Melting glaciers could create thousands of kilometres of pacific salmon habitat

Originally seen in Fish’n Canada’s Week in Review

While the majority of the BC salmon stories lately have been sombre in tone, a recently published study suggests some relief could (eventually) be on the way.

In a study released this Tuesday by Simon Fraser University, researchers Kara Pitman and Jonathan Moore found that 6000 kilometres of salmon habitat has the potential to open up in western North America by the year 2100 should glacial retreat continue at its current pace.

To put this into perspective, the Mississippi River is 3,776 kilometres long, just over half of what has the potential to be available if climate change models are correct.

This figure is based on the projected melting of roughly 315 glaciers located in western BC and Alaska, all of which have the potential to create ocean-bound streams that would perfectly suit the habitat requirements of the migrating Pacific salmon.

According to an article in the Cranbrook Daily Townsman, newly-formed glacial streams turning into salmon habitat is not a new occurrence and fish are often quite quick to adapt. In the 1970s, for example, glacier retreat in Glacier Bay, Alaska provided enough new habitat in Stonefly Creek to allow over 5,000 Pink Salmon to move into the area within just 10 years of it forming.

Though the salmon anglers of today will not likely be around to see these changes, these adaptive qualities may at least provide hope that the province’s salmon numbers could recover to what they once were. For more BC salmon articles, check out the links below:

This excerpt was taken from Fish’n Canada’s Week in Review, our weekly recap of all things relevant to the Canadian outdoorsman. For more stories like this, check out the full article below and tune back in every Friday to catch up on everything you missed!

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