Vancouver Sun – salmon 'think tank'…

In digging around to find some more articles and information related to the salmon ‘think tank’ gathering in early Dec. 09; I have found some varying messages from participants (which is to be expected) – and of course various media/journalist interpretations of these messages.

An article from the Vancouver Sun (Dec. 9) by Scott Simpson: “Scientists urge quick action on Fraser Sockeye collapse: Urgency too great to wait for results from federal commission of inquiry” suggests that: “No single cause for the collapse is discernible, and researchers are suggesting a variety of events in the [Georgia] strait may be responsible — including warming ocean temperatures, declining availability of food, greater attention from predators, and interactions with farmed salmon.”

As I stated in a post the other day, ‘more research’ is not really going to lead to any remedy for any of the above factors. Sure, maybe we’ll ‘understand’ better – but then what are we going to do about it? My suggestion is to focus time and resources on the things that we can change – like our own behavior, and how we treat the freshwater environment that is so crucial for all wild salmon. (which is not to suggest that there isn’t any work being done in that area).

The Sun article quotes Mark Angelo, deputy chair of the Pacific Fisheries Resource Conservation Council : “Our ultimate goal is to be a helpful and constructive force in trying to turn things around for Fraser sockeye stocks — and that’s something we all hope to see…”

That’s a sentiment I can agree with.

The article carries on to point out:  “…DFO [Department of Fisheries and Oceans] salmon experts were told to withhold participation in public events in consideration of the central role they will play in an upcoming federal commission of inquiry into the decline of Fraser sockeye.”

Now that’s effective logic. A gathering of over 20 salmon experts from around BC and lets withhold the participation of the agency responsible for conservation and stewardship of wild salmon. Makes complete sense to me (and I hope you can hear my sarcasm). And, yeah, let’s tell those department staff to sit on their hands until sometime in 2011 when the judicial inquiry comes out with another list of recommendations that get largely ignored.

This again points to my continued assertion that waiting for DFO to institute changes and real action is like expecting an ocean-going freighter to turn like a kayak. This is not to suggest that there aren’t excellent people within the Department capable of instituting changes – just hard for me to believe that a PM from oil country is going to direct the department to take a stand for something that he’ll probably only ever see from some exclusive coastal lodge owned by some of his party funders. Or, a fisheries minister (Gail Shea) from PEI, who has been in parliament for a little over a year following a career working for Revenue Canada. (yeah, call me a cynic).

As a poster in my office states:

“It’s easy to make a difference; make a choice”

Scientists urge quick action on Fraser sockeye collapse

Urgency too great to wait for results from federal commission of inquiry

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