Aquaculture for all

Fish Farming Not The Only Culprit In Salmon Decline

Salmonids Sustainability +2 more

CANADA - Many people say that fishing for salmon along Canada's West Coast is not what it used to be.

Fishing seasons keep shrinking and fewer fish are caught. Salmon stocks have been mediocre at best lately, and often downright dismal. Entire runs all but vanished this season, with salmon returning to their spawning grounds in record low numbers, most notably on the Fraser River. Millions of salmon predicted to swim up the river to lay their eggs simply never showed up. Where they went is open to much speculation and scientists and ecologists are casting about desperately for answers. reports that, in the thick of the controversy over the disappearing fish is the British Columbia fish-farming industry. The government, scientists and environmentalists have heaped blame on the industry in recent years, and it is the first place many are turning for answers about the great vanishing of millions of sockeye.

In the Alberni Valley, the subject of salmon does not come with the same clang of alarm that it does in the Lower Mainland. For starters, the sockeye run there this year was the best in recent memory. Anglers were catching fish by randomly dragging unbaited hooks through the water. And while fish farms are largely blamed for the current state of wild salmon stocks, fish off Port Alberni do not pass any open farms during their annual migration. Yet drawing the conclusion that fish populations are booming here because they do not pass fish farms is patently false.

Instead, with everyone from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to environmentalists leading the charge for answers through forensic science, the conclusion is that there are a number of factors at play when it comes to the survival of salmon.

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