Home » Blog posts

Marc Mangel joins PSI

PSI senior research scientist Marc Mangel.

By Jeff Rice How many fish are in the Salish Sea? It’s an impossible question that drives the Puget Sound Institute’s newest senior scientist Marc Mangel.  “In a way, yes,” says Mangel, a mathematical biologist who has spent his career working on fish and fisheries issues. Mangel uses mathematical models to answer critical questions about …

The Orca Docs: When should medical experts intervene to save a killer whale?

Scientists collect breath samples of an orca using a long pole with petri dishes attached at the end. Photo: Pete Schroeder

This week we present “The Orca Docs,” a two-part series from our senior writer Christopher Dunagan. The series focuses on some of the issues related to proposed medical intervention for Puget Sound’s endangered orcas. The death of a young female orca in September has sparked a discussion of how and whether scientists should step in …

Health assessments planned for two ailing orcas

Southern Resident Killer Whales. Photo: NOAA

By Christopher Dunagan Killer whale experts who are not employed by the federal government are preparing to assess the health conditions of two Southern Resident orcas that appear malnourished and may be dying. Any decisions regarding potential medical treatment would be made later. During a conference call on Tuesday, marine mammal biologists, veterinarians and other …

Debate over water quality standards takes a new turn

Toxic pollution accumulates in Puget Sound's salmon, spurring debate over recommended fish consumption rates. Chinook salmon fillets photographed by pui wong {as*q}. Cerative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

Many people thought the issue of regulating toxic chemical discharges into Puget Sound was settled when the federal government forced Washington state to use stricter criteria, but the debate may be underway once again. By Christopher Dunagan An unlikely disagreement between state and federal authorities over water-quality standards has flared up again. Two years ago, …

Orca task force releases recommendations

Southern resident killer whale breaching. Image courtesy of NOAA

By Jeff Rice The governor’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force released its final report and recommendations today, focusing on three key threats to Puget Sound’s endangered orcas: Lack of food, disturbance from noise and vessel traffic, and toxic contaminants. In all, the report makes 36 recommendations for recovering the fast-declining orca population, which now stands at …