More Fraser Sockeye Populations in Trouble Than Previously Thought
A lengthy draft report by federal fisheries scientists recently entered into evidence at the Cohen Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River indicates that Fraser River sockeye salmon are in worse trouble than previously thought.
In a media release and associated backgrounder issued today, the David Suzuki Foundation, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, and Raincoast Conservation Foundation indicated that despite the ominous findings in the 181-page report, necessary measures to protect the salmon are not being put in place. The groups are calling on Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield to initiate recovery plans for the stocks at risk, as required under the federal government’s Wild Salmon Policy.
The report examined the current status of 32 genetically distinct populations of Fraser sockeye, also known as “conservation units”. The scientists found that eight populations are already extinct or nearly extinct. Of the 24 remaining populations, at least 7 appear to be below their lower benchmarks for abundance, or in the “red zone”, meaning they may be at risk of extinction, and only 4 were clearly in the “green zone”. The scientists were not able to fully assess four of the stocks due to a lack of data.