Column: Environment and climate on the minds of Canadians

Shuswap Outdoors by Hank Shelley

In a recent poll pertaining to the upcoming federal election the environment was on the mind of most Canadians.

And yes, it is most concerning, as we continue to see mill closures because most timber supplies have dwindled and high costs continue to plague the industry.

Logging practices have also changed the landscape. Climate change is a bug bear too, as temperatures climb allowing more insect attack on our forests, also changing eco-systems/habitats.

The ocean off our coast cannot escape these changes as salmon/ground fish (halibut, cod) seek colder waters. I made a quick phone call to my son at Zeballos who runs a salmon charter to see how fishing was. He stated the chinook and coho have all moved due to the “blob,” a vast area of warming waters. Tropical species including sharks have been reported.

A noted climate change panel stated that due to ocean changes, commercial catch of 98 species of fish and invertebrates, oysters,clam, prawns and halibut will drop about 11 per cent, while salmon will decline by 17 to 29 per cent as most marine life move northward at an average of 18 kilometres per decade.

Read more: Column: Collisions, horses and displays of public compassion

Read more: Column: What to expect in B.C. this hunting season

Early in the fishing season, chinook catches were excellent (Campbell River). But the commercial catch is in crisis with most salmon species.

Watching the very popular Nature of Things”show last week on the 53,000 song birds/ waterfowl that use the Boreal forest fringing Canada’s north, logging and industrial infringement is also changing major habitats there.

On other wildlife resources, it was recently published that B.C. is introducing a major wolf elimination program to increase the endangered mountain caribou populations. Up to 80 per cent of the wolf population in central B.C. will be targeted. A study showed wolf populations in critical caribou herds are having a detrimental effect on the animals. Where culls have worked, caribou herds have increased. On other news for outdoor folks, 61 per cent of Canada’s population supports an outright ban on hand gun ownership; there were 3,240 reports about nuisance grizzly/black bears across B.C. since May; in Newfoundland, about 1,934 people reported moose/vehicle collisions.

Tight lines and report any wildlife violations.


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