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BC Wild Salmon in Danger of Extinction

by Ellen Hardy
20 December 2007, at 12:00am

CANADA - Five years ago, a senior fisheries biologist in Galway, Ireland, warned what lay ahead for British Columbia's wild salmon: Infestations of sea lice around fish farms followed by a collapse of wild stocks wherever baby salmon migrated through concentrations of the parasites.

Dr. Greg Forde was not a radical environmentalist, as the aquaculture industry routinely characterizes critics. He worked for Ireland's western regional fisheries board, struggling to cope with a collapse of wild stocks in a sea lice-infestation that emerged after fish farms came to that coast.

More than stocks collapsed. The sport fishing industry, a major revenue producer there -- as in B.C. -- was rocked to its foundations as game fish dwindled.

"The awful thing is about lessons not learned," Forde told me back then. "It's all déjà vu. It's the most frustrating thing to hear what's happened here has now happened in BC."

His colleague, Seamus Hartigan, in charge of managing the Galway River salmon fishery, echoed Forde's sentiments. "It happened in Norway for years and we didn't pay any attention," Hartigan said. "It's happened in Ireland and you [in BC.] are not paying attention. Do you want to learn by other people's mistakes or do you want to learn by your own mistakes?

"Norway had some of the best rivers in the world for the production of massive salmon -- they are just gone," Hartigan said. "Why couldn't we learn from that? Why can't you learn from us? Is the BC government willing to make a place in the scheme of things for indigenous species?"

Source: TheVancouverSun

Further Reading

- Go to a previous article on this subject by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy