Study shows catching less fish means more will survive (no this is not an Onion headline)

We’re really surprised that this needed to be proven in a scientific study.

(NB: this is not strictly about salmon farming, but it is about wild salmon and science, a topic which is always related to salmon farms in B.C.)

New research suggests that allowing more Pacific salmon to spawn in coastal streams will not only benefit the natural environment, including grizzly bears, but could also lead to more salmon in the ocean and thus larger salmon harvests in the long term—a win-win for ecosystems and humans.

No kidding. Catching less salmon means more will escape to spawn which means more bears can eat them and also that more will return next year.

It’s not rocket science, or in this case, rocket… biology. The less you take away of something, the more you have left. Kindergartners understand this. Did we really need a full-blown science study to understand this dynamic?

Grizzly eating salmon
OMNOMNOMNOMNOM. Who's really eating who here, though?

All joking aside though, the study does point out some interesting observations, including the observation that when salmon are plentiful, bears eat less of the fish they catch, leaving the carcass to rot and fertilize the forest and also feed other scavengers.

The study also pointed out that in four of six cases studied, reducing catch limits would have a net benefit for bears and fishers. In two cases, however, particularly two fisheries on the Fraser River, reducing catch limits would benefit bears but would take away $700,000 annually from fisheries.

Fisheries in B.C. are generally sustainable, but are fishers willing to reduce their catch to allow bear populations to grow? It’s a kind of a long-term gamble for fishers. It might increase the salmon population, and thus their catches, in the future; then again, it might not.

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2 thoughts on “Study shows catching less fish means more will survive (no this is not an Onion headline)”

  1. I wonder has any research been done into the effect that catch and release has on the salmon after release, chances of spawning, mortality rates etc..

  2. Now if we could just get some recognition that building a gigantic reinforced-concrete barrier across a waterway prevents a good deal of the spawning, perhaps we could expect authorities to make the connection. I might be asking too much…;-)

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