Canoe.ca (Vancouver, B.C.), July 4, 2007
FOOD CHAIN DEPENDS ON WILD STOCKS
[Rachel's introduction: "I don't really understand why the government, which authorizes these placements [of fish farms], is not --by nature -- being cautious on behalf of not just the people, but the whole ecosystem."]
By Robyn Stubbs
Salmon are part of a complex ecosystem above and below the ocean and a key part of the natural food chain.
Other fish, eagles, bears and orcas all depend on healthy runs to survive.
Paul Spong, an orca researcher based out of a small lab on Hanson Island, has been studying B.C.'s northern orca residents since 1970, and says he's "completely convinced" that the proliferation of fish farms in the Broughton is directly impacting the area's salmon runs.
Spong is concerned a depleted wild salmon stock could spell trouble for the orcas, and says he struggles to understand the justification for expanding an industry when its impacts are unclear.
"In science, you need to adopt a precautionary principle that says you don't do things when you don't perfectly understand that they're not going to be harmful," says Spong.
"I don't really understand why the government, which authorizes these placements, is not -- by nature -- being cautious on behalf of not just the people, but the whole ecosystem."
Copyright 2007, Canoe Inc.