The story of this year’s British Columbia sockeye run is actually pretty sad.
The numbers are coming in and they are pretty bad. Well, they are worse than bad. As a matter of fact, the numbers of returning British Columbia sockeye salmon are so bad, it is being considered the worst run in recorded history.
So far, only 37.5% of sockeye salmon have returned out of the predicted 2,271,000 expected. There’s a number of reasons why experts believe this to be, but regardless, this spells disaster for many.
“Every time there’s a low return on sockeye, First Nations of the coast and up the Fraser River and up the river systems are going to have to go without food for the winter,” said Bob Chamberlain, vice chairman of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs in an interview. “It’s well-reported all across Canada, the level of poverty that’s in our communities.”
Back in 2009, the numbers of returning British Columbia sockeye salmon were also low. During that time, the federal Cohen Commission was established to actually look into the matter.
Environmental experts have reported that El Niño has been a big cause in this year’s decline. It’s not just that either. Over fishing from commercial industries, less than normal snow pack, and farming irrigation have put too much strain on the fishery.
Possible solutions to these problems seem to be locked up in political red tape. The Cohen Commission outlined a few good ideas, but other outside environmental groups are solidly against them. Unfortunately, no other alternatives have been suggested.
Where this goes from here is anyone’s guess. Hopefully it get figured out soon because as you read above, there’s a lot hanging in the balance.