Temperatures 3 to 4 degrees above normal in the “blob” off BC’s coast.
Scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada say warm waters off the BC coast will have an effect on salmon returns in many BC rivers in the coming years.
“Very unusual warm ocean conditions specifically what most of you, if not all of you know as the blob” said Dr. Ian Perry a Research Scientist with the DFO.
The blob is an area of warm water 3 to 4 degrees above normal in the Pacific Ocean off BC’s coast.
The strong EL Nino weather pattern was also in place off Central America this winter which results in warmer ocean waters.
Both are having adverse affects on BC Salmon returns.
“So we’ve never seen anything like that since we’ve been observing this part of the ocean since 1948. So the consequence of these warm waters has been the unusual feeding conditions for the little salmon and also unusual warm water migrants in particular additional predators” said Perry.
The warmer water has resulted in a less nutritional food supply for salmon in the pacific and a new range of predators like sharks and mackerel.
As a result, the DFO predicts that any salmon that went to sea in 2014 or before should return in average numbers including those returning this year but perhaps will be smaller in size.
“And that salmon that went to sea in 2015 are likely to have, we’re anticipating a reduced survival and lower returns in the next few years going forward” added Perry.
There are also ongoing concerns about outgoing salmon this year due top low water levels and high water temperatures.
The Cowichan River was referred to as one example. The water temperature in the river is already 20 degrees.