Photo: Food is good, in moderation

An eagle dines on the bank of a river in Squamish, B.C. (Credit: Jeffery Young)

By Jeffery Young

I bet most of us think of salmon primarily as food. And that's okay — grizzly bears, eagles, killer whales and wolves think the same way. The difference for humans is that we have the power to manage how many salmon we catch, and as such, the responsibility to ensure that enough wild Pacific salmon remain exactly that way — wild — so they can play their important role within marine and coastal ecosystems. A recent scientific paper published by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and discussed in the Huffington Post suggests that Canadian Pacific salmon fisheries aren't doing a very good job of ensuring enough salmon are left to fulfill this role. We're not even making sure that enough Pacific salmon are returning to parks and protected areas, where they can spawn safely and support other animals that depend on them for food. As revealed by a recent legal victory the David Suzuki Foundation was a part of, conserving salmon is critical to protecting other species that depend on them, like killer whales.

It's about time that we set catch levels of Pacific salmon fisheries in a way that ensures they not only provide food for us, but also for all the other plants and animals that depend on them too.

Jeffery Young is an aquatic biologist with the David Suzuki Foundation.

January 6, 2011

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