Monthly Archives: January 2011

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Thingy Thursday: Suitable for a plate but has no place in the Salish Sea

Thanks to Jim Aho of Illahee for sharing a report of an Atlantic or Maine lobster caught from the community dock. It’s third hand information, but wouldn’t be the first time an Atlantic lobster has been found in the Puget Sound – 1999, 2008. The 2008 discovery lead to some interesting exchanges between divers who liked the idea of seeing something unusual on their dives, and those who understood the risk non-native species pose.

People with good intentions buy and release lobsters. Someone even wrote about their dilemma to buy and release lobsters and in the end how they did the right thing. But the fact that someone is putting that much thought into it means that it’s on the minds of many. The presence of lobsters in the our marine waters clearly shows that some follow through with their thoughts. Maybe well intentioned, but a horribly dangerous habit to get into.

Releasing one may help that individual live a little longer, but just one can cause direct harm by eating and out-competing our native species (they’re opportunists eating fish, crabs, clams, mussels, sea urchins…) and can have even greater impact by spreading disease. I don’t know if conditions are suitable here for lobsters to successfully reproduce, but it’s just not worth the risk.

Should you ever find an Atlantic/Maine lobster, please snap a photo and send a message with location and date to me (jaws@uw.edu) and/or to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator, or call 877-9-INFEST. We may just continue to catch these odd individuals here and there, but should we start to see reports clustered in an area, this may be a species we would have a chance to eradicate. Thanks for keeping your eyes peeled and reporting the unusual! JEff

Jeff Adams is a Washington Sea Grant Marine Water Quality Specialist, affiliated with the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, and based in Bremerton. You can follow his Sea Life blog, email to jaws@uw.edu or call at 360-337-4619.

Just outside the beam

The ochre star (Pisaster ochraceus) is sometimes called the purple sea star and is probably what comes to mind for most of us in the Puget Sound when we hear "starfish". Photo: Jeff Adams

A couple weeks in but happy new year! Every year, I enjoy new shoreline experiences and marvel at all there is to know and all that is unknown. 2010′s treasures were a couple octopus. I wonder what this year will bring?

I wanted to write a short note to  draw your attention to a pair of upcoming (this Saturday!) beach walks and share a couple images from January beach walks past.

Please join the Kitsap Beach Naturalists at one of two locations Saturday (January 15) evening from 7:30-8:30pm (click here for flier). Dress appropriately and bring some form of portable light.

Bainbridge Island, ferry dock – meet @ BI Senior Community Center on Brien Drive

Bremerton, Evergreen Park - meet at the park boat ramp

Our final winter beach walk for the season will be February 15, 7:30-8:30pm at the Manchester boat launch. We’ll meet at the library and head down to the beach from there.

Sunflower star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) cruising the beach on water powered tube feet. Photo: Jeff Adams

I always rave about how fun and fascinating these events are. Winter minus tides are pretty smooth sailing for intertidal organisms – no sun, no heat, no light (for predators), little activity on the water and beach. With waves and cold as their biggest concerns, they’re generally just care free chilling until the tide returns.

For the next week, we’ll have good low tides between 6:pm and midnight (the low gets progressively later each night) so take an evening stroll on the beach whenever you get the chance. Don’t forget to go slow, look around and enjoy the nightlife. You never know what lies just outside your beam.

Jeff Adams is a Washington Sea Grant Marine Water Quality Specialist, affiliated with the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, and based in Bremerton. You can follow his Sea Life blog, email to jaws@uw.edu or call at 360-337-4619.