Thursday, January 15, 2009
JUST IN FROM THE SEATTLE PI
Study: Sound orcas eat more toxic salmon
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
A new study suggests that Puget Sound killer whales appear to be more contaminated than northern orcas because they're eating salmon that is more toxic.
Researchers measuring the presence of toxic chemicals in chinook salmon, a prime food for the whales, found higher levels in salmon from Puget Sound than from British Columbia waters.
Canadian and Washington scientists found that chinook from Puget Sound had lower fat content and were less nutritious than salmon tested farther north.
Researchers think the low fat content could cause Puget Sound orcas to eat 50 percent more salmon, leading to more toxic exposure.
The researchers tested adult salmon and smolts from the Duwamish River in Seattle and the Tumwater Falls Hatchery on the Deschutes River near Olympia.
They also tested salmon from the Johnstone Strait and the mouth of the Fraser River in British Columbia.