Salmon Treaty must do more to protect wild salmon


Salmon Treaty must do more to protect wild salmon


Salmon Treaty must do more to protect wild salmon
Scientific review needed to ensure conservation objectives are met

February 11, 2008

VANCOUVER A coalition of conservation groups is calling for a scientific review of the Pacific Salmon Treaty to ensure that it is meeting the conservation objectives required to protect wild salmon, including the protection of salmon habitat. Pacific Salmon Commission representatives from the U.S. and Canada are meeting in Vancouver, B.C. this week to discuss the renegotiation of the treaty. A 10-year agreement forged between the two countries is due to expire at the end of 2008.

Trout Unlimited, the Wild Salmon Center, and Canadas David Suzuki Foundation have formed the Pacific Salmon Treaty Reform Coalition to advocate for a more sustainable and comprehensive approach to salmon management under the Canada U.S. treaty. They are being assisted by legal experts from the International Environmental Law Project at Lewis and Clark Law School.

In the past year our coalition brought together salmon scientists to identify principles for an effective treaty, and Stanford University held a treaty workshop with scientists, managers and stakeholders, said David Suzuki Foundation salmon biologist Jeffery Young. It is now time for the Pacific Salmon Commission to take this information and lead its own review of the treaty, with participation of external scientists, to ensure conservation objectives are met.

Declines in many salmon runs, including Fraser River coho, California and Oregon chinook, and a number of Puget Sound stocks, have raised concerns among salmon scientists and fisheries managers about the long-term survival of Pacific salmon. Changes in ocean conditions, most likely related to global warming, are an added challenge to the health of salmon coast-wide, making this round of negotiations especially critical.

We all want our great-grandchildren to experience wild salmon, said Guido Rahr, CEO of the Wild Salmon Center. With so many stocks of wild salmon in decline, now is the time to integrate strong conservation principles into international agreements on salmon management. It is critical that this process be both transparent and scientifically sound.

As a coalition, we are particularly concerned about the protection of salmon habitat, since healthy habitat is critical to facing these known and unknown challenges ahead, said Jeff Curtis, senior salmon policy advisor for Trout Unlimited. The treaty provides an important opportunity for both countries to work together to ensure a productive future for Pacific salmon and our shared fisheries.

Representatives of the Coalition will attend Pacific Salmon Commission meetings this week in Vancouver, B.C., and will be speaking at a public meeting of the commission on the morning of February 13 (meeting details available at

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For more information, contact:
Jeff Curtis, Senior Salmon Policy Advisor, Trout Unlimited, (503) 419-7105
Jeffery Young, Aquatic Biologist, David Suzuki Foundation, (604) 732-4228
Ian Hanington, Communications Specialist, David Suzuki Foundation, (604) 732-4228, ext. 238
Greg Block, VP for Conservation Programs, Wild Salmon Center, (503) 222-1804

The David Suzuki Foundation is committed to achieving sustainability within a generation in Canada. Abundant and diverse stocks of Pacific wild salmon are a vital part of this sustainable and prosperous future. The Foundation works closely with other conservation organizations, all levels of government, industry and first nations to achieve science-based solutions that will lead to a sustainable future for Pacific salmon in Canada.

The Wild Salmon Center is the only international conservation organization working to protect wild Pacific salmon throughout their entire range. We partner with governments, local communities, and businesses to create a network of healthy salmon ecosystems across the North Pacific. Our work is based on the best available science and our conservation solutions support sustainable economies, regional cultures, and the great rivers of the Pacific Rim.

Trout Unlimited works across the United States at the local, state and federal level, to ensure that, by the next generation, robust populations of native and wild trout, salmon and steelhead will once again thrive within their North American Range. TU strives to achieve this vision by protecting, reconnecting and restoring the habitat necessary to sustain wild fish populations so that our children can enjoy healthy fisheries in their home waters.

Date: 2/11/2008