The Tulalip Tribes have partnered with other members of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project (SSMSP; see www.marinesurvivalproject.com). The SSMSP is a comprehensive US-Canada joint monitoring and research effort involving 60+ participating agencies and entities involved with fishery resource management, monitoring, and research in the Salish Sea charged with understanding what is causing the salmon and steelhead survival problems in Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Hood Canal.
Fish and plankton survival monitoring were identified as the primary, essential “core” monitoring gaps needing to be filled when more than 90 scientists, convened at the beginning of the SSMSP, determined that the leading hypothesis for the decline in Salish Sea-origin juvenile Chinook and coho marine survival since the 1980s is a lack of food availability due to changes in the physical environment from large-scale effects (e.g. climate change) and regional inputs (e.g., pollution, etc.).
We are confident that our collaborative monitoring and research program is the exact approach needed at the right time to get to the bottom of the problems we are having in Puget Sound affecting our salmon and steelhead as well as the Tribes’ signature species, the orca whale, and all of the species below it in the food chain down to plankton at its basis, and all the way upwards, affecting our crab, forage fish, seabirds, marine mammals, and many other species. Understanding the effects of climate change and local pollution on these resources is essential to protecting our natural resources and the Tribes’ Treaty Rights that depend on them.