Vancouver Sun

Fish habitat continues to decline


Thank you to The Sun and especially authors Stephen Hume and Larry Pynn for keeping readers informed on the state of the Fraser River and its critical fish stocks.

While important local repairs look like progress, fisheries habitat is in steep decline, particular­ly in the Lower Fraser and tributarie­s and all other urban areas across Greater Vancouver.

A small number of very dedicated biologists at the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and at the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans have toiled away for decades — with landowners, farmers, developers, local and regional municipal staff, stream keeper groups, hatchery volunteers and lots of school kids and citizen volunteers — to replant denuded banks with native species, and create side channels where fish can take refuge during extreme run-off periods.

These improvemen­ts are minuscule when contrasted with the omnibus federal budget bills that gutted federal environmen­tal protection from all but a few lakes and rivers across Canada, took the teeth from the Fisheries Act, muzzled scientists and dishearten­ed First Nations, commercial and sports fishers.

Then there’s the mining waste that poured into Polley Lake and beyond.

As a society, do we value our fish and natural habitats, or

even our fresh drinking water? BILL GRANGER Retired manager, Parks and Environmen­t, Former Manager, Fraser Salmon and Watersheds Program, Pacific Salmon Foundation

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