OLYMPIA – Rare, underwater video showing conditions in Puget Sound’s Hood Canal during a recent low-oxygen event is available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) website.
The streaming video can be viewed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hab/hood_canal_oxygen.htm.
The video includes underwater footage showing effects on marine life, such as lingcod, rockfish and an octopus, near Sund Rocks on the west side of Hood Canal. Wayne Palsson, a WDFW research scientist, filmed the underwater video during a Sept. 19 low dissolved-oxygen event in the canal.
Over the past several years, low dissolved-oxygen events in Puget Sound’s Hood Canal have caused significant die-offs of marine life, including multiple species of fish, shellfish and invertebrates. While low dissolved-oxygen levels are not new, these events have become more frequent and longer lasting in recent years.
Hood Canal is an underwater fjord where normal oxygen exchange in the water takes place slowly because of the canal’s depth and shape. Nitrogen entering the water from human sources stimulates algae blooms in the canal. As the algae decomposes, oxygen is absorbed from the water. Under certain weather and wind conditions, the level of life-sustaining dissolved oxygen in the water drops so low that fish and other underwater species suffocate.
Parts of Hood Canal are prime habitat for slow-reproducing species, such as rockfish and lingcod. These fish are most susceptible to low dissolved-oxygen events because they are long-lived species and the populations are slow to recover.
Broadcast-quality B-roll of underwater footage also will be available to the news media after Nov. 13. To obtain a DVD, contact Chuck Bolland at (360) 902-2255.