Salmon Management Should Include Bears, Whales and other Wildlife
Friday, January 07 2011 @ 08:40 PM EST
Contributed by: gemini
THE HUFFINGTON POST
As last year's returning wild Pacific salmon headed upstream, scientists spawned a thought-provoking proposal about how taking less salmon might bring more benefits to both ecosystems and economies.
Writing in the journal Conservation Letters, researchers from the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Canadian and US universities, have proposed shifts to salmon harvesting in which fisheries take smaller catches of known runs closer to shore. The paper, titled Salmon for Terrestrial Protected Areas, argues there are many benefits from letting more fish come back to spawn, especially when spawning rivers are situated within parks or protected areas.
"Although more than a hundred wildlife species - like grizzly bears, wolves, and eagles - depend on salmon, commercial and sports fisheries often capture more salmon than the consumption from all these animals combined," explains lead author and Raincoast scientist Dr. Chris Darimont. "This happens even on salmon runs returning to parks that were created to protect these species."
Dr. Paul Paquet, a carnivore expert and senior scientist with Raincoast, questions whether a protected area can be truly protected when its foundation species, in this case Pacific salmon, are not safeguarded. "Places in British Columbia like Gwaii Haanas, the Kitlope Valley and the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary were set aside to protect key wildlife and ecosystems that evolved with salmon. Yet recommendations to reduce the harvest on the runs, so the benefits of salmon could sustain the species and parks being protected, have never been seriously considered."
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