Scientists probe missing salmon stock mystery: It's the orcas
Wednesday, November 17 2010 @ 09:57 AM EST
Contributed by: jkr
The mystery of disappearing salmon stocks is now explained by scientists who've discovered that Puget Sound killer whales have a taste for chinook salmon from B.C.'s Fraser River.
Michael Ford, the director of the conservation biology division at the National Marine Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, tells the Bellingham Herald that his group of U.S. and Canadian scientists conducted a study that shows as much as 90 per cent of the Puget Sound orca's diet is salmon from the Fraser, but that they also may be taking their toll on endangered salmon from California.
From 2004 to 2008, scientists from both countries followed the orcas in small boats near the San Juan Islands in Washington state and the western Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The study also highlights another area of contention: Do they protect the whales or the salmon that they eat?