After tons of repeated studies by the Canadian authorities, the solution to the “missing” Fraser River sockeyes hangs in the balance. Its appears that the answer could be warmer waters, but officials concede that the mystery remains.
Not only that, it’s the fifth study of one specific run: The Fraser sockeye.
That’s a remarkable number of studies into the same problem.
– In 1992 about a half-million sockeye disappeared en route to Fraser spawning grounds. Then fisheries minister John Crosbie named two eminent scientists to investigate.
– In 1994, 1.3 million sockeye went missing. Then minister Brian Tobin appointed a panel to investigate and make recommendations.
– In 2002, sockeye conservation was challenged by a threefold increase in estimates of abundance, uncertainty over mortality rates and a huge fight over allocation. Then minister Robert Thibault named a panel to investigate and make recommendations.
– In 2004, 1.3 million sockeye went missing again, so then minister Gerald Regan named former judge Bryan Williams to head an investigatory panel.
Williams was struck by how much time has been spent investigating the problem. “The rather disturbing frequency of Fraser sockeye management reviews prompts numerous questions. Perhaps the most obvious one…. Why so many?”