By Hal Bernton
28 August 2015

(Seattle Times) – A lack of oxygen in southern Hood Canal is killing fish, crab and other marine life, according to Seth Book, a biologist with the Skokomish Tribe who has been monitoring the marine waterway.

Through the month of August, Book and other Skokomish staff have observed dead English sole and thousands of dead and dying eel pouts on the beaches. They also have found masses of dead cockles and butter clams, and on Friday, Book said he saw hundreds of crab along the beaches that were trying to get to the surface to breath.

“It’s a dead zone anywhere east of Sister’s Point to Belfair, Mason County. There’s very low oxygen at depth,” Book said.

A live eelpout attempts to to breath out of water at Potlatch State Park, 31 August 2015. A lack of oxygen in southern Hood Canal is killing fish, crab and other marine life, according to Seth Book, a biologist with the Skokomish Tribe who has been monitoring the marine waterway. Photo: Seth Book / Skokomish DNR

In another area, off Hoodsport, upwelling had pushed the deep water to the surface, and a University of Washington buoy on Friday detected almost no oxygen in surface waters.

Over the years, Hood Canal has repeatedly had low-oxygen summers that resulted in die-offs, and this year is shaping up to be one of the worst. The long, narrow body of water has limited circulation that leads to the low oxygen levels known as hypoxia. [more]

Lack of oxygen killing marine life in Hood Canal waters

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