Terry Williams, Tulalip Tribes: Marine Food Chain
Tulalip Tribes’ Terry Williams talked about the marine food chain and climate change.
The Pacific Salmon Commission started looking at climate change and one of the indicators was the loss and survival of species. A group was formed between Canada and US to determine the change. The group came up with the loss of the bottom of our food chain – plankton and forage fish.
Part of climate change comes from the ocean warming and methane and carbon releasing from sediment on the bottom of the ocean. The species then start changing. We started seeing changes in the salmon community a decade ago. We started realizing were getting a lot of hake from Mexico and California, then squid start showing up. The reality is when you see Quinault canning tuna instead of salmon, you know something’s changed.
New Marine Survival Research Initiatives brought together co-managers and agencies to estimate marine survival rates and forecast adult survivals.
Under a SeaGrant proposal, a monitoring program was proposed to look at offshore marine indicators with existing freshwater, estuarine and nearshore monitoring programs.
Now a collaborative approach is being taken – collecting timing, abundance/size, structure and biological samples at multiple life stages.
The occurrences (abudance, size and timing) affects predictability- what do we do with the information we have and how do we make predictions?
Studies were done of cooling and warming regime. Ocean is cooling right now, which could be favorable for us. But it’s still changing because of changing species and we won’t get the production like we had in the past.
The reality, the problem with plankton is something we need to start looking at and sorting out what are the drivers of the demise.
In the governor’s blue ribbon panel, when we talk about ocean acidification – and ocean upwelling – the old water that comes in isn’t getting flushed out. 1.7 million tons of waste coming into PS annually… we need to manage our waste, and pollutants and other drivers that are causing health effects.
The main message is that management of PS needs to take a different direction. At Tulalip, we’re wondering what happened with the authority that we used to have.
I’ve been talking with someone at NOAA and asking what’s changed. He said the delegation of authority – the government was once in charge delegating, but now that’s been shifted down to state level and that’s being shifted down further.
If we’re self governing, we have the right to protect our natural resources. I asked the current Administration, can we write our own tribal laws to protect our natural resources? The Obama Administration said, do what you need to do to protect the resources.
The reality is, like Billy’s been saying all along – we need to protect our resources. When you see the ocean unraveling before your eyes, something tells you there’s something wrong with the big picture.