OUTDOORS: International expedition leaves Port Angeles to study salmon in North Pacific Ocean

Collaborative effort includes U.S., Canada, Russia, South Korea

A ship that left Port Angeles on Monday will spend more than a month researching what salmon are up to and what pressures they face while spending winter in the North Pacific Ocean.

Research scientists with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration were picked up in Port Angeles this week on the NOAA Bell M. Shimada.

They are part of the 2022 Pan-Pacific Winter High Seas Expedition, considered the largest pan-Pacific research expedition to study the winter ecology of salmon in the North Pacific.

The collaborative effort will send out four ships with research scientists from the U.S., Canada, South Korea and Russia with a goal of figuring out salmon habitat.

“The goal is really trying to understand oceanic salmon habitats,” the expedition’s chief scientist Lauire Weitkamp said. “We know a lot about salmon when they’re in our coastal ocean, but we don’t know very much at all about when they leave.”

Scientists want to understand how extreme climate variability in the North Pacific Ocean and the associated changes in the physical environment influence the abundance, distribution, migration, growth, fitness and survival of Pacific salmon and surrounding species.

The 2022 expedition will involve a full ecosystem survey with pelagic trawling and detailed sampling of marine life in the upper ocean and will include research on physical, biological and chemical oceanography.

There will also be a gillnet vessel deployed in the Gulf of Alaska, alongside commercial fishing trawlers, to test the catch efficiency of different gear types.

Research vessels are being live tracked at www.yearofthesalmon.org/2022expedition.

Big weekend events

Outdoors and boating enthusiasts have some options in Puyallup and Seattle this weekend.

The Washington Sportsmen’s Show runs through Sunday at the fairgrounds in Puyallup.

Today is “Elk Day” with numerous seminars related to the ungulate.

Adult tickets are $15, $5 for kids ages 6 to 16.

Hours are noon to 8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Presentations on Northwest fishing, crabbing, squiding and boating will be offered at the Seattle Boat Show, held at Lumen Field and Bell Harbor Marina, with a free shuttle bus between the sites.

The Seattle Boat Show will run today through Feb. 12 with 300 exhibitors and 800-plus boats on display.

Tickets are $18 for adults, while kids younger than 17 are free.

Attendees must confirm proof of vaccination or show a negative COVID test within the last 72 hours at each event.

Free testing will be available at the Puyallup show for those with tickets, while rapid tests can be administered at the west entrance to the boat show for $69. Masks are required at both.

State Parks survey

The State Parks system is interested in hearing the personal opinions, memories and stories from the 100-plus year history of our state parks.

State Parks officials say the information gathered will help the agency understand how it is connecting with today’s values and map where it is headed next

Camp host sought

A camp host for Oak Bay County Park is sought by Jefferson County Parks and Recreation.

Caretaker hosts live on site from April 1 through Oct. 31 and provide 13 hours of monitoring and light maintenance per week. A campsite is provided for the camp host with power, trash service and water.

For more information, visit www.countyrec.com or call Matt Tyler at 360-385-9129.

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