Tag Archive: salmon


The reference to “combat fishing” in the Cyanotic Salmon Bar & Grill posting from August got me to thinking that there should be an award for those who have survived the experience. So, using the U.S. Army Combat Infantryman Badge, awarded to soldiers who have been in active ground combat, as a guide I have devised the Alaska Combat Fisherman Badge.

us army combat infantryman badge

U.S. Army Combat Infantryman Badge

Click on image for full-size view.

an alaska combat fisherman badge based on the us army combat infantryman badge

The Alaska Combat Fisherman Badge

You can see the similarity between the two. The dark blue color of Alaska’s flag replaces the light blue of the military award and I have substituted conifer branches for the elliptical oak wreath.  A Sockeye Salmon, in spawning red coloration, on a dark blue background, over a conifer branch wreath. The fish is a male Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in the red color it assumes for spawning.

I also worked up a green and black, embroidered “subdued” version as you would see on combat clothing.

a black and green, "subdued" embroidered varsion of the alaska combat fisherman badge

Subdued Alaska Combat Fisherman Badge

Honor the soldiers who have fought for our freedom.

Always remember that salmon runs are threatened in many places by mining, pollution, dams and other problems. Managed properly, salmon can feed humans for millions of years; long after dams have collapsed, long after mines have been depleted. Do what you can to help preserve them and never, never, never buy farmed salmon.

As usual, these images, and a couple of variations, are available on many items at my Zazzle store.

Cyanotic Salmon

I put my kayak, the Cyanotic Salmon (it’s blue; it “swims” up rivers), in the water as often as possible. In my opinion Cyanotic Salmon would be a great name for a tavern or rock band. Lo and behold, I found a family-oriented, though non-existent, Cyanotic Salmon Bar & Grill in Kenai, Alaska.

Sockeyes assume the familiar red coloration before spawning. They are commonly called red salmon and are sometimes referred to as bluebacks, as they have a bluish tint while living in the ocean, which fits with the blue-toned fish below. There are landlocked populations of Sockeye, known as Kokanee, in the western parts of the United States and Canada.

Click on image for full size view.

the mythical cyanotic salmon bar & grill in kenai, alaska

The Cyanotic Salmon Bar & Grill

You may have noticed the line about combat fishing rest and relaxation. Salmon fishing is extremely popular in Alaska, too popular. Thousands of anglers, almost shoulder to shoulder, line both banks of the salmon streams, each trying to catch a big fish while trying to keep his line from tangling with those of everyone else. Tempers can flare.

This is what combat fishing looks like:

combat fishing in alaska

Combat Fishing In Alaska

And, lastly, this is my little blue boat, the original Cyanotic Salmon:

my blue kayak dubbed the cyanotic salmon

The Original Cyanotic Salmon

The Evolution Of The Kodiak Bear

All bears are impressive; the largest of them all the Kodiak Bear, especially so.

Click on image for full-size view.

kodiak bear

Kodiak Bear

The Kodiak Bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi), a subspecies of the brown, or grizzly, bear are the world’s largest bears. A full grown male can be over ten feet tall when upright on his hind legs and weigh over 1500 pounds – truly a sight to behold. One bear in the Bismarck, North Dakota zoo was estimated to have weighed as much as 2400 pounds.
The bears live on the islands of Alaska’s Kodiak Archipelago. Today there are approximately 3500 Kodiak bears and their numbers are increasing due to the generally excellent condition of their habitat including sufficient fist to eat. They are called “takuka-aq” in Alutiiq, the language of the people’s native to that area. The bears are believed to have been isolated there since toward the end of the last Ice Age over 12,000 years ago.
Though they are the largest terrestrial carnivore their diet includes large amounts of grass, other plants and berries. Today there are approximately 3500 Kodiak bears and their numbers are increasing due to the generally excellent condition of their habitat including sufficient fish to eat. Due to the abundance of food resources Kodiak bears have smaller home ranges than any other brown bears and have no need to defend territories.
The Alutiiq people hunted bears for food, clothing and tools. Arrows, spears, and a great deal of courage were required hunting equipment. Bear heads were usually left in the field as a sign of respect to the spirit of the bears.

I thought it was time for Alaska to issue another postage stamp:

Click on image for full-size view.

8-nugget alaska kodiak bear postage stamp

8-Nugget Kodiak Bear Stamp

Some people like to collect antique, aka vintage, printed advertising and labels from canned meat and produce. Labels can be had for from less than a dollar to hundreds of dollars. Fruit crate labels can go for thousands of dollars. The art on the labels is often very good and reproductions are popular.

Labels from canned salmon are seen frequently. A few examples, circa 1890 – 1910:

vintage wild rose canned salmon label

Wild Rose Salmon

clover leaf canned salmon

Clover Leaf Salmon

walrus brand canned salmon

Walrus Salmon

I thought I would work up my own “vintage” canned salmon label. The first actual cannery in Alaska opened in 1878. After some some research I based the image on examples of actual salmon labels and the coffee label seen below (circa 1870). Not quite as old and primitive as the coffee label, a bit less sophisticated than the 1890s labels.

lion brand coffee label - circa 1870

Lion Brand Coffee

My label, circa 1879, is below. Not quite as old and primitive as the coffee label, a bit less sophisticated than the 1890s labels. Other than a bit of discoloration and some damage in the upper left hand corner it is in really good shape; rare for a label this old.

Click on image for full-size view.

kodiak brand canned sockeye salmon label

Kodiak Brand Sockeye Salmon

Oh, and here are a couple of shots of the label before I removed it from the can.

salmon can front view

Front View of Kodiak Salmon Can


kodiak salmon can back view

Back View Of Kodiak Salmon Can

As usual, the bears are available on many items at my Zazzle store.

This is a follow-on to the most recent post.

Alaska already has one Copper River; it does not need another. Here’s a Pebble Mine Penny made from copper to be taken from the mine. As copper leaching from mine tailings will seriously impact salmon spawning grounds the coin features a fish skeleton. It also features text reading “IN PERPETUITY” (forever), which even the mine developers admit is how long the tailings pile will remain dangerous. And when the Salmon are gone that will be in perpetuity as well.

Click on image for full-size view.

stop pebble mine - a pebble mine penny

Pebble Mine Penny

A penny for your thoughts. Write the EPA and ask them to disapprove the Pebble Mine.

As with the earlier Pebble Mine graphic I will donate a hefty percentage of any proceeds from the sale of items bearing this image to organizations fighting Pebble Mine. The more items sold the greater percentage I will donate. Search “Stop Pebble Mine” at my Zazzle store.

In any event, please help stop Pebble Mine. For starters find more information here and here

After the Salmon are gone what will we eat? A depiction of a Sockeye Salmon in its red spawning phase.

stop pebble mine

Stop Pebble Mine

Miners want access to a very large deposit of gold, copper and molybdemum, located in the headwaters of the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers, two of the eight major rivers that feed Alaska’s Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay is home to one of the world’s few and most productive wild salmon strongholds that supports a $500 million commercial and sport fishery. Plans for the mine include the world’s largest earthen dam to be built, some 700 feet high and several miles in length. Independent scientists have questioned whether the dam could withstand the force of a massive earthquake, such as the 9.2 quake that devastated Anchorage in 1964. The dam and 10-square-mile-wide containment pond are intended to hold between 2.5 billion and 10 billion tons of mine waste that Pebble would produce over its lifetime – nearly enough to bury Seattle, Washington.

Mine tailings would include sulfides, which become sulfuric acid, as well as copper. The area around the mine is a spawning ground for salmon. Salmon are highly sensitive to pollution, especially copper. If salmon are exposed to even miniscule amounts of copper (parts per billion), their sense of smell is interfered and impairs their ability to locate spawning grounds and identify predators. By the consortium’s own admission the earthen dam will need to be maintained in perpetuity (i.e. forever) in order to ensure acid-generating tailings do not damage the environment. Activity at the mine will last for approximately thirty years until the ores are exhausted. And, we are supposed to believe that the consortium will still be around ten thousand years from now protecting the environment; or maybe just one thousand years from now, or even fifty years from now. Forever is a long time. After the mine is played out the consortium will be gone leaving an inevitable catastrophe in its wake.

In addition, the mine is to be sited in an active geological zone, but we are told the fault line miraculously goes around the site and poses no threat.

The consortium, the Pebble Limited Partnership (PLP), includes the world’s second largest multinational mining corporation, London-based Anglo American, along with Northern Dynasty, a junior mining company headquartered in Canada. Anglo American’s environmental track record does not bode well for Bristol Bay and Northern Dynasty has little experience safeguarding the environment having never developed a mine to date.

Anglo has a disastrous track record on the environment and worker safety at its worldwide mines, including:

Zimbabwe – Acid runoff contaminated groundwater and polluted the Yellow Jacket River from a mine owned by Anglo American until 2003
Nevada – Anglo American is responsible for the largest source of mercury air pollution in United States history. Recommendations to limit fish consumption have been issued for downwind fisheries.
Ireland – Lead and zinc contaminated river sediments and sections of the river were closed to anglers.
Over 220 mine workers have died at Anglo American mining operations in the last five years.

This image is available on many items at my Zazzle store, search under “After Salmon.” I will donate a hefty percentage of any proceeds from the sale of items to organizations fighting Pebble Mine. The more items sold the greater percentage I will donate – even up to 100 percent. In any event, please help stop Pebble Mine. For starters find more information here and here

A Sockeye Salmon superimposed on a nuclear symbol and the entry from the Periodic Table of Elements for new element Salmonium-238. 6-7 of every salmon will be fissionable isotope Salmonium-235. Be careful what you eat. Salted Salmonium-238, as LOX, can serve as a substitute fuel in reactors normally burning MOX fuels.

As usual this image is available at my Zazzle store.

Click on image for full-size view.

radioactive salmon

New Element Salmonium-238

The situation at Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor complex becomes worse by he day. Contaminated water is leaking, has been leaking since soon after the initial accident; and in very large quantities. The Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Corp) have endeavored to minimize the gravity of the situation, but have made a series of recent admissions, each worse than before, about just how bad things are, and might become. Even with that some nuclear experts believe the leaks at Fukushima are much worse than the authorities have stated. The chairman of Japan’s nuclear authority, Shunichi Tanaka, stated at a press conference that he fears there will be further leaks, “We should assume that what has happened once could happen again, and prepare for more. We are in a situation where there is no time to waste,” he told reporters. And there are no accurate figures for radiation levels.

The ongoing problems at the Fukushima plant increased in recent days when the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) admitted that around 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank on the site. This is in addition to the 600 tons (about 150,000 gallons) of contaminated water that leaks on a daily basis. The daily leaks may be larger than admitted as until just a few days ago we were told that only 300 tons leaked daily.

The Japanese nuclear energy watchdog raised the incident level from one to three on the seven-step international scale that measures the severity of atomic accidents. This was an acknowledgement that the power station was in its greatest crisis since the reactors melted down after the tsunami in 2011.

And there is more. Water used to cool the reactor cores is stored in 1000 tanks which have been built on-site. These are believed to be at around 85% of their capacity and every day an extra 400 tonnes of water are being added. According to one consultant, “What is the worse is the water leakage everywhere else – not just from the tanks. It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that. ”

Dr Ken Buesseler is a senior scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who has examined the waters around Fukushima said, “It is not over yet by a long shot, Chernobyl was in many ways a one week fire-explosive event, nothing with the potential of this right on the ocean. “We’ve been saying since 2011 that the reactor site is still leaking whether that’s the buildings and the ground water or these new tank releases. There’s no way to really contain all of this radioactive water on site. Once it gets into the ground water, like a river flowing to the sea, you can’t really stop a ground water flow. You can pump out water, but how many tanks can you keep putting on site?”

Several scientists also raised concerns about the vulnerability of the huge amount of stored water on site to another earthquake.

fukushima water leak

Contaminated Water Leakage

Water from the storage tanks has seeped into the groundwater and then into the sea. Efforts to use a chemical barrier to prevent sea contamination have not worked. TEPCO has considered a plan to freeze soil around the site in order to stop, or at least slow, the leaks.

Storage problems are compounded by the ingress of ground water, running down from the surrounding hills. It mixes with radioactive water leaking out of the basements of the reactors and then some of it leaches into the sea, despite the best efforts of TEPCO to stem the flow. Some of the radioactive elements like caesium that are contained in the water can be filtered by the earth. Others are managing to get through and this worries watching experts.

Currently, the biggest concern is the possibility that other isotopes, such as Strontium 90, which tend to be more mobile, get into the groundwater. The isotopes will eventually end up in the ocean and accumulate in seafood.

There are also worries about the spent nuclear fuel rods that are being cooled and stored in water pools on site. These contain far more radioactive Caesium than was emitted during the explosion at Chernobyl.

Not only the Japanese are at risk. Radiation from Fukushima is coming to the west coast of North America via an ocean current called the North Pacific Gyre.

While many people assume that the ocean will dilute the Fukushima radiation, a previously-secret 1955 U.S. government report concluded that the ocean may not adequately dilute radiation from nuclear accidents, and there could be “pockets” and “streams” of highly-concentrated radiation.

The University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center created a graphic showing the projected dispersion of debris from Japan:

fukushima radiation

Spread of Fukushima Radiation

Last year, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and 3 scientists from the GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences showed that radiation on the West Coast of North America could end up being 10 times as high as in Japan:

After 10 years the concentrations become nearly homogeneous over the whole Pacific, with higher values in the east, extending along the North American coast with a maximum off Baja California.

***

With caution given to the various idealizations (unknown actual oceanic state during release, unknown release area, no biological effects included, see section 3.4), the following conclusions may be drawn. (i) Dilution due to swift horizontal and vertical dispersion in the vicinity of the energetic Kuroshio regime leads to a rapid decrease of radioactivity levels during the first 2 years, with a decline of near-surface peak concentrations to values around 10 Bq m−3 (based on a total input of 10 PBq). The strong lateral dispersion, related to the vigorous eddy fields in the mid-latitude western Pacific, appears significantly under-estimated in the non-eddying (0.5°) model version. (ii) The subsequent pace of dilution is strongly reduced, owing to the eastward advection of the main tracer cloud towards the much less energetic areas of the central and eastern North Pacific. (iii) The magnitude of additional peak radioactivity should drop to values comparable to the pre-Fukushima levels after 6–9 years (i.e. total peak concentrations would then have declined below twice pre-Fukushima levels). (iv) By then the tracer cloud will span almost the entire North Pacific, with peak concentrations off the North American coast an order-of-magnitude higher than in the western Pacific.

***

(“Order-of-magnitude” is a scientific term which means 10 times as much. The “Western Pacific” means Japan’s East Coast.)

And a team of top Chinese scientists has just published a study in the Science China Earth Sciences journal showing that Fukushima nuclear pollution is becoming more concentrates as it approaches the U.S. west coast, that the plume crosses the ocean in a nearly straight line toward North America, and that it appears to stay together with little dispersion:

On March 30, 2011, the Japan Central News Agency reported the monitored radioactive pollutions that were 4000 times higher than the standard level. Whether or not these nuclear pollutants will be transported to the Pacific-neighboring countries through oceanic circulations becomes a world-wide concern.

***

The time scale of the nuclear pollutants reaching the west coast of America is 3.2 years if it is estimated using the surface drifting buoys and 3.9 years if it is estimated using the nuclear pollutant particulate tracers.

***

But, not to worry; professor Shunichi Yamashita of Nagasaki University, a survivor of the atomic bomb blast there, told residents of Fukushima City: “To tell you the truth, radiation doesn’t affect people who are smiling.”

But wait, there’s more. Soon, an attempt will be made to extract over 1,300 fuel rods (400 tons worth) from damaged Reactor No. 4. A mistake could result in a series of cascading failures and a release of fallout. The removal must be done manually from the top story of the damaged building in the radiation-contaminated environment.

In the worst-case scenario, a mishandled rod may go critical, resulting in an above-ground meltdown releasing radioactive fallout with no way to stop it.

Fuel rod are removed on a daily basis at the more than 430 nuclear sites around the world, a very delicate procedure even under the best of circumstances. What makes fuel removal at Fukushima so dangerous and complex is that it will be attempted on a fuel pool whose integrity has been severely compromised. However, it must be attempted as Reactor 4 has the most significant problems structurally, and this pool is on the top floor of the building.

There are numerous other reasons that this will be a dangerous undertaking.

– The racks inside the pool that contain this fuel were damaged by the explosion in the early days of the accident.

– Zirconium cladding which encased the rods burned when water levels dropped, but to what extent the rods have been damaged is not known, and probably won’t be until removal is attempted.

– Saltwater cooling has caused corrosion of the pool walls, and probably the fuel rods and racks.

– The building is sinking.

– The cranes that normally lift the fuel were destroyed.

– Computer-guided removal will not be possible; everything will have to be done manually.

– TEPCO cannot attempt this process without humans, which will manage this enormous task while being bombarded with radiation during the extraction and casking.

– The process of removing each rod will have to be repeated over 1,300 times without incident.

– Moving damaged nuclear fuel under such complex conditions could result in a criticality if the rods come into close proximity to one another, which would then set off a chain reaction that cannot be stopped.

What could potentially happen is the contents of the pool could burn and/or explode, and the entire structure sustain further damage or collapse. This chain reaction process could be self-sustaining and go on for a long time. This is the apocalyptic scenario in a nutshell.

The water build-up is an extraordinarily difficult problem in and of itself, and as anyone with a leaky basement knows, water always ‘finds a way.’

There are three 100-ton melted fuel blobs underground at Fukushima, but where exactly they are located, no one knows. Whatever ‘barriers’ TEPCO has put in place so far have failed. Efforts to decontaminate radioactive water have failed. Robots have failed. Camera equipment and temperature gauges…failed. Decontamination of surrounding cities has failed.

Endless releases into the Pacific Ocean that will be ongoing for not only our lifetimes, but our children’s’ lifetimes. We have 40 million people living in the Tokyo area nearby. We have continued releases from the underground corium (lava-like molten mixture of portions of a nuclear reactor core, formed during a meltdown) that reminds us it is there occasionally with steam events and huge increases in radiation levels. Across the Pacific, we have at least two peer-reviewed scientific studies so far that have already provided evidence of increased mortality in North America, and thyroid problems in infants on the west coast states from our initial exposures.

We have increasing contamination of the food chain, through bioaccumulation and biomagnification. And a newly stated concern is the proximity of melted fuel in relation to the Tokyo aquifer that extends under the plant. If and when the corium reaches the Tokyo aquifer, serious and expedient discussions will have to take place about evacuating 40 million people from the greater metropolitan area. As impossible as this sounds, you cannot live in an area which does not have access to safe water.

The operation to begin removing fuel from such a severely damaged pool has never been attempted before. The rods are unwieldy and very heavy, each one weighing two-thirds of a ton. But it has to be done, unless there is some way to encase the entire building in concrete with the pool as it is. I don’t know of anyone discussing that option, but it would seem much ‘safer’ than what they are about to attempt…but not without its own set of risks.

And all this collateral damage will continue for decades, if not centuries, even if things stay exactly the way they are now. But that is unlikely, as bad things happen like natural disasters and deterioration with time…earthquakes, subsidence, and corrosion, to name a few. Every day that goes by, the statistical risk increases for this apocalyptic scenario. No one can say or know how this will play out, except that millions of people will probably die even if things stay exactly as they are, and billions could die if things get any worse.

Just where would you put 40 million refugees? During the initial crisis there was talk that the entire population of Japan, approximately 128 million, might have to be permanently evacuated. Given that the situation might rapidly deteriorate that possibility still exists. So, where do you put 128 million refugees?

But smile, not all is lost. Professor Shunichi Yamashita of Nagasaki University, and a survivor of the atomic bombing there, says there is little need to worry, “To tell you the truth, radiations doesn’t affect people who are smiling.”

More information and photos as here, here, and here.