Conference snapshot: The number of species of concern in the Salish Sea is growing steadily
The number of species of concern in the Salish Sea is growing at an average annual rate of 2.6%, according to a report published in the proceedings of the 2016 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver, B.C.
The report, released by the SeaDoc Society identifies 12 new species of concern since 2013. These include three invertebrates, two fish and seven species of birds. SeaDoc has been compiling the list since 2008, and it has grown steadily since that time.
"While it is a crude indicator of ecosystem health," the authors Joe Gaydos and Jacqlynn Zier write, "the increasing number of species of concern within the Salish Sea that we have identified since 2002 suggests ecosystem recovery efforts are being outpaced by ecosystem decay."
The list includes species that were designated by different jurisdictions within the United States and Canada as warranting "special attention to ensure their conservation," according to the paper. These include categorizations such as endangered or threatened. Not all species are listed in both Canada and the U.S.
The newly listed species include the Edward's beach (Anarta eedwardsii) and sandverbena (Copablepharon fuscum) moths, the gooseneck barnacle (Pollicepes polymerus), the Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) and the longfin smelt (Spirinchus thaleichthys). Birds included the black scoter (Melanitta americana), black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla), long-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus), eared grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), parasitic jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus), pectoral sandpiper (Caldris melanotos), and semipalmated sandpiper (Caldris pusilla).
While there was a net increase in species of concern, five species were removed from the previously published list. These included the Pacific Ocean perch (Sebastes alutus) the Puget Sound/Strait of Georgia population of coho salmon (Oncorrhynchus kisutch), the belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon), cackling goose (Branta hutchinsii), and the snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus).