Loss of a British Columbian “Icon”

by Jannanc on November 10, 2017 - 10:25pm

The article that was chosen for this post is titled “'Extremely close to being gone forever': B.C. fisheries manager says feds failing Interior steelhead” written by Ash Kelly on November 6th, 2017. The province of B.C. has had falling numbers of their “iconic” fish, the Thompson River Steelhead. The article outlines that current management practices designed to regulate the commercial salmon industry is failing the Thompson steelhead as the species is experiencing low population numbers. According to Kelly, there has only been 240 fish found in the Thompson watershed this year thus far. The reasons for the low return of the steelheads is due to getting caught in nets designed for catching other species of fish and warming oceans. Calls for action in the conservation of the species include changing the blanket management practices that are used to manage salmon on other species of fish. Furthermore, activists and anglers are calling for action for change within the chum industry in regards to ending it or at least making some major changes within their fishing practices. Stakeholders that exist include anglers, the state and First Nation communities. I feel that using the right management techniques, including change within the current management practices that are tailored to salmon. Furthermore, the use of adaptive management in changing policies of the previous management practices to regulate the salmon industries would be beneficial. Adaptive management must be used carefully as the steelheads are in a very vulnerable state in terms of their population numbers. Another aspect of environmental management that must be applied is to consult the stakeholders, especially the First Nations communities as Indigenous knowledge of native species is useful and important when making decisions that affect their land and resources. I also feel that co-management can be a useful technique when dealing with issues in the fishery realm. As mentioned in the article, the First Native community that the Thompson river runs through has stopped chum fishing in concern for the possible extinction of the steelhead. Not only would co-management be applicable to this situation, but it could lead to a better relationship and a foundation of trust and co-operation between the state and First Nation communities. Overall, there are many calls to action that are produced from the extremely low numbers of the Thompson River Steelheads. Most importantly, the management system currently in place must adapt to the needs of the fish and the stakeholders involved in such a crisis.