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Fast action needed to protect salmon from climate change, group says

CANADA - Advocates for Pacific salmon have called upon government to launch a massive new effort to protect the iconic British Columbia fish from the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change.

The Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council said salmon are particularly vulnerable in freshwater rearing and spawning habitats - and is urging the biggest array of infrastructure and regulatory initiatives since the fisheries department launched a billion-dollar hatchery program in the 1970s.

Council chairman Paul LeBlond described salmon as "a valuable gift from the sea" at a morning press conference at Vancouver Aquarium and said the impact of climate change is "one of the most serious issues" facing the fish - particularly in the Fraser River watershed.

Among the threats are higher river temperatures that stress both spawning adults and juveniles - and could prove fatal in summer by mid-century as the warming trend continues - LeBlond said.

The council was created a decade ago by former federal fisheries minister David Anderson, and while it tends to navigate the middle ground in search of consensus, its new recommendations are bound to stir controversy and debate.

Source: TheVancouverSun