chapter  6
29 Pages

A Heroic Effort

A case study of the salmon fishing industry in British Columbia, Canada*
WithD Ingle Smith, John Handmer

Canada is a nation that abounds with natural resources. The overlay of modern society, with its insatiable appetite for natural resource products, is still at a stage where it appears that management of the environment could be undertaken within the bounds of sustainable development. Nevertheless, viewed over the long term, salmon fishing in the Fraser River basin of Canada has been an environmental disaster: over the last century salmon numbers have been reduced by 80 per cent. The conflicts of the last few decades, the management mechanisms put in place and the optimism over the future concern the remnants of a once abundant resource. The fact that the Fraser is arguably still the greatest salmon river in the world is a sad comment on the fate of salmon and their habitats elsewhere. Nevertheless, the Fraser is one of the few major salmon rivers with no dams on its main stream – a decision in favour of the fish.