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Canada's freshwater fisheries dead within 50 yearsDavid Schindler, the recipient of the first-ever Stockholm Water Prize from the Queen of Sweden in 1991

......... as cautioned by Prof. Dr. David Schindler in year-2000, the recipient of the first-ever Stockholm Water Prize in 1991

Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax (SWCSMH)

January 04, 2017                    Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax (SWCSMH) Master Homepage

(Source: Sunday, May. 28, 2000 Canada's freshwater fisheries dead within 50 years: scientist --> By DENNIS BUECKERT-- The Canadian Press OTTAWA (CP))

Climate warming, pollution and over-fishing could destroy Canada's freshwater fisheries within 50 years unless major preventive measures are taken, says a leading scientist. David Schindler of the University of Alberta, internationally known for his research on freshwater ecology, made his prediction at a symposium on freshwater issues Tuesday. He said climate warming will cause many wetlands to disappear, disrupt fish migrations, reduce habitat for cold-water fish and promote the invasion of non-native species

"These direct insults will interact with over-exploitation of fisheries, dam building and diversion, habitat destruction . . . and pollution to destroy the native freshwater fisheries of Canada," Schindler told the EcoSummit 2000 conference. He denied presenting an alarmist scenario, noting that many people were skeptical when scientists predicted the demise of the Atlantic cod fishery.

"We already have seen the cod, we have seen people accuse the scientists of sky-is-falling scenarios there, we know that isn't true. We see salmon on the brink. This is nothing new. These are almost blueprints for the freshwater fishery, and unless we turn things around it will happen to the freshwater fisheries . . . my prediction is, by mid-century."

Once-rich sports fisheries in northern U.S. states like Minnesota have already been wiped out, and the fishing limit for lake trout in Ontario has been reduced to one from 10 during a period of 20 years. Many of the fish caught in southern Ontario are too contaminated to eat, and the problems are growing across the country, said Schindler. "We already have a lot of endangered (fish) species. In Alberta, 80 per cent of the walleye fisheries have collapsed in the last 10 years. We have lakes the size of Lesser Slave where lake trout is extinct. It used to be the major part of the fisheries, and it's fished out." Manitoba and Saskatchewan are not seriously affected yet, because they have low population and many inaccessible areas, Schindler said.

But they will soon see the same trends as logging roads are built through northern forests, creating access for fishermen who use powerful sonar to locate fish. The ability to take preventive action has been greatly diminished by cuts to federal and provincial research programs during the last decade, Schindler said.

"I feel very down every time I think of it. I think I'm becoming a manic-depressive. We win the occasional battle and everyone goes hurrah, but we're rapidly losing the war."

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