Home > Biodiversity, Conservation, Oceans and fisheries > Cohen Commission final report into B.C. salmon decline released

Cohen Commission final report into B.C. salmon decline released

In his much-anticipated report on the decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon in B.C., former B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen took aim at the federal government Wednesday. He said he was “troubled” by recent amendments to the environmental process and the Fisheries Act by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.

“Many experts have emphasized the importance of protecting fish habitat, promoting biodiversity and adopting ecosystem-based management practices,” said Cohen.

“However, the recent amendments to the Fisheries Act appear to be taking (the Department of Fisheries and Oceans) in a very different direction.”

Saying it was important to be cautious, Cohen called for a freeze on new salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in B.C.’s central coast.

Cohen was charged with overseeing the federal inquiry into 2009’s shocking decline of Fraser River sockeye salmon. He makes 75 recommendations to prevent future collapse of the iconic fish. The report concludes that a range of factors influenced the salmon’s decline, including river contaminants, shoreline development and climate change. The report goes on to say that it is unlikely that a single event or stressor is wholly responsible for the poor 2009 run, in which 10 million fish were expected, but only 1.4 million turned up.

Read the final report here and the initial response of EcoJustice to its conclusions and recommendations: Cohen Commission final report released — Ecojustice.

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