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 The Columbia Basin Bulletin - Fish and Wildlife News 6/9/06  http://cbbulletin.com/Free/170756.aspx
Posted on Friday, June 09, 2006 (PST)

The Canadian government released its 2005 Pacific Region State of the Ocean report this week, confirming that sea temperatures maintained very warm conditions in 2005 in all British Columbia marine ecosystems.


The report by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) notes 2005 sea temperatures overall were slightly cooler than in 2004, but still rank as the seventh warmest years recorded since 1880.


Scientists note that while warm oceanic waters appeared to be cooling at the end of 2005, it is unclear if this represents a break in the warm conditions that have persisted since 2003, or a temporary event.


This is the seventh annual report by members of the Fisheries and Oceanography Working Group (FOWG) of the Pacific Scientific Advice Review Committee (PSARC).


It summarizes the observations and interpretations of Canadian scientific experts that document the state of the ocean off the coast of British Columbia. PSARC is the Pacific Region body responsible for review and evaluation of all scientific information on the status of living aquatic resources, their ecosystems, and on biological aspects of stock management.


The report reviews the physical, chemical and biological state of the marine environment.


Greater understanding of the structure and functioning of the ecosystem and the changes it undergoes, officials say, has a direct impact on the yield of marine organisms, the operations of the fishing industry, and the assessment and management of other activities which impact the marine ecosystem.


Some of the observations reported in 2005:


-- On an annual basis, the Pacific coast was warmer and drier than normal in 2005.


-- Sea temperatures maintained warm conditions in 2005 in all BC marine ecosystems.


-- Warm sea temperatures reduced the supply of plant nutrients into surface layers of the Pacific Ocean, thus reducing the production of phytoplankton, which is the base of the marine food web.


-- The growth of juvenile coho salmon on the west coast of Vancouver Island during spring to fall was the lowest since these observations began in 1998.


-- In contrast, warm-water migratory species such as Pacific hake and Pacific sardine were abundant in BC waters during 2005. There were also occurrences of other warm water species not typically seen in BC.


-- Some coho and sockeye salmon stocks will likely return to BC in reduced numbers in 2006 and 2007 because of unfavourable ocean conditions in 2005.


To view a copy of the annual Pacific Region State of the Ocean report, go to http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/sci/psarc/OSRs/StateofOceans2005fnl.pdf




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