Vancouver fisheries are struggling, but they are not alone.
In a report released Monday, the Fraser Institute, a think tank based in Vancouver, says a global economy driven by resource extraction, climate change and the threat of infectious diseases has led to the loss of fish stocks in the region.
The report says that in 2016, about 90 per cent of the world’s total fish stocks were at risk of decline.
In the region, the report says there were 5,700 commercial fisheries.
While the region has been recovering from the devastating 2017 salmon and steelhead mortality events, there has been a sharp increase in the recent death tolls from the disease, which has killed hundreds of people and left thousands more in need of medical treatment.
The Fraser Institute says it is hard to say how much of the increase in deaths is attributable to the pandemic, and what the long-term implications of the disease are.
It says there is a strong case to be made that there is increased risk to marine species and fisheries in the province, but it also points to the need to continue to address the problem.
Vancouver fishers are concerned about their livelihoods, but there are good reasons to be optimistic, says Ian Lintner, director of the Fraser Fisheries Institute.
“We need to get this on track, but I think we can do that by diversifying our supply chains,” he says.
“The fact is, we have a large fish industry in this province, and I think that is something that is very important.”
Videos of a large bluefin tuna caught off Vancouver harbour in 2017.
The Fraser Institute report is based on the latest scientific data, and uses data from the International Whaling Commission, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, and the United States government.
The study found that global fisheries stocks declined by 7.3 per cent between 2015 and 2016, which was the worst in the world.
That is the first time that this has happened in more than 30 years.
But the report cautions that there are many reasons for the downturn in the fishery.
Its report says the rapid loss of salmon stocks in recent years is partly the result of the impact of climate change on the region’s fishery, and partly due to a decline in the global market for salmon, and to the increased mortality of wild fish in the Pacific.
The trade in fish for meat, including fish from the wild Pacific, has also suffered, as have commercial fisheries for fish and shellfish.
There are also other reasons for concern, including the collapse in the Canadian salmon industry, and an increasing global demand for fish, the authors say.
Some of the factors contributing to the collapse are well known to scientists, including declining productivity, overfishing, and disease.
Fish stocks are not the only thing that is declining in the Vancouver region.
In April, the Vancouver Aquarium’s Vancouver Aquaculture Research Institute reported that fish stocks had been declining for more than a decade in the city.
It said the industry is experiencing “a severe decline” in the fish industry, which is now a major source of revenue for the aquarium.
However, the institute said the aquaculture industry is still one of the fastest growing in the nation.
According to a 2015 report by the Vancouver-based Aquacultural Management Institute, aquacultures are estimated to contribute about half of the city’s annual tourism income.
Fishing and aquacultural industries in British Columbia have experienced a number of health challenges, including pollution from the coal mining industry and pollution from toxic chemicals, including PCBs, which can be deadly to fish.
On a smaller scale, a recent study by the Fraser University School of Fisheries and Aquaculturists found that there were a number the disease-causing pathogens, such as salmonella and botulism, were causing more deaths than any other pathogen in B.C. Despite the fact that there have been two pandemics in the past decade, the province of British Columbia has continued to invest heavily in research and development.
It is one of only a handful of jurisdictions in the country that is actively working on a vaccine for coronavirus.
With files from The Canadian Press