Hello my fellow swimmers,
It’s been a lovely cold winter here in Seattle, and as always I’ve enjoyed my visits to the ocean despite the cold. When it’s cold and wet, there are so very few people out that take the time to enjoy the local wildlife, and it opens new opportunities for folks like me! I’ve been visiting the local fuel docks to see the squid hunting in the Harbor of Edmonds, but they have moved on, presumably back into the deep waters of the sound to breed and continue their life cycle.
One subject that has been consistently brought up with people I’ve spoken to is the concept of ocean dead spots. It’s easy to dismiss when you can’t see anything but the glorious vistas the Puget Sound offers on surface, but below, there is a tragedy occurring. As humans grow their food, they put into the soil nitrates and phosphates to help the plants grow. Unfortunately, this fertilizer does not stay in the soil long and is soon washed away by our frequent pacific northwest rains. Once these nutrients reach the ocean, they stay in the shallow waters, where microorganisms grow. Combined with the warmer waters provided by Global Climate Change, the environment is perfect for a massive algae bloom. Finally, these algae eventually die when the food runs out, and the decomposition sucks oxygen out of the water. The result is hundreds of dead fish and other organisms in the most critical areas of Puget Sound, the estuaries.
Linked below is a video made by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. While it is difficult to watch, please do so, and learn why farm runoff is such a problem. The more we know, the more we can do to fight it.
Thanks for reading. Look forward to an episode about Six-gilled sharks soon!
-The Bald Fish Guy