Tag Archives: coho

Once upon a salmon… in Oregon… (what we knew then…)

The other day I had a post: Once upon a salmon… in Oregon.

1950s

In that post, I highlighted some information from a 1950s report: Some Factors Influencing the Trends of Salmon Populations in Oregon.

The report focuses on coho runs in certain Oregon streams:

Oregon streams

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The trend of salmon populations and specifically of salmon catches within commercial fisheries was rather familiar… dwindling fast.

The report looked at commercial fisheries catches in Oregon from the mid-1920s on to the late 1940s.

It was clear in the report that fisheries were having an impact… (seems like a bit of a no-brainer…).

The report also looked at: Other Potential causes such as:

Pollution?, Hatcheries?, Logging?, Waterflow?

Remember this report is from 1950.

Factors dismissed: Pollution and Hatcheries (most were still quite small at this point).

Factors implicated:

Negative factors

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The report paints a pretty clear picture of the impacts of overfishing and logging — and in turn the impact of logging on waterflows.

Logging impacts... "disturbance of ecological balance"

“… resultant erratic flow patterns, silting, increased water temperatures, and general disturbance of the ecological balance…”

Remember this was 1950…

For those in BC who know some of the fisheries history — this was well before the Fish Forest Interaction Program (FFIP) of the 1980s… this was well before studies began in earnest in Carnation Creek on west coast Vancouver Island… that was well before the BC Forest Practices Code arrived in the 1990s. This was before Greenpeace was even ‘Green’ and the “peace” movement was not yet active.

This was when David Suzuki was probably still in grade school… and David Bower hadn’t yet started his rage against dams and facilitating growth of the Sierra Club in the U.S.

John Muir was probably about the only prevalent “conservationist” “tree-hugger”… and he’d been dead awhile…

Here is chart comparing the trends in salmon catch  to the production of lumber board feet in Coos Bay, Oregon through the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.

lumber production to salmon populations

I’m sure someone will want to argue that this is coincidence and that correlation is not causation and so on…

And well… folks did argue against this report. There is transcribed conversation at the end of the report, that really is quite revealing.

“Discussion”

I guess Mr. A.C. Taft from California didn’t understand that part about: “… resultant erratic flow patterns, silting, increased water temperatures, and general disturbance of the ecological balance…”

Logging companies

So Mr. Riddell is fronting the age-old argument… “you can’t really tell us here that overfishing could in fact be an impact…? there must be other factors…”

Then Mr. Glover from California… “do you think changing logging practices would make a difference…?”

Ummm, gee, there’s that curious part about: “… resultant erratic flow patterns, silting, increased water temperatures, and general disturbance of the ecological balance…” again…

Hard bit of info to pick up…

Then there’s the question by Mr. H. D. Fry, Jr. “hey… could you explain that point to me again about how intensive clearcut logging and increased water flows are related…?”

Hmmmmm….

Same answer many folks have provided for generations…

Trees are giant sponges. An average tree, especially an old-growth Douglas Fir absorbs and retains an incredible amount of water that falls from the sky. That water is then retained from suffering the full effects of gravity and raging down hillsides through the point of lowest resistance — stream channels. More water running down hillsides means erosion, mudslides, raging debris torrents, etc.

Trees hold hillsides up and stream channels up.

Take the trees off hillsides and very little is holding all that soil on that hillside. Add in 5-9 metres of rainfall, snow, melting snow, and the worse rain-on-snow events, and what happens?

 

just "natural"

 

west coast of Vancouver Island near Brooks Peninsula

more Seattle Times photos -- 2009 (...salmon stream...?)

I think the point is clear…

The main point of all this is that for well over 60 years we have known what impacts salmon populations.

In Oregon, folks knew in the 1950s that overfishing and logging were decimating salmon populations and in turn decimating salmon fisheries and in turn decimating coastal communities.

Unfortunately, overfishing and overlogging carried on in the Coos Bay area for quite some time after this rather clearly worded report.

Have you been to Coos Bay, Oregon lately?

It’s a nice area, however last time I was through the downtown was gutted with more “for lease” signs then business signs.

The population peaked around 15,000 people in the 1970s and hasn’t changed much since.

Is the story of Coos Bay and salmon and logging — all that different then say any Eureka, California or Port Angeles, Washington or Port Alberni, BC or Port Hardy, BC or Port Clements, BC… or Port Edward, BC… or… or… or….

And yet it doesn’t seem to matter what local knowledge says in these communities. Folks have been sitting there ringing alarm bells saying: “this is not sustainable, this pace cannot be maintained, our communities won’t survive this…”

“This is boom-and-bust…”

“We are upsetting the ecological balance…”

And the response is: “sit down and shut-up you darn tree hugger…”

“don’t rock the boat…”

“if we stop now we will impact the economy…”

and so on, and so on, and so on…

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Well… where’s that booming fishing industry now…? Where’s that booming logging economy?

Where are those things that apparently “built BC…”?

And… where the heck are the salmon?

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The response… (and no offence to the hard workers involved)… in British Columbia… is another multi-million dollar public inquiry involving lawyers, scientists, and know-it-alls sitting there asking the same questions… looking for the same magic bullet that is not us… some magical coincidence of ocean conditions or climate impact…

And on the other side of the equation, a slew of panels of experts, saying the same thing… “we just can’t say for sure”… “we just don’t know”… “it’s just all so uncertain”…

And the same people and institutions that were on deck to watch the sinking of the wild salmon ship… testify, trying to prove that they didn’t know what ‘sinking’ looked like… or that they believed ramming harder into the iceberg was going to right the ship… not sink it…

No one will admit that they didn’t know how to bail… or simply didn’t want to…

And anyone that suggests: “well, look at this… we harvested the crap out of them [salmon] for close to a hundred years with no respect for small or weak stocks or other species (e.g. mixed stock fisheries)… we nuked the crap out of their freshwater habitat… we are still dumping sewage and all manner of synthetic drugs and compounds into the key areas where they make their adjustments to saltwater as juveniles and freshwater as adults…

…and we’ve systematically changed the climate within a generation, which changes water flows, speeds up glacial melt, and assists in devastating habitat impacts through beetle infestations and otherwise…

and anytime any population demonstrates any sort of population blip to the positive we insist on returning to the old habit of harvesting the shit out them…

Would we treat our households this way?

Would we treat our household finances this way? (oh wait, some do… but then there’s this thing called bankruptcy…)

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And worse yet, the institutions mandated to ensure the future of species like salmon and all of the individual runs — is basing decisions on decades old information.

For example, the numbers that guide how many Chinook should be reaching the spawning grounds in the Fraser River is based on numbers devised in the 1980s. Things have changed a little since then… there may be a few more challenges for those fish to face, so should we maybe not be getting more fish onto the spawning grounds…?

If I planned to run my household on a 1980s reality… would that make sense?

If Jack Layton of the New Democrat Party (NDP)  in the current Canadian federal election ran on the same platform of as NDP leader Ed Broadbent of the 1980s — would something not seem a little off… or fishy?

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Fundamental changes are required in our relationship with wild salmon…

And not one based on: how many can we catch?

The story that starts: Once upon a salmon

…finishes with the predictable ending of a fairy tale… its just that this one isn’t a positive fairy tale ending… and it’s not a very good fish-story… more of a grim Grimm’s tale…

It generally ends in:

when I was a kid I can remember walking across that river on the backs of salmon… there were soooo many fish, the river was alive with the sound of slapping tails and slithery, fishy movement…

And now, we’re lucky to see a pair of spawners

Fraser Chinook — “Recipe for Extinction” website

Saturday’s Globe and Mail had the following advertisement on page 2 of the B.C. section:

The accompanying website is here.

Recipe for Extinction

3 cups of Department of Fisheries & Oceans inaction.

1 cup of refusing to close marine sport fisheries impacting Fraser River early-timed Chinook.

1 cup of lowest amt of spawners since 1975 (in 2007, parents of this year’s run, less than 2000 Chinook returned).

1 cup of only 500 spawners the 2009 returns to Nicola River & tributaries (estimates suggest there needs to be 20,000 spawners to sustain any harvest).

1 cup of chasing the last fish…

Mix vigorously with lack of political will to protect habitat and enforce the Fisheries Act.

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Can’t say I disagree… this is a Recipe for Extinction. Here is a graph from a Department of Fisheries ‘death by PowerPoint’ presentation last year.

Fraser early-timed Chinook survival and exploitation rate

Chinook 4-2 refers to a group of Chinook stocks that spawn largely in the Thompson River, most in the Nicola River watershed. The “4″ means these Chinook are 4 years old when they return. The small “2″, refers to how many years these fish spend in fresh water as juveniles.

The graph above shows the estimated exploitation rate of these Chinook (% of total estimated run size — this is the percentage on the right hand side) overlaid on the estimated survival of these Chinook (% of adults returning — this is the percentage on the left).

The boxes in the graph represent the survival rate. You can see that the survival rate is decent in the mid to late 1990s and then it becomes a train-wreck

With the exception of 2004, the survival rate has generally been less than 1%.

But do you see a problem?

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That dark black line is the exploitation rate of these populations. In 1998, the rate is way down, somewhere around 20% — most likely due to the heavy coho protection that year (e.g. 0% Coho exploitation — 0% mortality).

But after that, the exploitation rate more than doubles. And in fact missing from this graph is 2009 — exploitation rate: 53%.

An almost tripling of exploitation rates in just over ten years.

But wait… do you see the survival rates?

They fell by 8 – 9 times.

So survival falls by multiples of 8 to 9… and exploitation rates triple

…and this on populations that are already in deep trouble. Even DFO numbers suggest that this population needs at least 20,000 fish to sustain any exploitation… those sorts of numbers haven’t been seen in decades.

[This is also a good example of how you use graphs to skew data - the black line looks so innocuous in comparison to the boxes]

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Do you see the last bullet point circled in pencil?

Sustainable exploitation rates currently estimated at 8 – 11% range for low survival period; populations declining at current exploitation rates.

Worse yet, in 2007 — the parents of this year’s returns — were some of the lowest returns seen since the mid-1970s with less than 2000 spawners…

And yet… and yet… just like last year, marine sport fisheries for Chinook have been open 24-7.

Pre-season forecasts for Chinook 4-2s this year are brutal; and there won’t even be confirmation of approximate run sizes until the Albion test fishery starts this month. Meanwhile, coastal-marine sport fisheries have been open for months while these fish arrive from their ocean migration and head up to the Thompson River.

(First Nations on the Fraser voluntarily closed Chinook fisheries last year, and are again this year — even though DFO insists on keeping those fisheries open as well…)

Hmmm… I think maybe this is why it’s called a Recipe for Extinction.

The website has a “Take Action” page…

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Once upon a salmon… in Oregon

random finds

Another random find online:

Some Factors Influencing the trends of salmon population in Oregon” from 1950

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The ‘table of contents’ probably couldn’t be much simpler, nor paint such a clear picture:

 

Table of Contents

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And here’s a summary of content:

Some factors...?

So there we are with the terra nullius assumption in the graph (e.g. Chinook catch was zero prior to 1870…) — however at least not in the text:

Explorers coming into the region… reported intensive fishing by the large Indian population at natural barriers.

(Granted, it’s odd language… were the Indian populations at the natural barriers or was that where the intensive fishing occurred?).

So we can see the trend of the population:

Around the mid-1880s over 40 million pounds of (just) Chinook salmon were landed on the Columbia River in commercial fisheries

Let’s just say a rough average of these Chinook being 15 pounds each… That’s almost 2.7 million Chinook alone landed in the Columbia by the commercial fleet!

And yet, no idea of sport catch… Or, no idea of what was captured by Native fisheries prior to that — or during that… (so all graphs suggest “0″…)

Regardless, we can see the trend… it’s a common one in fisheries catch statistics around the world — starts high on graph left and trends downwards as we move right towards the present day on the x-axis of the graph.

(At least in regards to looking at fisheries statistics on certain ‘economically’ valuable fish species… the trend in total fisheries catch trends up as human populations explode; however, the fish populations exploited are coming from further and further down the food chain).

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Section 2: Possible Causes of Decline

This section of the report concentrates on Coho — or ‘silver salmon’.

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The report focuses on Coho in the following Oregon rivers:

Oregon streams

 

 

Here is the Coho catch trends over a 26-year period:

trends of commercial Coho catch -- Oregon 1923 to 1949

Hmmm… similar trend… downwards.

The concerning thing with downward trending commercial catches is that these are not necessarily representative of populations — especially when the troll fisheries for coho were largely unrestricted until 1948.

unrestricted troll fishery

There is certainly ‘trends’ in actual fish populations that can be picked up in declining commercial catches — however they’re very worrying — as an unrestricted fishing fleet is not going to reduce efforts when they see declining catch numbers… they’re going to increase efforts, improve technology, and so on to ensure that the catches from the years previous are matched or improved upon.

(you know… no different then the standard corporate modus operandi… constant, and ever-present “growth” in revenues and profits).

And so declining commercial catches — in the face of ever-improving technology and knowledge — is a very worrisome trend for the actual fish populations (especially over a 26-year time frame… that’s not much time in fish populations — e.g. 6 – 8 life cycles).

Annual landings of Coho on Coquille 1923 - 1946

 

Annual landings of Coho on Stiletz 1923 - 194

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Other Potential causes outlined in the report:

Pollution?, Hatcheries?, Logging?, Waterflow?

Remember this report is from 1950.

To be continued…

what mystery?

So we’ve only known this for how long?

the Great Cycles

Salmon are a cycle.

They come and go like seasons;

like tides;

like the weather.

Or… as is happening in the north right now — like birds.

The other day I saw the first few robins starting to brave the several feet of snow still in our yard in BC’s central interior. I also saw the first hawk of the year a few days ago.

Yesterday afternoon, in a stop at the grocery story my daughter spotted something like this, way above us:

the cycles of spring

Canada Geese on their way north.

And so what else comes with spring?

salmonberry bush in the spring

Well… on the coast, salmonberry bushes will start to blossom.

Some folks suggest the bush got its name because First Nations folks ate salmon with the berries… others suggest its because the berries look like small clusters of eggs.

salmonberry

Growing up on Haida Gwaii, I had it suggested to me that the link was that when the berries started to ripen it meant it was time to go fishing for sockeye…

(I also learned — the hard way (on several occasions) — that gorging on salmonberries can lead to some gastric distress… kind of like some of the debates surrounding salmon…)

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And then last week the media jumped on the story about scientists “proving” the deep-reaching links of the salmon cycle… This story out of the Ottawa Citizen, of all places:

Fish nutrients fertilize soil

Salmon may live in the water, but a new study shows they help shape the forest.

A study of 50 watersheds in the Great Bear Rainforest on British Columbia’s central coast says bears, fish-catching wolves and other predators haul huge amounts of salmon into the forest that provide a potent “nutrient subsidy” that drives plant growth in the surrounding forest.

Nitrogen released by the fish favours some plants – such as the aptly named salmonberry -while pushing out other species, researchers from Simon Fraser University published in the journal Science’s Friday edition.

“Salmon are important to us not just because of their value in fisheries and for food, but they also can be having quite significant impacts on our surroundings,” says biologist John Reynolds, co-author of the four-year study.

Salmon in the Great Bear Rainforest are so plentiful that the region’s wolves have specialized to catch the fish live as they swim through shallow waters on their way to spawning streams, says Reynolds.

The wolves, like the bears, leave a lot of the fish behind.

“The wolves typically eat only the head or the brain,” he says.

Working with the Heiltsuk First Nation the researchers counted how many salmon migrated up different streams -and found “thousands” of fish spawning in some of the coastal streams, many which had not been surveyed before, says Reynolds.

Bears, wolves and other predators “can transfer more than 50 per cent of the salmon to the forest,” they report. The rest of the fish, which die after spawning, either rot along the stream banks or are washed downstream.

To assess the impact, they looked at stream chemistry and what grew in surrounding forests.

“We looked at all plants that we encountered, from lichens to shrubs,” says Reynolds.

They found species, such as salmonberry and stink currant, thriving along streams with plenty of salmon. Plants such as blueberry and false azalea prefer nutrient poor soils and were less common.

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As I pointed out in a post last week… it’s great to see some of these sorts of things hitting the mainstream media. However, it should be remembered that this sort of thing has been ‘known’ for a long, long, long time throughout the range of Pacific salmon… Not “hidden” as the article suggests… (maybe hidden to those that understand natural cycles… or those that isolate things into little categories… kind of like government departments that separate “managing” bears from “managing” salmon…)

State of the Salmon: Salmon Atlas -- Original Pacific salmon distribution

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As a more recent example, in their 1999 paper: Pacific salmon carcasses: Essential Contributions of Nutrients and Energy for Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems. Jeff Cederholm and colleagues state:

Pacific salmon also have been considered important vectors for returning significant amounts of nutrients from the northern Pacific Ocean back to land, representing a unique way to move nutrients upstream. This subject has attracted attention from scientists and economists throughout the Pacific Rim.

Consider Japan’s Edo era (1603-1867), when people believed that a streamside forest could provide fish with numerous benefits such as cover, nutrients, and food. This belief remained in the minds of people living near waterfronts or forests after the Meiji Restoration (1868).

When the first forest act of Japan was introduced at the beginning of the twentieth century, it contained an article ordering conservation of uo-tsuki-rin, literally “fish attracting forest.” Using anecdotal information, Sibatani (1996) suggested that uo-tsuki-rin may operate in the opposite direction: “The land near rivers is well fertilized by the ocean nutrients brought by ascending (spawning) salmon, which causes the forests to thrive.

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So let’s think about this for a few seconds…

the great salmon cycle

We have this great cycle that has gone on for thousands and thousands and thousands of years.

Salmon spawn then die, babies are born in the spring, head to the ocean, cycle through the North Pacific, head home, spawn, die.

The death feeds everything around — including the babies, and the cycle begins again.

And so on, and so on, and so on….

But then in the late 1800s, a new factor enters the equation… a cycle of another kind: an economic cycle with largely one sole purpose. Profit.

And so the equation is something akin to this:

Salmon equation through late 1800s and entire 1900s

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So in sticking with the analogies from the beginning… (and this isn’t very “scientific”)…

What would happen in the north if we removed 75% of the seasons?

 

Seasons captured?

Would we expect the “Fall” to keep producing the same amount of things we have come to expect? 

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What about the geese?

captured geese?

If we captured 80 – 100% would we expect the few remaining to keep producing the same numbers?

(granted some folks aren’t big fans of geese and suggest they are killing salmon…)

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So this is the part that gets me…

There’s some apparent great “mystery” out there on why salmon populations are crashing…

There’s even a $15 – $20 million judicial inquiry going on right now over one year (2009) of crashed sockeye populations in the Fraser River: the Cohen Commission.

Within the Commission is a whole ream of scientists scrambling to find the ‘smoking gun’… (made all the more bizarre with the monster return of Fraser sockeye last year — 2010).

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If we know it’s a cycle and over the last 125 years or so we’ve done our best to obliterate the cycle — not just through overfishing — then why are fish populations, with industrial fisheries focused upon them, so “mysterious” when they collapse?

What happens if I take 75% of the gas out of your car?

What happens if take 75% of the money out of your bank account?

What happens if I cut the value of interest collected on your investments by 75%?

Or, for that fact, cut your investments by 75%? (as experienced by a few folks in the last few years).

What if we interrupted the water cycle — and harvested 75% of the rain fall in the Okanagan over the next 50 years?

A cycle is a cycle is a cycle.

If we humans decide to interrupt naturally occurring cycles by “harvesting” or “consuming” for ourselves– we’re going to have an impact.

No one puzzled all that greatly on what happened to Cod… no on puzzled all that greatly on what happened to the variety of over-harvested whales… no one is puzzling all that greatly on what’s happening to the world’s tuna populations… or even BC’s Coho populations for that fact.

And the starving grizzly bear’s of Rivers Inlet on BC’s coast?

Well… if you went to a restaurant and they only served you 25% of what you ordered — what would be the impact? (And then you had to fight all the other restaurant goers for your share of what used to be enough)

What if every time you go to the grocery store and you were only able to buy 25% of what you normally do?

I think you probably get my point…. still a mystery?

 

Salmon for the forests; forests for the salmon… shocking…

Globe and Mail image

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Health of salmon run affects ecosystem of forest

I’m appreciative of the most recent Mark Hume article in the Globe and Mail.

However at the same time, it’s rather exhausting that these sorts of things come to light so slowly.

I tell the story often…

…when I was growing up on Haida Gwaii, I spent an immense amount of time fishing; largely for Pacific salmon. Coho, humpies, the odd Chum (Dog), and from time to time Chinook. Whenever we brought fish home, we had generally hiked them up the river on an alder branch broken off a tree nearby the closest “meathole”. Generally, we would clean the fish once we got home. Our mom told us for years to bury any heads and guts in the garden, but deep enough that some dog or cat wouldn’t dig them up.

Fertilizers of all sorts are generally made out of fishmeal — and in years gone by were a central component. Industrial fisheries in some far-away ocean grinding up some little fish on the ocean food chain to turn it into cheap fertilizer.

So if fishmeal, fish guts, and fish heads are good fertilizer in a garden — why they hell wouldn’t they be the same in the forest?

Indigenous cultures have been saying this for eons — “everything is connected.”

Ever look at a west coast totem pole… everything is connected.

Ever look at west coast, or even interior art… (you guessed it… everything is connected).

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So says the article:

When bears, wolves and other animals drag salmon carcasses from spawning streams they cause an intricate chain reaction that changes the nature of the surrounding forest, according to new research from Simon Fraser University.

Plant species that efficiently take up nitrogen from the decomposing bodies of salmon flourish – and soon there are more song birds, drawn by the dense growths of wild berry bushes and prolific insect hatches.

“The shift in dominance of some of these plant species was a lot more dramatic than I frankly had expected. Species like salmon berry it turns out are really well named. They tend to dominate in streams that have a large number of salmon,” said Prof. Reynolds, who oversaw the research project which was led by Morgan Hocking, a postdoctoral fellow.

In addition to looking at plant species, Prof. Reynolds said it is important to consider the physical characteristics of a stream as well, because animals avoid fishing in places where getting out of the water with a salmon is difficult because of steep banks.

“If it is a small stream and has shallow banks, then there is a lot better chance that the plants will be effected by the carcasses, because these are more accessible to bears,” he said.

I’m certainly appreciative of the research by Reynolds and Hocking. I’ve read quite a bit of their research before and it’s great to see some of it going a bit mainstream.

This is an image from Dr. Tom Reimchen’s lab at Uvic. It’s kind of ‘techie’ and scientific; however shows the same connections — or more like has been showing these connections through ‘scientific’ channels for quite some time.

Salmon enter the near-stream environment from bottom stage left, and become food, nutrients, energy for a pile of critters. (make sure you glance at the date: 1994)

"nutrient vectors"?

And well… what to our wonder…

Apparently salmon depend on the forests of the stream ecosystems they swim up to spawn and then often (for some species) spend several years in as baby salmon.

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An article just the other day from the Atlantic Salmon Federation:

Boreal Forest Water Vital to Atlantic Salmon

OTTAWA – A first of its kind report by the Pew Environment Group reveals that Canada’s boreal, the world’s largest intact forest and on-land carbon storehouse, contains more unfrozen freshwater than any other ecosystem. As United Nations’ International Year of Forests and World Water Day coincide, world leaders are grappling with water scarcity and pollution – and scientists are calling boreal protection a top global priority.

… [because Canada's Boreal Forest]:

  • contains 25 percent of the planet’s wetlands, millions of pristine lakes, and thousands of free-flowing rivers, totaling more than 197 million acres of surface freshwater;
  • provides an estimated $700 billion value annually as a buffer against climate change and food and water shortages;
  • offers the last refuges for many of the world’s sea-run migratory fish, including half of the remaining populations of North American Atlantic salmon.

“A first of its kind report…”??

Maybe for the Pew folks… but certainly not a unique idea. (as i’ve mentioned before… marketing is everything; everything is marketing).

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And so really… what all of this is saying is… if we’re going to do true “Ecosystem-Based Management” we better really think about the entire spectrum of ecosystems, and the endless interlinked relationships… and we should probably be cautious and use precaution because we might mess up a delicate balance…

But have no fear I tell you… because over ten years ago (1999) the Department of Fisheries and Oceans devised this incredible draft concept: Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy. One of the central components of that Policy was to be “Ecosystem-based management”…

How are we doing?

Utter failure.

Have you seen the allocations of salmon for species other than humans?

Like maybe Species at Risk Act (SARA) listed Resident Orcas in the Salish Sea that depend heavily on Fraser Chinook as a food source, or dwindling Grizzly Bears, or starving eagles?

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And south of us… have no fear, I found on the Pacific Fishery Management Council website that there is a sub-committee of a Committee holding a sub-Panel of a Panel to devise a Plan…

Sounds promising, let me tell you.

Ecosystem-Based Management Subcommittee of the Scientific and Statistical Committee and the Ecosystem Advisory Subpanel to Hold Work Sessions to Develop recommendations on an Ecosystem Fishery Management Plan

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will convene meetings of the Ecosystem-Based Management Subcommittee (Subcommittee) of the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and the Ecosystem Advisory Subpanel (EAS) that are open to the public.  Please note, this is not a public hearing; it is a work session for the primary purpose of considering recommendations to the Council on the development of an Ecosystem Fishery Management Plan (EFMP).

I don’t mean to be the can of fish asshole today… but come on!

are you kidding?

I’m really not sure what an “ecosystem fishery” management plan is… isn’t that what we all do… go fishing in an “ecosystem”?

The Subcommittee session will focus on incorporating ecosystem science into the Council management process.  The joint session of the Subcommittee and the EAS will focus on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment [take deep breath]. The EAS will also discuss available science and its potential application with the SSC and will develop recommendations on the EFMP’s purpose and need, regulatory authority, and management unit species for the June 2011 Council meeting in Spokane, Washington

(I’m not making this stuff up… true quotes)

I just don’t understand why they don’t form an advisory subsubcommittee (S2C) that will integrate a framework that will inform the sub-Panel of the Board of the Directors recommendations to the post-science, pre-conference, strategic planning sub-Group — which will in turn provide a background matrix and risk-management scaffolding to guide regulatory management and authority of that sub-species, pre-migratory, complex habitat, ecosystem-based, policy informing database and ecological modeling platform.

Maybe that’s why Dr. Reimchen’s work has never been officially incorporated into Department of Fisheries and Oceans “ecosystem-based management” policies. He must not have been on the sub-committee of the sub-Panel reporting to the EBM Board at the DFO…

But hey… thank ghad… there is contact info for the upcoming gathering down south:

For further information regarding the ecosystem-based management advisory subpanel and subcommittee work sessions, please contact…

… Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to … at least five days prior to the meeting date.

I, by no means fault the effort to provide access to individuals with disabilities — that’s important everyhwere… I’m just wondering if they’ll have “translation” services available. I think that could be a mandatory “auxiliary aid” for any of these salmon processes.

I was a at a conference in Portland, Oregon last year and there were translation services for Japanese and Russian participants — several times I was looking for the translation services for gobbledeegook, bumpf, bureaucratese, ‘science-chatter’. I’m sure some folks have been looking for these services at the Cohen Commission looking at declines [aka crash] of Fraser salmon in 2009…

It’s a disease… or a bumpf-ease… could one be so bold as to say “plain language might save the wild salmon”?

And maybe a return to a thousands and thousands of years old understanding… salmon are essential to forests; forests are essential to salmon.

“Everything is connected; connected is everything…”

Fish assholes?

are you kidding?

Have you ever seen such a thing?

I thought it a hoax of sorts until I searched online and found this:

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German style?

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I’m curious about how this would be as a “main dish”?

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This also seemed a fitting accompaniment… “side dish” if you will for another “once upon a salmon” tidbit.

This one comes from 1983 an “Ocean Law Memo” from the University of Oregon in 1983. Came across this randomly online.

The troubled Pacific Salmon Treaty: why it must be ratified

ocean_memo_24_1983

did we learn?.

Yup… I think this is referred to as the classic: “Tragedy of the Commons”.

If I don’t catch them, those fish assholes over there will… so why conserve?

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Next sentence?:

And so for years, Alaskans caught Canadian-bound salmon.

BC fisherfolks caught US-bound salmon.

And each side would retaliate against the other and try their best to be the biggest fish assholes, especially on trans-boundary rivers.

And who paid the worst price?

Well… the fish of course

(and the multitude of First Nation communities that depended on those annual returns).

And which fish got hammered the worst?

Well, Coho and Chinook are sure in deep trouble in a lot of places:

Chinook loss -- 1983. Do we ever learn?

And so here we are… 28 years later… and things look worse… much worse.

What are we now… 1000% below optimum?

And really, with all the threats such as urban expansion, climate change and the like… what is optimum “escapement” (spawners) now?

Is it double what it was in 1983… triple… quadruple?

And yet here we are in Canada faced with yet another multi-million dollar ‘review’ of “fisheries management”.

What possibly could have gone wrong?

Let’s search the culprits, the hypotheses, the theories, the ‘science’… what possibly could have gone wrong…?

“It just doesn’t make sense…”

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Who the ffff…

fruitcake

are we trying to fool here?

We fished the shit out of them for over a hundred years, stuffed more salmon in little aluminum cans then ever thought imaginable and sold them on the cheap.

They were an “endless resource”.

Nuke this stream, then just move up the coast.

Nuke that stream, then just move down coast.

Are there not enough abandoned, empty pilings rotting in the ebb and flow of Pacific tides to remind us of “WHY”?

Why?

 

Are we really going to continue to talk about dividing salmon right up until the last two are swimming upstream?

Look around the world… the history of “fisheries management” over the last 100 years, is an absolute f-in failure.

There’s a reason why the United Nations makes declarations to go to war… alongside: stating in no uncertain terms that fisheries around the world are in dismal shape.

Why?

Because wars and collapsing fisheries result in similar outcomes… dead and dying people; dead and dying communities; rubble and ruin.

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Who are the real fish assholes?

BC Salmon Farmers, more responses… will I eat farmed crow?

If you have not had a chance to follow all the comments, or are new to the site; here’s a sampling of an exchange that portrays some properties of the BC salmon farming debate and where there may very well continue to be dissonance on this hot ticket issue.

A manager from one of the larger BC salmon farming companies (a very large company, where the salmon farmer is but one tiny cog in a much larger globalized multinational — not to suggest this as a “ohhh, watch out for the bogeyman”… more a reality of the business environment), respectively left some comments in response to my comments on the new PR campaign largely led by the website bcsalmonfacts.ca:

You raise a range of interesting points in your response to my posting on your blog. I do want to address these as best I can. I hope that ultimately you will come and see for yourself what we do and how we do it.

You comment that … in BC there are large populations of wild salmon stocks and the history of wild and farmed interactions is not a very good one.

This is an interesting point – but this is one of the myths that I’d like to see the wider public understand better. The farmers in BC have actually got a great record of living in harmony with wild salmon runs. In the Broughton – increasing pink runs and coho runs. In the Fraser a record sockeye run. Coordinated and effectively managed sealice levels to specifically protect wild stocks (not to protect the farmed fish)…

… Salmon farming is a good economic activity that should be seen as part of the solution to the world’s sustainability problems – it is not, in my view, part of the problem.

You then discuss more generally regarding what are acceptable impacts and how do we determine what is acceptable. You also comment on the role of PR. I’m glad to say that I agree with you here! All human activities have impacts. We do need to debate what is acceptable to the community here in BC.

But the community deserves to hear both sides of the story – PR works both ways and the people who advocate for the elimination of salmon farming (that is what would effectively happen if the industry was legislated out of the natural waterways) are very good at communicating their ideas and concerns. Salmon farmers have a responsibility to explain why we believe that our activities are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

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It is not the entire comment, and I haven’t shortened it to try and take things out of context; more to shorten reading time (and try and keep post length down).

In response, I had a post-length comment, of which I have added a few more thoughts:

thanks for taking the time in continuing this chat. I certainly have to respectfully take issue with a few comments about the ‘myths’ you allude to… like anything, and especially this hot button issue of salmon farming on the BC coast… it is multifaceted with more sides, angles and faces then a polar bear embossed diamond from Nunavut.

I don’t quite buy the ‘fish farms living in harmony with wild salmon runs’ argument… it’s a pretty weak causal connection. If I might use the analogy, it’s like saying clearcut logging had a harmonious relationship with salmon because look at the record Fraser sockeye run this year. “All those years of industrial clearcuts ‘obviously’ didn’t do any damage, look at this record 2010 run. What’s everyone complaining about?”

The jury is most certainly still out on this apparent harmonious relationship between salmon farms and wild salmon. And quite frankly, I agree with the newspaper article posted on the bcsalmonfacts.ca website today regarding this PR campaign [Vancouver Sun: BC salmon farmers fight back]. Some of the statements made in the salmon farmers press release, and some of the statements on the website, just inflame the situation more than seek resolution.

If the intention truly was to ‘get the real story out’ then why use the “email from Nigerian refugee” analogy — that’s simply inciting. Not that i’m not prone to the same approach from time to time… but this is a PR campaign by big, ‘responsible, companies with many brains at the table (I hope). I would hope the PR firm launching this could come up with something a little more clever than that. (but then, sometimes folks tune me up on my communication tactics too…)

I think I’d have to beg to differ that the runs [Broughton pink and coho] are “increasing”… as compared to what? Late 1990 numbers when there was a zero mortality coho policy? (I have the same issue with DFO and their salmon numbers too… see older posts… colonial cultures tend to have a rather narrow timeframe when they start talking about “historical populations”)

I also struggle with the: ‘farmed salmon is part of a sustainable food supply issue.’

If feed conversion levels are still above 1:1 as in the 1.2 to 1 as claimed on the PR site… that’s still a negative gain — and negative gains are not “sustainable”. If it takes me $1.20 to make $1.00, I don’t think any financial adviser would recommend this investment scheme [as sustainable]?

Furthermore, last time I checked at the local Prince George supermarket, farmed Atlantic salmon prices weren’t all that different then wild salmon prices. I don’t imagine that’s much different in the U.S. where the bulk of BC farmed salmon gets exported too. And thus, as I’ve mentioned in past posts, I don’t think inner city kids in the U.S. are eating poached or baked salmon at any meal they might secure.

I also don’t imagine that BC salmon farmers are making huge strides to get their product to West Africa in its time of ethnic strife and starvation.

It’s not to suggest that they necessarily should… it’s more that this argument that farmed salmon are a solution to food shortages is seriously flawed. Frankly, salmon is a luxury food that some middle class families can afford — however, cheaper beef, pork and poultry are going to be the meat alternatives to folks on the lower income scale.

[furthermore, there are many studies that suggest there are not food shortages in the world, there are serious issues with distribution... not to mention, food now being used to produce biofuels...]

And thus, I have doubts about the “good economic activity” that you suggest. As far as I can see (which sometimes isn’t that far, depends on how hard its raining), salmon in the marketplace is about supplying higher income folks, and thus, this is why it makes “economic” sense to some. Especially publicly-traded companies that have shareholders to satisfy [and analyst expectations to meet]. I respectfully suggest that this is one of those half truths, half facts that I have mentioned.

You are fair in your comments on PR and yes, I agree in turn — PR is certainly used by all sides. If you’d like, search “Canadian Boreal Forest Initiative Agreement” on this site (or Marine Stewardship Council) and you’ll see I don’t only have issues with corporate PR, there is certainly enviro-NGOs PR campaigns that also drive me batty.

I’m not so sure I agree with the assertion that the salmon farming industry would be “eliminated” if it was taken out of natural waterways…[and I see today there is a new posting on the bcsalmonfacts.ca in this regard]. I’ve seen a few recent presentations that demonstrate the technology and financials around closed-containment systems.

Also… like so many things, industry proponents buried in certain ways of doing things, faced with imminent changes, jump up and down, scream and shout, twist and turn, and lobby the shit out of government to make sure changes are not enforced.

“we will be forced out of business”; “this industry will die”; “people will lose jobs”; and every other possible argument. And then… what to our wonder… real innovative thinking happens… new technology is created, becomes more affordable, and a whole new way of doing things all of a sudden arises.

Look at the incredible growth of organic farming: from food to cotton.

Early on, industry proponents said “no way, won’t happen” and now?… Walmart has jumped on board.
Similar arguments around alternative energy and so on.

And so, I am a bit curious about what you mean by salmon farmers are “part of the solution and not part of the problem” — what solution(s) are you referring to? And which problems?

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A thought came to mind, in relation to yesterday’s post. In that post, I quoted a definition of public relations (PR):

1. the actions of a corporation, store, government, individual, etc., in promoting goodwill between itself and the public, the community, employees, customers, etc.
2. the art, technique, or profession of promoting such goodwill.

If that is the case… then maybe some of the NGO campaigns opposing open-pen salmon farming on the BC coast, in relatively confined inland waterways, aren’t PR, as one could argue those campaigns are not seeking “goodwill” per se. Yet, some of those campaigns certainly employ the spin-factor or latching on to certain very negative components and communicating those in a way that over-emphasizes certain things.

Similar to various companies and corporations these days that advertise how great they are — yet will screw you over at the first opportunity. I recently looked at the back of my bill from Bell, and on the back in hard to read blue fine print it explains they will charge 3% per month interest on overdue balances. That’s 42.58% per year! (they leave that part out on their cute little TV commercials and newspaper ads). Same with the big banks and their mysterious user fees and administrative charges, etc.

This isn’t to say that I’m comparing these tactics directly — simply highlighting a point.

Marketing maven and guru Seth Godin has a fitting post on this from yesterday:

Raising expectations (and then dashing them)

Have you noticed how upbeat the ads for airlines and banks are?

Judging from the billboards and the newspaper ads, you might be led to believe that Delta is actually a better airline, one that cares. Or that your bank has flexible people eager to bend the rules to help you succeed.

At one level, this is good advertising, because it tells a story that resonates. We want Delta to be the airline it says it is, and so we give them a try.

The problem is this: ads like this actually decrease user satisfaction. If the ad leads to expect one thing and we don’t get it, we’re more disappointed than if we had gone in with no real expectations at all. Why this matters: if word of mouth is the real advertising, then what you’ve done is use old-school ad techniques to actually undercut any chance you have to generate new-school results.

So much better to invest that same money in delighting and embracing the customers you already have

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This is the danger with the fighting tactics that the salmon farmers have chosen for this PR campaign.

This is a potentially well-funded, infinitely backed PR-spin campaign mounted by massive multinational companies (for the most part). It looks pretty sharp, it uses nice language (e.g. dispelling myths, stating facts, and telling the real story). It’s about ‘putting those evil spin-mongering NGOs in their place, uncover their naysaying, left-leaning, greeny BS.’

The reality check here is that the general BC public — the average folks that in some way or another will make the decisions on whether to get open-pen salmon farming out of BC’s inland waters — will largely see straight through this. We are bombarded daily by hundreds, thousands of ads by large, national or multinational companies spouting off about how great they are, and how it’s just so simple to do business with their ultra-responsible firms.

Yet, when you actually try to call them you’re run through an infuriating automated answering system that doesn’t get you where you need to go. You get repeated “your call is important to us, please continue to hold”, and finally, a person, yet it’s quite apparent they are certainly not in the same time zone as you are.

This particular PR campaign is employing similar tactics, trying to show pizzaz and new aged-ness by engaging social media and so on… but it’s not that much different than BP oil mounting a Facebook PR campaign to change their image… most folks will see through it, the already converted will espouse its merits and why don’t those other dolts buy what we’re selling and stop believing that evil NGO crap.

It’s simply the wrong tactic… it’s old school, it’s tired, and it will most likely be a waste of money.

And worse yet, if the salmon farming naysayers are able to dispel and communicate the other ‘facts’ and the ‘myths posing as facts’ and so of this particular campaign — the salmon farming industry could end out with even more mud on their face. Most folks cheer for the little guy, the underdog, and this is shaping up nicely as well-funded multinationals against average citizens and a handful of NGOs, who have BC citizen membership behind them.

Maybe I’ve seen this picture somewhere before…?

(but who knows, maybe i’ll be forced to eat my words… eat farmed crow… or something)

satisfying charts and graphs and equations and …

Salmon Think Tank -- Dec. 2010

This is a slide from the recent “Salmon Think Tank” gathering a few weeks ago in Vancouver at SFU’s downtown campus.

As mentioned in previous posts, I wasn’t all that struck by a group of scientists getting together and coming up with the tag line on this particular PPoint slide:

“where to direct future science efforts and how to conduct it?”

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There is quite a debate out there these days over “science” and “traditional knowledge” (whether that traditional knowledge is First Nations or non-First Nations — or maybe simply ‘community knowledge’).

Canada’s courts have had to grapple with this issue. For example, how does aboriginal oral history get treated within the confines of the colonial law system?

Court cases over the last few decades (in many colonized nations) have started to give this question, many varying answers…

And now, scientists are even paying more attention to traditional and community-based knowledge.

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Oddly enough, scientists must have paid some attention to this knowledge over the last century or so when it comes to “fisheries science”… the image above is the present-day salmon smolt (baby salmon) counting fence on the Chilko River out on the Chilcotin Plateau, west of Williams Lake in the territory of the Tsilqot’in people.

The flow of the river in this picture is from right to left. As baby sockeye begin migrating downstream to the ocean, they meet this weir and are directed into the central opening where the small buildings are located.

As the baby fish pool up in their instinctual downstream push, they are ‘counted’ through a system of various electronics and cameras. Data sets for portions of an hour are then used to predict how many fish are moving each hour, this is extrapolated to 24 hrs, etc.

The end result is an estimate of how many baby sockeye leave this particular river and head out to ocean each spring. This number can then be compared against returning adults 3-5 years later — most returning after 4 years.

This is not an “exact” science… and sadly, often many smolts can die in this counting process as fish gather in holding tanks and get squashed, etc.

But, it’s for the good of science…

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Seton Lake - Portage Fish Weir 1903

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Fish weir -- Cowichan River 1900s

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Fraser Lake fish weir 1908

With some irony, all of these fish weirs pictured above were for upstream migrating fish. Aboriginal people from northern Alaska to southern California used these types of structures to capture upstream migrating salmon — and harvest them selectively.

Often times, weirs like this would be located at various points along a stream or river — with Nations upstream depending on the nations downstream to allow fish past.

Most of these weirs — and looking after salmon (e.g. enter buzzword: stewardship) — were tended through elaborate rituals and traditional systems handed down for eons.

Simple principle really: catch too many fish and die a few years later due to starvation.

Or… catch too many fish downstream and suffer the wrath of starving nations upstream.

However, aboriginal fishing weirs and traps were outlawed by colonial laws in the mid to late 1800s — too much competition for the newly expanding salmon canneries.

And thus, very selective in-stream fisheries gave way to mixed stock, non-selective ocean fisheries…

And… elaborate systems of charts and graphs and equations and formulas and licensing and government bureaucracy and the Peter Principle and so on…

This isn’t to say that the traditional systems weren’t perfect and ripe for misuse — however, the checks and balances over thousands of years had allowed a pretty skookum system to entrench.

And thus now, what are we left with?

Stellaquo River 2010 -- Upper Fraser counting fence

“Counting” fences.

They provide some work for folks — however, function little according to their original intention: Food and selective harvest.

Now the counting fence is largely a tool to satisfy the charts and graphs and equations.

And to attempt to satisfy eco-bumpf suggestions of ecosystem-based management and sustainability and conservation… all terms that are entirely relative according to who is speaking them (or including them in their most recent annual report or greenwash campaign).

Upper Sustut 2010 -- Skeena River salmon counting fence

Of course, the original counting fences did serve a “management” function. In addition to serving as tools to facilitate food harvest and selectivity — they were used to gauge the strength and health of each particular salmon run, including looking at ratio of females to males.

Now though… these weirs (i.e. counting fences) largely serve to count the many dieing, dwindling, disappearing salmon runs. When a river’s salmon run becomes too small — it becomes “uneconomical” to continue operating the counting fence.

Not enough fish to count… no point in having a fence to try and count ghost fish.

Maybe someone could do a tally of the number of fish ‘counting’ fences that have disappeared, been de-fenced (you know…as in de-plane) over the last 2-3 decades?

That would probably be a pretty good indication of salmon run health coast-wide…

Sort of like the numerous other salmon “enumeration” programs that have gone the way of the Rivers Inlet sockeye (for example) or East Coast Vancouver Island Coho or Fraser River early-timed Chinook, etc. etc.

It’s not all doom and gloom — it just seems some priorities are sadly twisted, and that history and community knowledge are bounced out the back of the bus and run over by the logging truck rumbling behind….

Something fishy: The salmon are back

The National Post ran this story on Friday:

Something fishy: The salmon are back

…confounding expectations and mocking the experts, some 34,546,000 wild sockeye returned to the Fraser River this summer.

It was the largest such return in at least 97 years.

Some 13 million of the sockeye were caught as they swam into and up the Fraser, most of them taken by commercial fishermen. Another 15 million likely perished in the turbulent river runs, either in the fast-flowing Fraser, or later in the Thompson. A lot of fish died after reaching Shuswap Lake, so close to home.

Firstly, it’s unfortunate that the media continues to use this: “35 million sockeye returned”… No, it’s 35 million sockeye were estimated to have been heading to the mouth of the Fraser River. This was an in-season run size estimate based on test fisheries, scale samples, hydroacoustic counts, and whatever other science and quasi-science goes into run size estimates.

We won’t really have a better idea until all of the escapement and spawner counts are in somewhere around the time snow if flying and rivers are freezing (and the Cohen Commission hearings are in full swing).

Secondly, no “the salmon” are not back. One species, of a couple stocks of Fraser sockeye – “are back.” Sure there were some decent returns of other salmon in other areas; however, interior coho, early run Chinook, steelhead, and a myriad of other salmon stocks and species are still in deep trouble.

Thirdly, don’t get me wrong — it’s fantastic that the sockeye returned in numbers this year. However, I really hope folks remember the ‘power in diversity’ maxim.

The Adams River is but one run on the Fraser River. It’s comprised of a few stocks; however there was once over 200 separate and distinct sockeye stocks on the Fraser River.

don't count; it's just to get the idea across - from my Cohen Commission presentation

As pointed out in several previous posts, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans can only manage to 19 stocks, as that’s all there is enough information on.

I certainly don’t want to rain on the parade of this year’s “historic” return of Fraser sockeye; however, anywhere between 70-90% of the total run will be comprised of just the Adams run. That percentage could keep getting higher as the actual stream counts start coming in and the in-season forecast of 35.4 million is scaled back.

If you started celebrating the great return on the mutual fund within your RRSP and then realized that the fund was comprised of 70-90% of one company – one stock (Say Research in Motion, or other company) — would you be feeling very safe? Would you be celebrating?

Or, would you think maybe diversity is a better strategy? Maybe that mutual fund would be a little more balanced and safe if it was comprised of 200 separate stocks, or maybe 100…

Here’s a map of the historic stocks of sockeye (including kokanee) all across BC.

from "Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia" J.D. McPhail

And as far as I know, the picture ain’t all that rosy for all those black dots that represent sockeye stocks on Vancouver Island. Plus there were no record breaker runs on the Skeena this year; decent return but not “historic”.

Salmon feed salmon?

Four salmon food groups

Last Thursday I presented to the Cohen Commission through the public forums process.

One of the key points I tried to make was that salmon represent a huge energy source. It’s an energy source that involves salmon acting as huge sponges to absorb energy from the North Pacific — growing from smolts to adults as they circulate the currents of the ocean.

That energy returns in the form of adult salmon and is deposited deep into the interior of BC — and wherever else salmon migrate to.

This energy can be tracked. There are certain isotopes of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) that only come from marine/ocean sources: C13 and N15 . These isotopes are left behind all over the landscape as spawning adult salmon die, decompose and are eaten and then deposited through animal waste — and absorbed by plants.

You know the old saying when answering a questions in the affirmative: “does a bear shit in the woods?”

Well, yeah, it does… and if it’s been eating salmon that pile of poop has important nutrients in it for other critters.

Here’s a few of the slides:

In making reference to a few of the scientists that have been studying this; here’s a follow-up with some of the research that’s available readily online.

Fertilization of of terrestrial vegetation by spawning Pacific salmon_(Ben-David, et al. 1998)

Spawning Pacific salmon (Onchorhynchus) transport marine-derived nutrients into streams and rivers. Subsequently, these marine-derived nutrients are incorporated into freshwater and terrestrial food webs through decomposition and predation.

inbound salmon and outbound salmon (Fujiwara and Highsmith, 1997)

In essence, this study found that decomposing adult salmon carcasses added nutrients to estuaries that increased production of very small critters which are a key food source for chum fry.

I think this might be referred to as the ‘cycle of life’…

The energy and nutrients transported from the ocean by salmon can be released into aquatic environments such as streams, lakes, and estuaries through carcass decay. If the imported material is sufficient to substantially increase primary or secondary productivity of the systems, anadromous behavior of Pacific salmon can be viewed as an adaptation to provide increased food sources for their offspring.

salmon carcasses increase growth rate (Wipfli et al., 2003)

We tested the hypotheses that marine-derived resource subsidies (salmon carcasses) increase the growth rates of stream-resident salmonids in southeastern Alaska and that more carcasses translate into more growth […]

This study illustrates that marine nutrients and energy from salmon spawners increase growth rates of resident and anadromous salmonids in streams. This elevated growth should translate into increased survival and reproduction, ultimately elevating freshwater and marine salmon production.

Ecological relationships between salmon runs and aquatic community nutrition and productivity may be important considerations for salmon stock protection and restoration and for freshwater and marine ecosystem management.

Spawning pinks benefit coho fry (Michael jr, 1985)

This paper examines the relationship between the number and biomass of pink salmon spawning in Skagit River and the resulting return of adult coho salmon which were rearing as age-0 fish in the watershed at the time of spawning. From 1967 through 1985, during the odd-numbered years, there is a strong direct correlation between the biomass of pink salmon spawners… and recruit per spawner for coho salmon…

Traditional salmon management has concentrated on one species at a time. In order to take advantage of the enhancement benefit conferred by pink salmon spawners it will be necessary to examine interspecies impacts, reduced consumptive fisheries, changes in land use activities, and changes in stream flows from a much broader perspective than is presently employed.

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And there are many more studies with similar messages.

Notice the date on many of these?

Several from the mid to late 1990s and into early 2000s.

Curiously, this was a similar time when Canada’s Wild Salmon Policy began it’s early incantations — 1999 or so. The Policy has lots of nice words about ecosystem-based management, conservation, and so on… however, next to nothing implemented on the ground.

This year, a brave decision was made in late Aug. to close commercial fisheries targeting the huge run of Fraser sockeye to protect weaker stocks (e.g. Interior coho and steelhead) that are often caught in the marine mixed-stock fisheries. This is a step in the right direction.

One must ask though… what about all the years of taking 80% of the sockeye runs, or other salmon runs? How much did that starve the ecosystem from that essential influx of nitrogen and carbon and energy?

Including the next generation of salmon…?

Gee, could there be a link with the across-the-board declines?

Could there be a link to the healthier returns this year, due to huge declines in salmon commercial fishing pressure over the last 6-8 years?