Monday, August 17, 2009

VERITAS: TOUCHDOWN - ALARM SOUNDED OVER SALMON COLLAPSE

Where have all the sockeye salmon gone? That’s the big question playing out on the west coast right now, as tests have confirmed fears that there will be a major shortfall in the numbers of the prized fish this year in the Fraser River area of British Columbia. Up to 13 million of the fish were expected to return to the Fraser this summer, but federal fisheries officials now say fewer than 2 million will turn up, threatening commercial and aboriginal fishing alike. Strong language can heighten interest in any story, and the lead voices on this one are amping up their comments across the board. “It's beyond a crisis with these latest numbers,” said one native spokesperson. “What it means is that a lot of impoverished natives are going to be without salmon... We have families with little or no income that were depending on these fish...It's a catastrophe,” he said. A local fisher described the situation this way: “I remember sockeye would just boil through here in August and September. It was insane...now the river seems dead.” The Globe & Mail gave it black-line front page treatment on Thursday. The story is now taking on a political dimension, with MPs and others calling for an emergency international meeting, as the potential impacts would be felt on both sides of the border.

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