Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fraser River inquiry, scientific showdown or political media show?

“B.C. does not need to continue this debate. This is not positive for us and it’s not helping the communities that want to have salmon farming. And it’s not helping us talk about conservation of wild salmon. “Maybe it’s best for media.”  Pacific Salmon Foundation CEO and 30 year DFO scientist Brian Riddell expressing his concerns over the upcoming judicial inquiry into low sockeye returns on the Fraser.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's much discussed commission of inquiry into continuing low sockeye returns on the Fraser, isn't gaining traction with one of the key observers of the salmon fishery on the West coast.

In a Vancouver Sun article over the weekend, Brian Riddell, a 30-year scientist with the federal fisheries department who is now chief executive officer of the Pacific Salmon Foundation called into question the necessity of such a judicial inquiry over what he believes is a science issue.

In the course of the article, Riddell expresses concerns that the issue of salmon returns will become politicized in the sphere of the inquiry, leaving the scientific aspect of the quest for answers left to the side. He is fearful that the project may be more of a media show, with political agendas rather than a worthwhile exercise in research into the root causes of the sockeye decline.

The full article from the Sun can be found here.

The terms of reference for the inquiry are to be released in June, those terms may go a long way to offering up an idea as to whether Mr. Riddells concerns prove to be prescient.

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