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Dramatic Change in B.C. Salmon Populations

by the Fish Site Editor
10 February 2009, at 12:00am

CANADA - New research documents a "dramatic and alarming" decline in the survival of some salmon species in the waters of British Columbia, in the Georgia Strait, a leading Canadian researcher told scientists, activists and others at a conference in Seattle on Monday.

Coho and chinook are in decline -- but curiously, pink salmon survival appears to be increasing, Richard Beamish of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans told participants in the biennial Puget Sound/Georgia Basin Ecosystem Conference.

"That early marine survival has declined significantly," Beamish said.

According to Seattlepi.com, which covered the event, the findings have implications for Puget Sound salmon as well, because recent research also shows that young salmon from south of the border make their way north into Canadian waters.

The news organisation reports that scientists have long known that only a small percentage of the juvenile salmon that leave freshwater rivers to live in the sea return to spawn at the end of their lives. But the new research shows that percentage has drastically decreased since 1980. In coho, it dropped from 10 per cent to 0.5 per cent, Beamish said. In chinook, it decreased from one per cent to 0.1 percent.

the Fish Site Editor

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