David Suzuki and Some Inconvenient Science

September 21, 2010

David Suzuki and Some Inconvenient Science
 Letter, Cory Percevault, September 21, 2010

It seems as though the record return of 34 million Fraser River sockeye salmon has helped spark an old heated debate within the science and environmentalism arena. Does too many salmon returning create ‘overspawning’ and reduce productivity of the river system? Should these excess fish be harvested to help ensure sustainable and stable fish returns for the future?

Environmental scientist David Suzuki has an opinion, of course, and was recently quoted in the Red Deer Advocate as saying “Some people have argued that too many salmon are returning this year, and we must allow the fishing industry to catch more of them if we are to ensure healthy runs in the future.” He continues, “But all the available science shows that when more fish return to spawn, the following cycle will be more abundant”.

Really, Dr. Suzuki? All available science proves this?

A quick scan of the internet actually finds science suggests overspawning is an issue. In fact, a study by Ian Williams, Cornelis Groot and Lynda Walthers (2004) looked at a population crash of pink salmon in 2002 in an area known as the Broughton Archipelago, British Columbia and concluded “that high spawner densities contributed to the low survival of the 2000 brood year”.

You too can view this study called ‘Possible Factors Contributing to the Low Productivity of the 2000 Brood Year Pink Salmon’. And, quite ironically, it’s located on the website of the David Suzuki Foundation. Yes, Mr. Suzuki himself commissioned this study.

Selecting only the science that confirms your beliefs may be the 'nature of things'.

Cory Percevault
Campbell River, BC