Whales, Dolphins, Salmon and Dams – Great News!

The best “feel good” item told about the successful response to the entanglement of an Arabian Sea humpback whale.

Just when I start becoming very discouraged about the total lack of interest regarding whales and ocean health in general since Covid has reared its ugly face, I seem to receive heart-warming communications. It’s always enough to enliven me for days if not weeks to come.

Just yesterday I received a truly nice, hand-written thank you note from Joseph Bogaard of the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition located in Washington State. I do my best to help support this and other northwest groups engaged in the fight to save wild salmon…and “wild whales”…and to restore the sad captive ones back to freedom. Receiving Joseph’s note when I did was a terrific boon to my flagging hopes of relocating once again to the Pacific Northwest where I lived for over 50 years. (Yes, I know. I can hardly believe I’m that old!) Joseph and the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition were early joiners of our JUST ONE THING Alliance. Then, like magic, a message from our realtor followed today suggesting an offer for our home might soon be in the works.

There’s more: to top things off, I received communication from the International Whaling Commission today with updates on whale related topics of interest.

Photo of Elwa Dam by Seattle Times

As for the wild salmon issue, since Washington State has torn  down a few dams (and have more dams on the drawing board for destruction) salmon miraculously seem to be showing up, navigating the now free-flowing rivers long blocked off. And in the not too distant future, Oregon and California have agreed to tear down some dams that will also help promote salmon restoration along with Native American rites.

Photo by John Boyd

As for the IWC, their work is so incredibly important. For example, in September (2020) the Conservation Committee met (virtually) to discuss the management plan for South American river dolphins as well as a plan to mitigate measures regarding bycatch of cetaceans. Many seabirds, turtles and sharks are subject to being caught in fishing nets and traps. There is now growing awareness and concern to protect marine mammals. “Measures for reducing bycatch include spatial closures, the use of acoustic deterrents or alerting devices, modifications to fishing gear, and changes in fishing operations” along with “awareness-raising.” I think sometimes devastation ecological things happen  because people are simply not aware that what they are doing is deadly for whales, fish, and other sea creatures..

Finally, the best “feel good” item told about the successful response to the entanglement of an Arabian Sea humpback whale. Many groups came together (the Oman Environmental Authority, Five Oceans Environmental Services, LLC and Future Seas Global SPC) to free a humpback whale from entanglement in a gill net. (IMO net fisheries absolutely must be abolished.) This particular humpback species is in extreme danger of extinction, largely due to ship strikes, fishing bycatch, and other threats.

So, I’ve had happy, inspiring news, and I’m also still covid-free. Who can ask for more nowadays?

Time for an About-Face for Shirking

The main interest I’ve (we’ve) maintained throughout all the covid stress and election drama has been a continual attention to the health of the ocean, nature, and especially whales. There are some bright spots here:

I declare I do think some people have minds like traps…something gets in it and it doesn’t go away. Once again I’ve been caught.

Here’s some facts I’ve been called on:

In September I declared I would row 500 miles before the end of the year. Didn’t quite get there – actually I was a long way from 500 miles. Try 189. Well, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak! Besides, the north ramp at Lake Pleasant was closed and that is the BEST, most scenic area for rowing, kayaking, and swimming.

And I’ve been asked where JOT has disappeared to and what’s going on with it…It’s been so long since I’ve talked about JOT (Just One Thing) that I’m embarrassed to say I’ve done little to nothing in recent months. I think the pandemic wore me out. I was too busy reading Fox News and the New York Times email articles to pay attention to much else.

For those with short memories, JOT (Just One Thing) is a grassroots alliance encouraging people to forego one single-use plastic item to help with plastic pollution and wastage. There are a number of people who have signed up to participate in the JOT movement, however, but I’ve failed to do much communication since I failed to keep their email addresses. Again…likely a pandemic fault. However, JOT is alive and well and will be energized again…Care to join? Send me your name and I’ll add you to our list. No fees or dues or donations ever. Just a commitment on your part to yourself.

The main interest I’ve (we’ve) maintained throughout all the covid stress and election drama has been a continual attention to the health of the ocean, nature, and especially whales. There are some bright spots here:

A new pod of Blue Whales has been discovered in the Indian Ocean. In addition, Blue Whales are once again being detected in the Georgia Island area (north of Antarctica) after 50-years of absence. These whales were hunted almost to the very brink of extinction by money-driven cretins. (Please don’t tell the Japanese or the Norwegians since they have a penchant for slaughtering whales.)

And, there have been numerous sightings of the northwest’s Southern Resident pod of orcas this fall and winter…likely this is because there are far fewer boaters plowing through the waters disturbing them.

So…I’m seriously back to work even though I don’t plan to publish anything this year. Despite having become a bit of a hermit, I aim to live with gratitude and enthusiasm. No more shirking, procrastinating, and negativity. I’m tired of that.

 Besides promoting JOT and trying to sell books, I’ll  be blogging about the NRDC and their successes in sustaining the environment (like helping defeat the Pebble  mine in Bristol Bay), along with the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and their efforts to revive wild salmon stocks (yes, more bridges are now being torn down), as well as other marine and nature organizations issues (like closing Marine World and getting those poor whales out of swimming pools!). I’ll be heading to Washington State in February for a month of resuscitation. I know I’ll come back fired up – and probably be yearning to move north…again. 

Check out Saving Our Oceans or any of our other scintillating titles!

Where Are the Whales? Where are the Salmon?

It’s painfully simple: between dams, climate change,  an over abundance of seals, and the fishing industry, there are basically no Chinook Salmon this year for the Southern Resident Pod of Orcas.

1d0cc-orca2bphoto   The highly-loved Southern Resident Pod of Orcas apparently may not be calling the Salish Sea (specifically the Puget Sound area) home anymore it seems. Their lack of prompt appearance last summer couldn’t be denied and caused some consternation. The whales showed up late and left quickly, spending most of their time on the outer coast of Vancouver Island. Instead, transient orcas from the northern reaches of the Inside Passage were more often seen. The transient pod dines more on seals which are plentiful in the area.

So what gives? It’s painfully simple: between dams, climate change,  an over abundance of seals, and the fishing industry, there are basically no Chinook Salmon this year, and Chinook are the Southern Resident Pod’s main, preferred, and greatly needed food.

If one wants to play the blame game, point first to the Lower Snake River dams  and Governor Inslee’s inability, and unwillingness, to take affirmative action in removing these dams despite that action being the most voted on as high priority by concerned citizens. The Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, spearheaded by Joseph Bogaard, puts the removal of dams as an extremely high priority for saving wild salmon runs.

Indeed, even Oregon’s Bonneville Dam is a disaster for the salmon runs, which use to number in the thousands. Allowing a bit of extra water spill to “cool” the river doesn’t cut it.

Besides blaming the dams, there is no doubt that climate change has taken its toll on the Chinook, and no matter how one feels about it, climate change can no longer be denied. The Fraser River is very low (due to water withdrawal for agriculture) and it’s now too warm. The test fishery didn’t catch any Chinook in May, and only three in June. Hundreds used to be caught.

Finally, and not often considered, is the massive number of fish (including salmon) that seals and sea lions eat. Since these pinnipeds became “protected” some years ago, their numbers have exploded, and they all have healthy appetites.

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Of course there is the never-ending issue of plastic and chemical pollution and sewage spills that can sicken and kill all aquatic life, including whales.

Do not overlook the impact of sport and commercial fishing ventures. Ship strikes and a plethora of boaters may also be contributing factors to the whales’ demise.

The Southern Resident Pod has lived in the Puget Sound area for thousands of years. Their numbers diminished greatly decades ago, however, because of the rampant brutal  capture and sale of these magnificent creatures by uncaring, greedy, self-serving owners of  aquatic parks that tragically decimated their numbers. (Obviously, they did not believe in the Rights of Nature.) Few captured whales live beyond 30 years of age due to abuse and the stress of being held captive in a swimming pool. In their natural habitat these whales can live as long as 90 years.

One can only hope, and pray, that these much-loved whales, in their quest for food, will avoid the rapacious Japanese and Norwegian whale hunters.

dead whales copy
Wanton slaughter of whales

Great Year for Moonlight Mesa Nonfiction Titles & Superb Response to JOT

JUST1THING E2      The response to JUST ONE THING has been nothing short of encouraging, according to publisher and JUST ONE THING organizer, Becky Coffield. Although off to a slow start due to the home and business relocation of both Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc. and the publisher, the response to date has exceeded Coffield’s expectations.

For starters, the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition has enthusiastically endorsed the JUST ONE THING alliance. “The Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition has got to be one of my favorite organizations,” Coffield recently said. “Joseph Bogaard and his staff are so responsive, supportive and positive. They were quick to endorse our informational/inspirational publication last year, Saving Our Oceans, which has generated funds that we’ve in turn donated to the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and to the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor.”

Coffield went on to add that “The Whale Museum is another organization that has been outstandingly supportive of not only our publication, Saving Our Oceans, but they also have wholeheartedly embraced the JUST ONE THING alliance. It’s a very rewarding feeling to have organizations like these support the alliance.”

Moonlight Mesa already has an alliance with the Ocean Foundation and the Plastic Pollution Coalition. “We’re hoping that we actually get a response from the Inland Ocean Coalition this time around,” Coffield said. “More than just coastal communities and organizations need to come on board for this to be really successful. What we are getting is terrific, but there’s plastic pollution everywhere…not just in coastal regions.”

In addition to organizations, so many individuals have praised the idea and let us know via email or personal encounters. “We’re very enthused and excited to get the ball rolling on this endeavor,” Coffield said. “Now that we’re mostly settled in our new location, we hope to send the message out and recruit more organizations and individuals to the cause.”

And, JUST ONE THING has its prototype t-shirt. “The funds from any shirts we sell will be donated. More than selling shirts, though, our goal is to just get the word out and encourage participation in the alliance.”

2019 PUBLICATION WRAP UP

9780977459391.MAIN. Once again nonfiction dominated Moonlight Mesa’s overall sales this past year. Although Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride and A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule  battled it out for best seller, the honor this year goes to Rusty Richards’ Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride by a small margin. “Richards’ book is going to sell forever, I think,” Coffield said. “It’s a classic in the true sense. Part of its exceptional staying-ability is that it’s available as a trade paperback and an ebook also.”

A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule came in second for sales which is very interesting rebaandbeckyconsidering the book is simply a guideline about buying and owning mules. “I’m a bit surprised at the interest in mules, I guess,” Coffield said. “They are fantastic animals, but not for everyone, that’s for sure. I have one and absolutely love her, but there are days… I’m very pleased to see the interest in mule-information.”

In third place for sales was C.L. “Lee” Anderson’s Developing the Art of Equine equine_comm2Communication. “I didn’t think Lee could possibly come up with another book as helpful and informative as this one, but he surely did,” Coffield said. “We released Lee’s second book, The View from My Old Saddle, in January this year.”

SGA Cover      Fourth place is J.R. Sanders’ riveting Some Gave All. “I know if we can get this book into ebook format without having to delete most of the artwork and photos it will really take off,” Coffield said. “This book is absolutely fabulous.”

 

Saving Our Oceans placed fifth for nonfiction. “I was more than disappointed in this result,” Coffield said, “but it’s probably to be expected considering the topic and the fact that many in Arizona seem to be a bit detached and indifferent to these issues. Our work is cut out for us.”

Desturnell Mexico.tif

Jere D. James, usually a top-selling fiction author, has seen a decline in sales. Jere stopped writing westerns and sales declined when no new titles were forthcoming. The author had a fairly large following who were always anxious to buy the next book in the series. (Cover photo of the 5th book in the Jake Silver Adventure Series.)

 

NO PUBLICATIONS IN 2020

Coffield announced there would be no new publications scheduled in 2020. “We have too much work to do with Saving Our Oceans and the JUST ONE THING alliance. We also have Lee’s new title to get established in the market place. Plus, we’re looking at a new cover for Sanders’ The Littlest Wrangler. And if time permits, we’d like to take a look at Some Gave All  and see how we can get it into an ebook. We’ll be busy.”