Saturday, August 4, 2012

WSJ: Alaska Missing its King Salmon Missing

Wall Street Journal August 4, 2012 p. A3 by Jim Carlton

[Excerpt] In the Kenai River, which threads through tourist destinations such as Kenai and Soldotna, 11,300 kings began a summer run this year, down 73% from 42, 297 in 2011 and one-tenth the 10-year high of 114,827 in 2005, according to estimates by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game...

Dismal runs also triggered the closure of king-salmon fishing this year on the Yukon and Kushokwim rivers..."

Majia here: The article quotes a consulting fisheries scientist who claims that "Never before have such widespread closures and fishery disruptions been seen throughout the entire state."

Majia here: I realize that the salmon have been collapsing for years, but the 73% year over year decline suggests some change has occurred that has caused an even more alarming drop in the population.

Let me think for a moment: Could it be radiation fallout from Fukushima?

Lets look at some "expert opinions"

Hong Kong Environmental Expert, Yoichi Shimatsu, on The Death Of The Pacific Ocean: Fukushima Debris Soon To Hit American Shores 

[Excerpted] When will the radioactive waste arrive on the West Coast? The distance between northeast Japan and the Pacific Northwest is about 8,000 kilometers. The Kuroshio-North Pacific Current normally makes the passage in about six to seven months. Heavier materials, such as timber, will move at about half that pace, but chemicals dissolved in the water have already started to reach the Pacific seaboard of North America, a reality being ignored by the U.S. and Canadian governments.

Majia here: Here is a ocean dispersion map produced in an academic study:

Description of the video
Model simulations on the long-term dispersal of 137Cs released into the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima Published 7/9, 2012. (English explanation) *Erik Behrens et al 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 034004
*GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel *GEOMAR ヘルムホルツ海洋研究センター、キール

Research Citation

Behrens, E., F.U. Schwarzkopf, J.F. Lübbecke and C.W. Böning, 2012: Model simulations on the long-term dispersal of 137Cs released into the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima. Environmental Research Letters, 7,

Majia here: I think the data point to Fukushima and the fish should be tested but I'm pretty confident that no information about fallout contamination will ever be released publicly unless leaked....



  1. Looks like you posted this just about the time I posted a comment on the exact same topic on your earlier speculation post .

    One of my points in that comment - which I think is supremely important- is that we cannot continue to jump from correllation to causation.

    Personally I believe all the bad science on "global warming" has really set us back on that front.

    We need to teach our kids how to make an observation, then form a hypothesis, then gather data to confirm or deny that hypothesis, then publish their hypothesis, data and method for others to confirm or deny. That way both proponents and skeptics have an opportunity to weigh in, and over time, the truth settles the score.

    One of the things that has struck me over my time studying and commenting on the fukushima disaster is the total lack of understanding of this type of method by most of the folks - which is probably not surprising - but what is surprising, and frustrating is the total lack of understanding of this method by so called "experts" in the field.

    Often, I had people argue with me or berate me over something I clearly framed as my opinion and hypothesis - to which I would say - it's OK if you don't agree, but please provide data to help me understand your disagreement - to which there was none.

    Other times people would argue with hard facts - and I would say no, that's a hard fact, you can't argue against it - and they would get mad at me for not backing down on it.

    I'm somewhat of a stickler for this - across my whole life. Sometimes it makes me appear cold, or argumentative, however I believe strongly in maintaining the scientific method.

    Now this isn't just a "pat my own back" diatribe.

    I've sometimes seen how your blog is presented by you as a hypothesis (as in this post), and communicated as fact elsewhere - I think this is where many of our "experts" go off track in the quest for fame and notoriety. When folks misinterpret their observations and speculation or hypotheses as facts and it gets widely publicized, and they are not necessarily diligent in going out and fixing those misinterpretations; or worse, they don't really care if they are misinterpreted; or even worse (despicably), they intend for the misinterpretations to occur - then they are trading scientific integrity for fame and fortune.

    But that's precisely why most scientists seem boring, and most "experts" aren't scientists. It's not interesting to hear somebody say " well it's possible the King Salmon reduction is related to radiation from Fukushima, but I'm not sure" and then go on a try to differentiate between what is a fact and what is speculation - you'll never get on CNN saying that. They want somebody to state the correlation as fact - and there's always somebody willing to do that.


    1. It is most likely what Indians take from rivers is not a significant factor. They have always done this, and have been very good at it too. Meanwhile, best guesses are that salmon populations have always gone up and down. Hunter-gatherers that depended on salmon did well during times of many fish and poorly during times when fish were scarce.

  2. Wonderful blog! I really love reading on your post the idea you share is more useful for me.

    Ketchikan Alaska Fishing Photos


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