Broughton Archipelago Pink salmon returns
Despite dire predictions two years ago by Martin Krkosek and Alexandra Morton about the imminent collapse of salmon stocks in the Broughton Archipelago as a result of salmon farms in the area, it may now surprise many to hear that pink salmon are returning in abundant numbers to the Glendale River (a major river system in the Broughton Archipelago) this year. So much so, that pink runs on this system were opened to commercial seine and gill net fishermen on August 31, 2009. These high returns mirror reports last week of high pink returns on Campbell River’s Quinsam River this summer. While both of these river systems are located in different geographic areas, they are both close to two of the highest density salmon farming areas on the BC coast.
Other more experienced and established researchers were more successful in their assessment of the situation. Two separate papers by distinguished researchers (Brooks and Jones, 2008 and Riddell et al., 2008) questioned Krkosek's and Morton's conclusions. These papers explain that following periods of high abundance, pink salmon populations typically fall to low levels and in most cases, the populations then gradually increase to begin the cycle again. Contrary to the conclusions reached by Krkošek et al. (2007), Broughton pink salmon returns have steadily increased since then with no indication that they are threatened with extinction. It does appear that the science has played this out to a conclusion on the pink salmon as we now see record returns in these two regions.