Déposant : Norman Dale
Communauté : Prince George
Déposé le : Avril 9, 2010
La création d’une commission chargée d’enquêter sur trois années de faibles remontes de saumons rouges constitue une réponse politique de portée limitée. Pour être efficace, la commission doit être réorientée et réorganisée de manière à embrasser l’ensemble des incertitudes et l’instabilité de l’écologie marine qui ont affecté tout le littoral.
The creation of a commission to investigate three poor years of sockeye returns, or more particularly the gap between predicted and actual runs strikes anyone who has watched the ups and downs of Northeast Pacific marine ecosystems as a rather narrow public policy response. Stocks of all salmon species not to mention numerous other fish and non-fish genera have been unstable for many years. I work particularly on the eulachon which, in several longstanding spawning rivers went from harvestable to near zero in a single year. I speak specifically of the Bella Coola River but the same instability was experienced in the Kitimat region, near Oweekeno and, on occasions at the head of Knights Inlet.
This is, of course, not the first time that bias towards a commercial species while the Government of Canada continues to ignore crises in other marine organisms, has occurred. In 1994 when a poor sockeye run was experienced on the Fraser another well-funded Commission of inquiry under the direction of the Hon. John Fraser was hastily convened. What stands out, in contrast to eulachon, is that the latter species, long called the 'Â€Â˜salvation'Â€Â or 'saviour'Â€Â fish was primarily of dorect economic and cultural value to First Nations. Ironically it is the neglect of whole ecosystems with histrionics directed exclusively to a single especially dollar-worthy species that lies behind the mysteriousnes and declines. Who knows? If the eulachon collapse of the late 90s had been more carefully examined, not as a single-species phenomenon but as a symptom of an ecosystem in trouble, we might be in a better position to explain and even make predictions about the sockeye too.
The present inquiry should be reoriented and even renamed to reflect a mandate to grapple with the full spectrum of marine ecological uncertainties and instability that has been afflicting this coast. Looking just at the sockeye is like the apocryphal story of a drunk who only looks for his keys where the light permits. And while your making essential changes to this initiative, how about balancing up the staff. Trying to figure out what's happened to a fish population with a core staff made up of one biologist and nine lawyers sounds as appropriate as doing a medical diagnosis with a team of one doctor and nine janitors.