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Salmon Collapse in British Columbia
Experts can’t explain B.C. salmon collapse
Updated Sun. Sep. 6 2009 8:43 AM ET
The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Millions of Fraser River sockeye have gone missing and Canada doesn’t have the research to help answer why, critics say.
This year was supposed to be bumper year for the fish, but instead of more than 10 million swimming up the Fraser River, scientists with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans now believe just over one million will return.
Scott Hinch, a salmon ecologist at the University of British Columbia, says successive federal governments have cut back on research and now, too little is known about what happens to the fish after they spawn and before they return.
Hinch says it’s not clear how changing water temperatures are affecting the salmon’s food supply in the ocean, or what new predators could be targeting salmon or competing for food.
DFO spokesman Barry Rosenberger says work has already started to get to the bottom of this year’s salmon numbers.
He says department scientists have access to the information they need, but he says there’s a limit to what government can pay for.