Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Study shows Athabasca fishery in decline

Arctic grayling have all but disappeared from the Athabasca region. The provincial government is looking at catch-and-release rules for the fish in the northeast in an attempt to revive the population.
Photograph by: Dave Park, Alberta Fish and Wildlife

Study shows Athabasca fishery in decline

Catch-and-release regulations vital for Arctic grayling revival

By Sheila Pratt, Calgary Herald/Edmonton Journal February 2, 2015

EDMONTON - When Mike Sullivan was a young boy, he and his father would throw a line in almost any small stream around Fort McMurray and pull out Arctic grayling.

Now, grayling has virtually disappeared from the northeast rivers, according to a new study that also says two other migratory species — mountain whitefish and long nose suckers — have declined dramatically the past 40 years.

Fish health in the Athabasca watershed has showed “significant change,” especially since the 1990s when oilsands development expanded dramatically, says the new study by University of Lethbridge biologists Astrid Schwalb and Joe Rasmussen.

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