Kamchatka Connection to Poor Steelhead Runs?

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Greenpeace posted satellite images of the Khalaktyrka River flowing into the ocean.

Kozelsky Landfill
The following three paragraphs were copied from Russia Beyond
*I have tried to keep everything in context as much as possible using Google Translator.

"Suspicion also fell on the Kozelsk pesticide landfill, especially after Greenpeace posted satellite images of the Khalaktyrka River flowing into the ocean, showing that the river turned a sickly yellow color a month ago on Sept. 9. This landfill is located on the bank of a tributary of the Nalycheva River, on the other side of the beach. Almost no information about it is available from open sources, except that it is used for storing tons of toxic waste (at least 20 tons of arsenic, plus a large amount of mercury).

According to local media, there have already been leaks from buried pesticides. Regional agronomist Anatoly Fedorchenko said in 2006 thatthis amount [20 tons of arsenic] is enough to poison the entire northern Pacific Ocean.” Although the landfill was mothballed in 2010, additional checks are now due to be carried out.

“I was surprised to learn today that [the Kozelsky landfill] is not within the jurisdiction of any government body. We will correct this and assign a legal status so as to establish who is responsible for it,” said Vladimir Solodov in a broadcast on Instagram on Oct. 5. Solodov’s ill-informedness is partially excusable given that he became acting governor only on April 3, 2020, having moved from Yakutia, and assumed the governor’s office on Sept. 21."

"I travelled to Kamchatka in 1993 and fell in love with its superb fishing and its hospitable people. The tour company invited several of our group on a side trip to explore some untapped fisheries, and we flew many hundreds of miles in an MI8 helicopter with me sitting on the main instrument panel in the plexiglass nose of the aircraft. No roads, powerlines, buildings or people were observed, only pristine landscape. The trip was like a time warp back to 6,000 B.C. Or so I thought. 

A week ago I was doing some online research on Kamchatka which brought me to the lead picture in this blog. I soon learned that the first chemical dump at Kazlosky may have been in operation in 1975 and was possibly having problems from the beginning. This was not in an area that we flew over, but often things are not always as they seem.  As soon as I read about the chemical leak possibly containing enough arsenic to wipe out the entire north Pacific it turned on all my warning lights. A certain amount of our steelhead migrate to an area not far from Kamchatka." MB 

The map above shows where steelhead are concentrated to feed in the Northern Pacific Ocean. The yellow coloring is a hypothetical plume of pesticides originating at the Kozllosky Land Fill. Without knowing the volume of chemicals, length of time the leak occurred, how many times it has occurred, speed and direction of currents, it is impossible to know if the parts of the map that I have added are realistic.  It may be even worse than what is portrayed, or nothing at all. 

I get all kinds of fishing questions.

A friend asked, "How come the rivers south of the Umpqua are having great steelhead fishing, and the Umpqua and the rivers north of there aren't?"

My reply. "All the out-migrating fish from the Rogue and Klamath Rivers apparently turn south, and the Umpqua and Columbia River fish turn north. But that doesn't make sense during global warming, fish that migrate north should have an easier time if water temperatures are critical to their survival."

Another friend recounted that he and two buddies went off the Oregon Coast in one buddy's boat and between the three of them they hooked 27 Coho in a short day of fishing.

Another friend returned from BC after experiencing the worst steelhead fishing ever and asked, "Why are steelhead runs in such decline and yet this year's Coho runs have been average or better?" 

So far the Clackamas River has got 9,400 Coho to the sorting station at North Fork Dam; 6,600 in September.

Maybe our Cohos don't migrate to the coast of Kamchatka?

This article is not meant to be a statement. I am not a scientist, nor do I get paid to do Ocean investigation or manage fish. Nor has anyone who is paid to do so answered any of my phone calls. But, I will stir this pot until the answers come to the surface.  I think it is important. MB

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