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Huge Salmon Increase in British Columbia

Huge Salmon Increase in British Columbia

In British Columbia’s Fraser River it has been reported there are an estimated 34 million salmon, up from just 1.5 million last year. Scientists are puzzled by the huge increase, but warn it is most likely not a long-term trend, and that next year’s run is probably not going to be at the same level. Professor Daniel Pauly, a local fisheries professor noted science is good at identifying long-term patterns, but not so good at predicting short-term events in some cases. This current huge influx appears to be one of those rare anomalies. Last year the numbers were abnormally low, so much so the Canadian government formed a panel to launch an inquiry.

One theory for the likely one-time salmon population explosion credits the eruption of a local volcano, which dumped large amounts of ash into the Gulf of Alaska where diatoms fed on its nutrients. A very enlarged diatom population provided copious amounts of food for young salmon, and their population surged in the presence of the food surplus. During the previous year, the 1.5 million salmon consumed their normal diet – plankton in a relatively limited supply.

The panel appointed to investigate last year’s very low numbers, has convened this week to discuss the situation. The Cohen Commission’s meeting has caused anti-fish farming protesters to gather near their building. They believe the long-term decline of wild salmon is due to disease spread by salmon in fish farms. The B.C. Salmon Farmers Association has also been vocal, through newspaper advertisements questioning the process considering the most recent enormous spike in wild salmon.

Professor Paul explained, this one-time blip in the salmon population should not be interpreted as an indication fisheries are on the mend, “The global picture is that we have lost 80-90 percent of the big fish. Biodiversity is being lost on a grand basis in the oceans and it is due mainly, overwhelmingly, to fishing.” (Source: BBC.co.uk)

He said most fisheries once in a while have a very strong surge for a year, but scientists are still not clear why they happen, and that they are not good indicators of the overall health of a fishery.

Image Credit: Public Domain

Related Links
Salmon Stakes: Where Have All the Salmon Gone?
Genetically Modified Salmon Swims Onto Your Plate

Read more: Nature, Nature & Wildlife,

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47 comments

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4:59PM PST on Nov 21, 2010

Hope this is a permanent phenomenon!

1:05AM PST on Nov 21, 2010

Thanks for the info.

6:53AM PDT on Nov 3, 2010

This is good, don't complain.

3:34PM PDT on Nov 2, 2010

Orv Lehman has a very valid point. We must not further unbalance what is left of the ecological cycle, in the seas and above them. Unfortunately we in the USA have allowed our government to drag its heels about reducing pollution from air and water, while our so called representatives and DC hangers on fatten their secret bank accounts. It seems to me that the real predators associated with our oceans are our politicians.

3:29PM PDT on Nov 2, 2010

Victoria B, no need to boycott Chinese goods, their exchange rate has caused them to have 90% of their brand names made in China, just about like us. One of my sons recently moved to China to get a job, he is a programmer fluent in Chinese. I guess that is how events will work for a while, everyone wanting a job moving to China. Will the last one out of the former 'Land of the free' please turn off the lights?

3:24PM PDT on Nov 2, 2010

No need for cloned salmon now, if the source of the surge can be found, and it is important not to deplete this population, but to let them reproduce.

6:57PM PDT on Nov 1, 2010

We can rejoice in this unexpected abundance. However, it is important not to become complacent or rest on our laurels.

3:16AM PDT on Nov 1, 2010

I agree a comment mentioned in above.Yeah. Japanese must reduce eating of fish but please be aware that not only Japanese eating a lot.Chinese eat much more than Japanese do.Thanks

11:37AM PDT on Oct 31, 2010

S'il faudra ajouter les 1.5 millions de saumons au 34 millions
signalé sa sera suffisant pour nourrir les 35 millions de Canadiens.

2:44AM PDT on Oct 31, 2010

IT ALL SEEMS A BIT 'FISHY' !

Boycot Japanese goods until they stop mass killing of Dolphins, and they stop Whaling.

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