Indigenous Elders Say Wild Salmon Catches Today Down by Over 80%

‘The history of fisheries in B.C. is dark.’ by The Skeena

A Tŝilhqot’in Elder at Tl’etinqox Culture Camp was among 48 knowledge keepers interviewed. Photo credit: Andrea Reid / Source: Vancouver is Awesome

Wild salmon isn’t doing well and a shocking new study quantifies the damage.

Compared to 50 years ago, catches of Pacific salmon are down 83 percent.

That’s according to research from Nisga’a citizen Dr. Andrea Reid, principal investigator for the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries at the University of British Columbia, who interviewed 48 First Nations elders from around the province.

These knowledge keepers came from 18 First Nations whose traditional territories stretch across the Fraser, Skeena and Nass rivers.  

Dr. Andrea Reid, principal investigator for the Centre for Indigenous Fisheries at the University of British Columbia. Photo credit: Andrea Reid / Source: Vancouver is Awesome

“The history of fisheries in B.C. is dark,” Reid told the site Vancouver Is Awesome. “That history was about taking and not giving back.”

Reid’s figure of an 83 percent decline in catches came from estimates provided by 26 of the elders she interviewed.

The interviewees identified many threats to salmon causing the decline, “including aquaculture, climate change, and infectious diseases,” a UBC release explains.

“With ongoing wild salmon declines predicted, one solution could be to turn, or return, to Indigenous leadership in caring for salmon systems,” it reads. 

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