It’s a great thing to see at least a one time run of sockeye come back in such great shape. It’s worth understanding that this is only one of the species of salmon, and that other runs are decimated and some species almost extinct. So we can cheer this, but be cautious of the inevitable backlash of people who don’t believe in environmental protections (and their political supporters) using this to tell the general public that there is ‘nothing wrong’. This is one victory for Canada, and we need to step up efforts so that we can see this kind of returns for all species of salmon. Some folks I’ve talked to who are knowledgeable seem to think that the sockeye experienced a particularly favorable year of ocean climate for them. Maybe less predators? More food? Whatever it was, we are glad.
10/18 Globe and Mail
At the mouth of what may be the world’s richest salmon river, Greg Schuler is wading slowly through a massive school of dead fish, doing fisheries research the hard way.
A senior technician with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, he is counting fish by hand, lifting each on a forked spear, then lopping off its tail with a razor-sharp machete to make sure it isn’t tallied twice.
“It’s all in the wrist,” he says as he cuts a salmon in half with a flick of his blade, a movement he can repeat up to 3,000 times a day.
Some of the fish have spawned in the river and washed downstream, but others have died in Shuswap Lake, before laying their eggs.