LETTER: Need to focus on real sources of local pollution

I was pleased to see the May 27 letter “Continues to plan” stating that — despite setbacks — the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe would continue efforts to resurrect oyster farming.

I’d caution the tribe about believing Dungeness Bay was/is polluted due to “up-river development.”

If water cleanup ignores the population explosion of seals in the Dungeness/Protection Island region, little improvement will be realized.

Since the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the harbor seal population in Puget Sound has increased from a few dozen to 210,000 to 355,000, according to media reports.

That’s a lot of feces, not to mention other mammals and two bird refuges.

I recently attended an open house at the Dungeness Schoolhouse concerning shellfish closures from high fecal coliform in local waters.

Sources identified were “sewer systems, agriculture and pet waste.”

When I asked about fecal contribution from seals, panelists said they “hadn’t thought about that.”

Recent studies blame population explosions of marine mammals in the Salish Sea for continuing declines of our salmon runs.

Seals and sea lions consume “six times the number of fish as tribal, commercial and recreational fishers combined.” (“Study says predators may play major role in chinook salmon declines” in Encyclopedia of the Puget Sound, https://www.eopugetsound.org).

That doesn’t even include the predation of fish (and their baitfish) by other mammals, birds and other fish.

Yet, tribes and state Department of Fish and Wildlife continue to turn a blind eye to predation of our salmon and steelhead.

Despite little evidence that millions spent building habitat has made a positive difference, most efforts continue down that road.

Seems there’s an elephant in the room greatly contributing to pollution, sportfish and baitfish problems that everyone ignores.

Unless population explosions of mammals and predator birds (particularly cormorants/mergansers) are addressed, these problems will not be reversed.

Darryl Sanford,


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