Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Canada's pristine freshwater fisheries at risk

21.09.2007
Threats loom for trout, pike, walleye and other popular fish

If you want to catch a trophy northern pike, walleye or brook trout in the northern Canadian wilderness, better plan your trip soon. That’s because according to a report released today by the Wildlife Conservation Society, looming development, including forestry, mining and dam construction, threatens this pristine region of untouched forests, wetlands, lakes and streams. But the authors of the report also say that that there is still time for government officials to enact safeguards ensuring that northern fisheries remain a valuable resource for the future.

The report looks at the current status of several freshwater fish species – including popular sport fish such as brook trout, walleye, northern pike and lake trout – in far northern Ontario’s boreal region, which is currently off limits to forestry. It finds that even basic information on the status of fish populations and their distribution, along with long-term habitat trends, is largely missing in this vast region.

The report also warns that measures meant to mitigate the impacts of road building, hydro-electric dams or forestry on fish populations still lack a proven track record of success, providing few assurances that these globally significant aquatic systems will be adequately safeguarded in the face of the steady northward march of development.

"WCS Canada produced this report to help inform decision makers – whether they are government ministers, planners or community members – about what is at stake for northern fisheries, and for a region that we believe is an international ecological gem," says Dr. Justina Ray, executive director. "These are world-class fisheries that are important food sources, great recreational resources, and an economic engine for local communities across the north," she points out.

To put the importance of the northern boreal region in context, the report illustrates through new mapping that development and resource extraction in Ontario has left little ground untouched and undisturbed watersheds now occur almost exclusively in the boreal region, the area north of 51 degrees.

"The fact that this region still contains major watersheds without a single dam and few roads makes this a world renowned destination for recreational fishing and other outdoor activities, as well as a critically important refuge for sensitive species like lake sturgeon," says scientist David Browne, the author of the report. Sturgeon are considered threatened throughout almost all of their worldwide range and populations have been declining in Southern Ontario.

Unlike more developed regions in southern Ontario, fish communities of the northern part of the province remain largely unaltered by species introductions, stocking, overexploitation or pollution. In fact, the current healthy condition of fisheries in this region provides an unprecedented opportunity to conserve abundant and diverse fish communities -- a challenge that will require proactive land-use planning coupled with hard science.

Freshwater ecosystems, meanwhile, are among the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. Physical alteration, water withdrawal, overexploitation, pollution, and the introduction of non-native species have caused widespread habitat loss, degraded water quality, declines in aquatic species, and an overall loss of biodiversity. The report highlights a growing body of research that documents a number of important negative impacts to fish populations from the principal agents of change in Ontario’s northern boreal forests.

The report culminates in a series of research and policy recommendations aimed at ensuring the outlook for northern Ontario freshwater ecosystems. These include establishing a Fisheries Research and Assessment Unit for the area above the current managed forest boundary, and enhancing knowledge of the distribution and status of fish in the region, particularly those exhibiting demonstrated vulnerability to development in order to incorporate fish and aquatic considerations into conservation-based land use planning in the region.

“Ontario really has a tremendous opportunity to proactively protect these freshwater ecosystems through careful evaluation of the consequences of past activities and the safeguarding of important areas following baseline inventory. And by doing that, we also help to protect fisheries and freshwater species present there, which means the north has a great deal to gain and little to lose by taking a forward-looking approach to conservation in the northern boreal,” says Dr. Ray.

Stephen Sautner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wcscanada.org/media/file/ExecutiveSummary_en.pdf

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>