Silly season has begun already. Tourists. Fishers. Kayakers. The first of the ‘seasonals’ are upon us. Bit early, this year. Usually it gets going sometime in May (long weekend-ish) but with such a mild spring, they are out and buzzing around already.
Over-wintering sun-birds have returned. Summer neighbours are in touch – making plans. That’s all good.
But things have changed in one short half-year.
The star-fish or sea-stars on our coast have been devastated by some kind of wasting-away disease and they are the main consumers of small urchins. So, absent the stars, urchins are in full bloom. So now, many more sea-birds are on the beach having uni (sushi term) for lunch.
DFO mismanaged the prawn fishery in the usually ignorant and catastrophic way they have with all the fisherys (despite being given information that would have saved it) and so our prawn season is already a bust. Just before the commercial pillage begins, the prawning is usually good. It is a two week window before the pros 600-odd trap lines go down and we can usually get ten or so pounds for our year before they hoover up their allotted tons. But neither of us are likely to get lucky this year. The prawns just ain’t there. It may be the oddness of climate change. It may be over-fishing. It may be any number of things but we have more too-small-to-eat urchins, less juicy fat prawns this year.
Fid warded off the advances of an otter wanting to squat on our little point for a few days in a row. That is good. Otters tend to stink up a place. I love seeing them but, preferably, down the coast a mile or so is just fine. Haven’t seen too many seals.
Come to think of it, Fid chased off a mink that was trying to set up a homestead under the house a week or so ago, too. He’s been good this spring although the squirrel definitely has Fid’s number. The squirrel is simply too much for Fid. Too hard to see, too small to catch and simply not afraid of silly old Fid. Fid only has bluster, hardly any bark and no bite (unless you are a human male over 16 in which case your butt is up for bites!)
Ravens are gone again. Eagles are in. Spotted a nesting pair of Canada Geese. Fewer seagulls than ever before. Fewer herons, too. Way fewer hummingbirds but it is not quite the season for them – not yet.
I saw a big black fin-less leathery tube-like creature the other day. I just caught a glimpse of a rolling black body that was whale-like but without any fins or markings or even any splashing. Not a clue what it was but it was the size of a sea lion with the surface appearance of a whale. Could have been a Minke but even they make more noise and splashing plus they have small fins. No idea.
But it all adds up to the season beginning. More life showing up for the summer. It’s simply the way it is. I like it. And I like it when they all leave, too. The dead of winter can be peaceful. We don’t usually opt to stay for the deadest part but we have been here year ’round a few times and know well the dark days, the short days, the days seemingly without sun. They can be bleak but they can also be private, peaceful and primitive in a hunker-down and hibernate kind of way.
Variety is the spice, eh?
What has been the effect of global warming in you area? Perhaps some seldom seen marine animals are transiting in you are.
I don’t really know. I ‘sense’ a change but I cannot define it. Fewer birds for sure. Less prawns – I think – we don’t really know because we took so few but it just seems like they are harder to collect. That kind of thing……ambiguous…vague…
Went out yesterday. Zero prawns from 6 traps. My neighburs went out, too. Even more licenses, even more traps. Zero for them as well. This is BEFORE the season officially opens to the commercial guys. When they come, they will drop hundreds of traps and try for a few days before giving up. But those few days with hundreds of traps will devastate the remaining fishery and we have told DFO that very message for the last four years. They couldn’t care less. “When the prawns are gone in one area, the commercial guys just move on.” Some management. Some stewardship.
And THAT is what DFO actually said ON THE PHONE!!
THAT is also what the goat-herders said in the middle east hundreds of years before when there WAS a fertile crescent. Now? Desert.
It’s all about harvesting the bounty of the sea with little regard for the future of the stocks. The Newfoundland cod fishery was devastated by over fishing and many boats from the East Coast are now operating here in BC. The future of our stocks is in question.
I don’t think there is much question, really. The seas are taking a beating and it is showing up. Even here. Maybe, especially here. I have seen the dead sections of the Med (the Nazis fished with dynamite during WW2) and I have seen ‘wounded’ areas around Hong Kong. Japan and Korea can’t be great. Can you imagine the coasts of India? And we all know about the Great Lakes. If it goes on, they are dead seas.
Story on the news a few weeks back. There are 30% less seagulls now than in the 1960’s….
And songbirds are in a similar decline. 30 – 40% less of almost all North American songbirds since the 1960’s. Pollution, cats, destruction of habitat, on and on and on.
As Louis Armstrong sang in the 60’s.
THAT is really bad news. But I ‘sensed it’…there used to be flocks of gulls following the BC ferry. Now, not so much. They used to be on every dock. Now: NONE. But we have a dozen or so around here. Not like it used to be. Here’s another – way, way less sea weed. WAY less.
They say it is minimal in it’s effects. But we know they always lie. Ergo, it is either REALLY minimal or really bad. I don’t know which. I do know that Sally has started to glow in the dark but…………?
Here come the jelly fish!
They came! Two or three years ago, the area was awash in jellies. But that seems to be over. Haven’t seen but a few. Tht is why it is so hard to figure – just when you think something is gone, it returns. When there are way too many, they are gone by the next year. Stable, it ain’t.
Im going to be heading back East this Sping for amy annual Lobster Fishing pillgrimage. I help ( at least thats what I THINK I’m doing) my Uncle for a few weeks to bait and haul traps. Dirty, smelly, dangerous …but fun all the same.
Anywho, He’s worried about the extreme winter weather they have had.
Last year, there were record catches. Everyone was hauling in so much lobster the buyers would reach their limit and leave the dock. Boats were forced to tie their 100lb lobster tubs together in rows offshore until the next days purchase. Hadnt seen anything like it in years.
This years its been so cold and the ocean ice/snow is thick and extends for miles offshore they are worried the lobster wont start moving til almost the end of June.
The fishing “seasons” are regulated by DFO man and his calender. We’ve had the opposite on the West coast. A very mild winter. I wonder if the prawns have already moved on. The fish move when they want to move………
You could be right. Last year salmon fishing was good! And now Vancouver Island has a ‘problem’ with too many deer. Is everything out of whack or is this the way it has always been? I don’t know. I do KNOW when my front yard changes and that is about the extent of it. Having said that, every year SOMETHING changes. One year we had cowbirds up the wazoo. Other years we are ‘missing’ the butterflies and bees. I just don’t know about prawns except when fishing for ’em and that is a very intense look for four or five days – NOT much to go on.