Decline In B.C.'s Wild Salmon Industry

1025 words - 4 pages

THE DECLINE IN B.C'S WILD SALMON INDUSTRYKennedy SherwoodCGC 1D1Unit 11Section: 5TA: Powell #38Evaluator: Schwan2014-03-31Over the last several decades, declining salmon stocks have raised as a major concern. As a result, over the last 30 years there have been a number of investigations, studies and reports looking into the subject. In the early 1990's, about 24 million sockeye a year swam up the Fraser, suggesting the river might return to the 40 million it saw a century ago (Premier Gordon Campbell, 2004). It did not turn out that way. Human activity is responsible for the decline of B.C.'s wild salmon. Therefore, solutions must be implemented.The productivity of Fraser River sockeye salmon, which is the number of adults produced per spawner, has been declining since mid-1990s to the point where Fraser River sockeye are almost unable to replace themselves (Sustainable Fisheries). The total return of Fraser River sockeye in 2009 was the lowest in over 50 years. The status of Fraser stocks for 2013 was not at crisis level as in 2009, however there was still no commercial harvest. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature put Pacific sockeye on its "red list" of threatened species.Since sockeye salmon are adaptable, their declining productivity may hint that something is going wrong in the ecological system. The problem could possibly be aquaculture, predators, diseases, pathogens, or reduced food supply (Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences). Contributing factors in the decline include contaminants in the Fraser River, development along its shores, and ocean conditions that may have contribute to the long-term decline as well. The most troubling factor impacting the fish was climate change, and noted a two-degree increase in water temperatures in the Fraser River over the past 60 years (B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen). In 2006, The Weaver Creek and Cultus Lake stocks were nearly wiped out because the fish were dying before spawning, likely due to the overly warm water. With the Fraser hitting temperatures over 19 degrees in 2003, the sockeye delay entering the river. The total run was only 4.8 million with just over 2 million caught. In 2006, just over half of the 17 million sockeye forecast showed up, but fishing is allowed and the number of spawners is more than a million below target (The Sierra Club, British Columbia). Broad fishing closures are forced when only 1.4 million sockeye return to the Fraser. Scientists report that young fish in the Fraser are also being infested with sea lice as they migrate north.People who rely on salmon for their livelihoods, or their First Nations food and social and ceremonial purposes, really find sockeye populations very valuable, so it's important to keep them going at a productive level. It is estimated that this was the lowest spawning escapement on record. Total return of the run was below the conservation point of 400,000 fish (Randall Peterman). The BC fishery...

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