Why British Columbia needs climate change action now

As the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference wrapped up this month, the newly elected Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna endorsed the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Action to combat climate change is of the utmost importance to the many people who rely on British Columbia’s salmon runs for food and business. The coasts of BC are seeing record warm ocean temperatures, this summer peaking at three degrees higher than normal.

The salmon that swim throughout the province cannot handle the rising temperatures, and are increasingly migrating north in search of cooler waters. This puts the salmon at greater risk of moving towards more acidic water, according to a report published by VanCity.

Overall, this could lead to a 21 per cent decline in sockeye salmon over the next 35 years, while stablefish stocks are expected to drop by 15 per cent over that time. The First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance has noted only an estimated two million sockeye have returned to the Fraser River so far, approximately four million fewer than preseason forecasts suggested.

These significant reductions would have tremendous effects on First Nations people living in British Columbia, the fishing industry in the province as well as on all consumers of fish. In addition to depleted stocks that threaten the sustainability of First Nations communities and commercial fisheries, prices for sockeye could increase by over $1.30 as demand grows and supply diminishes.

The commitments made by the Liberals at COP21 are an important first step, but we must hold them accountable to these numbers and continue to advocate for action on climate change. 

Please [click here] to send a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna to show your support for action on climate change and demand attention to BC’s wild salmon.

Protect our environment. Protect our economy. Protect Our Fish.