humans. People have long observed animals for signs of impending hazards or evidence of environmental threats."


    The evidence of massive contamination is obvious.

    • unincredulous unincredulous

      I think now the standard is at least two dozen dead canaries before pulling the workers out of the nuclear mine. If one dies, they just prop it up and lie about it until another falls dead, along with the proper upperer. Then the media ignores it until the insiders sell their stock in the mine. Then those who buy the mine for a song lose their life savings as the insiders pay the media two hype the five dozen dead canaries. Then the insiders insure the mine, buy it for a note, and then blow it up in a "terrorist" attack….or something like that. I'm on the road to jaded. I am probably getting a few more age lines around my eyes as I type this rambling paragraph. Reminds me of a song from way back, "I'm so dizzy, my head is spinning. Like a whirlpool it never ends. It's making me dizzy…"

  • Cisco Cisco

    No, it couldn't possibly be the radiation.

    Same model…Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck. No, you're mistaken, it's a swan.

    Who are you going to believe; them or your lying eyes!


  • Usefulbreather

    The dominoes are falling…

  • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

    science and scientists are amazing with their knowledge. In fact theres only two things they cant do; diagnose or treat.

    …well it looks like three things; diagnose, treat, or come forward with truth

  • mhocker10

    this just turned up in the news: http://news.msn.com/us/18-foot-sea-creature-found-off-california-coast

    samples were taken… so what were the results. A creature that looks healthy and lives 3000 ft deep, makes me wonder if this was caused by Fukushima contaminating the Pacific.. perhaps we will be seeing more things like this wash up on shore soon.

  • Jebus Jebus

    If the officials were actually releasing the data on the pacific contamination, you would be alarmed by the numbers and spread of the fukushima pacific radiation plume.
    But, I believe those numbers, although of great concern, would not cause those mass animal deaths just by contact after only two years and seven months.
    But, they would upset the immune systems of these creatures, allowing other parasites, viruses, and other pathogens an opportunity to thrive.
    Now add BP-Corexit and a great Japanese tsunami of everything toxic on this planet into the mix and you quickly realize that the ocean is at great risk of ecosystem failure in the immediate future.
    There is no question of a cascade effect after that.
    That's the last waltz for many, many life forms.
    And all of "society" is just eatin it.
    Zombies, Nuclear Zombies bowing to Nuclear Fools…

    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      The Pacific Ocean Ecosystem is a web of life of almost infinite complexity. You analysis is quite correct, Jebus. I look at Fukushima Radiocontamination of the Pacific Ocean as yet another stressor. High radiation does kill some sealife. But even sealife that survives are stressed, and so are susceptible to attack by disease. Radiation increases up the food chain, through bioaccumulation. And radiation causes mutations in subsequent generations, reducing the viability of a species. So if radiation removes one species from the web of life, like perhaps has happened with the disappearance of sardines, the entire web of life is in jeapordy. Fukushima is in the process of destroying the Pacific Ocean Ecosystem.

      It is safe to say that NOTHING is being done about it. TEPCO is merely collecting contaminated water, for later release into the Pacific Ocean. Work on half efforts, such as the Impermeable Wall, have been suspended. Wells that were supposed to draw uncontaminated water before it reached the corium lava tubes, instead are drawing heavily contaminated groundwater from the leaky tank farm. Efforts are hampered on all fronts because TEPCO steadfastly denies that 3 nuclear cores are missing from Reactor Buildings1-3. Unless this reality is acknowledged, effective strategies for mitigation cannot be implemented.

      Where is the damn corium, eh TEPCO?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • FXofTruth

    Why do all these die-off articles sound like no one knows what is happening? It's radiation poisoning from Japan. No one wants to point the finger so they sound like dopes…."The Oregononian, Oct. 15, 2013: […] a fascinating, troubling mystery: the disappearance of the sardine in waters around British Columbia."

    No mystery except to stupid and oblivious people.
    Nothing just dies off in mass.
    The GOVERNMENTS know exactly what is causing it.
    Radiation fallout from Japan's nuclear attack on the Pacific Ocean.

    • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication


      +1. They know and have never known what to do. Nor will they. There is no possible way to "fix" it.

  • Abbass Abbass

    […] scientists today attribute the overriding cause to changes in ocean conditions that proved unfavourable to sardines. […]

    Well I'd say that's a fair bet. It isn't as if it was the price of land in California anyway.

  • ftlt

    I would think this is more related to ocean acidification right now than FUFU… Earth Mother is angry

  • One thing that as a Canadian is that there was no coverage of this on cbc that I know of even though they reported their radio show vote for the best band results were reported as news. Also note that officials had not a clue until the fishermen came back with no fish. The licensing system doesnt work as despite no fish found the fishermen could have taken twenty tons of fish or scooped up whatever might have been there. Fact. They dont have a clue what is going on in the ocean. Victoria dumps raw sewage into the ocean. Fish farms create and spread disease and parasites. Many other things including fuku radiation untreated garbage sewer releases from cruise ships bilge cleaning operations from commercial ffeighters and stuff I dont know about all contribute to ocean pollution. Speaking from Canada I must state that current leader ยงteven Harper has no interest in pursuing any science issues and makes decisions based on dogma not science so dont expect any study being done on the dissapearing sardines financex by the canadian gov. The issue doesnt even rate much news exposure. Many canadians dont know and would be mad if they did know. The scientists dont know because no one will pay for them to find out. Sad sad sad.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    .. ๐Ÿ™‚ Nice and yes Time is Short! Symptoms are now everywhere…

  • ftlt

    WAKE UP GANG Sardines fed on plankton..

    Everything is not FUFU… This is Climate Change driven most likely here..

    Not saying FUFU is not a huge crisis… But talk about a broken record line of thinking… Make some room, gang

    • ftlt

      This collapse of sardines populations has been world fishing news for over a decade… It predates FUFU..

      A clue????

    • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

      Umm.. Researchers find high cesium in some Pacific plankton

      How about climate change and radiation from fukushima are to blame?

      A clue for you????


      • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

        Both short-lived radioactive elements, such as iodine-131, and longer-lived elements โ€” such as cesium-137, with a half-life of 30 years โ€” can be absorbed by phytoplankton, zooplankton, kelp, and other marine life and then be transmitted up the food chain, to fish, marine mammals, and humans. Other radioactive elements โ€” including plutonium, which has been detected outside the Fukushima plant โ€” also pose a threat to marine life. A key question is how concentrated will the radioactive contamination be. Japanese officials hope that a temporary fishing ban off the northeastern Japanese coast will be enough to avert any danger to human health until the flow of radioactive water into the sea can be stopped.


        • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

          Depending on its chemical form and by what organisms it is taken up, radiation can also concentrate when it moves through the food chain. A 1999 study found that seals and porpoises in the Irish Sea concentrated radioactive cesium by a factor of 300 relative to its concentration in seawater, and a factor of 3 to 4 compared to the fish they ate.


          • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

            These plankton concentrate mineral elements from the water, and it has been found that radioactivity may be concentrated (Page 60) in this manner by as much as a thousand fold.

            …this is from 1955. We knew that plankton can concentrate radioactivity up to a thousand fold.

            Did we know about global warming then?


            • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

              For reference, here is a paper on radiation concentrations in the Ocean off Japan before Fuku, very interesting.. be sure to check out the reference to Sellafield. DaNM THE NUKE INDUSTRY TO HELL!!!

            • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

              For reference, here is a paper on radiation concentrations in the Ocean off Japan before Fuku, very interesting.. be sure to check out the reference to Sellafield.



              • ftlt

                Cata: Here is something on Plankton that clearly predates FUFU..

                Many of you folks seem to be trying to force everything into the same box..

                It is just an example article.. There are zillions on this subject…


                Plankton pop. dropping at one percent per year since 1950 and the decline is accelerating… It is down over 40% worldwide since 1950

                The Caribbean has had a huge decline thought to be from ocean temperature (Ocean warming primary suspect) As have other fisheries…

                CAN YOU SAY MAN MADE CLIMATE CHANGE AND ALL HUMAN POLLUTION??? Don't forget acidification???

                FUFU while a massive threat is not the only one nor the biggest threat we face..

                WAKE UP!!!

                • ftlt

                  Cata: The BIG PROBLEM is business as usual…

                  There are 500 or so more FUFUs waiting to fail…

                  30,000 plus nuke warheads ready for use

                  Zillions of mega tons of CO2, Methane and Hydrogen Sulfide (HS is toxic to life from a dying ocean) releases coming unless we change the way we live and reduce our population…

                  Clean fresh water is going away…

                  And all the other man made pollutants streaming into the biosphere..

                  FUFU is just a blemish by itself of what we are faced with…


    See item I posted on Non-Nuclear Forum at 5:56 p.m.





    This may not be DIRECTLY caused by human depredations of the environment.

    But aside from overharvesting animals, we have been flooding the planet with a witches' brew of chemicals, and many species are suffering from an extraordinary amount of environmental stress.

    And they are weakening.

    These massive animal die-offs seem to be happening with increasing frequency.

    What we must fear is that since many animal populations are under such stress, any additional environmental factor may become the tipping point for their demise.


    Last night I watched a PBS Nature program about California otters. Their populations have stopped growing. They are already in small numbers, having once been almost wiped out from North America by greedy hunters. Their California environment is extremely polluted and they are beginning to weaken.

    You can watch video here: http://video.pbs.org/video/2365100759/


    Whales are barely maintaining their numbers. Sharks are being wiped out. Now starfish are practically gone from BC waters,


    Science Mag: Are we in the middle of a sixth mass extinction? – http://news.sciencemag.org/2011/03/are-we-middle-sixth-mass-extinction



  • Wyakin Wyakin

    The collapse of the Pacific sardine population was predicted by marine biologists back in 2011 as the result of colder oceanographic conditions. To be sure, the Pacific is a complex ecosystem and all the variables everyone has identified are valid and hasten decline.

    "A cold oceanographic regime with high exploitation rates in the Northeast Pacific forecasts a collapse of the sardine stock," by Zwolinski and Demer, approved Feb. 1, 2012:


    • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

      It's unfortunate that anything either concocted or legitimately researched & published post 311 is suspect now. I've concluded that the TRUTH about such matters in dire situations like this are NEVER set out for public consumption-unlike the dying species harvested & found at the lowest prices ever in seafood restaurants in the past year or so(?)!! I'm inclined to believe that EVERY possible cause should be included in research on such matters & if something HUGE like 311 is NOT included then it's probably the most likely culprit! Marine research showing the absolute highest sea surface temps extending outward from Fukushima,Japan into the Pacific Ocean further allows questioning "colder waters" as the reason for the die-off and still doesn't explain everything else going on all along the Pacific coastlines! But again this is just my opinion and conjecture although I'd feel better about it all if someone were to prove me wrong,like every other damning thing else about Fukushima 311 & nuclear! ๐Ÿ™ Have a nice weekend ENEWSER's! I'm gonna try myself & hope to burn some GOOD memories into my scrambled brain for a change!(while I can…) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • razzz razzz

    Wyakin: That was an interesting read. So, fishermen compensate by trying to net all the remaining sardines. If scientists knew this might happen (again) why wasn't a moratorium declared and fisherman taught to fish elsewhere or for different species? Maybe you can farm sardines, who knows.

    I worry about Fukushima, Daiichi fallout affecting sea life and ground animals but wildlife severely affected by Chernobyl's fallout, far and wide, seems to live on. Just not a good idea to eat them.

  • Anthony Anthony

    2nd Rare Sea Monster Lands In California This Week! What Is Going On?

    Friday, October 18, 2013 8:23


    Hmmmmmmm …. yeah…I wonder (DUH!! DUH!!) what is going on – DUH?!

    Duh… just why ARE Pacific Ocean Sea Creatures dying anyways?

  • Wyakin Wyakin

    Hi Razzz-I am glad you found some value in that article. Good questions.

    From a 30k foot level, humankindโ€™s intellect appears to have infinite capacity for creation and invention. The progression of social and regulatory institutions, as well as our ethical framework through which these issues are framed and ethically categorized and executed has not adapted quickly enough to guide principled application of science and ethical sustainability. We can point to the science and governing laws behind nuclear energy, fisheries/forestry management, energy extraction through fracking, GMOS, and so on. Although these are different topics, they all share the same deficiency of underlying behavioral structures.

    What I describe is a macro hybrid view of what economists call the rational choice theory, through which the most cost-effective means to achieve a specific goal is pursued without reflecting on the long-term worthiness or sustainability of that goal.

    On more tangible level, most fisherman have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans on their boats/ships and required fishing equipment. The type of equipment will vary for specific species (depths, methods, release strategies for collateral catches, etc.). If a fisherman knows that impending regulation will damage investment, acceleration of natural resource extraction occurs. (cont)

  • Wyakin Wyakin

    This is true across all industries. This pathology is what fuels resistance to immediate regulation and typically delays the inevitable sustainable management or outright bans.

    Agreed, human consumption of Pacific fish product should be avoided. Meat consumption in general provides opportunity for bio accumulation.

    As noted by many others, the Pacific is sick and unabated FU discharge is ominous. Be prepared for more saddening and horrific scenes of sea life carnage.


  • srlf

    Sardines are primary consumers in the food chain. That is a keystone role in my opinion. They consume the primary producers in the ocean. Primary producers are the organisms, like phytoplankton, that can turn sun energy into food energy.
    Could there be a fundamental ecosystem disruption in the Pacific? Scientists have been watching plankton on their way to disappearing from the oceans. Have we reached a tipping point? It may just be coincidental with Fukushima, and/or it may be that all the contaminated discharges from Fukushima, along with all the other discharges from human civilization, have combined to push things too far.
    How sustainably are you living? How adaptable are you? Important questions for everyone now.