I'm in Boise this week for the Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting and the northern party boats are talking about whales. With salmon fishing closed and pacific rockfish limits low, whale-watching trips are the fleet's new bread and butter. And this year, word is the whales are plentiful -- humpbacks and blues close to shore, moms and babies. One captain told me he sees krill washed up on the beaches of Half Moon Bay.
I was a little suprised by all the cold water talk, since Southern California fishermen are having a banner tuna year, which means warm currents within a few miles of the coast. But, NOAA Fisheries's scientists are reporting strong cold-water currents off the Oregon coast, full of tasty copepods. That's good news for the millions of young salmon out foraging the sea right now. If there's water in the rivers in 2010, we should see a strong salmon return.
This August 31st sea surface temperature image shows the nice cooler water (green) pushing down the coast, with a little warm yellow wedge sneaking back up to shore around San Diego. Looks like the yellowfin tuna guys might have a few more good weeks as well.