Are B.C. waters and salmon populations in danger?

by gib96 on November 9, 2017 - 3:58pm

An article released by the CBC titled “ Will escaped Atlantic salmon survive – and thrive – in B.C. waters?” discusses the issue of thousands of Atlantic salmon escaping from a salmon farm in Washington State. Nets containing over three hundred thousand Atlantic salmon were damaged releasing an unknown number of fish into the B.C. waters. The issue here is that Atlantic salmon are not native to British Columbia and there is uncertainty as to what effects these escaped fish will have. Experts are split on the issue, some believe that the Atlantic salmon cannot survive there and there is nothing to worry about but others are concerned about interbreeding of species, the spread of disease to native salmon and  the uncertain impacts this will cause. There is research to back up the claims on both sides of the argument.

I believe this article is a strong example of ecological and scientific Uncertainty. Clearly this fish farm was approved to have Atlantic salmon growing in waters where they are not native, But now that they have escaped we see the uncertainty show itself as no one can say exactly how the fish will affect the waters.

As we learned in class, the fisheries industry has a lot of uncertainty; fish population levels are never accurately predicted. There is a natural variability in fish populations, which makes it hard to predict, and now it is even more difficult to predict how these escaped Atlantic salmon will interact with the native salmon.

There are 4 types of uncertainty in resource management; risk, uncertainty, ignorance and indeterminacy. I believe this issue touches on 3 of the 4. First of all risk; there is a risk in placing the fish farm there, but we do not have full knowledge of the dynamics between Atlantic and Pacific salmon. Indeterminacy; when knowledge is not possible because this has not happened before where the escaped fish are adults. Uncertainty; there is uncertainty here because of the incomplete knowledge of the system dynamics, the definition says it is due to lack of data or insufficient investigations. Insufficient investigations is the case here because we have data that contradicts each other.


The article “Will escaped Atlantic salmon survive – and thrive – in B.C. waters?” can be found here: