My sadhana has been somewhat limited as of late since I have blown out one of my knees - good thing I have two of them - so I started looking at random sites on the web when I found this study about gender problems among Chinook Salmon in the Columbia River.
Last year, Researchers discovered that 80% of females spawning in Hanford Reach started life out as male. While they have been able to mimic this behavior in labs this is the first time its been seen in the wild. They think it might be a clue as to why salmon runs are down even though Hanford's wild chinook are some of the healthiest around.
This gender bender occurence has been seen in other animal species around our country with the culprit being estrogen mimicing pesticides/chemicals. Could this be the case here? Nope, say the researchers. Pesticides and other estrogen mimicing chemicals while present in the Columbia River are there only in very low concentrations. So what do they say it could be? They point their finger at water temperature fluctuations from water being released from nearby Hydroelectric Dams.
OK, my shradda was almost shattered at this point... and I'm sure many of you are wondering as I did could it be like some of that other stuff near Hanford Reach? Nope! According to the researchers there is no scientific literature to support radiation contamination being a cause since radiation, while known to make organisms unable to reproduce, probably don't cause them to mutate their gender. Besides, they add, the levels of radiation at the Reach are extremely low.
As an aside, in 1947 a researcher found fish in the Columbia River to be on average 100,000 times more radioactive than the water itself ("Plutonium Files," p. 202).
OK, one more aside from that book - from a Hanford official writing in 1947, "It is recommended that all river contamination studies indicating the extent to which aquatic life in rivers concentrate and hold radioactivity should be classified 'Secret'." (same page as above)
Back to the topic - So, I was wondering about salmon and the dreaded "R" word when I found a post on the http://www.hanfordwatch.org site. In the post, Norm Buske points out that juvenile salmon may be stressed into the gender change via toxic, radiologic, or a combined synergistic effect. Hmm, well 'they' did say there was a little bit of both. They didn't say how much of either but Norm mentions "the heavy accumulant of concern that has been identified in the Hanford Reach riverbed is thorium sands, attributed to Hanford's secretive, Cold War production of U233 from thorium, with the thorium ending in the riverbed by pathways not yet made public." He adds, "The thorium in the Hanford Reach riverbed sands releases shortlived alpha decay products that are at least up to 4 times the alpha drinking water standard (15 pCi/L)."
While you think about that: From this Science News article, "When hormone-mimicking chemicals create chromosomally male fish that lay viable eggs (SN: 2/5/00, p. 87), some of these eggs carry a Y chromosome instead of an X. That increases the odds that an offspring will get at least one Y chromosome and be male. Furthermore, some offspring may get a Y from both mother and father and become so-called supermales." The consequences are then obvious that when when these supermales reproduce, their offspring can only be male and this will have disastrous effects on the population.
I pray that Chinook Salmon will survive as I pray for the survival of all beings.
May all beings find happiness.
May all be free of disease.
May all see what is auspicious.
May no one suffer.
OM, peace, peace, peace.