Reading a local newspaper (Prince George Citizen) last week I came across a tiny text box of about thirty words talking about a salmon “think tank” blaming ocean conditions for the massive decline of sockeye in the Fraser River this past summer (11 million forecast; 1 million returned – a miss, or decline, of over 90%). Those are declines far greater than the stock market crash of this past year… however I can safely say that I have seen far more headlines about people’s money then I have about salmon over this past while.
I’m not sure how I noticed the little one sentence piece… maybe my eye just tends to pick up the word salmon. I was also rather surprised that this story got such tiny press considering the newspaper is produced and printed a just a few hundred metres from the junction of the Nechako and upper Fraser River.
Nevertheless, I Googled ‘salmon and think tank’ and came across this Globe and Mail article on Dec. 10:
Scientists call for more cautious salmon harvest: Government needs to conduct more research to uncover cause of declining Fraser returns, think tank says
The article suggests a gathering of salmon scientists at Simon Fraser University finishing Dec. 9th concluded that: “ocean conditions in the Strait of Georgia and the possible impact of fish farms as the most likely causes of a collapse of Fraser River sockeye stocks…[however] the government needs to do more research to solve the puzzle.”
Now I want to be somewhat careful here, and respectful of the gathering of expertise – yet, frank and to the point…
1. More research will not solve the problems.
2. Expectations that ‘government’ should do the research – and then expecting action based on that research is ludicrous.
3. Even if there was ‘more research’, and the bureaucratic behemoth of government did that research, and then based on that research, the ‘government’ of the day actually chose to take action – what the hell are they going to do about changing ocean conditions – not to mention how many years would this take?
A couple of thoughts on this line of thinking:
Not that long ago I came across a book written by Jessica Hagy called Indexed – she also maintains a blog with her indexed (and entertaining) graphs on a range of subjects. This graph illustrates my point about ‘more research’:
Not enough information may result in great confusion. Too much information probably has the same result.
Sure it’s a simplified image; however, my point is: more research is not going to reverse the situation of precipitous salmon declines.
Relying on ‘government’ to implement solutions is a complete waste of time… there are other ways, which I hope to explore in coming posts through synthesizing a range of thinkers and disciplines.