All examples are based in British Columbia Salmon industries -
Commercial Fish Stock
North Pacific Sockeye Salmon
The Fraser river watershed produces more Pacific salmon than any other in the world and is one of
the most productive natural watersheds in the world. In the early 1800s, salmon were abundant along the
length of the Fraser and its tributaries. Aboriginal communities used as much salmon as they wanted
without jeopardizing the stocks. Beginning in 1930, cured salmon and other fish were exported, and the
salmon industry soon eclipsed the value of the fur trade. The industry shifted from the export of salted fish
to large-scale canning of Pacific salmon after the gold rush of 1860s. At the turn of the century, the
abundance of salmon far exceeded the industry's capacity. With what seemed to be an inexhaustible supply
of sockeye salmon, the industry give little thought to environmental or conservation concerns.
the next decade it became apparent that the supply of sockeye was limited. The number of canneries
steadily climbed and the ever-increasing efficiency within the commercial fleet had made conservation of
the sockeye stock an issue that could not be ignored.
The recent 1994 "disappearance" of 1.5 million Fraser River sockeye salmon raised new concerns
about the long term viability of the stock. American and Canadian commercial fishers accused each other of
being responsible for the missing salmon. Government agencies on both side as well as independent
fisheries management agencies such as Pacific Salmon Commission (PSC) scrambled to find answers.
Some blamed the "disappearance" on adverse changes in water temperature caused by global warming,
while others suggested an inaccurate count was conducted and the missing 1.5 million salmon were a mere
discrepancy. No one knows for sure what caused the disappearance. While no single...