Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Salmon Diversity Important to First Nation Food Supply - WCEL, Watershed Watch

A recent study from BC  shows that diversity of stock sub-components, in other words, genetic gene pools in BC rivers are important to longterm food supply for First Nations:

'A recent study, “Species and population diversity in Pacific salmon fisheries underpin Indigenous food security” published by SFU researchers Holly Nesbitt and Dr. Jonathan Moore, is a fantastic example. It’s good timing for the publication of this new science, too, as the findings will be valuable for the newly started review of the Fisheries Act.'

This is a link to the study summary:

The point in the study is that runs of salmon are composed of stocks within the run and it is the genetic diversity of the many stocks that is important to conserving salmon.

West Coast Environmental Law has done an analysis of the laws governing fish and habitat, that were systematically weakened by the Harper government. For a good read of their work, see:

Here is a key paragraph: 'As WCEL has been warning since 2012, amendments made to the Fisheries Act significantly weakened habitat protection provisions under the Act. As the current federal government works to restore and strengthen habitat protection, potential amendments to the Act could include a focus on protecting habitat for sub-species that may not be currently given high priority, but that are vital for ensuring healthy runs. See our brief Scaling Up the Fisheries Act for other ideas for amendments.'

In other words, habitat protection and restoration are key to maintaining salmon. The other major influences on salmon are: DFO itself, fish farms and climate change.

The WCEL brief has this to say:  'DFO’s Wild Salmon Policy (formally known as “Canada’s Policy for Conservation of Wild Pacific Salmon”) has as its first objective to “[s]afeguard the genetic diversity of wild Pacific salmon.” In addition, the Convention on Biological Diversity, to which Canada is a signatory, has “the conservation of biological diversity” as its core objective. We need to take these legal commitments seriously to stem the alarming loss of biodiversity.'

Maintaining biological diversity is a reason for getting fish farms out of BC water because they indiscriminately affect all runs.

Here is an analysis by Watershed Watch. It is worth reading:

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