The Vancouver Sun ran this article today:
Wild salmon stocks in the north Pacific are being eroded as the fish are forced to compete for food and shrinking habitat with billions of hatchery fish released in to the oceans each year, a new study by scientists in B.C. and Washington state says.
With due respect… last time I checked the “habitat” of the ocean may have actually been growing… rising sea levels and all.
Sure, 5 billion salmon fry sent out into the North Pacific from around the Pacific Rim might have some impact but let’s think about how many salmon fry once made the journey in the heyday before industrial fisheries of the last decades of the 1800s.
If the Fraser River sported populations of 160 million adult sockeye on big peak years — how many fry does that equate to?
If the Pacific Northwest States have lost over 90% of their salmon resources (e.g. the Columbia River) how many more salmon fry does that equate to?
Rough numbers, 160 million spawning adult sockeye and say a rough productivity of 7-9 returning adults per spawner, and say about 2-4% of the total fry that migrated out actually survived to return as adults… my math sucks sometimes… but that’s one heckuva lot of salmon fry heading out to the ocean, just from one species in one river…
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I do agree fully with this observation though:
The combined abundance of wild and hatchery fish encourages fisheries managers to allow a higher harvest rate, Peterman warned. But since the fishery is non-selective – wild and hatchery fish are both harvested at a higher rate – that leads to overharvesting of the wild stock.
One needs to look no further than the Skeena commercial sockeye fishery to see this. Ninety percent of the total Skeena sockeye run is from the enhanced Babine run. This run is generally the focus of commercial fisheries — as a result mixed stock fisheries targeting Babine sockeye catch much less abundant sockeye runs and the prized Skeena steelhead.
And oh yea… this is deemed “sustainable “by the eco-certifying body Marine Stewardship Council…
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“The proportion of hatchery fish is rising and will continue to rise if hatchery plans that are on the books are built,” he said.
Ummm, yeah, like the $2 billion cash the Russians have ‘shovel-ready’ to start building hatcheries on the Pacific Rim.
“overcrowded ocean” come on, that’s just getting silly.