Threats to wild salmon tak­ing a toll, re­port finds

Vancouver Sun - - CITY -

Bri­tish Columbia’s wild salmon face a se­ries of com­plex threats that a new re­port says re­quires ur­gent and strate­gic in­ter­ven­tion.

The B.C. govern­ment ap­pointed the Wild Salmon Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil ear­lier this year to pro­vide in­sight and guid­ance on pro­tect­ing pro­vin­cial salmon stocks, while max­i­miz­ing their re­source value.

The re­port re­leased Thurs­day says while it’s dif­fi­cult to pin­point the state of salmon in the prov­ince, it’s clear that across all re­gions and species, over­all abun­dance has de­clined since the 1950s.

The re­port says poor ma­rine sur­vival rates, chang­ing ocean con­di­tions, habi­tat loss and in­ad­e­quate wa­ter qual­ity are all tak­ing a toll on salmon. The coun­cil makes 14 rec­om­men­da­tions for a made-inB.C. strat­egy to pro­tect the salmon, in­clud­ing restor­ing habi­tat, in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion of ju­ve­nile salmon, sup­port­ing value-added fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and tourism and work­ing with Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ties on har­vest and con­ser­va­tion goals.

The re­lease of the re­port co­in­cides with the dec­la­ra­tion of the In­ter­na­tional Year of the Salmon, and fed­eral Fish­eries Min­is­ter Jonathan Wilkin­son also in­tro­duced his govern­ment’s five-year plan to help re­build Pa­cific wild salmon pop­u­la­tions and their habi­tats.

“Our govern­ment will con­tinue to pro­tect this species, which has such cul­tural, so­cial and eco­nomic sig­nif­i­cance for Cana­di­ans,” Wilkin­son said. “To­gether, we can help re­build these stocks for the ben­e­fit of our en­tire ecosys­tem and for gen­er­a­tions to come.”

The fed­eral Wild Salmon Pol­icy is a re­sult of two years of con­sul­ta­tions ses­sions across B.C. and the Yukon, a govern­ment news re­lease said.

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