The Ottawa Citizen
July 8, 1997
The current debate over West Coast salmon, focusing on who should catch how many fish, has obscured another threat to salmon: habitat destruction.
Habitat destruction may rival over-fishing as a cause of salmon’s decline. Regardless of habitat’s precise signifance-an issue long debated by industry and fishers- the warning issued by commissioner Peter Pearse in his 1982 report on the Pacific fisheries still rings with common sense: “Unless the quality and productivity of the aquatic habitat is maintained, even the best of stock managment will be to no avail.”
Habitat damage has done more harm to biodiversity than to total numbers. In British Colombia, the last decades have witnessed the weakening and extinction of many stocks. The Strait of Georgia has lost approximately one-third of its stocks. Carl walters, a fisheries biologist at the University of British Columbia, attributes 20 to 30 per cent of stock losses to habitat damage…