Findings on plummeting salmon populations at 8th World Wilderness Congress

09/01/05

First congress in United States since 1987 begins this month

September 1, 2005 (Washington, DC) Close to 25 percent of all Pacific salmon species studied are at risk of extinction, according to the Atlas of the Pacific Salmon, released by State of the Salmon, a joint project between The Wild Salmon Center and Ecotrust.

The study represents the first map-based measurement of the condition of North Pacific salmon through their entire lifespan.

The book's findings show that Pacific salmon appear to be headed in the same direction as their Atlantic counterparts. Half of all wild Atlantic salmon stocks are either extinct or in great decline. But although biologists, fishery managers and conservationists know a fair amount about the reasons for the decline in Atlantic salmon, they lack similar information for Pacific salmon.

"We know we are losing Pacific salmon species at an alarming rate, but we've been driving blind in our efforts to save them," said Dr. Xanthippe Augerot, co-director of State of the Salmon. "The Atlas will help remedy the chronic lack of information that's been hampering our efforts."

The conclusions published in the Atlas are the result of ten years of research undertaken by Dr. Augerot and her colleagues. The book proposes four approaches to solving these large-scale challenges: an international monitoring system; more effective fisheries management; increased conservation efforts; and improved partnerships to protect salmon throughout the entire Pacific Rim.

The Atlas also details threats to salmon populations, which include climate change, water diversions for hydro and agriculture needs, and habitat loss.

On Wednesday, October 8, Dr. Augerot will moderate a session at the World Wilderness Congress with five of the world's leaders on Pacific salmon conservation. Reporters are welcome to attend.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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